After the U.S. Big Media, including the right-wing Fox News, said that Brazilian evangelicals are a powerful conservative influence in the elections (see the report: Evangelicals Can Put a Right-Wing Candidate in Brazil’s Presidency), now is Europe’s turn. Reuters, a London-based service that was the first international news service in the world, has published the headline “Brazil’s evangelicals say far-right presidential candidate is answer to their prayers.”
Besides, Deutsche Welle, of Germany, said in a headline “Brazil’s growing evangelical movement to shape election.”
Why do evangelicals have huge conservative impact in the Brazilian elections, but not in the European elections?
The explanation may come from an uncommon source: Marilena Chaui, a Brazilian Marxist philosopher. She stated in 2016 that the main opposition to socialism in Brazil is the Prosperity Gospel, known in Brazil as Prosperity Theology. What is destroying the left-wing hegemony in Brazil is, as she said, a “day-to-day, meticulous operation that has been done in the ideological realm to convince people through the Prosperity Gospel…”
So it is no wonder that the main leader leading evangelicals in the political conservative wave in Brazil is Silas Malafaia, an Assemblies of God minister who has espoused important tenets of the Prosperity Gospel. The Assemblies of God is the major evangelical denomination in Brazil.
Neo-charismatics, or neo-Pentecostals, are the overwhelming majority of the conservative leaders among evangelicals in Brazil.
Because Europe has an overwhelming majority of Protestants who are Lutheran and Presbyterian, there is no such conservative force in elections or in their internal battles to halt socialism and other evil ideologies in their midst.
In Brazil the traditional Protestant churches suffer the same spiritual malady. The Evangelical Church of Lutheran Confession in Brazil (ECLCB, the largest Lutheran denomination in Brazil) adheres to Liberation Theology and its Protestant version, Theology of Integral Mission, similar to the Social Gospel. The Presbyterian denominations in Brazil have for decades embraced, in a lesser or larger measure, Theology of Integral Mission, loved by many of their ministers, including Caio Fábio, a former minister who was a Presbyterian superstar who eventually got involved in sex and political scandals with powerful left-wing leaders.
While Pentecostals and mainly neo-Pentecostals are recognizing the evils of socialist administrations in Brazil, the Lutheran church remains recalcitrant. In fact, the president of ECLCB has sent a letter to all Lutheran ministers in Brazil threatening to sue any Lutheran member who shares my articles denouncing Liberation Theology in his denomination.
The Catholic Church in Brazil is not much different from the Lutheran denomination. Its most prominent leaders do not support conservative candidates.
By conservative I mean stances against the homosexual agenda, abortion and supportive of life and family. Socialist candidates, even when they are Catholic or Protestant, have a hard time to embrace such stances.
Over one year ago, The Nation, the oldest progressive magazine in the United States, had already recognized the conservative impact of Brazilian evangelicals in a headline titled “Amid Crisis in Brazil, the Evangelical Bloc Emerges as a Political Power.”
The Prosperity Gospel is a neo-Pentecostal theology imported from the United States, the largest capitalist and Protestant nation in the world. Even though there may be some exaggerations in its teaching, its basic message is that the source of health, prosperity, job, marriage and happiness is God, while progressives, both Protestants and Catholics, tend to believe that government should be such source, and Christian Marxism (Liberation Theology, Theology of Integral Mission, Social Gospel, etc.) exerts its pressure to make the government to be a provider of people’s needs, despising God’s role as the ultimate Provider.
Rodrigo Constantino, a Brazilian conservative writer, published an article titled “Democracy and the Prosperity Gospel,” written by Claudir Franciatto, who said,
“While the large part of the Brazilian society that is not evangelical restricts itself to call ministers, bishops and apostles of neo-Pentecostal (charismatic) churches ‘thieves’… [those ministers, bishops and apostles] are bringing to Brazil — secretly and imperceptibly — certain ‘Anglo-Saxon spirit’ of courage, pioneerism and positive individual attitude, which shaped a nation like the United States. This spirit was and is very necessary.”
“Neo-Pentecostal ministers do not stimulate members to pray and remain sitting on their pews, but to act — within and outside the church.”
This action outside the church is largely conservative and capitalist.
The Catholic Church, ECLCB and other traditional Protestant denominations in Brazil hate much more the Prosperity Gospel, which is not embraced by them, than they hate Liberation Theology and Theology of Integral Mission, which are embraced by them. They prefer any other option, including occultist, than facing an evangelical reality different from their particular “evangelical” delusion.
Yet, who is leading the conservative revolution in Brazil are not Catholics or traditional Protestants. Neo-charismatics, or neo-Pentecostals, are leading it.
Even though Brazil is the largest Catholic nation in the world, the Catholic Church has not the conservative force that neo-Pentecostals, who inherited such force from the United States, have to stem the socialist tide in Brazil.
Venezuela may be a hard lesson to Brazil. With a population 96% Catholic and a Catholic Church largely supportive of Liberation Theology, Venezuelans elected about 20 years ago socialist Hugo Chavez, who promised to take care of their needs. He promised to turn the Venezuelan government in the provider of the Venezuelans’ needs. Today, Venezuelans are starving. If Venezuela had a significant neo-Pentecostal population, they would resist the socialist revolution embraced by the Venezuelan Catholic Church.
The reality in Latin America is: the more Catholic a nation is, the more socialist or inclined to socialism it is. Cuba, Bolivia and Venezuela have all a common denominator: a massive Catholic population. In the Cuban case, they had a massive Catholic population during the communist revolution in the 1950s. Even today, Cuba is largely Catholic: 85% of its population is Catholic.
As the Latin American example shows, Catholicism seems naturally to facilitate socialism. So it is not hard to understand why in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s while the KGB supported the Catholic Church, the CIA supported Pentecostal movements.
In Brazil Catholics are now some 60% of the population and evangelicals, whose overwhelming majority is Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal, are some 30%.
If Brazil were 96% Catholic as Venezuela is, the Brazilian people would be starving under socialism.
Other difference is sensitivity to pro-life and pro-family values. For decades, the Catholic Church, backed by the Lutheran and other traditional Protestant churches, has consistently supported socialism in Brazil. Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal churches supported it — but much inconsistently —, because of the bad influence of former Rev. Fábio. Yet, when neo-Pentecostals saw socialists in the government advocating abortion and homosexuality, they changed course. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and many Presbyterians did not learn from their sins: They have largely kept their course loyal to socialism even after they saw their favorite socialists promoting abortion and homosexuality.
The Catholic Church and ECLCB have never learnt from their bad experiences with socialism. Meanwhile, neo-Pentecostal televangelists learnt the hard way. But they did.
In spite of the neo-Pentecostals’ weaknesses, especially in theology, Brazilians should praise God for neo-Pentecostals and the Prosperity Gospel they brought from the United States. They are saving Brazil from the socialism of Catholic Venezuela and the secularization of Europe, where its traditional churches, both Catholic and Protestant, are powerless to resist evil forces.
This is the difference of neo-Pentecostal churches: They seek power from God and use it to influence the society. They do it while antagonized by socialists, secularists, Catholics and traditional Protestants.
It is this power that the Big Media in Europe and in the United States is seeing in action right now in Brazil.
This power is in action even in the United States, where President Donald Trump, who was brought up as a Presbyterian, has as his advisers Paula White and other adherents of the Prosperity Gospel. In fact, the same evangelical power that helped Trump in the United States is helping Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, even though he is a Catholic. Evangelicals are now the dominant conservative power in the United States and Brazil. And the same left-wing forces attacking in the U.S. elections are also attacking in the Brazilian elections.
If Bolsonaro is going to win or not, I do not know. But I know for sure that in the next elections, in the next years, the evangelical power will be increasingly bigger, including in politics. Brazil is going to have, sooner or later, a neo-Pentecostal president.
Where traditional Protestants and Catholics are failing badly and even losing to socialism, secularism and occultism, charismatics are advancing and conquering, even in politics. I do not agree with everything of their theology, but I cannot deny that they are impacting positively where no one else is having similar impact.
Thank God for charismatics, Pentecostals and neo-Pentecostals and their love to seek God’s power and spiritual gifts!
Portuguese version of this article: Evangélicos representam a maior força conservadora das eleições brasileiras
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