The YouTube video that helped push Brazil’s presidential election to a second round begins with Paschoal Piragine solemnly telling his flock: “In 30 years as a pastor, I’ve never done this before.” He then warns them that the ruling Workers’ Party wants not only to legalize abortion, but would make divorce easier, permit the spread of pornography, and continue to allow tribes in the Amazon to bury alive “thousands of children.”
The video, which includes disturbing images and has received nearly 3 million views, concludes with the Baptist preacher telling his followers not to vote for the Workers’ Party in upcoming elections. “Otherwise, God will judge our land,” Piragine says.
The last-minute doubts of many evangelical Christian and Catholic voters probably cost Workers’ Party presidential candidate Dilma Rousseff an outright first-round victory in last Sunday’s election, polls suggest. The shift is unlikely to keep Rousseff from winning an October 31 runoff vote against her nearest contender, opposition leader Jose Serra.
Yet the twice-divorced former Marxist guerrilla, who in past interviews has questioned the existence of God and supported greater abortion rights, will face enduring scrutiny from an increasingly powerful bloc of “values voters” that could prove a major source of opposition if she takes office. (Images: Paschoal Piragine in screengrabs from YouTube video posted below)
The election could signal a sea change in Brazil’s politics in which social issues begin to trump economic ones for some voters as the country enjoys an unprecedented run of growth. Rousseff could also face constant resistance to her agenda from a faith-based movement or party in the same way that Democratic Party presidents have in the United States since the 1990s.