Brazil is a functioning democracy, albeit not functioning that well. Brazil's economy is still a horrific mess; and that is all we hear. But what mainstream media often ignores is a massive sea change in Brazil – and in Latin America - which will spill over into world politics. That change is an emerging conservaive evangelical Christian constituency.
When most of us grew up, Brazil was a typical South American country with a massive Roman Catholic culture. No longer.
Brazil is now one-quarter evangelical, and their numbers are growing by leaps and bounds – which is one reason I do not fear a demographic increase of Islam in South America. Muslim radicalism will be sporadic – and anti-Zionism is problematic in Chile -- but ultimately they cannot compete against millions of converts to evangelical Christianity.
Brazil's culture and politics are radically changing.
Rio de Janiero is famous for its yearly Carnaval, but a lot of the Carnaval schools that compete in the parade have noticed a decline in membership. The salacious, raucous, semi-pagan folk aspects of the festival have been condemned by the the Evangelicals, and it is starting to hurt participation.
Rio then elected an evangelical bishop as its mayor, and he refused to show up for the event this year.
But this year, for the first time in memory, the mayor skipped it.
That’s because, for the first time in its 450-year history, Brazil's second-largest metropolis is being run by a [Pentecostal] pastor. --Christianity Today
Moving beyond issues of morality and parades, upon being elected last autumn, the mayor-elect, Marcelo Crivella, flew to Israel to celebrate.
Crivella, who was elected on Oct. 30, met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat during a visit to Israel two weeks ago. As a senator, Crivella has maintained a pro-Israel stance. He claims to have visited Israel around 40 times. -- Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Brazil is starting to become very pro-Israel.
The previous Brazilian administration under Dilma Rousseff had been hostile to Israel, and refused to accept Israel's ambassador, Dani Dayan, for being a “settler” leader.
After a months long diplomatic standoff with Brazil over plans to install a former settler leader as its ambassador there, Israel pulled back on Monday -- reassigning him to a post in the United States after the government in Brasília refused to approve his appointment. -- March 2016, New York Times
Today, Rousseff is gone. Michel Temer – who is the son of Christian Lebanese immigrants – is friendly to Brazil's small Jewish community, and the mayor of Rio is a staunch Christian Zionist.
On chatting with people on the internet, I have read a line by a Brazilian that they expect that when the evangelicals reach 50 percent of the population, Brazil's foreign policy will change radically. It may not even require a 50% metric. The evangelicals are strong enough right now to swing elections by allying with conservative parties.
In Sao Paulo, which ironically has a very large Arab community, a massive reconstruction of Solomon's Temple for the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG), a Pentecostal denomination, was built.
Then-president, Dilma Rousseff, no lover of right-wing Zionism, showed up for the inaugural festivities in 2014. She had to! No politician could safely ignore it. While the UCKG church has some scandals concerning corruption, and some issues with prosperity doctrine, what is fascinating is that it has such political clout that Brazilians politicians had to pay homage to a Judeocentric celebration.
The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God may be suspect, but general Brazilian evangelical support for Israel is quite real across denominational lines, as this Calvary Chapel (Rio de Janeiro) video on prophecy concerning Israel shows.
Christian Zionism has a massive following in Brazil, where the Jewish community is only 0.05% of the population. So much for a claim of Jewish influence peddling. At those low numbers, no matter how wealthy, Jews could not swing an election.
Oddly enough, some of these Jews marry Christian Arabs in Sao Paulo.
[Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota] said he was encouraged by all the intermarriage he saw between Jews and Arabs in Sao Paulo, remarking that “if it can happen there, it can happen anywhere.” - JPOST
Brazilians now flock to Israel to show support. Brazil has its share of preachers supporting Zionism on TV. And the Israeli government and Zionist groups have started to act on this emerging trend over the past decade.
IFCJ launches a new campaign to raise Israel support among growing evangelical community in Brazil, which is world's largest following US. -- Israel National News
Brazilian Facebook ‘followers’ of Israeli tourism exceed 2 million… Tourism Ministry hopes targeting Christian evangelicals will boost number of visitors from Latin America – Times of Israel
Israeli Ministry of Tourism -- YouTube
Once in a Lifetime - Israeli Ministry of Tourism -- YouTube (2015)
While post-Christian Europe is abandoning Israel, the Brazilians are starting to fill in the breach.
And it is not just concerning Israel. It appears that evangelicals in Brazil are anti-abortion, and not so keen on the LBGT agenda.
Evangelical Christians demonstrate against gay marriage and abortion before the National Congress last June. Almost a quarter of Brazilians now identify themselves as evangelical -- The Guardian
No one is saying all these evangelicals are perfect. Like all churches, they have their share of crooks and scoundrels. However, a major force is rising in Latin America, and apart from the occasional article or report, much of our mainstream media is ignoring this truly colossal development.
During the Obama administration, Latin America was abandoned to Iran and its lackey, Hugo Chavez. It was this growing evangelical movement which held them in check. In much of Latin America, the power of a rising evangelical conservatism is fighting a pitched battle against leftist extremists. In Chile, the evangelicals are in a ferocious contest with the entrenched, but very powerful and wealthy, anti-Israel Palestinian Christian (usually Eastern Christian) community. However, in Brazil, it looks like the evangelicals are winning.
Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who wishes he had availed himself more fully of the opportunity to learn Spanish in high school, lo those many decades ago. He writes on the Arabs of South America athttp://latinarabia.com. He also just started a website about small computers athttp://minireplacement.com.