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Is Germany's Armed Forces Elite A Far-Right Breeding Ground?

DIE WELT (Germany)


BERLIN - The elite of the German Federal Armed Forces are sometimes suspected of being a breeding ground for right-wing radicals. So beginning in 2007, the Defense Ministry decided to take a closer look at the political orientation of future officers.

With the results now in of a study of 2,300 students at both the Hamburg and Munich campuses of the University of the German Federal Armed Forces, the reassuring news is that 70% of those polled held middle-of-the-road political views.

But there is some cause for concern: not only did 4% of the future officers have political views that are considerd far right, but another 13% expressed sympathy for so-called New Right views. According to the intelligence community, the New Right seeks to intellectualize right-wing extremism.

Though perhaps not staggering, the numbers of far-right future army officers in Germany in particular cause consternation because of the country's Nazi past.

Thirty-eight percent said they supported the idea that Germany should be led by a strong elite. Twenty-five percent were for halting foreign immigration. Eleven percent were for limiting the powers of parliament. And 44% were for the “hard and energetic” defense of German interests abroad.

The study also found that only about 30% of the students were actually considering a career in the armed forces. The students were critical of the increasing number of stints abroad, and the money, while some had doubts that being in the armed forces was seen as a “recognized and respected occupation.”

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Brazil's Evangelical Surge Threatens Survival Of Native Afro-Brazilian Faith

Followers of the Afro-Brazilian Umbanda religion in four traditional communities in the country’s northeast are resisting pressure to convert to evangelical Christianity.

image of Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Agencia Publica
Géssica Amorim

Among a host of images of saints and Afro-Brazilian divinities known as orixás, Abel José, 42, an Umbanda priest, lights some candles, picks up his protective beads and adjusts the straw hat that sits atop his head. He is preparing to treat four people from neighboring villages who have come to his house in search of spiritual help and treatment for health ailments.

The meeting takes place discreetly, in a small room that has been built in the back of the garage of his house. Abel lives in the quilombo of Sítio Bredos, home to 135 families. The community, located in the municipality of Betânia of Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, is one of the municipality’s four remaining communities that have been certified as quilombos, the word used to refer to communities formed in the colonial era by enslaved Africans and/or their descendents.

In these villages there are almost no residents who still follow traditional Afro-Brazilian religions. Abel, Seu Joaquim Firmo and Dona Maura Maria da Silva are the sole remaining followers of Umbanda in the communities in which they live. A wave of evangelical missionary activity has taken hold of Betânia’s quilombos ever since the first evangelical church belonging to the Assembleia de Deus group was built in the quilombo of Bredos around 20 years ago. Since then, other evangelical, pentecostal, and neo-pentecostal churches and congregations have established themselves in the area. Today there are now nine temples spread among the four communities, home to roughly 900 families.

The temples belong to the Assembleia de Deus, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the World Church of God's Power, the latter of which has over 6,000 temples spread across Brazil and was founded by the apostle and televangelist Valdemiro Santiago, who became infamous during the pandemic for trying to sell beans that he had blessed as a Covid-19 cure. Assembleia de Deus alone, who are the largest pentecostal denomination in the world, have built five churches in Betânia’s quilombos.

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