Explaining Brazil #65: Faith is a profitable business in Brazil

On June 20, the Christian community will march together in the March for Jesus, one of the biggest religious events in the world. They celebrate Corpus Christi, honoring Jesus Christ’s symbolic presence on earth.

For decades, Brazil held the title of the “world’s largest Catholic country.” Being Brazilian was almost synonymous with being Catholic. That changed as Brazil became an urbanized country, a process that allowed a veritable boom of Evangelical churches. Now, 14,000 new churches open nationwide—every year—according to some estimates.

Forty years ago, Evangelicals accounted for just 4 percent of the Brazilian population. In 2010, however, they represented 22 percent of people—and next year’s census should show them already reaching the low 30s.

This week, we discuss how the rise of Evangelicals is impacting Brazil. We also take a look into the multi-billion dollar Brazilian gospel market—which has become a true gold mine for companies.

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On this episode:

  • Paul Freston is a distinguished senior fellow and director of the Program for Studies of Religion in Latin America, Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR), Baylor University, and a professor in the Post-Graduate Programme in Sociology at the Federal University of São Carlos, Brazil.
  • Amin Guidara is a journalism student at Sciences Po. Paris. Prior to The Brazilian Report, he has worked at La Presse and Radio-Canada.

Background reading:

Explaining Brazil is made by:

  • Gustavo Ribeiro, editor in chief of The Brazilian Report. He has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets, including Veja, Época, Folha de São Paulo, Médiapart and Radio France Internationale.
  • Maria Martha Bruno, producer. She is a journalist with 14 years of experience in politics, arts, and breaking news. She has collaborated with Al Jazeera, NBC, and CNN, among others, and worked as an international correspondent in Buenos Aires.
  • Euan Marshall, editing. is a journalist and translator who has lived in São Paulo, Brazil since 2011. Specializing in Brazilian soccer, politics and the connection between the two, his work has been published in The Telegraph, Al Jazeera, The Independent, among others.

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