That is why Brazil is a hostage country of religions

“That Brazil’s chains. A country hostage to religions “by Claudiléia Lemes Dias published in bookstores on May 20, 2022 for L’Asino d’oro editionsseries “In essays”, is a text necessary to understand, in light of the presidential vote next fall, what is at stake after Bolsonaro is Latin America’s geopolitical role.

Claudiléia Lemes Dias tells of a politically ‘divided’ Brazil between religious groups, which through proselytizing violence has wiped out the culture of the indigenous peoples and subjected the president of every republic to constant blackmail. A reality that generates perverse consequences for millions of poor Brazilians, the favorite target of preachers of “prosperity theology”, who promise unlimited wealth, health and happiness through powerful means of communication provided by politics.

Their reckless marketing in 2018 led to the election, along with Jair Bolsonaro, self-proclaimed apostles, bishops and priests in such numbers that they control a third of parliament and condition the election of the state’s highest office. Nourished by the lifeblood of the social movements, women-founded parties face the political-religious caste and oppose the process of neutralizing Brazil’s history, its culture and its struggles, which the author questions the responsibilities of religions, complicit in projects. and actions that are incompatible with the human, civil and political rights of a people free from self-determination.

We interviewed author Claudiléia Lemes Dias, she is a law graduate of the Catholic University of Paraná and holds a master’s degree in family mediation and international protection of human rights from the “Sapienza” University of Rome. Author of novels, short stories, essays, legal and journalistic articles, in 2008 she won the national literary competition “Mother Tongue” and in 2015 she founded the blog “L’arte di salvarsi”. He collaborates with the weekly magazine Venstre.

Has the power of the ‘churches’ in Brazil increased recently, or has it always been so strong? Historically, the Brazilian state has always been resistant to respect for the cultures, customs and beliefs of both indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants, who since they became legally “free” in 1888, tried to pass on their culture, which was stifled during the period with slavery. Although the secular nature of the state has been constitutionally guaranteed since 1891, a principle repeated in all subsequent amendments to the constitution, the Christian character, a legacy from when the Catholic Church and the state were closely united, has always shaped politics to this day. the purpose of legitimizing political parties in the eyes of the electorate, especially the conservatives. In fact, a fully secular state could not allow the founding of religious temples or religious missions in countries granted in the right of use to the natives or could not keep under sequestration until 2019, at the Rio de Janeiro Police Museum, objects considered sacred to Africans, stamped with the infamous term “evidence of crime”. Furthermore, it could never provide large public funds to numerous religious groups, and delegate to them exclusively the healing of drug addicts, confined in structures defined as “resembling asylum seekers” by the Federal Council of Psychology. In this case, it is clear that the state is winning on it because it knows it can count on religious entities boasting thousands of volunteers. Will the payment of salaries to specialized public employees burden the public finances too much? Maybe. Therefore, it is advisable to disburse funds for rain and without criteria to these entities and to leave already fragile citizens to all forms of indoctrination.

What are the triggers? More than increased, I would say that there has been a kind of handover: if politicians once declared themselves Catholics and implemented policies in favor of the Catholic Church, today they declare themselves Pentecostals and use their influence to carry out power plans . many religious groups. Pentecostals are defending what is now commonly referred to as “the theology of dominion,” that is, according to the Bible, political power should be exercised by true Christians (that is, by themselves), to shape the laws of the state according to God’s will and as a final step. to adopt the Bible as the legal code of the state. In his speeches and interviews, Bolsonaro uses biblical verses as a code of political reference. It is inevitable to point out that a third of the Folketing consists of Pentecostal priests, as well as many of the ministers in his government and the top leaders within the ministries, which consist of either priests or soldiers.

Is Bolsonaro likely to win back? According to leading Brazilian research institutes and political polls, this event is unlikely. In the 2018 presidential election, Bolsonaro obtained 55% of the vote, so not a referendum, but a head-to-head with the opponent. The level of absence and canceled votes was very high. The policies pursued during these four years, the catastrophic handling of the pandemic, caused Bolsonaro to lose a large share of the electorate, but despite the collapse of the polls, part of his electorate, consisting of nostalgic military dictatorships and religious fanatics, could press the current president for not accepting the result of the polls.

Are these religious congregations affiliated with the far right? Some of them are clearly on Bolsonaro’s side, so the answer is yes. About a year ago, Bolsonaro granted tax amnesty to the country’s most important religious groups, an amnesty proposed, voted on and approved by parliamentarians / religious in parliament. Bolsonaro also has an electoral group of conservative Catholics. From the broadcasters of the Catholic Church’s media empire, on June 6, 2020, live on television, full support was promised to Bolsonaro and that “positive publicity” would be given to his government on their radio and television rooms. The bargaining chip in this case was to get more government funding for their private broadcasters as they spread “the good news and family values.” This does not mean that all the religious formations that I mention in the book migrate and change political position based on the favors, privileges, and positions that their religious leaders or their overseers are able to obtain from the incumbent presidents.

Do they have cross-cutting and interclass support, or are they only present in specific sectors of society? As for the Pentecostals of “Theology of Prosperity”, after decades of relentless proselytism via radio and television, favored by the rain of concessions obtained by governments of all sides and political colors, they succeeded in consolidating their power in Parliament thanks to the cross-cutting support of heterogeneous social classes. The core of the Pentecostals is a poor and black class, convinced by preachers to believe in the promise of being able to “get rich” as long as they invest the few possessions in emptied rituals, designed by preachers, to “honor Jesus” thus guaranteeing the divine intervention. Then there are small entrepreneurs who become exclusively providers of religious education services, as well as lawyers, accountants, doctors and other professionals who enjoy the network of contacts that are formed once they have been converted. At this point, they are led to the altar or on TV to see how much they have become “winning” and “rich” thanks to the faith. TV and radio marketing is sharp and often uses familiar faces from entertainment and sports to get people to turn to faith only to solve their problems.

Is feminism in Brazil well established? Fortunately, the feminist movement in Brazil is in good health despite the obstacles just mentioned and the incumbent government’s systematic attacks on historical feminist struggles, such as equal pay for men and women, women’s access to the world of work, more public health investment in women’s protection health and the right to safe abortion. In the latest research published by the prestigious Datafolha Institute in late May, 60% of the poor women interviewed rated the Bolsonaro government “poorly” despite the smear campaigns against the feminist movement, conducted by both evangelical pastors and Catholic bishops and pastors . Following the “white coup” inflicted on former President Dilma Rousseff, the Black Feminist Movement and the Indigenous Feminist Movement have proved particularly united and tough in creating strategies to combat gender-based violence based on the concept of intersectionality: black women and indigenous peoples. . suffers numerous oppressions, often overlooked in the historical struggles of the Brazilian feminist movement. There are several feminist initiatives to increase women’s representativeness in parliament, fixed at 13% in the Senate and 15% in the Chamber of Deputies. There are many initiatives to support female candidates, started by the feminist movement, such as the “Quero Você Eleita”, to provide free legal support to female candidates for parliament, the Escola da Política, founded by women to train other women to come into Parliament. political life, work in the NGO “Elas no poder”, with the project “Indique uma mulher”, a crowfunding campaign to fund the election campaign for 100 candidates for the Chamber and the Senate, in addition to the candidates strongly supported by Black feminist movement, natives and LGBT +. As the voters in the country with a female majority, I hope for a change of direction in the next presidential election in October 2022, where the parliament and the senate will also be renewed.

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