Rio de Janeiro’s New Mayor Is An Antigay Evangelical

Rio de Janeiro just elected an antigay evangelical bishop as their new mayor, handing him over 59 percent of the vote in a runoff election over his left-wing challenger.

Senator Marcelo Crivella is one of several conservative politicians benefiting from distrust and anger with Brazil‘s socialist government after suffering through the worst recession in decades and amid a corruption scandal that led to an impeachment trial that ousted the Workers’ Party after 13 years in power. He had been unsuccessful in his previous runs in mayoral and gubernatorial elections.

Crivella is the nephew of Edir Macedo, who founded the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, the main Pentecostal denomination in Brazil, which is primarily Roman Catholic.

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The protestant population is growing in the region, however. The BBC reports that the evangelical community now accounts for a fifth of the population.

Among his controversial remarks, found in a book he wrote after an evangelical mission in Africa, are that gay people are victims of a “terrible evil,” the Catholic Church “preaches demonic doctrines,” and Hinduism and African religions shelter “unclean spirits.”

Throughout the campaign Crivella tried to distance himself from those comments and assure voters that he would govern for all the people of Rio, and not for the church.