The religious factor in the presidential election

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By LEONARDO BOFF*

The logic of the market, advertising and styles that directly contradict the biblical message and Jesus

That religion has a powerful political force is confessed by Samuel P. Huntington in his much-discussed book The Clash of Civilizations (1977) which today, with the new cold war, has become current again. He states: “In the modern world, religion is a central force, perhaps the central force that mobilizes people…What ultimately counts is not so much political ideology nor economic interests, but religious convictions of faith, the family , the blood and doctrine; it is for these things that people fight and are willing to give their lives”. He made a heavy criticism of US foreign policy for never having given importance to the religious factor. Because of this, the US had to feel Islamic terrorism firsthand.

Consider the situation in Brazil. I quote here the reflection of a person deeply inserted in the popular milieu with an acute sense of observation. It is worth listening to your opinion as it can help in the campaign to defeat those who are dismantling our country.

He says: “I fear that, appealing more and more to the religious factor, stirring up the ghost of communism = atheism and religious persecution, the denialist and the “enemy of life”, may eventually still threaten to win the election”. “Well, it is inevitable to recognize: the people in mass are religious to the bone (superstitious will say the “intellectuals”, it doesn't matter). He sells his body and soul for religion, understood in an indistinct way as “this thing of God”, especially the Brazilian, syncretist that he is. And this appeal, I'm not saying it's good, but just that it has tremendous strength and I'm very afraid that it could be decisive when deciding the vote”.

“Unfortunately, this issue has little weight in the campaign of Lula and his allies. I would say almost the same thing with respect to the two other values ​​that Jair Bolsonaro and the entire “new right” in the world boast about: God, Fatherland and Family, the Integralism trilogy that the old left does not even want to see painted. And yet, that is where the new right is mobilizing the masses in the world and also in Brazil”.

“And note how easy it is for a candidate of the new right like Bolsonaro to present this triad to the electoral mass: him praying (God), with the Brazilian flag (Pátria) and with Michelle at his side (Family), three scenes of guaranteed emotion and irresistible attraction for the populace. Who can be against prayer, the yellow-green flag and a wife (especially if it's very feminine)?”

“Intellectuals can say whatever they want against this right-wing populism. But it works, it works. And that is what matters to the right, and I think it should also matter to the left, without offending ethics, because it is perfectly possible to defend these three flags, once fundamentalist, as moral values, on condition, however, that they are not exclusive: of the without religion, other countries and LGBT+ respectively”.

“But even if Lula wins, which the polls indicate, the issue of the three flags above will remain. And Bolsonaristas will continue to agitate them, as the new right is agitating them all over the world (see Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Marine Le Pen, Mateo Salvini et caterva). And it is the “God flag”, above all others, that will be more politicized by the new right, and this all the more the less the old left has digested this question and the less attention the Church itself, progressive or liberationist, seems to give the change of Zeitgeist (of the spirit of the time), designated as postmodern”.

The great challenge of the coalition campaign around Lula/Alckmin, which is also part of the historical Christian Churches, mainly the Catholic one, is how to attract these masses, manipulated and deceived by the Pentecostal churches, to the values ​​of the historical Jesus, much more humanitarian and spiritual than those presented by self-proclaimed "pastors and bishops" and true wolves in sheep's clothing. These use the logic of the market, advertising and styles that directly contradict the biblical message and Jesus, as they directly use lies, slander, fake news.

It is worth showing these followers of the Pentecostal Churches, how Jesus of the Gospels was always on the side of the poor, the blind, the lame, the leprosy, the sick women and healed them. He was extremely sensitive to the invisible and the most vulnerable, men or women, in short, those whose lives were threatened. Much more is worth the love, solidarity, truth, and acceptance of all without discrimination, like those of another sexual option, seeing blacks, quilombolas and indigenous people as our suffering brothers and sisters. It is important to sympathize with them and be together with them to make their own path.

This behavior is worth much more than the “prosperity gospel” of material goods that we cannot carry with us for eternity and, deep down, do not fill our hearts and do not make us happy. While the other values ​​of the historical Jesus go with us as an expression of our love for our neighbor and for God and bring us peace in our hearts and a happiness that no one can steal from us.

Logically, it is important to undo the slander, refute the falsifications and, eventually, use the means available to legally incriminate them. It is always worth believing that a little light dispels all darkness and that the truth writes the true page of our history.

Brazil deserves to come out of this devastating storm and see the sun shine in our sky, giving us back hope and the joy of living.

*Leonardo Boff He is a philosopher and theologian. Author among other books by Brazil: complete the refoundation or prolong the dependency (Vozes).

 

 

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