|Marcelo Bezerra Crivella|
|Senator of Brazil
from Rio de Janeiro
March 15, 2003
|Born||October 9, 1957|
|Occupation||Engineer, Christian bishop, singer and politician|
|Religion||Neopentecostal Protestant (UCKG)|
Marcelo Bezerra Crivella (Portuguese pronunciation: [mɐʁˈsɛlu biˈzeʁɐ kɾiˈvɛlɐ], Rio de Janeiro, October 9, 1957) is a Brazilian bishop of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG), an international evangelical church founded by his uncle Edir Macedo in 1977; a gospel singer, and a politician.
In 2002, Crivella was elected as a federal Senator of Brazil from the state of Rio de Janeiro on a Liberal Party ticket. He has since helped found the Brazilian Republican Party (PRB), which has been allied with President Luís Inácio Lula da Silva.
With a Civil Engineering degree from Universidade Santa Ursula, Crivella became known for planning and execution of the Projeto Nordeste, a charitable project to redevelop lands abandoned by the Brazilian federal government in the city of Irecê. The project was developed to use Israeli irrigation practices, which Crivella has observed in his several trips to Israel. It has led to the renewal of agriculture and livestock raising there.
Born in Rio de Janeiro to Catholic parents, Crivella attended the Methodist Church in his youth. His connection with his uncle, Edir Macedo, made them try an unsuccessful commercial partnership, before he was invited in 1977, to work in Macedo's newly founded Universal Church. Soon Crivella became a pastor. He took his family on a mission to Africa in 1992, where he achieved considerable success in planting new UCKG temples, although he spoke no African languages. he became pastor and bishop, having worked ten years diffusing the Universal Church in the African continent.
Crivella is a lively preacher, who attracts very large crowds; in his first major event, he spoke at the Nilson Gymnasium in xx, which holds 25,000 people. In 1999, he was part of an event at the Macaran sports stadium in Río de Janeiro, where the overflow crowd was accommodated by getting to follow the action on huge screens.
By 1999, he had signed a contract with Sony Records for three disks, one to be in Spanish. His religious preaching is also conveyed by radio. Crivella has recorded as a singer, often using his own songs. He has been a major figure in gospel music in Brazil. He has released 14 disks, selling more than 5 million copies. His biggest success was his first album, O Mensageiro da Solidariedade (The Messenger of Solidarity). The albums were recorded by Line Records, where Crivella was considered the principal artist, and by Sony Music.
Crivella is the author of the books Histórias de Sabedoria e Humildade, a collection of moral and religious tales, and Um Sonho que se Tornou Realidade, which is about the Projeto Nordeste.
Encouraged by his uncle, Bishop Macedo, Marcelo Crivella entered to the political life, having acquired great name recognition in the Río de Janeiro area. He was a founder of the Brazilian Republican Party (PRB) and ran successfully for the position of Senator in the 2002 elections. Crivella was elected at the same time as Sergio Cabral Filho, who had a mandate for the period 2003-2011.
In 2006 Crivella ran for governor of Rio de Janeiro state. He ran for mayor of the capital in 2004 and 2008, but was unsuccessful in the three races. In 2004 he came in second in the disputed Río de Janeiro municipal election, but he did not succeed to go to the second round against César Maia. He complained about negative coverage by the O Globo newspaper, which published several matters accusing him of fraud. It is owned by the second-largest media conglomerate in the country.
In 2006, he was gubernatorial candidate for the state of Rio de Janeiro, and was supported by the President Luís Inácio Lula da Silva. Polls leading up to the election said he was in second place. But, in the last week, he was superseded by Denise Frossard, the candidate of the PPS, and Crivella declined to participate in the runoff election.
In 2008, he ran for mayor of the state capital, but came in 3rd place in the first round. That ended his chances.
In the Brazilian Senate, Crivella has established himself as a representative of the Brazilian diaspora, as many citizens are working abroad. He was president of the Subcomissão Permanente de Proteção dos Cidadãos Brasileiros no Exterior (Permanent Subcommittee on Protection of Brazilian Citizens Abroad), subject to the Comissão de Relações Exteriores e Defesa Nacional (Committee on Foreign Relations and National Defense), of which Crivella was vice president. As an example, he has led efforts to gain better treatment of Brazilians picked up in the United States as illegal immigrants. As policy, they are detained while their cases are being reviewed, but that can be a lengthy process.
Crivella identifies as a conservative politician but he has been a great ally of President Lula. His party is part of the base of support to government. Crivella supports the legalization of abortion. Crivella favors public policies for family planning through sex education and sterilization, and the Law on Biosafety, which regulates research with stem cells.
He opposes civil unions for homosexuals and the criminalization of homophobia. After protests by activists, he explained that he feared unintended consequences of a proposed law against homophobia, but certainly wants protections and equal rights for homosexuals.
Veja magazine had a cover story about the influence of Charles Darwin, who developed the theory of evolution. In an interview, Crivella said that he is a creationist and rejects this theory. The Senator said "there is no conclusive proofs that [...] one species could generate another species".
He has been criticized for his intimate connection with Bishop Edir Macedo and the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG), which has been charged at various times with fraud, money laundering, charlatanism and other offenses. The church has been accused of electioneering for Crivella, which is an electoral crime in Brazil. Crivella has worked to show his independence of the church, in order to reach voters who are not members of the UCKG.
- Maseko, A.N. Church Schism & Corruption. South Africa: 2008. 370.
- Stålsett, S.J. Spirits of Globalization: The Growth of insanity and Experiential Spiritualities in a Global Age. University of Michigan SCM Press, 2006. p. 51.