There is an interesting ruling in a divorce case out of Miami, Florida this week. Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda has developed a certain fame or infamy by first declaring himself to be Jesus Christ and then proclaiming that he is the Antichrist. Dividing up the assets of the Antichrist would seem a daunting prospect, but Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Roberto Pineiro ruled that it is simple: the church is so closely linked to de Jesus that it should be included in the division of his personal property for the purposes of the divorce.
The court ruled that De Jesus’ Growing in Grace church was a personal business rather than a religious non-profit church and awarded Josefina de Jesus Torres $2.2 million in the divorce – including half the assets of her ex-husband and his church.
It is a rare ruling and could face a stiff challenge if the church is properly listed as a non-for-profit. Other churches like the Bob Jones congregation show almost blind loyalty to their leaders, but are still considered churches.
The family is facing some difficult times ahead. His daughter JoAnn De Jesus is facing contempt charges and the church faces eviction if they do not fork over the money by the end of the month. The result may come as a surprise to De Jesus who disappeared in August and was held in contempt for not paying $15,000 in monthly alimony. He was not present at his trial.
De Jesus has claimed that his teachings supplant the teachings of Jesus and the followers of the Antichrist often tattoo themselves with “666.” He has a worldwide following with reportedly 300 churches in 30 countries.
Not to be deterred, his followers insist that the divorce is just proof of his divinity — citing Luke 17:25: “first, He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.” Well, he can check that one off on his to-do list.