Tiny Church's Rites, Beliefs Offend Some
Scanlan, Dan, The Florida Times Union
The 50 members of Mandarin's newest church believe in
possession by the spirits of their deities.
And they will sacrifice chickens to their gods in order to
bring them luck and prosperity and to initiate new priests into
the Candomble religion.
But only three days after the Ile Xango Candomble temple opened
in an old church on Whitmore Road, someone took exception to
their beliefs. Police say eggs were thrown on the whitewashed
edifice and two statues were stolen from the church the morning
of July 18.
The church is facing other problems.
Neighbors are upset after watching church members dance under
torchlight to the sounds of drums July 14 and 16. One day before
the vandalism, police responded to complaints about the drums,
but issued no citation.
Despite those problems, church founder Maria Del Sol said the
temple will stay, and she forgives whoever vandalized it.
"It is someone who doesn't understand love and respect," Del
Sol said. "I don't believe they did it because they are mean.
They did it because they think they are doing something right."
Candomble is the Brazilian version of Santeria, a religion that
blends elements of Catholicism and Yoruba of West Africa.
The religion dates back to the time of slavery when Africans
were brought to Brazil by the Catholic Portuguese. Pressured to
give up their native religion and embrace Catholicism, the
slaves wrapped the mantle of Christianity around their native
One of the most controversial tenets of the religion is animal
sacrifice. Del Sol said animal sacrifices are rare and will
occur only once or twice a year.
"I believe the chicken prefers to die for the gods, with
everyone dressed in white and praying around it, rather than die
and go in the supermarket," she said. "It is going to die the
A native Brazilian, Del Sol first opened a spiritual store on
Atlantic Boulevard last year, then opened a church at a former
veterinary office on Beach Boulevard. …