Jair Bolsonaro, the newly elected president of Brazil, is the latest right-wing populist to take over a country in large part due to misinformation spread to ignorant people and his catering to a conservative Christian voting base. (Polls this month said 66% of evangelicals supported him.)
This is a guy who has said at various times, “I would be incapable of loving a homosexual son,” “Women should earn less because they get pregnant,” he’s not afraid his sons would be gay because they received a “good education,” and (to a female politician) “I would not rape you because you are not worthy of it.”
These conservatives have been elected around the world and they’re enacting the agenda of evangelical Christians to the detriment of pretty much everybody else. Sarah Jones explains for the Intelligencer:
The Christian right has always been a global entity, and culture war is a conflict without borders. The nationalism of figures like Bolsonaro concerns itself not just with the physical or economic security of a nation’s ruling class, but builds itself around a claim to moral hygiene too. The conservative Christians who send men like Bolsonaro into office do so with the understanding that they will be able enforce an agenda that strips minority groups of civil rights. From Bolsonaro’s disgust for gay men to [Hungary’s] Orbán’s supremacist definition of Christian democracy, the goal of this Christian-inflected nationalism is to shape a nation’s government into its own anti-democratic image.
It’s just further evidence that if you give evangelicals a bone — saying you’ll overturn abortion rights or punish LGBTQ people, for example — many will go to the ends of the Earth for you. They don’t care who suffers as long as the answer doesn’t involve fetuses. They don’t care if you do what Jesus would because that’s not their primary agenda. They don’t care how much power you give the military or how much you hurt the poor because they think you’re God’s chosen leader. If they think God wants them to vote this way, they can easily overlook the pain and suffering felt by the actually oppressed.
In the United States, we’re a week away from finding out if we’ve learned our lesson after two years of this failed experiment. We’ve had a government ruled by a puppet of the Christian Right for two years, and he’s given them everything he legally could. Our nation is worse off because of it. The road to fixing it begins with a Democratic-led House willing to hold the president in check and a Democratic Senate that won’t confirm his hard-core conservative nominees.
In Brazil, though, the horrors are just beginning.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Scott for the link)