Carlos Enrique Luna Arango, popularly known as Cash Luna (born 4 March 1962), is a Guatemalan televangelist and faith healer who is the founder and pastor of the Casa de Dios, one of the largest megachurches in Latin America.

Cash Luna
2019 Cash Luna.jpg
Luna preaching
Born
Carlos Enrique Luna Arango

(1962-02-04) February 4, 1962 (age 60)
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Alma materUniversidad Francisco Marroquin
OccupationTelevangelist, pastor and faith healer
Spouse(s)Sonia de Luna
ChildrenCarlos Enrique Luna,
Juan Diego Luna,
Ana Gabriela Luna
ReligionCharismatic Evangelical Christian

Early lifeEdit

Cash Luna was born into a Catholic household. His parents divorced when he was young and he grew up with his mother. At age 20, Luna became a born-again Christian.[1] He studied at the Universidad Francisco Marroquín, where he graduated with cum laude honors and holds a bachelor's degree in Information Systems Management.[2]

Casa de DiosEdit

Luna and his wife, Sonia de Luna, founded the Casa de Dios church in Guatemala City in 1994. The church is today one of the largest growing congregations in Guatemala, with a claimed 25,000 in weekly attendance.[3] In April 2013, a massive new church complex was unveiled with an area of 270,000 square meters and the capacity to fit 12,000 worshipers at a time.[4]

Influence and legacyEdit

Luna is well known for his televangelism and presence on social media. His Facebook account had a million and a half fans as of 2015.[3] In addition to his large congregation in Guatemala, Luna has a significant number of followers and fans in Mexico as well among Hispanic Americans in the United States.[3] Luna is well known for his creative methods of preaching, one time riding into church on a motorcycle.[1] He is also considered one of the more influential preachers of the prosperity gospel in Latin America.[5]

In 2013, Luna was presented with an award by the then-Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina (PP). Pérez stated that Luna had provided an example of what Guatemalans could achieve through faith and working together. He also applauded Luna's efforts to end violence and drug abuse.[6] During the 2015 Guatemalan general election, Luna was a strong supporter of candidate Jimmy Morales (FCN), who later won the election. Morales, who is a devout evangelical Christian, had strong support from Luna and other evangelical pastors. During his presidency, Morales visited the Casa de Dios on multiple occasions.[7]

False reports of deathEdit

In August 2017, rumors started spreading on social media that Luna had died after a prolonged absence. He later rebuked these rumors on his Instagram page, stating that he was "alive and kicking".[8]

CriticismEdit

Luna has been criticized for his faith healing activities and amassed wealth. In June 2014, Luna staged a faith healing event in Villahermosa, Mexico where he claimed that the blind would see, the deaf would hear, and the disabled would walk out of their wheelchairs. Despite initially promoting the event as being free, attendees were charged 500 pesos to the event. Luna ended up making a profit of 15 million pesos from the event (roughly about 1 million USD at the time).[9]

The same event was also highly controversial because of the death of Nancy Hernández Álvarez. Nancy's parents, inhabitants of Chiapas, had brought their disabled daughter to the service in hope that she would be healed. During the service, Nancy was brought up to Luna who proclaimed her healed of her ailments while the crowd applauded what they perceived as a miracle. Shortly afterwards, however, Nancy suffered from a heart attack and died the following day. Luna refused to admit that his healing had not worked, saying that God had created Nancy and it was God who called her back.[9]

In December 2018, Guatemalan authorities ordered an investigation into Luna over alleged links with Marllory Chacon, a convicted drug trafficker. According to accusations listed in a report by Univision, Chacon, who was sentenced to twelve years in prison in 2015 in the U.S., was given money by Luna, who allegedly knew about her drug-related activity.[10][11] On 5 June 2019, Luna's attorney Charles Harder announced that his client was filling a lawsuit against Univision for what they alleged were false allegations.[12][13]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Hurtado, Paola (29 December 2018). "El efectivo "Cash"". Nómada. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  2. ^ ""El pastor Carlos Luna [...] Obtuvo una licenciatura "Cum Laude" en Administración de Sistemas de Información en la Universidad Francisco Marroquín en la ciudad de Guatemala [...]"". cristianosaldia.net (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 12 January 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Chapa, Sergio (25 August 2015). "Televangelist Cash Luna expected to draw thousands in Hidalgo". Valley Central News. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  4. ^ "Cash Luna inaugura megatemplo Casa de Dios en Guatemala" (in Spanish). Acontecer Cristiano. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  5. ^ Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra (27 September 2017). "Young, Restless, and Reformed in Latin America". The Gospel Coalition. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  6. ^ "Cash Luna es reconocido por presidente de Guatemala tras inauguración de nueva sede Casa de Dios" (in Spanish). Noticia Cristiana. 28 April 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  7. ^ Palacios, Claudia (1 October 2018). "Los medios evangélicos al servicio de Dios (y del presidente)". Nómada. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  8. ^ ""Aquí ando, vivito y coleando", dice pastor Cash Luna al desmentir la noticia de su muerte ("Here I walk, alive and kicking," says Pastor Cash Luna in denying the news of his death)" (in Spanish). El Salvador Times. 11 August 2017. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Acusan a Cash Luna de falsificar un milagro tras la muerte de una Mujer" (in Spanish). Noticia Cristiana. 18 February 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  10. ^ "Guatemalan authorities order investigation for possible link between Christian pastor and drug peddler". Breaking Belize News. 3 December 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  11. ^ Asmann, Parker (10 December 2018). "'Cash Luna' Corruption Case May Reveal Guatemala Nexus of Drugs and Religion". InSight Crime. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  12. ^ Padró Ocasio, Bianca (6 June 2019). "Guatemalan megachurch pastor known as 'Cash' Luna is suing Univision". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  13. ^ "Cash Luna - Caso demanda Univisión". Cash Luna - Caso demanda Univisión. Retrieved 2019-06-19.

External linksEdit