Nothing seems more symptomatic of the systemic failure of Bolonarianism than the frustrations of the universal Church of the Kingdom of God and the threat of a possible rupture between institution and government.
The first president elected by universal suffrage of a religious community, Jair Bolsonaro had promised to put the state at the service of pastors and bishops. The less publicly discussed foreign policy alliance was just as important as the other arrangements. The Universal Church saw Itamaraty as a vehicle to expand its transnationalization and Bolsonaro as the best ambassador of its interests.
An essential component of the universal Church’s power project since the 1980s, international expansion had become even more important since the 2010s. The presence in Africa, and particularly in Angola and Mozambique, was the main differential compared to its competitors in this most fragmented field. and moment of competition of the evangelical community in Brazil.
The bishops, in fact, have made African politics their own. Today the ex-chancellor Ernesto Araújo had devoted his only trip to Africa, at the end of 2019, to the promotion of a “new foreign policy” which had for premise the subjection of the African policy to a biblical vision of the world. However, in the perception of African leaders, the minister added insult to offense. The Bolsonaro government had shut down public funding, abandoned economic diplomacy and gutted all cooperation programs.
Now he was coming to announce a process of evangelization with strong neocolonial tones. This caricatural attitude led to the contempt of the majority of African interlocutors and to an open conflict with the Angolan authorities, who refused to accept the Brazilian government as mediator of their institutional relationship with the Universal Church, established in the country for many years. decades.
The diplomatic crisis, which has lasted for more than a year, clearly shows that the successful integration of the Universal Church in Angola, in addition to tolerance to its authoritarian and centralizing methods, took place in the context of a relationship wider and more generous. with the Brazilian government.
In the words of a privileged observer of events, it was the entrepreneur who made the temple viable, not the other way around. Forgetting this simple calculation cost the bishops and Bolsonaro dear.
The arrival of Chancellor Carlos Alberto França, who resisted the invasion of the Foreign Ministry by non-state agents, has practically buried the project of evangelical diplomacy, and Edir Macedo has already begun to take the consequences of this. fiasco. He knows that Lula, the only politician tasked with rebuilding the bridge between Brazil and Africa in time to save the interests of the Universal Church, is also Bolsonaro’s main rival in the 2022 election.
It would therefore not be surprising if the crisis in Africa marks the beginning of a rapprochement between the Universal Church and the Workers’ Party, in a movement consistent with the changes in the behavior of the evangelical electorate detected by Datafolha. Indifferent to the story, Bolsonaro is unaware that Brazil started in Angola. The bill is coming now.
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