From the emergence of the “electronic church” to the “digital pulpit,” the Brazilian political sphere has seen the birth of new political actors, embodied by religious leaders, as well as new activists and religious influencers who fight to conquer and/or dominate the Brazilian political and social fields. This depiction of the current landscape of the electoral campaign in Brazil is rippling through the whole world as the historic confrontation (in two rounds) takes place between a very disputed president, Jaïr Bolsonaro, and a very contrasting ex-president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The two candidates embody a popular and populist hope in tandem without altering the role and ecosystem of religions. This begs to ask a few questions: How did religious movements and leaders come to embody Brazilian (neo)populism in the media? How have these (neo)populisms “on the screen” and on social media in Brazil, and even elsewhere, made religion not a component of populism but the expression of a patrimonial need, understood as an appeal to a source of sacred foundation, structured around old and well-honed religious schemes? The history of the rise to power of religious political leaders in Brazil with the help of the media and the mediatized expressions and representations of these new religious actors, considered as populists, would explain well the current context of electoral confrontation in this country and, more overall, the fact that populism, religions, and media use the same schemes.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/12046