Brazil, the South American country, is one in which religion plays a very important role in the lives of the people. The total population of this country is approximately 190 million. In 1891, the Brazilian constitution was put forth which stopped the concept of one official religion. Like many other countries, a new constitution was adopted in the year 1988 which allowed the public to have freedom to practice any religion. The five major religions followed in Brazil are Catholicism, Protestantism, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Eastern Orthodox Christianity.
Since the sixteenth century, Catholicism has been Brazil’s main religion. In fact, majority of the Catholics of the world are residents of Brazil. The people here did not have freedom of choosing their religion during the colonial rule. Everyone settling in or locals were forcibly converted to Catholicism. The church also collected taxes from the people. The rule of the Roman Catholic Church lasted till 1824. Despite introducing freedom of religion by constitutional law in 1824, Catholicism was regarded as the official religion. This is the religion still followed by almost 70 percent of the population.
Although freedom to choose any religion or enforcing Catholicism is not correct as per constitution, the government stays clear of any conflicts offending the church. The church plays a vital role in most political and social cause in the country. The progressively thinking clergy were the main-force behind the defense of resistance and human rights during military regime in Brazil.
Non-Catholics are regarded as Protestants in Brazil since most people follow Christianity. Some other forms of Christianity in practice are Baptist Methodist, Neo-Pentecostalist, Old Pentecostalist, and Presbyterian Anglican Episcopal Church.
Some other protestant groups are Kardecist and Lutherans. Most Protestants reside in Central- West, North and Southeastern Brazil.
The 3rd largest religion is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They have approximately a million and 100,000 members, three hundred and nine family history centers and 2,000 congregations.
The 4th biggest fourth religion in Brazil is Jehovah’s Witness, with approximately seven hundred members.
The 5th biggest religion followed is Eastern Orthodox, with approximately five hundred thousand members. Americans, Russians, Syrians, Lebanese and Ukrainians who moved in over hundred years ago brought this religion in to Brazil.
This country is home to many other religions as well. Brazil is where the African religion Yoruba combines with its own traditions, thus forming an amalgamation of these two religions. Religions like Shinto, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam and so on have been introduced by immigrants in Brazil.
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