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Letter from the editor | 286

Evangelicalism and politics

In 1872, the year of the first Brazilian census, almost the entire population of the country defined themselves as Catholic (99.7%). One hundred years later, the proportion had changed, but only slightly, to 91.8% in 1970. Since then, official statistics show, the decline has accelerated: in 1991, the total was 83.3%, and in 2010 it was 64.6%.

Evangelicalism, meanwhile, rose from 15.4% of the population to 22.2% over a 10-year period (2000 and 2010 censuses respectively), representing a 61% growth in absolute numbers. And its presence has gained strength not only in terms of individual faith, but also in the media, culture, and politics. In 1986, the first election of the federal legislature after Brazil’s redemocratization, 12 evangelicals were elected to the house of representatives; in 2018, the most recent election, 82 members of congress identified as evangelical, 16% of the total.

As the country experiencing the greatest growth in evangelicalism, Brazil has been the subject of studies by researchers from various fields, including sociology and anthropology, in efforts to understand the hierarchical and functional differences in relation to Catholicism, among other topics. This issue’s cover story takes a closer look at this subject and the research seeking to better understand it.

Science has been a frequent topic in newspaper political sections recently. November saw the end of a Parliamentary Inquiry created by the Legislative Assembly of São Paulo (ALESP) to investigate irregularities in the management of its three state universities. Having been granted access to the institutions’ confidential financial records  from the past eight years, as well as a wealth of information on salaries and contracts, the final report concluded that while management systems could be improved, the importance of the universities to state and national teaching and research must be considered, and ALESP is responsible for supporting their activities. The key recommendation was to establish a deadline for annual state audit office reviews of accounts submitted by the universities.

On November 5, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and 21 party leaders with a range of political stances published an article in the newspaper O Globo arguing that science and technology, combined with education, could be the answer to the current economic crisis. The article, titled “A base do progresso” (“The basis of progress”), was the result of a joint effort by scientific organizations, representatives of the federal legislature, and businesses, and criticized funding cuts and proposed funding agency mergers, arguing that investing in these areas would help create wealth and improve quality of life.

One of the founding fathers of political science in Brazil, Wanderley Guilherme dos Santos died on October 26, at the age of 84. Democracy was the main theme of his research, through which he sought to understand how a stable and inclusive democracy can be developed in a country like Brazil.

In November, American magazine National Geographic stopped printing its Brazilian version. In the same month, Editora Globo stopped publishing the print version of its science magazine Galileo. Created in 1991 and originally named Globo Ciência, it became Galileo in 1998. The Pesquisa FAPESP team is sad to see these two important scientific media outlets go.