We’re All Protestants, Says Brazil’s Lula to an Evangelical Gathering

More and more convinced that no one will take away his presidency and that he will be reelected in the first round come October 1st, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva have been claiming for himself several accomplishments many people doubt it’s his doing.

Just today, talking to a gathering of the National Convention of Assemblies of God, in Rio, the president stated: "It was God’s will that I was elected president and brought forth a law definitively establishing  religious freedom."

And he added a little later: "We are all "crentes" (in Brazil, crentes means believers but also protestants), we are all Brazilians."

Lula told the meeting that he had learned from his mother to have faith and in a not very subtile criticism of his predecessor, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a sociologist and college professor, he lambasted those politicians who are ashamed of being backed or being seen with evangelicals:

"They studied so much that they think it shows ignorance to accept this support. They don’t stop to think about the social work. A president, whose name I won’t mention, would only meet evangelicals at night, afraid that the press would see them together."

The president called the close to 1,200 pastors present companions.  He mentioned law 10.825 from 2005, that he signed and that gave churches the right to being recognized as private entities. 

Lula who seemed touched while delivering his speech said that he was thankful to God for giving him the chance to address that assembly: "If we have a second mandate, with the experience and learning that we had, we will be able to do infinitely more, bothering those who you know we are bothering".

God and people were words he used frequently:  "We are learning that God writes straight with crooked lines, attentive to everything, and that things happen when they have to happen. I always say, if there is any human being who has to look every day heavenward and thank His generosity, this someone is me. God has been quite generous."

Lula also criticized those who doubt the people and want to create a new people instead of working the Brazilian people that exist today. He compared them to Adolf Hitler: "It is these people who make the country’s wealth and they are those we want to help more and more."

The president refused to comment on statements made the previous day by opposition candidate senator Heloí­sa Helena, who had harsh words against him, calling him among other things a gangster. 

When reporters asked him to talk about an open letter by Cardoso criticizing his democracy he questioned the journalists: "Why don’t you ask about what’s happening here?" in a reference to all the applauses he had won from the pastors assembly.

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