Rio de Janeiro has a reputation for explosive nightlife and a hedonistic attitude toward life. But the real trend in Rio is a sharp decrease int he Catholic population and a major growth spurt in the number of evangelical Christians.
Catholics now make up just 65% of the population and evangelicals and Pentecostals are now almost a fourth of the population. Fundamental Christians are spreading by internet, an increasing number of mega-churches and growing numbers of clergy. The Week recently reported that there are 50,000 ordained Assemblies of God pastors versus half that number of Catholic priests.
The recent “March for Jesus” brought out 1 million evangelicals, many wearing a silver Jesus piece, in a nationwide show of strength. While Rio is known for its nightlife, the country is making waves on Sunday mornings when the churches are full in a tilt toward the religious right.