"Brazilian indigenous chief" by Afren / CC BY-SA 3.0

How Do Evangelical Missionaries in Brazil Justify Risking Indigenous Lives During a Pandemic?

Apr 6, 2020

By Chrissy Stroop

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and U.S. President Donald Trump have a lot in common. Neither man has much respect for the rule of law. Bolsonaro enjoys buffoonishly attacking the press as much as Trump. Both have spread misinformation about the seriousness of COVID-19, thereby worsening the coronavirus crisis in both Brazil and the United States. (Although they’re evidently too cowardly to treat Trump the same way, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have been known to remove especially egregious posts by Bolsonaro.) Finally, Bolsonaro, like Trump, is backed primarily by right-wing Christians, many of them charismatics of the sort represented by Trump’s spiritual adviser Paula White.

Just like Trump, Bolsonaro has appointed many such fundamentalists to important positions in his government. These appointments include placing evangelical former missionary Ricardo Lopes Dias at the head of the National Indigenous Foundation (FUNAI), Brazil’s governmental agency charged with overseeing the interests of Indigenous populations. In an attempt to quell controversy over his appointment, Dias has said, “I don’t see this as a mission or an opportunity to find new converts.” And yet American missionaries smell an opportunity.

Representatives of the missionary organization Ethnos360, until recently known as New Tribes Mission, “arrived in the Deni Indigenous Territory in Acre state in late February” and acquired a helicopter for the purpose of making contact with uncontacted tribes, according to reporting by Sue Branford for Yes! Magazine. Headed by Larry M. Brown and a member of the Forum of Bible Agencies International (along with better known organizations like the Jesus Film Project and Wycliffe Global Alliance), Ethnos360 focuses on converting “unreached groups.” It also happens to be precisely the organization with which Dias was an active missionary from 1997-2007.

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3 comments on “How Do Evangelical Missionaries in Brazil Justify Risking Indigenous Lives During a Pandemic?

  • I mentioned lately that ruthless profiteers are of all times. Religious zealots also fall into that category but they are far more nasty I think, because they will happily exterminate anything in their path citing the Will of God.

    Quotes from the article:

    “…. if God wants you to preach to uncontacted peoples, God will make a way. You don’t need to worry about diseases; if the people you’re trying to convert die, that will turn out to have been God’s will.”

    “Of course, God might want you to become a “martyr”—for the greater good, somehow—and that would be okay too, and maybe more than okay.”

    “For people who convince themselves they’re working to fulfill a divine mandate, the ends can easily come to justify the means. And there’s little that can temper their zeal.”

    White Christian man, the self-designated crown and master of creation, makes me think of the original Terminator: “That evangelist is out there. He can’t be bargained with. Can’t be reasoned with. He doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And he absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are converted, or dead.”

    The author of the article detached herself from this cult, quite an admirable feat that gives me hope for the future.


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  • Planetary Paul says:

    “That evangelist is out there. He can’t be bargained with. Can’t be reasoned with. He doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And he absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are converted, or dead.”

    The Sentinelese tribe on the North Sentinel Island had a solution to the problem of persistent self-deluded missionaries who recklessly endanger them!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-46286215

    An American man has been killed by an endangered tribe in India’s Andaman and Nicobar islands.

    Contact with the endangered Andaman tribes living in isolation from the world is illegal because of the risks to them from outside disease.

    “Police said Chau had previously visited North Sentinel island about four or five times with the help of local fishermen,” journalist Subir Bhaumik, who has been covering the islands for years, told BBC Hindi.

    Apparently he persistently ignored the law prohibiting contact and the tribe shot him with arrows when he would not take a telling to stay away. The fishermen have been arrested for their part in the illegal landings.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-46286215

    Indian officials are facing a difficult task to retrieve the body of an American missionary reportedly killed by an endangered tribe in the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

     

     

     

     

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