Guatemala: "tattooed terrorist" Antichrist denied entry

It's hard to imagine a country more traditional, and more religious, than Guatemala. For that reason, news that the country is denying entry to a cult leader who tattooes "666" on his arm, calls himself The Antichrist, and whose (alleged) 2 million followers describe him as a living deity — it's pretty far out.

Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda (Wikipedia link) is the head of the Florida-based Growing in Grace church. He runs a 24-hour Spanish-language television network, and hosts a radio program broadcast on 287 stations.

Thumbnail at left (Alexandre Meneghini, AP) (link to full-size): A follower of Miranda holds a baby with "SSS" painted on her head. The letters stand for Miranda's motto, "salvo, siempre salvo," or "saved, always saved."

This week, Miranda tried to fly on his private jet to Guatemala, where he apparently has a big following, to celebrate his 61st birthday.

But Guatemalan officials flagged him as a terrorist, and say he's a security risk because he provokes conflict with Roman Catholics and evangelicals.

Snip from an AP story:

He often takes aim at the Catholic Church – the most powerful faith in Latin America – calling all priests child molesters and saying chastity vows go against the Bible's teachings. Members of his church have torn up images of saints and other religious symbols in El Salvador, and marched in Guatemala and Honduras.

He preaches that sin and the devil do not exist. In January, he revealed tattoos of the numbers 666 on his forearms and declared that he and his followers were Antichrists because their beliefs supersede those of Jesus Christ. The Bible describes the Antichrist as someone who will fill the world with wickedness but be conquered by a second coming of Christ.

Despite the Guatemalan government's security block, his supporters say…

"It has been predestined, and angels will make it happen," said Axel Poessy, Miranda's media director. "He is, after all, God himself."

Link to that AP story.
Well, that didn't work out. Miranda was indeed denied entry to Guatemala. Miranda spun the story of the nixed visit as his choice:

He had vowed to defy the ban but canceled Saturday and will instead address the gathering in a video teleconference, said the sect's head pastor in Guatemala, Jorge Batres. "We're a church respectful of the law and we will have to wait until the judge gives us an injunction," Batres said.

Batres said De Jesus Miranda's Guatemalan followers will "firmly fight within the law so that he can come and let the world know that Jesus the Man is in Guatemala."


No surprise here, but the church's website appears to be a very important part of their "Antichrist ministry" outreach program.

The most interesting parts of the site, to me, are these videos of children proclaiming themselves part of a "Super Race" of Miranda followers, and this photo gallery documenting "Day of the Tattoo," where followers of de Miranda all got tattoos of "666" and "SSS" ("salvo, siempre salvo") on their bodies to proclaim their faith.

Previously on BoingBoing:

  • Xeni's NPR series "Guatemala: Unearthing the Future"
  • Xeni's notes from the road in Guatemala
  • Mayan priests to "purge" Iximche after Bush's visit
  • Guatemala: Photos from indigenous protest of Bush visit
  • More BB posts about Guatemala

    (via Warren Ellis)

    Reader comment: attorney Elizabeth Camp from the University of Texas says,

    Miranda moved his church and his headquarters to Houston some time ago: Link.

    Then he announced he is the Antichrist.