Religious Leaders, Populism, and the Election Campaign in Brazil

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.

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Interesting article about Brazil’s religious and political moments. Although I was not born in BRazil, but rather in France, my first birthday was celebrated in Brazil. I lived there for 39 years before moving to the US in 1989.

What is happening in Brazil is very sad. Just thinking that one of the biggest robbers in Brazil’s history, the former President “Lula,” may be elected again is baffling. Yes, he robbed billions of dollars during his two terms as President a few years ago. And people are going to elect him again? Unbelievable. He was actually convicted to 12 years,and went to prison for several crimes. But his friends at the Supreme Court pulled him out of prison after a few months, and there he is again most certainly winning the election in the next few days. It will be a tragedy again!!!

God may be Brazilian, but at this time Lula is leading the polls…

Excellent piece. This sort of thing seems to be erupting in many parts of the world. We are wired to imitate.

Very strong words and serious accusations, with no proofs.
Actually, what it is sad, is fake news are been amplified here. For most Brazilians, former (and next) president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio “Lula” Da Silva, is the best leader that country ever had. No my words, but the international community consensus about this honorable man.
I hope the SDA leaders and pastor are not politically involved, it would be saddest if the are aligned with “Christians” denominations endorsing Jair Bolsonaro.

For one to say what you said, yopu must be a simpatizer of the PT (The Labor Party - infiltrated by Communists!). No proof? Are you kidding???

The problem in Brazil now is that Bolsonaro is a Fascists, trying to imitate Trump. Between a Fascist and a Thief, I must side with the Thief, and be glad that he won. Not surprised that until this moment Bolsonaro didn’t yet concede; but this is what Fascists do anyway.

Saying that Lula is “the best leader that country ever had” is really ludicrous and completely misleading. But since it’s your opinion, well, I just agree to disagree. No President ever stole as much as Lula did!!! Let’s just brace for the next assault… And, since he can do it without jeopardizing Democracy, he can be better tolerated than a Fascist like BOZOnaro…

Wishing the best to the new President, and good luck to my Brazilian compatriots.

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