In a country plagued by poverty, a new church has risen to replicate the Temple of Solomon. From the New York Times:
SÃO PAULO, Brazil — It occupies an entire block in this teeming megacity: a 10,000-seat rendition of Solomon’s Temple.
Towering in sharp relief against the graffiti-splattered tenements nearby, it beckons with monumental walls of stone imported from Israel and the flags of the dozens of countries where its owner, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, is nourishing an evangelical Christian empire.
A helicopter landing pad will allow Edir Macedo, the 69-year-old media magnate who founded the Universal Church in a Rio de Janeiro funeral home in 1977, to drop in for sermons. The sprawling 11-story complex features other flourishes, too, like an oasis of olive trees similar to the garden of Gethsemane near Jerusalem, and more than 30 columns soaring toward the heavens.