On/File: A Continuing Record of People, Groups, Movements, and Events Impacting Contemporary Religion

The recent establishment as a pilgrimage site of a reenacted Temple of Solomon by the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) in Brazil suggests how Christian Zionism circulates on a global level with Israel not always at the center of such a movement. The Pentecostal church built the temple in São Paulo as a center of Israeli and Jewish culture, “bringing a piece of Israel to Brazil,” but it has quickly become a worldwide pilgrimage site that is seen by believers as dispensing spiritual power and miracles. The temple takes up a whole city block, costing up to $400 million to build, and is actually four times larger than its ancient namesake. While importing “sacred soil” from Israel, the temple also produces and blesses its own sacred objects, such as olive oil, and then distributes them worldwide, including to places like Tel Aviv in Israel. Critics charge that it is an abuse and defamation of the original temple and see the UCKG’s promotion of it as self-serving and cynical. (Source: paper presented at 2019 meeting of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion by Kathleen Openshaw of Western Sydney University)