Bolsonaro Confessed Jesus at The Send 2020, but Was It Just a Political Strategy?

Jair Bolsonaro visits a Hindu Temple in a video posted Jan. 26, 2020. (YouTube/Jair Bolsonaro)

According to Charisma News,

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro joined the 140,000 young people who attended The Send 2020 in Brasilia, Brazil.

Although not directly invited, Bolsonaro showed up because "he wanted to be there for the historic event," reports Fox News.

The crowd of thousands applauded as Bolsonaro took the stage and asked for prayer. He also declared that he believes in Jesus. ...

The coordinators of the event included Youth With a Mission's Andy Byrd, Todd White with Lifestyle Christianity, Circuit Rider's Brian Brennt, Michael Koulianos of Jesus Image, intercessor Lou Engle, Daniel Kolenda of Christ for All Nations and the Dunamis Movement's Teo Hayashi.

Yet this was not the first time Bolsonaro confessed Jesus. In 2016, he was baptized in the River Jordan by Assemblies of God minister Everaldo. According to the newspaper Extra, the interaction between them in the baptism was:

"So, Bolsonaro, do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?"

"I believe."

"Do you believe that He died on the cross?"


"That He is risen?"


"That He is alive forevermore?"


"That he is the Savior of mankind?"


"Through your public confession, I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."

Both Everaldo and Bolsonaro were then representatives in the Brazilian Congress, with Everaldo being the president of the Christian Social Party and Bolsonaro being a member of this party. The baptism, even though symbolically spiritual, was a political strategy. After the baptism, Brazilian evangelicals, who thought that he had become an evangelical, massively voted for him.

Today, Everaldo and Bolsonaro are political enemies and Bolsonaro has left his party.

Bolsonaro has accepted Jesus also in other evangelical services. In December 2019, he received some evangelical ministers in his presidential residence and he declared, according to Brazilian evangelical website GospelMais and the website Crítica Nacional, that he was "publicly accepting Jesus."

So his declaration in The Send accepting or declaring Jesus was one of his many other similar declarations. Yet he is not open only to evangelicals. In May 2019, he had one of his ministers sign a document consecrating Brazil to Saint Mary, and he chose to keep her image in his presidential residence.

Just as he attends massive evangelical events, he also attends massive Catholic events. On Oct. 12, 2019, he took part in the religious feast at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in Aparecida, São Paulo, Brazil, according to the Catholic website A12. In 1980, the military rule in Brazil made the date of Oct. 12 of each year a federal holiday of the Day of Our Lady of Aparecida as Patroness of Brazil. This date is repudiated by Brazilian evangelicals, who see Jesus as the only Lord of Brazil.

In January 2020, shortly before The Send, Bolsonaro visited India, where he purified himself in a Hindu temple. You can watch his Hindu purification here.

Religious syncretism is widespread among Brazilian Catholics. According to a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life, more than 60% of the urban population of Brazil claims a Catholic affiliation. Yet there is an overlay of Afro-Brazilian religions (like Candomblé, Quimbanda and Umbanda) with Catholic beliefs and practices, which many Catholic Brazilians do not find inconsistent with their faith.

Astrologers, spiritualistic mediums and psychics are immensely popular in Brazil. Paulo Coelho, a Brazilian esoteric author who is seen as a "mystic Catholic," has several books published around the world, including in the United States. Even Bill Clinton, when he was the U.S. president, had his books as favorite reading.

Brazilian spiritualistic medium "João de Deus" (John of God), who considers himself a Catholic, became so famous for conducting "psychic surgeries" that Oprah Winfrey visited him. Today, he is in jail for hundreds of rapes.

Each one of them says that he "believes" in Jesus. It is very common in Brazil for any Catholic, including spiritualistic mediums, to declare that he believes in Jesus.

In Bolsonaro's case, his Catholicism is not different from the widespread religious syncretism among Brazilian Catholics.

He has found that his spiritual openness to people in their religions makes them open to him politically. So when he was baptized in the River Jordan by a Pentecostal minister, evangelicals massively voted for him. His political strategy was successful.

His openness—each time he accepts or confesses Jesus—is at least an open door for something to happen, including the possibility of a real conversion to Jesus. Yet it is undeniable that just as evangelical leaders have learned to capitalize religiously on his visits to their events and services, he has also learned to capitalize politically on the evangelical yearning of seeing him accept Jesus—again and again and again.

Such mutual capitalization is beneficial when both sides are really open to each other. Yet Bolsonaro's constituents, me included, should pray fervently for him. Even though we guaranteed his victory with millions of votes, he has received advice from an occult man—as it is tradition in Brazil, where Catholic presidents receive advice from mediums, spiritualists, occultists and so forth.

Such occult advice has produced strange scandals in his administration. Recently, he had to fire his top culture official after he quoted Nazi Goebbels while talking about nationalist art in a video as Hitler's favorite composer played in the background.

Jesus can heal Bolsonaro from his syncretism and his dependence on occult advice. Each time he accepts or confesses Jesus in an evangelical service or event, there is an opportunity that he may achieve a real salvation experience, in spite of his political strategies.

God is bigger than political strategies. Let us pray that God's strategies may prevail.

Julio Severo is the author of Prophetic Prayers: Daily Prayer Guide Based on the Book of Proverbs. Find him at his blog here.

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