Thursday, December 12, 2019

"Armed neo-Pentecostals torment Brazil’s religious minorities"


The mayor is a bishop in a Pentecostal church. The city is home to President Jair Bolsonaro, baptized in the River Jordan and carried to office by the Pentecostal vote. And it’s the birthplace of the powerful Universal Church of the Kingdom of God


In the past generation, Brazil has undergone a spiritual transformation like few other places on the planet. As recently as 1980, about 9 in 10 people here identified as Catholic. But that proportion has cratered to 50 percent, and will soon be overtaken by evangelicalism, which now accounts for one-third of the population.


Several of the converted were leaders of the powerful gang Pure Third Command. The conversions, Vital said, helped instill a new “evangelical religious morality” in the criminal group as it waged a war of conquest against other gangs in Rio’s northern reaches


Gangs are unfurling the flag of Israel, a nation seen by some evangelicals as necessary to bringing about the return of Christ.