PRAYER ALERT: In Brazil, more than 800,000 evangelical Christians of all denominations came together for Sao Paulo’s March for Jesus, a 12 hour, 2.5 mile annual praise celebration. This followed weeks of passionate street protests by millions in Brazil’s major cities. The Brazil protests were sparked by a 10-cent rise in Sao Paulo bus fares on June 1. They quickly spread into a “Brazilian Spring” of uprisings against political corruption and a host of social ills that afflict the nation’s 20 million poor. The often heavy-handed police reaction only spurred more Brazil protests. President Dilma Rousseff’s approval rating plunged from 57% to 30% between June 6 and June 29. Still hoping for re-election next year, Roussef is scrambling to gain support for a wide range of reforms to submit to Congress. Congress itself is rushing through bills for harsher penalties against political corruption. In the meantime the bus fare increase was revoked.
The church has not been silent on the issues raised by the Brazil protests. (See BPN article, The church’s role in politics.) The March For Jesus organizer, Pastor Estevam Hernandes, said that many of the marchers were also motivated by sympathy for the demonstrations. A pastor standing atop one of the march’s floats, Marcos Feliciano, serves as Congressman from the anti-corruption Social Christian Party. On March 7, 2013 he was elected President of the Commission on Human Rights. But his election quickly stirred up a petition signed by more than 450,000 who demanded his resignation. The petition’s organizers, the progressive avaaz.org—co-founded by MoveOn—cited anti-gay and anti-black statements by Feliciano as grounds for his termination.
In March 2011 he posted on Twitter that “The putridity of the homosexual feelings leads to hate, crime, rejection.” In the same month he tweeted that “The curse that Noah launched against his grandson, Canaan, spilled over the African continent, thus the hunger, the plagues, the diseases, the ethnic wars!” Feliciano objects that his comment should not be taken as racist since his own mother and stepfather are black. But such harsh statements have undermined his promotion of a bill legitimizing cures for homosexuality and his stances on human rights. He is also being investigated by the Brazilian Supreme Court on charges that he accepted $13,000 in advance for a speaking engagement that he had to cancel. Feliciano says that the event’s organizers declined his efforts to return the money.
PRAY WITH US. Father God, You are great and greatly to be praised. We lift up to You the great nation of Brazil, with its 200 million people. We especially lift to You the cries of the very poor, who live in the shadow of the very rich and their ambitious plans. We thank You for using the mostly peaceful Brazil protests to awaken the conscience of the nation. We thank You for the plans underway for reform and rooting out corruption. But these plans cannot succeed without Your direction. They cannot succeed without the prayers and cooperation of the people who are called by Your name.
Move Your people to find common ground on the rock of Your Word. Give them wisdom for firm stands for Your truth on the issues. Search their hearts for any compromises with their stands. Root our corruptions and injustices in the church so it can pray and speak with greater authority. And show those Christians who have entered the political sphere how to address the concerns of the Brazil protests and all Brazilians. Give them wisdom for creative and just solutions to the problems vexing the nation. Show Brazilians that their obsessions for soccer and Carnival are nothing compared to consuming passion for You. Let true reform and revival spread in Brazil. Let the world witness, at the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, the great grace on this great nation that only our great God can give. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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Brazil protests tags: Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, FIFA, Maracana Stadium, Team Brazil, Spain, Olympic committee, Dilma Rousseff, Marcos Feliciano, Social Christian party, Brazil protests, Brazil protests 2013, Brazil protests against corruption
Reforms proposed in wake of Brazil protests