Brazil once had the reputation of being the most Catholic country in the world. With the exception of General Ernesto Geisel, an evangelical Christian who ruled the country from 1974 to 1979 during the military dictatorship, Brazil has only ever had Catholic heads of state.
However, the upcoming presidential election on October 7 sees two candidates with an evangelical profile — Marina Silva and Jair Bolsonaro — vying for the highest office in the land.
Silva, an environmentalist, is a convert from Catholicism who joined an evangelical church several years ago. Bolsonaro, actually a devout Catholic and often called Brazil’s Donald Trump for his outrageous views and focus on law and order, was baptized in the Jordan River by an evangelical preacher in 2016.
For decades now, people have been flocking to Brazil’s Evangelical Protestant and Pentecostal churches. Around 42 million Brazilians (22 percent of the population) registered as “evangelicos” in the 2010 census, while around 123 million (64 percent) described themselves as Catholic.