Brazilian evangelicals accuse Bolsonaro of “dividing the country” amid Covid-19 crisis
The Brazilian Evangelical Alliance denounces the presence of the President in a demonstration against the quarantine, ignoring the recommendations of the WHO.
Protestante Digital · BRASILIA · 23 APRIL 2020 · 09:57 CET
The coronavirus crisis in Brazil, the country most affected by the disease in Latin America, has also become a political crisis.
The differences between the President, Jair Bolsonaro, and members of his own cabinet or regional governors, have helped divid the country between radical followers of the President's management of the epidemic, and a strong opposition to his policies.
“We need to have a unified discourse. Brazilians are in doubt. They do not know whether to listen to the Minister of Health or to the President”, the former Minister of Health, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, recently said in a televised interview.
Shortly afterwards, Bolsonaro announced his dismissal as “a consensual divorce”, but in Brazil many know that the break up came because of the discrepancies between the former Minister and the President, regarding the lifting of confinement and preventive measures.
BOLSONARO, AGAINST THE CONFINEMENT
Bolsonaro is in favour of starting to lift the confinement and the prevention measures activated just a month ago, because they are “destroying jobs”. The coronavirus, he says, will not have the same impact in the country as it had in the United States.
“Brazilians jump into a sewer, dive, and get nothing. I think many people have already been infected in Brazil, weeks or months ago, and they already have antibodies which prevent the virus to spread”, the President recently underlined.
The straw that broke the camel's back for many groups, including the Evangelical Alliance of Brazil, a member of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), was the presence of Bolsonaro in a demonstration held this Sunday in Brasilia, to protest against the quarantine. He was thus ignoring the social distancing recommendations of the World Health Organization,
Some protesters called for the closure of Congress and an armed military intervention.
“We have all sworn to give our lives for our country and we will do everything possible to change the destiny of Brazil. We do not want to negotiate anything. We want action for Brazil”, he said addressing the crowd.
“THE PRESIDENT INSISTS ON DIVIDING THE COUNTRY”
In a statement, the Evangelical Alliance of Brazil has “vehemently repudiated the participation of President Bolsonaro in a clearly anti-democratic demonstration” in a statement.
“The presence of the President in an act where the protesters carried flags and shouted words defending the closure of Congress, the Federal Supreme Court and a coup through a military intervention, goes against the Constitution”, they add.
The entity considers that, attending the concentration, Bolsonaro “showed contempt for the recommendations of the WHO, the Ministry of Health and the state and local Secretaries in favor of social isolation to combat the proliferation of Covid-19”.
They see it as a “contempt for people's health”, and lament that “at a time when the values of the gospel such as solidarity, fraternity and unity should be beacons to face the disease, the President unfortunately insists on dividing the country he should serve".
MOST EVANGELICAL CHURCHES REMAIN CLOSED
Some media have reported that several mega churches in the country have continued with their activity. But that is not the general reality, as described in a Christianity Today article titled “Why Brazil’s churches closed, even though President Bolsonaro disagrees”.
The story collects the testimonies of several Brazilian pastors and evangelical leaders, who chose to follow sanitary recommendations and closed churches and seminaries in the country.
According to the publication, the President posted a video to social media, in which “a woman begged repeatedly: Open the churches, please, we need them”.
“Following the recommendations of the authorities, we have suspended our services for a time as prevention”, Augustus Nicodemus Lopes, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Recife, of about 800 people, said in the article.
Robinson Grangeiro, pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Tambaú and also President of the Paraíba synod, pointed out that “despite the great value of community celebration of the people of God, the understanding is that, in a situation of clear risk of contagion and death, our theology clearly instructs conscious and collaborative citizen participation”.
The pastor of the Morumbi Baptist Church in Sao Paulo, Lisanias Moura, added that his church “made the decision not to have worship services, even before the government asked or required it”.