Around 200 MPs in Brazil’s national parliaments belong to evangelical denominations. What are your goals?
- The Bolsonaro government governs with the support of evangelical parishes
- Her influence in Brazilian media and politics has been growing for years
- They advocate a conservative social policy and many of them deny the climate crisis
Rio de Janeiro / Brazil – Homosexuality and abortion are sinful, but corruption among priests is okay – if Pastor Silas Malafaia is in his church preach, then it quickly becomes political. His church, Assembleia de Deus (Assembly of God), is one of the largest evangelicals Free Churches Brazil. He himself is one of Brazil’s most famous television preachers, a multi-millionaire and openly supports the Jair government Bolsonaro.
What are Evangelical Churches?
Evangelical denominations go back to the revival movements. Some of the evangelical congregations belong to the charismatic Pentecostal churches, some congregations are very faithful to the Bible. Most of them are free churches.
“The influence of evangelical churches is increasing in Brazil strong since the 80s. They now have more and more decision-making power in parliaments, ”explains Andra Dip. “The Catholic Church, on the other hand, is increasingly losing power”. Dip is a journalist and has a book on the power of evangelical churches written in Brazil. Around 200 of a total of 513 MPs in the Brazilian House of Representatives and Senate belong to evangelical denominations. Most of them sit in parliament for right-wing or far-right parties. Around 30 percent of Brazilians describe themselves as evangelical.
The evangelical churches in Brazil are very different. The best known and most influential are the two mega-churches Assembleia de Deus and Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus (Universal Church of the Kingdom of God). The latter also belongs to Brazil’s second largest media group, Record, with various television channels and newspapers.
Election campaign with God
President Jair Bolsonaro has relied on the support of the fundamental since the election campaign Christians. He started with the slogan “Brazil above all, God above all” (Brasil acima de todo, Deus acima de todos) and after his election he also distributed important ministerial posts to some evangelicals. The Family Minister Damares Alves attracted a lot of attention when she announced, among other things, that a time was dawning when boys wore blue and girls wore pink.
Politically, the evangelical delegates usually stand out for their conservative socio-political agenda. This includes the criminalization of abortions, the demand that marriage be abolished for everyone, and agitation against “gender ideology”. “They also advocate that churches keep their current privileges,” explains Andrea Dip. Churches In Brazil, for example, they do not have to pay taxes despite often high income. Many evangelical MPs are currently participating in anti-vaccination campaigns or denying climate change.
Brazil: Church instead of welfare state – and the “theology of prosperity”
That the evangelical churches Got so much popularity in Brazil for different reasons. In many favelas they take on tasks that the Brazilian welfare state does not do: “They have air-conditioned rooms, there is a football team for children and you are part of a community,” explains Dip. But poor people are not the only ones who feel well represented by evangelicals. They also get a lot of support from the middle and upper classes. According to Dip, the reason for this is, among other things, the so-called “theology of prosperity” according to which believers are also doing particularly well financially.
Dip watches the growing Makes of evangelicals with increasing concern. Bolsonaro had last announced one Evangelicals to be appointed chairman of Brazil’s Supreme Court. “That would be fatal,” says the journalist. An evangelical judge in this position could ensure that many judicial decisions in Brazil will be much more conservative in the future.
by Lisa Kuner
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