Tancredo Neves, Cazuza, and a Crate of Eggs

A good friend in the US once sent me an e-mail he had received. It is highly likely that most of you have received this e-mail as well. It details several people who made flippant or disrespectful comments about God, and died horrible, untimely deaths. My friend was especially interested in the fact that three of the examples came from Brazil, and asked for my opinion.

Before I opine, let me reproduce the content of the e-mail as it referred to the “Brazilian blasphemers”.

The first has to do with former president Tancredo Neves:

During the Presidential campaign, he said if he got 500,000 votes from his party, not even God would remove him from Presidency. Sure he got the votes, but he got sick a day before being made President, then he died.

The next example is that of Cazuza, a musically gifted, sexually confused Brazilian entertainer:

During a show in Canecio ( Rio de Janeiro ), while smoking his cigarette, he puffed out some smoke into the air and said:”God, that’s for you.” He died at the age of 32 of LUNG CANCER in a horrible manner.

Then there is one of the most popular evangelical urban legends in Brazil today:

In Campinas , Brazila group of friends, drunk, went to pick up a friend. The mother accompanied her to the car and was so worried about the drunkenness of her friends and she said to the daughter holding her hand, who was already seated in the car: “My daughter, go with God and may He protect you.” She responded: “Only if He (God) travels in the trunk, because inside here…..it’s already full” Hours later, news came by that they had been involved in a fatal accident, everyone had died, the car could not be recognized what type of car it had been, but surprisingly, the trunk was intact. The police said there was no way the trunk could have remained intact. To their surprise, inside the trunk was a crate of eggs, none was broken.

Now, here’s the deal:

First off, I think there are so many references to Brazil because this e-mail (or at least part of it) actually originated here. I have seen it a few times in Portuguese. There are a few things wrong with this picture.

For starters, I can find absolutely no reference outside of this e-mail to the Tancredo Neves comment. It seems odd that he would make it, however, due to the fact that he was by all accounts and extremely devout (Catholic) individual.

Tancredo Neves

As to the story of the eggs in the trunk, I have heard it told by someone from another city claiming that it happened there to someone they knew of. Also…according to this account, the make of the car was unrecognizable…but the trunk was intact? Hmmmm…

And Cazuza…he died of AIDS…not lung cancer. He was the Rock Hudson of Brazil in the sense that he was the first major celebrity to have publicly acknowledged having the disease. Fun fact: when I was a short-termer here in Brazil back in the ’90s people said I looked like him because I was so painfully thin.


Besides the factual license taken, however, the problem with this e-mail and others like it is theological. The main point seems to be “See what God did to these bad people who thought they were so big? They sure got what they deserved!” Ok…but then how do you explain the the hundreds upon hundreds of “bad people” who DON’T get “what they deserve”? Take George Burns, for example. He starred in the blasphemous “Oh God You Devil” movies, and lived to be 100. When Jeremiah complains about the prosperity of the wicked, it was because the wicked were indeed prospering.

Or take you and I. We certainly have not gotten what we deserve. Praise God for that! When we are tempted to look at someone’s particularly gruesome demise as punishment for some sin, we need to ask ourselves “why then am I still alive? For I am surely as great a sinner as these!” The only answer to that can be the unfathomable Grace of God.

I guess what I am trying to say is that we need to be wary of assigning motives to God’s actions. Make no mistake, violating the third commandment, or mocking that which is sacred, is not a matter to be taken lightly. In the Bible, God dealt severely with people who did so. So let’s stick to those examples. There is no need to make up new ones. In the Biblical narratives, we have the advantage of knowing exactly why God acted, because He gives us the reason. While God most certainly had a purpose in the untimely demise of Tancred Neves, we do not have the convenience of knowing what it was.

Author’s note: I wrote the article several years ago. Since then, it has been one of the most visited at this site. In going through it, I felt that the last few paragraphs were not very clear, so I have heavily edited them from the original. I hope that helps.

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  1. Good one, Andrew! And to your friend in the US, he is not only astute to ask your opinion on such complex issues, he is likely also good looking and intelligent…
    The point is that God is God, whether good things or bad things happen to us; He is sovereign and He could be the director of those actions, but would only do things that are according to His will. We, on the other hand, even whether we see actions as good or bad is just subjective on our part. God’s view of man’s activities is direct, not skewed; it is real, not fantasy; and it and true to every detail, and not unfocused and partial, like our viewpoint.

  2. …not to mention the very debonair goatee!
    And you are very right. So often we come at things as if we know all the facts, when in reality God is the only One in a position to “keep score”.

  3. Enjoyed getting your take on these things, Andrew! I am glad that you are no longer painfully thin. Thank Itacyara for all of us!

  4. Thanks Vicki! I remember Renato from Remanso calling me a “disposable American”. I must confess, I much preferred that to Cazuza.

  5. I agree with the above assessment but this is true…
    Date: Wednesday, March 25, 2009, 11:01 AM
    Mar. 24 /Christian Newswire/ — Some of you may have seen the major news story of the private plane that crashed into a Montana cemetery, killing 7 children and 7 adults.
    But what the news sources fail to mention is that the Catholic Holy Cross Cemetery owned by Resurrection Cemetery Association in Butte – contains a memorial for local residents to pray the rosary, at the ‘Tomb of the Unborn’. This memorial, located a short distance west of the church, was erected as a dedication to all babies who have died because of abortion.
    What else is the mainstream news not telling you? The family who died in the crash near the location of the abortion victim’s memorial, is the family of Irving ‘Bud’ Feldkamp, owner of the largest for-profit abortion chain in the nation.
    Family Planning Associates was purchased four years ago by Irving Moore “Bud” Feldkamp III, owner of Allcare and Hospitality Dental Associates and CEO of Glen Helen Raceway Park in San Bernardino. The 17 California Family Planning clinics perform more abortions in the state than any other abortion provider – Planned Parenthood included – and they perform abortions through the first five months of pregnancy.
    Although Feldkamp is not an abortionist, he reaps profits of blood money from the tens of thousands of babies that are killed through abortions performed every year at the clinics he owns. His business in the abortion industry was what enabled him to afford the private plane that was carrying his family to their week-long vacation at The Yellowstone Club, a millionaires-only ski resort.
    The plane went down on Sunday, killing two of Feldkamp’s daughters, two sons-in-law and five grandchildren along with the pilot and four family friends. The plane, a single-engine turboprop flown by Bud Summerfield of Highland, crashed into the Catholic cemetery and burst into flames, only 500 ft. from its landing destination. All aboard were killed.
    The cause of the crash is a mystery. The pilot, who was a former military flier who logged over 2,000 miles, gave no indication to air traffic controllers that the aircraft was experiencing difficulty when he asked to divert to an airport in Butte. Witnesses report that the plane suddenly nosedived toward the ground with no apparent signs of a struggle. There was neither a cockpit voice recorder nor a flight data recorder onboard, and no radar clues into the planes final moments because the Butte airport is not equipped with a radar facility. Some speculate that the crash was due to ice on the wings, but this particular plane model has been tested for icy weather and experts have stated that ice being the cause is unlikely.
    In my time working for Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, I helped organize and conduct a weekly campaign where youth activists stood outside of Feldkamp’s mini-mansion in Redlands holding fetal development signs and raising community awareness regarding Feldkamp’s dealings in child murder for profit. Every Thursday afternoon we called upon Bud and his wife Pam to repent, seek God’s blessing and separate themselves from the practice of child killing.
    We warned him, for his children’s sake, to wash his hands of the innocent blood he assisted in spilling because, as Scripture warns, if “you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you”. (Ezekiel 35:6)
    A news source states that Bud Feldkamp visited the site of the crash with his wife and their two surviving children on Monday. As they stood near the twisted and charred debris talking with investigators, light snow fell on the tarps that covered the remains of their children.
    I don’t want to turn this tragic event into some creepy spiritual ‘I told you so’ moment, but I think of the time spent outside of Feldkamp’s – Pam Feldkamp laughing at the fetal development signs, Bud Feldkamp trying not to make eye contact as he got into his car with a small child in tow – and I think of the haunting words, ‘Think of your children.’ I wonder if those words were haunting Feldkamp as well as he stood in the snow among the remains of loved ones, just feet from the ‘Tomb of the Unborn’?
    I only hope and pray that in the face of this tragedy, Feldkamp recognizes his need for repentance and reformation. I pray that God will use this unfortunate catastrophe to soften the hearts of Bud and Pam and that they will draw close to the Lord and wash their hands of the blood of thousands of innocent children, each as precious and irreplaceable as their own.
    “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then.” (Deut. 30:19)Gingi Edmonds is a freelance pro-life activist, writer and photographer based out of Hanford, California. Gingi writes a bi-monthly ProLife Opinion Column and is available for pro-life presentations and speaking engagements. Visit http://www.gingiedmonds.com for more information

  6. Patricia,
    Thanks for commenting. I have no doubt as to the veracity of the above report. I do, however, cringe at the conclusion that it asks us to draw, namely that God somehow orchestrated this crash to send some sort of message. A few questions:
    1. It seems that God killed everybody but the guy really responsible, namely, the father.
    2. If we accept the conclusion that God set this tragedy up to send some sort of a message, the place it happened (a memorial for local residents to pray the rosary, at the ‘Tomb of the Unborn’) is rather incongruous. God hates abortion but condones idolatry?
    3. As I asked in the examples of this post, what about all the abortion doctors who DON’T get killed (or have their families killed) in fatal plane accidents?
    4. What about the two American pilots who died on the same day in Japan when their plane was lifted up by a sudden, inexplicable updraft and sent careening in flames down the runway? What message was God trying to send there?
    5. As I alluded to in the post, this kind of story sets us as believers up for a very dangerous way of thinking. “They got what they deserved.” In actuality, the only reason you and I are alive is because we did NOT get what we deserved.
    I am not saying that God had no purpose in these events. In fact, I am thoroughly convinced that He did. I just feel very strongly that we need to be careful not to jump to conclusions as to what that purpose is.

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