Powerful Brazilian televangelist tells followers of money-loving church to embark on media ‘fast’

Request by Edir Macedo to not watch television, use the radio or go on the internet suspected as diversion tactic from bad press, The Guardian reports.

He is one of South America’s most powerful televangelists, a billionaire preacher and media mogul who presides over one of the world’s fastest growing and most controversial Pentecostal churches.

But despite controlling one of Brazil’s largest communications empires, Bishop Edir Macedo, the head of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, is urging his followers to embark on a complete media fast. Twitter and Facebook-obsessed Christians have been told to log-off and get closer to God.

“It will be a fast from each and every kind of secular information: TV, internet, newspapers, magazines, radios €¦ from everything that is not Godly,” Macedo wrote.

Many suspect the move, however, is a tactic to divert followers’ attention from bad press.

The Christian news website Gospel+ noted that Macedo had called for “media fasts” twice in the past. On both occasions, the fasts coincided with negative stories about the Universal Church that were widely disseminated in the Brazilian media, including allegations of money laundering.

Earlier this month the Universal Church came under attack after claims that a nine-year-old boy had been coerced into selling his toys during one televised service. As his mother underwent a violent exorcism on stage, the boy told the preacher he hoped selling his toys and donating the proceeds to the church would stop his parents fighting at home.

Universal Church of the Kingdom of God

Controverial movement, based in Brazil where it is called Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus. In some countries the church also uses the name “Stop Suffering.”

Promotes word-faith theology, with a particular emphasis on the prosperity theology (‘God will make you rich if you have enough faith. You demonstrate faith by giving money to whomever promotes this scam’)

Since its theology and practices are far outside those of normal, biblical Christianity, this movement is considered to be, theologically, a cult of Christianity.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday July 28, 2011.
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