Supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during the January 8 attack on Congress, the Presidency and the Supreme Court in Brasilia. TON MOLINA (AFP)
The attempted coup by the extreme right-wing fascists, which ended with the physical destruction of the headquarters of the three state powers and their works of art and history, has already been analyzed in minute detail worldwide.
The testimonies of the more than 1,000 Bolsonaro supporters who ended up in prison and being brought to justice contained a previously unknown detail. During the theaters of war, with the obvious connivance of the military and the blindfold of the police, it is now known that “religious songs” also took place. Even, thank God, the coup plotters embroiled themselves in the barbarity perpetrated in the light of the sun.
This detail of religious songs, mixed with the noise of the destruction of everything the putschists found before their eyes, including valuable works of art, has yet to be analyzed, since it was thanks to the massive presence of believers from the numerous evangelical churches that ended up, to form a veritable Bolsonaro army, subject to the motto “God above all”.
Yes, it will not be possible to study the far-right neo-fascist movement of Jair Bolsonaro, expelled from the army at a very young age for his coup attempts, in the barracks without the support he had to elect himself from the millions of evangelicals, who chose him as a leader and myth called by God to fight a “communism” that certainly does not exist in Brazil.
It is known that today more than 30% of Brazilians are evangelicals, which already last year had 178,000 temples attended by 70 million believers who voted almost en masse for Bolsonaro. They faithfully follow the dictates of their pastors, who are usually even raffled by Catholics when it comes to turnout. And evangelical pastors, some of them like the founders and managers of the largest churches, are powerful and figure among the wealthiest businessmen in the country and even on the lists of the world’s largest millionaires.
President Lula da Silva understood as soon as he threw himself in the ring against Bolsonaro that the religious world, even part of the Catholic world that had voted for him in the past, had drifted to Bolsonaro’s extreme right. And this is because a strength of the neo-fascist program was convincing the millions of evangelicals that if the “communist” Lula won the election, he would end up closing down the evangelical temples and their believers at the same time would pursue abortion liberation and promote gay marriage.
Lula was so convinced this time that it would be difficult for him to be elected without the helping hand of at least some evangelical churches less fanatical about Bolsonarismo that he mobilized those who wanted to connect, even personally, with evangelical groups had to vote to scratch at least a few thousand votes.
It is still not possible to know the number of evangelical voices that persuaded Lula to follow him, or what arguments he used to persuade her to follow him. This time, however, it must have been of some magnitude, as one of his first things, which would have seemed unusual in his previous governments as much as Dilmas, was to take a post in his new government, Pastor Paulo Marcelo Schallenberger of the Assembly of God.
The pastor, who will work in the presidential palace near Lula, will have the task of recruiting supporters for the new government, especially from the small churches, which are very numerous and less attached to the big denominations and less politicized .
Already campaigning amidst the small but numerous evangelical churches, evangelical pastor Paulo Marcello will now be part of the government, which for the first time may mark a gap within a religious field that has always been remote from the progressive electorate. Catholicism, which reached 80% of the faithful, belonged in the past to the poorest, promoted at that time above all by the movements of the then lively theology of liberation, which managed to work among the masses of the disinherited. It was a field gradually taken away by evangelicalism, which managed to connect with the millions of people who were exiled to the great city suburbs, while Catholicism became bourgeois and settled in the affluent centers of the country focused.
According to the newspaper O Globo, there are a whopping 78,500 evangelical churches in Brazil that do not belong to any of the major denominations. And it is into these churches that Lula, now backed by an evangelical minister in his government, wants to go to win her consensus and fill the void left for him by the Catholic Church, which has become more of an upper-middle-class denomination , today closer to Bolsonaro liberalism. Indeed, it is the evangelicals who have inherited the millions of believers lost by the Catholics that Lula wants to win back.
The issue for the new government is sensitive and will mean slow preparatory work that can only bring positive results in the future. Symptomatic were the religious chants that mingled wickedly with the noise of the destruction of Brasilia’s political palaces during the coup attack. In the end they made the political class think and frightened those who still bet on democracy as the best found form of coexistence and progress and defense of all society’s disinherited and barbarism.
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