The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
The former FC Barcelona footballer wants to “give something back” to his country. The leader of the Brazilian Republican Party is a bishop of the Universal Church of Kingdom of God.
Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho used to be the biggest star in Europe. Now, he seeks a career in politics.
During his years in Barcelona (2003-2008) and other cities where he played, the football star was known for the fantastic goals he scored and the titles he won, but also for the parties he frequently attended.
Retired since 2015, Ronaldo Assis Moreira could now run for congress. “I am happy to be able to participate in a project aimed at improving our country and bringing modernity, joy and health to the entire population”, the former football star said.
His brother Roberto, added: “He wants to give something back to his country”.
CRIVELLA AND THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Ronaldo has officially joined the conservative Brazilian Republican Party (PRB), a group frequently described in the media as an “evangelical party”.
The key leader and founder of the PRB is Marcelo Crivella, now mayor of Rio de Janeiro. Known as a worship music singer, Crivella is an influential Bishop of the neo-Pentecostal Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (IURD, in Portuguese). He is also a nephew of the founder of the church, Edir Macedo,
The IURD has a strong international presence and emphasises the so-called “Prosperity Gospel” theology. The network of churches has been recently acused of trafficking children between Portugal and other countries. The Portuguese Evangelical Alliance, “strongly repudiated” the alleged crimed, and added: “The doctrines and practices of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God do not respect the values of the Portuguese Evangelical Alliance”.
IMAGE OF EVANGELICAL POLITICIANS IS “VERY BAD”
The PRB is just one of the several political movements in Brazil that aim to represent the evangelical churches (mostly Pentecostal) in the country. The “image” of these politicians in society is “very bad”, sociologist Paul Freston told Evangelical Focus.
“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”, Freston, an expert in social and religious trends, said.