Guest / Limited Access /

On Sunday, Brazilians elected their first woman president in what many commentators labeled a mandate to continue the popular policies of outgoing president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

In her first speech as president-elect, Dilma Rousseff thanked many people but did not thank God—something many voters had expected her to do amid a campaign drenched in outreach to evangelical voters. Dispute over Rousseff's support for same-sex marriage and abortion led both her and defeated candidate Jose Serra to turn to pastor-advisors and Christian outreach committees to gain evangelical sympathy.

But what drew the most attention about evangelical voters came in an earlier round of voting, as nearly 20 million Brazilians cast votes for Marina Silva, a former environment minister and committed Assemblies of God member from a small party with little money. With more than 19 percent of the vote, Silva forced an unexpected runoff between Rousseff and Serra.

The largest private research institute in Brazil, IBOPE, noted that Rousseff lost many votes in the final weeks of the first round because her positions on abortion and homosexuality generated insecurity and dissatisfaction among evangelicals and Catholics, two large groups that are often at odds in the country but rally together on these two themes in political seasons.

However, two leading sociologists of Brazilian Christianity, Paul Freston and Alexandre Brasil Fonseca, argued that there is not as much such cohesion and unity among evangelical voters as some observers presumed. Evangelical voters were also split between Rousseff and Serra. This is especially true of neo-Pentecostals, whose 10 million members often belong to large churches with strong media clout.

The power struggle ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueWho Awaits the Messiah Most? Muslims
Subscriber Access Only
Who Awaits the Messiah Most? Muslims
Islam and Christianity share Second Coming hopes. Can this be a bridge?
Recommended
Subscriber Access Only Should We All Speak in Tongues?
Some say speaking in tongues is proof of 'baptism in the Holy Spirit.' Are those who haven't spoken in tongues without the Holy Spirit?—Renea Chastain, Phoenix, Arizona
TrendingThe Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
The Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
What Paula White’s Washington moment implies for the prosperity gospel’s future.
Editor's PickThe Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
The Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
It begins by recognizing the name above every name.
Christianity Today
Brazil's Evangelicals Make Voting Bloc Debut
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

November 2010

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.