Make America Great Again? A North Carolina church is importing human slaves from Brazil, according to an explosive new report from the Associated Press.
According to the report, gullible young Brazilians, some as young as 12-years-old, are being tricked and trafficked out of Brazil, to be used as slave labor by Word of Faith Fellowship, a nefarious North Carolina church.
The Word of Faith Fellowship is using its two church branches in Brazil to traffic young people to the United States to be used as slave labor. Church representatives are accused of luring gullible Brazilians into coming to the U.S. on tourist and student visas in order to visit the Word of Faith Fellowship compound. However, once the young Brazilians arrive, their passports, travel documents, and any money they have is seized, and they are forced into slave labor, serving the church and high ranking members of the church congregation.
AP reports on some of the the horrific stories told by the victims:
When Andre Oliveira answered the call to leave his Word of Faith Fellowship congregation in Brazil to move to the mother church in North Carolina at the age of 18, his passport and money were confiscated by church leaders — for safekeeping, he said he was told.
Trapped in a foreign land, he said he was forced to work 15 hours a day, usually for no pay, first cleaning warehouses for the secretive evangelical church and later toiling at businesses owned by senior ministers. Any deviation from the rules risked the wrath of church leaders, he said, ranging from beatings to shaming from the pulpit.
“They trafficked us up here. They knew what they were doing. They needed labor and we were cheap labor — hell, free labor,” Oliveira said.
“They kept us as slaves,” Oliveira said, pausing at times to wipe away tears. “We were expendable. We meant nothing to them. Nothing. How can you do that to people — claim you love them and then beat them in the name of God?”
Luiz Pires said he was 18 in 2006 when he was encouraged by ministers in the Sao Joaquim de Bicas church to travel to North Carolina for his spiritual betterment.
Upon arrival, he said he found “horrific” living conditions, with eight people crammed in the basement of a church leader’s house, forced to work long hours at church-related businesses. Any payment went to living expenses, Pires said, despite the fact that he and others cleaned and did yard work at the member’s house where they lived.
“There was never time to sit down. We were worked like slaves,” he said.
A statement issued by the Word of Faith Fellowship does not deny the charges of trafficking human slaves out of Brazil. Instead, the church claims they are victims of persecution via the AP:
The whole set of AP articles are targeted to incite hate crimes against us at the Word of Faith Fellowship. We have received multiple threats. It appears that the accusers want the church doors closed, but they also want businesses closed. The church owns no businesses, and this ought to be against the law. If they do this to us, what will they do to you and others?
As for the “whole set of AP articles,” the AP reported in February that church members “were regularly punched, smacked and choked in an effort to “purify” sinners by beating out devils.”
When asked about the story, and any possible criminal charges, Jill Rose, the U.S. attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina, “declined to comment to the AP, citing an ongoing investigation.”
Word of Faith Fellowship was founded by Sam and Jane Whaley in 1979. AP reports on the couple, the church, and the unlimited power Jane Whaley has over the church congregation:
Word of Faith Fellowship was founded in 1979 by Whaley, a petite former math teacher, and her husband, Sam, a former used car salesman.
They are listed as co-pastors but all of those interviewed said it is Jane Whaley — a fiery, 77-year-old Christian Charismatic preacher — who maintains dictatorial control of the flock and also administers some of the beatings herself.
She has scores of strict rules to control congregants’ lives, including whether they can marry or have children. At the top of the list: No one can complain about her or question her authority. Failure to comply often triggers a humiliating rebuke from the pulpit or, worse, physical punishment, according to most of those interviewed.
Under Jane Whaley’s leadership, Word of Faith grew from a handful of followers to a 750-member sect, concentrated in a 35-acre complex protected by tight security and a thick line of trees.
The group also has nearly 2,000 members in churches in Brazil and Ghana, and affiliations in other countries.
Bottom line: A nefarious group of Christians in North Carolina are using young Brazilians as slave labor.
One wonders, where would Christians get the idea that slavery was morally acceptable?
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. – Ephesians 6:5