With the most conservative parliament in its history, Brazil is about to elect Jair Bolsonaro as president, a far-right, homophobic candidate who is capable of saying that he would rather have a dead daughter than a homosexual daughter.
Evangelicals in parliament are the most backward, conservative and powerful group in the history of Brazil. Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, competing in the runoff presidential elections, has gotten Latin America’s giant into an alarming situation. What happened to the progressive Brazil? Today it is more sexist and homophobic.
Evangelical groups have been taking advantage of Brazil’s security crisis and the left’s political debacle. In the country of samba, every day one evangelical church is born. These congregations act in places where the State is absent and seek to spread their moral and religious values among their population. They do social work in prisons and make their presence felt in rehabilitation clinics, gaining like so more followers.
Many pastors work in palaces, such as Salome’s Temple of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, a mass of concrete bigger than a soccer stadium. No one has been able to counter these conservatives. Former president Luiz Inácio “Lula” Da Silva didn’t even fight them, not to mention former president Dilma Rousseff—although it is worth noting that since she is a woman conservative attacks against her were more violent.
Today’s Brazil has the worst parliament in its history in terms of sexual and reproductive rights. When the former government put forward an anti-homophobia plan for schools, conservatives fought back. They classified it as pornographic. Politician Anthony Garotinho threatened Dilma Rousseff: if she didn’t withdraw the plan, he would speak about her campaign’s money. The threat worked, and the president withdrew the anti-homophobic plan. Then, the word “gender” was removed at all levels, national, state and municipal.
In Rio de Janeiro, a proposal was put forward to erase the word “gender” of the municipal plan to such an extreme that the word “género” (meaning gender but also genre) had to be taken out from “género alimenticio”, which means food genre so that it would only say “food”. It was that ridiculous.
After Dilma Rousseff stepped down as president, evangelical groups became more radical in all matters relative to education. Intolerance reached cultural spaces. Their message was that Brazil’s social and political crisis has a moral base, and that all evil happens because citizens are sinners and to obtain salvation people had to be better since school and that only the hand of God, rigorously exercised with order, discipline and inclemency, could save them. This message was capitalized by presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, a Brazilian Donald Trump of the sorts. He was popular for his extremist views in favor of torture or for being able to teach a girl to shoot and for saying. Conservatism became radicalized and chose Bolsonaro as its representative.
What happened to the progressive Brazil? 20% of Brazilians support Bolsonaro. Of this total, 60% are young people.