Lula is blessed by evangelical pastors two weeks before the elections

The former president and leader of the PT seeks to conquer the faithful of the Evangelical Church who already represent almost a third of the population of Brazil and, among that electorate, Bolsonaro has 49% of the voting intentions against 32% of Lula

There is a real battle to obtain the votes of the faithful: campaign strategies, biblical messages, crossed accusations and the key role of the wife of the current president

The fight, tense and frenetic, has caused changes in strategy, friction and contradictions in the speeches of both politicians

However, whoever wins the October elections, the country must not forget that it is a secular State, and must not leave room for religious confrontations or interference in the administration of the government

In the presidential elections on October 2 in BrazilEvangelicals are a highly coveted ally between the two main presidential candidates. In the contest between former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva —with 45% of the preferences in the polls— and the current president, Jair Bolsonaro —with 32%—, the vote of the believers of that faith will be essential to define the winner.




The evangelicals already represent almost a third of the population of Brazil and, among that electorate, Bolsonaro has 49% of the voting intentions against 32% for Lula. That distance went from 10 to 17 percentage points in recent months. For this reason, with less than two weeks to go before the first electoral round, Lula urgently needs to get some of those votes in order to win in the first round or to be guaranteed a victory in the second, which could take place on October 30.

The tense and frantic fight to capture the votes of these religious has caused changes in strategy, friction and contradictions in the speeches of both politicians.

In the remainder of the campaigns, Brazilians must be vigilant to prevent the fight for victory from compromising the future of the secular State or closing off the possibility of reconciliation in a country that today appears divided.

The Brazil that reaches the polls in 2022 is different from previous decades. In 20 years, the evangelical population has doubled. The different evangelical currents constitute 27% of the electorate, while Catholics constitute 50%. In Congress, about 30% of legislators are evangelicals.

Bolsonaro won the 2018 elections through the support of evangelicals. Although by 2022, the current president has seen the voting intentions in his favor decrease, he continues to be the candidate who most vocalizes the important values ​​for this sector. “We are against abortion, gender ideology, drug legalization, and we are defenders of the Brazilian family,” Bolsonaro said last July, repeating some of those same right-wing positions in the presidential debate on June 28. August.

for the former president da Silva, the doubt it is how to reach out to the evangelical and conservative voter without disturbing their own left-wing voters, mostly progressives who want to see advances in gender legislation, the legalization of abortion, as well as sexual, religious and civil rights diversity, stuck in Brazil relative to its neighbors in the region.

“For former President da Silva, the question is how to reach out to evangelical and conservative voters without upsetting his own left-wing voters, mostly progressives.”

Also he is supported by environmentalists, indigenous leaders and defenders of the Amazon who oppose the Bolsonarista project to deforest and open the jungle to business. They will not like to see nods from their candidate for leaders of those churches whose presence in the jungle has facilitated, in part, the destruction of ancestral traditions.

At first, Lula bet that he would conquer the evangelical faithful with a strong speech against poverty and unemployment. However, surveys indicate otherwise. Lula first came to power 20 years ago, when the evangelicals were not yet as strong as they are today. If he wins the elections he will have to talk more with them, trying not to hurt his progressive sympathizers.

Meanwhile Bolsonaro, in an attempt to shorten the distance, although he is Catholic, has given prominence in the campaign to his wife, the evangelical michelleto speak directly to this electorate.

“Bolsonaro, although he is Catholic, has given prominence in the campaign to his wife, the evangelical Michelle, to speak directly to this electorate. The first lady has not spared attacks against Lula with a biblical tone”

The first lady has not been spared attacks against Lula with a biblical tone, saying that the elections are “a battle of good against evil” and that, while Lula was president, the government palace was “consecrated to the demons”.

The Bolsonarist campaign He also rescued images and references of Lula’s closeness to leaders of Afro-Brazilian religions, who have suffered from discrimination and prejudice in the country for centuries. For many conservative Brazilians, these religions are historically associated with devil cults. In addition, Bolsonaro links Lula with his former ally Daniel Ortega, the Nicaraguan dictator who has been persecuting the religious in his country. False news began to circulate on Bolsonarist networks saying that Lula would close churches if he is the winner.

To try to counter the fake newsLula replied that this was a lie and said that he defends religious freedom and the secular state. But she also added at a rally: “To be with God, I don’t need priests or pastors, I can be locked in my room,” a phrase that upset Catholic and evangelical religious leaders.

Immediately Lula and his wife, Janja, stopped showing themselves next to symbols of Afro-Brazilian religions and decided not to enter a “war of religions”.

In times of expansion of a religious faith such as that of the evangelicals in Brazil, tolerance and inclusion in society are necessary. However, whoever wins the October elections, the country must not forget that it is a secular stateand must not give rise to religious clashes or interference in government administration.

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