By Anthony Faiola and Anna Jean Kaiser
RIO DE JANEIRO — The mayor of this sultry metropolis slashed funding for Carnival, the city’s gay pride parade and a procession honoring an Afro-Brazilian goddess. Mayor Marcelo Crivella, a Pentecostal Christian, calls the moves fiscal prudence. But Rio’s liberals see a thinly veiled crusade to impose God’s law from city hall.
As political polarization intensifies in the United States, Latin America’s largest nation is locked in its own escalating culture wars, with the rise of an increasingly powerful religious right.
Evangelical politicians such as Crivella — a 60-year-old bishop and former gospel singer who once claimed that homosexuality could result from botched abortions — are finding enormous success in Brazil. Their rise comes as conservative Protestant faiths make massive inroads in this predominantly Catholic country and as corruption scandals taint traditional political parties, causing more Brazilians to vote outside the box.
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