On Wednesday, Brazil’s Senate voted to impeach their first female president, Dilma Rousseff. Rousseff was charged with manipulating the federal budget in order to hide the mounting financial woes of the South American country. The now-former president maintains that she did nothing illegal when she moved $11 billion between public banks, but her opponents argue that she damaged Brazil’s economic credibility and that the finagling gave her an advantage in her 2014 reelection.
Rousseff is the second president to face impeachment charges since the reestablishment of Brazilian democracy in the 1980s. . Michel Temer, former vice president and acting president since May, will be installed as Brazil’s new president. However, Temer himself was also recently found guilty of violating campaign finance limits.
In her testimony before the Senate on Monday, Rousseff described herself as a victim of a conspiracy to oust her. She reminded the senators of the imprisonment and torture she endured as an activist under the previous military dictatorship and warned the Senate that impeaching her would further damage Brazil’s international standing.
Rousseff’s impeachment seals her legacy and is the pinnacle of growing dissatisfaction with the status quo in Brazil. Brazil has had a tumultuous year, from the present political scandal, to the spread of the Zika virus, to controversies surrounding the Rio Olympics. And the senators who voted to impeach Rousseff are mired in scandal and corruption themselves. Across the country, the people’s approval of their leaders has plummeted.
The people who truly suffer from such corruption and instability are the most vulnerable of Brazil, the poor. But God is not caught unaware, nor is he ignoring their vulnerability. On the contrary, God has a long history of speaking against those who ignore those in need and use their power to benefit themselves.
The leaders in every country are charged with caring for the people, but when they do not, God takes up their cause. He will not be silent and he will defend those who are injured by the powerful.
The prophet Amos showed Israel’s corrupt leaders how their corruption would boomerang and ruin them. And he reminds them that justice will benefit them more than corruption ever could. Amos’s words apply not only to Rousseff or to Brazil’s politicians, but to leaders in every country, organization, and family. Leaders must protect and empower the weak in their care.
People hate this kind of talk.
Raw truth is never popular.
But here it is, bluntly spoken:
Because you run roughshod over the poor
and take the bread right out of their mouths,
You’re never going to move into
the luxury homes you have built.
You’re never going to drink wine
from the expensive vineyards you’ve planted.
I know precisely the extent of your violations,
the enormity of your sins. Appalling!
You bully right-living people,
taking bribes right and left and kicking the poor when they’re down.
Justice is a lost cause. Evil is epidemic.
Decent people throw up their hands.
Protest and rebuke are useless,
a waste of breath.
Seek good and not evil—
You talk about God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
being your best friend.
Well, live like it,
and maybe it will happen.
Hate evil and love good,
then work it out in the public square.
Maybe God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
will notice your remnant and be gracious.