3 million Christians rally in streets of São Paulo to proclaim Gospel, pray to end corruption

Jair Bolsonaro (L)
Jair Bolsonaro (L) becomes president of Brazil on January 1, 2019. |

Three million Brazilian evangelical Christians took to the streets of São Paulo last week to pray for an end to government corruption and to proclaim the Gospel.

The March for Jesus, which occurred last Thursday, was the event's 27th occurrence.

“We cry out for Brazil, for the families, for the end of corruption, for the afflicted hearts, our country belongs to Jesus Christ. To Him all honor, glory, power and majesty. As it says in Psalms 33: Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord,” Estevam Hernandes, president of the March for Jesus in Brazil, said, according to Evangelical Focus.

Over 4,000 caravans, from nearly every one of Brazil's 26 states, participated in the event.

This year, for the first time ever, a president of Brazil joined the march.

Jair Bolsonaro, who is a Catholic married to an evangelical woman, and whose children are evangelical, addressed the crowd for around seven minutes.

“You were decisive in helping change the destiny of Brazil. It is very good to be among friends. And even better when they are friends with God in their hearts,” Bolsonaro said in his remarks.

Brazil “is secular but its current leader is Christian,” he added, noting that he hopes to be a "turning point" to resolve the “ethical and moral” issues plaguing Brazil with the assistance of Christians.

The Latin American nation is known for its corrupt politics, accentuated in recent years as numerous investigations revealed corruption at the highest levels of the government which have implicated previous presidents and other high-ranking officials, resulting in prison sentences.

Bolsonaro, 64, took office on Jan. 1. He is routinely compared to U.S. President Donald Trump for his blunt manner, politically conservative policies, and populist appeal.

Joao Doria, the governor of the state of São Paulo, and Bruno Covas, the mayor of the city of São Paulo, were also in attendance.

“This is the March for Jesus, but it is also the march of harmony and understanding between those who love Sao Paulo and Brazil,” Doria said.

The March for Jesus is organized by the Rebirth in Christ Church, and has taken place annually in Sao Paulo alongside several other evangelical denominations. The gathering is the largest of its kind that occurs in Latin America.

The march featured more than 10 hours of worship led by Brazilian gospel artists and ensembles, according to Faithwire. The theme of this year's march was “the rescuer,” derived from the Apostle Paul's words in 1 Timothy 2:6, who speaks of Jesus giving "ransom" for all people.

Brazil is considered an emerging Protestant nation; around 30 percent of its population now identifies as evangelical. The Brazilian parliament is increasingly filled with evangelical representatives.

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