Members of Brazil’s growing evangelical movement are increasingly threatening to followers of Candomble after 11 Year old Rio girl attack.
Kaylane Campos, 11, was walking down Rio de Janeiro with her grandmother. They had just left the center where a celebration of Candomble, an Afro-Brazilian religion, had just ended. As they walked, two men began to yell things like ‘Satan’ and tell the young girl that she would ‘burn in hell’ before they began throwing stones and rocks at the two. Kaylane was struck in the head by one rock, which knocked her unconscious and caused her to be rushed to the hospital. Unfortunately, this type of religious hostility is fairly common to those following Afro-Brazilian religions, particularly by Pentecostal Christians, who feel that these religions are “witchcraft”, according to Ivanir dos Santos. It’s worth noting that the two men have yet to be identified, nor is it known if they are affiliated with any particular group or religion.
Santos is a spokesperson for the Opposition Commission on Religious Intolerance group. He said that the case isn’t “isolated” and urges for a “concrete answer” about how religious groups plan to respond to this increase in religious attacks in Brazil. Santos says the evangelical community needs to recognize their position in society and react appropriately to the growing violence. Thus far, the Catholic Church, Assemblies of God (Pentecostal Evangelical Church) and various synagogues have lent their support to Candomble and Commitment believers.
Sergio Mendes, of the Evangelical Charitable Association (ECA), has made statements about the violence condemning the behavior. He urges everyone to understand that “evangelical(s) preach love” and Christ teaches “love your neighbor.” He adds that “injuring a child is not following the rules that Christ taught.” Overall, he says that, while he can’t speak for everyone, he knows that “most want and preach love.”