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Politics and faith
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Prosperity gospel Bishop becomes Mayor of Rio de Janeiro

Marcelo Crivella is nephew of Universal Church of the Kingdom of God leader Edo Maceido. The image of most ‘evangelical’ politicians in Brazil is very bad, says sociologist.

AUTHOR Evangelical Focus RIO DE JANEIRO 31 OCTOBER 2016 16:15 h GMT+1
marcelo crivella, rio, Marcelo Crivella, new mayor of Rio de Janeiro.

A singer and Bishop of the neo-Pentecostal Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (IURD) has become the new Mayor of Rio de Janeiro.



Marcelo Crivella received 59% of the votes in the second round of the local election.



He was candidate for the small Brazilian Republican Party and is well-known for being the nephew of Edo Maceido, the founder of the IURD. This church presents itself as an “evangelical” denomination but is known for its prosperity gospel theology. IURD churches have also been accused by several organisations of fraud and money laundering.



 



Crivella is known for his music.

“I ask God that all can have the hope of those who always fight and the faith of those who never give up”, Crivella said after the victory against left-wing candidate Marcelo Freixo.



Crivella has been senator since 2002 and is representative of the so-called bancada evangélica in Brazil.



 



THE POWER OF ‘EVANGELICAL’ POLITICIANS



In a recent interview with Evangelical Focus, sociologist Paul Freston analised the power of the ‘evangelical caucuses’.



These politicians “do not necessarily reflect the political opinions of evangelicals in general but they reflect the ability of large denominations to mobilise their members to vote for a particular candidate”, he explained.



How do non-Christians see evangelical politicians in Brazil? “Not very well at all”, Freston says.



“Forty years ago, it was common to hear non-evangelical people say: Evangelicals are not involved in politics, that is a pity! It would be good if they were involved more, they would bring good things to the political world. Well, today no one says that. The image is very bad.”


 

 


4
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John van der Dussen
01/11/2016
07:14 h
1
 
You end your article by stating: "The image is very bad." In the context of your article, the "very bad image" refers to the evangelical politicians and to the church of Crivella, the Universal Church. If that is true, then how do you explain that he got the support of 59% of the voters, while there are only 35% evangelicals in Rio (of which only a minority belong to the Universal Church), and so at least 25% non-evangelical voters voted for him? How do you explain this?
 
Replying to John van der Dussen

Joel Forster
01/11/2016
09:29 h
2
 
Your comment is interesting. Freston refers to politicians supported by evangelical churches generally (see his full interview). In the case of Crivella, his 59% is in a second round (out of only two candidates, the other gets 40%), but still it is a high support, as you mention.
 
Replying to Joel Forster

Joel Forster
02/11/2016
09:57 h
4
 
John V. Dussen, replying to your comment #2. Freston speaks about the bad image of those evangelicals in politics. There was a turnout of 57% (lower than average in Rio). And a candidate clearly supported by the IURD, seen as a Christian by many other churchgoers, and with a real chance to win... can mobilise many voters. But, of course, a percentage of non-evangelicals must have voted for him too.
 
Replying to Joel Forster

John van der Dussen
01/11/2016
10:08 h
3
 
What I wrote was not a "comment" but a question. But it remains unanswered. Where Freston refers to evangelicals in general, Evangelical Focus aimes at the Universal Church in particular, by putting quote/unquote "evangelical" and by stressing that the IURD has been accused of fraud and money laundering. If the evangelicals in general and the Universal Church in particular are as bad as you suggest, then how do you explain that such a large majority of voters prefer this "crooked" candidate?
 



 
 
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Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.