"The Religion & Society Report"    Online Edition    [SwanSearch]
     

Volume 23  Number 05

 

July / August 2006

 

  

Behind The Homosexual Tsunami in Brazil

By Julio Severo*

*Julio Severo is the author of the book O Movimento Homossexual (The Homosexual Movement), published by the Brazilian branch of Bethany House Publishers. In November 2004, he gave, in the Chamber of Deputies in Brasília, the introductory speech in the First Evangelical Parliamentary Front Meeting. The first magazine of the Front also published an article by Mr. Severo on homosexuality. His book has been the first writing in Portuguese to expose the homosexual movement and it has been a reference for Christian parliamentarians in Brazil.

Until 1994, gay rights and parades were virtually unheard of and non-existent in Brazil. Yet, from 1995 on, after the first ILGA conference in Rio de Janeiro, homosexual activism became increasingly powerful in visibility, until the arrival of the Lula government, when their highest intentions and values became a threat and reality predominant in the Brazilian society.

The social and moral structure of Brazil in the decades of 1950 and 1960 was basically strong, largely because of the predominant Catholicism in more than 90 percent of the population. In many places, evangelicals were threatened with lynching if they tried to evangelize, especially in small towns. Homosexual activity was a shameful and secret behavior, despised by the society.  A girl pregnant out of wedlock ran the risk of being expelled from her house. The Brazilian people were socially conservative, although the Carnival and public prostitution were tolerated.

The largest threat to the society came from radical leftist movements. Communists almost took control in Brazil in 1964, but the military took over the government and was able to stop a communist coup.

The Catholic Church was a driving force against the communist threat, but after Vatican II many Catholic leaders began surrendering to the Theology of Liberation. In the decades of 1970 and 1980, traditional Protestant churches embraced Protestant versions of Liberation Theology. In the late 1990s and early 2000, some Pentecostal and charismatic churches also subscribed. These leftist Christians are today known as progressistas. The Brazilian term progressista (progressive), according to the noted Aurélio Dictionary of Portuguese Language, means “someone who, though not being a member of a socialist or communist party, accepts and/or supports socialist or Marxist principles.”  So evangélicos progressistas are evangelicals committed to supporting and promoting the socialist agenda.

Liberation Theology can boast an important victory in Brazil, for having a 73.6 percent Catholic population; Brazil is the largest Catholic country in the world. Protestants are 15.4 percent.  “Progressive” Christians are a growing presence and influence among both of these Christian religions.

After the military left the government in 1985, leftist politicians, supported by the Comunidades Eclesiais de Base (Base Ecclesiastical Communities [BECs], where progressive Catholic leadership encouraged poor Catholic communities to get involved in political action according to Liberation Theology  tenets), began to heavily affect the political and social system, leading Brazil gradually leftward. BECs were the most important support behind the main popular leftist party in Brazil, Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers’ Party), better known by its acronym PT.

With such leftism, abortion and homosexuality began to be promoted as rights in the decade of 1990. (In the decade of 1980, there were leftists advocating abortion and homosexuality, but while abortion advocates had limited visibility and no legal influence, the rare gay advocates had none at all — except in a very few isolated examples, especially in universities.) Even though there are no anti-sodomy laws in Brazilian society, its religious heritage had always been an important social factor discouraging such behavior.

Less conservative in the heart and more in the image: the current political ethics in Brazil  

In Brazil, abortion is presently legal only in cases of rape and when the life of a mother is at risk. Because of religious influence, the fight to expand legal abortion has faced considerable obstacles to achieve the success that feminists achieved in the U.S. in 1973.

However, that religious influence, both Catholic and evangelical, is increasingly less conservative and more liberal, even though most of the population does not understand the gradual change.

Nevertheless, the best way to popular appeal in Brazil is to have a conservative image. To draw votes, political candidates in Brazil are supposed to present the image of being conservative Christians on moral issues. Even radical Socialists (who are clearly pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality in their political actions out of election times) make this kind of appeal. On the other hand, “conservative” candidates have to demonstrate their sympathy for the welfare state. Yet these “conservatives” are not solid in their moral stand on abortion and especially on homosexuality, and eventually make moral compromises after their election. 

Presently, Brazil knows no major political figure solid in practical actions against abortion and homosexuality. The few Catholics and evangelicals vocally opposed to abortion are not politicians. 

Evangelicals are only a minority, but their votes are eagerly coveted. In 2002, presidential candidate Lula was promoted among many evangelical leaders by a moral and religious appeal. In the past, these same “conservative” leaders (traditional, Pentecostal, and charismatic) had always disliked Lula and his party as a communist threat. Yet, with the assistance of an American minister — the Rev. Jesse Jackson — they changed their minds.  Jackson, who was brought to Brazil by PT especially for that mission, was able to convince them that Lula was not such a threat.  According to the Internet newspaper Folha Online, Rev. Jackson has been a friend of many years standing with PT.[1]  In the PT official website there is even an entire page flattering “comrade Jackson.”[2]

So persuaded, these leaders became signers of the public document Manifesto de Evangélicos (Evangelical Manifesto), proclaiming to the evangelical population their stand for Lula. Among the great number of signatories were Rev. Nilson Fanni, former president of the World Baptist Alliance, and Rev. Gilherminho Cunha, a high-ranking Presbyterian minister and president of the Bible Society of Brazil. In the paper which was amply distributed by PT, all of those leaders state:

We support Lula for President because we recognize that several proposals of his Government Program are similar to the prophetic calling of the Church of Jesus Christ.

We express our public support to Lula’s candidacy in order to oppose the wicked and insignificant rumors leading some to an understanding that his election to the Presidency of Republic will obstruct the walk of the Evangelical Churches.

This public document was prepared with the assistance of MEP (Movimento Evangélico Progressista, or Progressive Evangelical Movement). Individual denominations also expressed their support, especially mainline liberal Protestant churches.  For the first time Pentecostal and charismatic churches copied their example. Comunidade Evangélica Sara Nossa Terra (Heal Our Land Evangelical Community), a large national denomination, said on its website in 2002:

Evangelical Manifesto in Support of Lula’s Candidacy for President of Brazil [excerpts]:

We manifest our support for the Lula candidacy because of an established commitment between an eventual Lula government and the evangelicals here represented.

We support Lula because:

•  He has been demonstrating that he believes in a balanced and democratic Socialism, respecting the highest tenets of democracy;

•  He has been affirming his [belief] in the highest values of the Holy Scriptures: God, family, morality, ethics, religious freedom, and democracy;

•  He has made a commitment to develop our society, having the Church as a partner with his government;

• He understands and believes in the existence and in the historical role of the Church as an instrument for the formation of fundamental values for human life, both in individual and social aspects;

•  His greatest motivation for his government project is to help the poor and less favored people, according to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures.

MESSAGE TO THE BRAZILIAN CHURCH:

Why we suport Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as President of the Republic.

•  Lula deserves a vote of trust from our society... Lula today is one of the most trusted leaders of our nation.

• Lula has made a partnership commitment with the evangelical churches for social construction, removing the stigma that evangelicals are only sought in election times. He has also been declaring that he believes in the highest values of the Holy Scriptures, as “God, Family, Morality, Ethics, Religious Freedom, Democracy, and the Option for the Poor.”

Thus, we see that the rumors saying that Lula and PT are noxious to the Gospel are now refuted, demonstrating that radical attitudes that were taken by other PT local administrations were isolated initiatives.

For all of those reasons the Sara Nossa Terra Bishop Council is confident to vote for and support the Lula candidacy for president of Brazil.

Robson Rodovalho

Bishop President

on behalf of the Sara Nossa Terra Bishop Council

Comunidade Sara Nossa Terra was, until late 1990s, an anti-Marxist church. After many years of an anticommunist stand, it was a surprise to watch evangelicals and their leaders turning left. The moralistic appeal of Lula among evangelicals was also a surprise: he promised to evangelical leaders that his future administration would not promote abortion and homosexuality. The result? After victory in the election, Lula and his party kept working on the same agenda that they had in the past. PT was again the main abortion and homosexuality supporter in Brazil.

Even though most of the Christian denominations supporting Lula and PT do not approve of homosexuality and abortion, their shift to the role of evangélicos progressistas has left them in a strange and paradoxical position politically.

Homosexuality in Brazil  

No official statistics are gathered in Brazil to determine the number of homosexuals. According to the Lula government data, they are over 10 percent of the population. Such data come from NGOs that have contacts with American NGOs. Their basic source is the Kinsey Report. Almost all the other official data on homosexuals in Brazil has direct or indirect influence from information common in the U.S. and not from Brazilian studies.  In fact, in spite of the predominant, leftist anti-Americanism in Brazil, there is an almost perfect leftist cloning of the American homosexual reality.

There may be a religious factor in Brazilian homosexuality. A minority of the Brazilian population adheres to Candomblé and other Afro-Brazilian religions (similar to Santeria), where homosexuality is common. For a comparison, there are some 19,000 recognized Catholic parishes in Brazil.  Informal Candomblé temples are supposed to number some 12,000 in Rio de Janeiro alone.[3]  In Candomblé, many priests and priestesses are homosexual.

Luiz Mott, the leader of the homosexual movement in Brazil, is a firm adherent of Candomblé.

Many famous Brazilians turn to Afro-Brazilian religions in search of miracles to solve personal or family problems. Even former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, though a Marxist and an atheist, had sympathy for and sometimes visited Candomblé rituals.

Homosexuals were always a very small group in the society, and the current impressive homosexual growth in Brazil is due to the seductive propaganda directed to the public. Soap operas, very popular TV shows in Brazil, give the public positive images of homosexual characters. On the other hand, conservative Catholics and evangelicals are represented as strange, intolerant, suspicious, fanatical, and unfriendly characters.

Thus, surrounded by the artillery of the homosexual favoritism on the media, an increasingly large number of curious youths demonstrate interest in homosexuality.

Behind the tsunami  

Capitulation to the homosexual movement on TV has been practically total, where many shows use strategies that distort reality, presenting to the public a false world where gays and lesbians are glad, happy, fulfilled, and, usually, more intelligent and sensitive individuals than normal men and women. The “dark side is properly hidden, so that nobody will see that their behavior is linked to an indisputable reality of suffering, where gays live, oppressed by serious mental, emotional, and social dysfunctions.

There is an immense effort to show that those natural consequences don’t have any connection with the abnormality of their sexual acts. That effort also tries, with the assistance of fraudulent research and studies, to prove “scientifically” that the abnormal is as normal as what is really normal. In fact, the document Brazil without Homophobia says: “In the same way that heterosexuality (attraction for a person of the opposite sex) does not have any explanation, so homosexuality does not too. It depends on each person’s sexual orientation.” This document was published by the Lula administration to support its nationwide Brasil sem Homofobia (Brazil Without Homophobia) campaign, which was launched on May 2005. This federal initiative — described as a “National Program for Combating Violence and Discrimin-ation against Gays, Lesbians, Transgender People, and Bisexuals, and for the Promotion of the Citizenship of Homosexuals” — is virtually unique in the world. It aims to strengthen both public and non-governmental institutions that promote gay rights. It does this through education on human rights, both of the general public and within GLBT communities and by encouraging GLBT people to complain to public institutions about violations of their supposed rights.

This federal effort is producing fruits. In São Paulo, the largest city in Brazil, there is now the Group for Repression and Analysis of Intolerance Crimes and the Racial and Intolerance Crimes Police Station. “The Racial and Intolerance Crimes Police Station shall, above all, take into consideration cases where society segregates a person for his sexual orientation... Margarette Barreto Gracia, police chief of the new station, pointed out that victims of intolerance crimes should seek out the police station and denounce their aggressor.”[4]

Homophobia, according to the Lula administration, can be obvious or veiled, involving discrimination in selection for employment, rental of housing, entry into the armed forces, medical school, dental school, a theological college, a Christian school...Whatever its manifestation, the Brazilian government believes that so called homophobia inevitably involves injustice and social exclusion.

It wants to eliminate such “homophobia” throughout Brazilian society. To achieve such a wide goal, the Brazil Without Homophobia campaign involves twenty ministries and special secretariats: the Ministries of Foreign Relations, Justice, Education, Health, Labor, and Culture, and the Special Secretariat on Policies for Women, the Special Secretariat on Policies for the Promotion of Racial Equality, the Special Secretariat on Human Rights, and the National Secretariat on Public Safety. It also involves a series of other governmental organizations, such as the National Council on Combating Discrimination, State and Municipal Councils on Human Rights, State and Municipal Secretariats on Public Safety, universities, the Office of the Federal Prosecutor for Citizens’ Rights, the Public Ministry of Labor, in addition to the Brazilian Parliament itself.

This massive effort leaves no part of society untouched. The coming generations are also of special government concern. So the Brazilian government for the first time in its history, on April 2006, initiated a partnership with a gay group. With the assistance of the NGO Arco-Íris (Rainbow), the Ministry of Education began training public and private school teachers to address homosexual issues and teach children to fight homophobia.[5] The Lula administration views such partnerships as a necessary strategy, for it has been informed by UNESCO that 60 percent of Brazilian teachers think that homosexual sex is unacceptable.

In the official curriculum of the Ministry of Education, there is the demand that every school fight prejudice against differences. The partnership with Arco-Íris is seen as a way to effectively train teachers to implement the official curriculum itself and to handle issues as human rights (for homosexuals, not Christians), homophobia, gender identity, sexual orientation and diversity. Arco-Íris has received a government grant to accomplish such goals.

Through such a partnership and other efforts from the Brazil Without Homophobia program, children are being indoctrinated systematically in the “Gospel of Sodomy.”[6] There are even textbooks to encourage homosexuality. “In Brazil, there are, at the time being, few titles, but publishers have already shown their interest in this market. Educators too:  one of the first books to address the subject is Menino Ama Menino (Boy Loves Boy, publisher: Armazém das Idéias), by Marilene Godinho, which tells of a boy who found that he was in love with another boy.  This book is part of the literature package distributed by the Ministry of Education in the public schools.”[7]

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio ‘Lula’ da Silva likes to portray his administration as a Socialist government favoring interests of less developed nations and not accepting American and European influences. Nevertheless, he has imitated their worst examples. His Workers’ Party has employed actions no past government of Brazil did: it has facilitated the introduction of pro-homosexuality laws, and it has been a strong advocate for affirmative action based on racial preferences for minority groups. So for the first time, Brazilian society sees a president acting in a totally new political way.

His actions are not original to Brazil. American and European societies have, under the pressure of special interest groups, known such political experiences for a number of years. Interestingly, in the racial issue, advocates of affirmative action in Europe and in the U.S. are swift to point to and condemn the slavery of blacks by whites in the past and exploit such situations to their extreme political advantage, but they are equally swift to neglect, excuse, or hide the past and current violent slavery of blacks by blacks in some African countries, including modern-day Sudan. So the notion of affirmative action, as originally employed in the developed nations by special interest groups and as copied by countries like Brazil, is a form of ideological oppression that will eventually lead to other forms of oppression, including from the gay-ideology activists.

There should be no doubt that the current Brazilian president has a gay agenda.  Twice, Lula expressed his support of the homosexual movement. In June 2005, he sent a letter to the gay parade of Brasilia, saying, “any way of loving is worthwhile.” In June 2006, he reaffirmed such support, by sending to the gay parade of São Paulo the following message:

Fellows,

It is with satisfaction that I answer the kind invitation to address the participants of the 10th GLBT Pride Parade, in São Paulo. I want to greet the organizers of this event and transmit — to all who battle to promote the dignity and the defense of the rights of gays, lesbians, and transgender people — words of encouragement, faith and trust in the results of the efforts that, in partnership, we have been developing, since the beginning of our administration, with the goal to change the reality that we had received.

Our government was established with the firm purpose of combating the threats to the people’s rights based on any kind of prejudice: of origin, race, ethnicity, age, religious belief, political conviction, or sexual orientation.

With that purpose, we have strengthened the Special Secretariat for the Human Rights, which instituted, during our administration, Brazil Without Homophobia, a program to combat violence and prejudice against GLBT and to promote homosexual citizenship. That program has been necessary because all people should be made conscious of human rights, which include the free expression of sexual orientation. People may only be made conscious through publicly integrated politics that include affirmative actions, especially in the educational area.

Human rights education encourages people in a formal and informal way to contribute for the citizenship construction, for the knowledge of those rights, and for the consequent respect to plurality and diversity, not only sexual, but ethnic, racial, cultural, sporting, and religious.

However, schools should not be the only source promoting those ideas: the media should also get involved in this effort, for they have an enormous power for penetrating the society. The media and information outlets, through their programs and images, assume a fundamental role in the human rights education as they are committed to the propagation of ethical and citizenship values.

Because of their role as public opinion shapers, the press, radio, and TV professionals should be a source of production and broadcasting of contents related to tolerance and acceptance of multiple differences, and ultimately, the respect to the human person with a view to establish a culture of peace and love toward the neighbor and build a fairer, kinder, and more solid society.

Our government is firmly determined to defend those values and it wants to continue, especially counting on the cooperative action from the organizations that bring together gays, lesbians, and transgender people to achieve that objective, and it will remain open to welcome other contributions, as in the area of STD prevention.

I want all to know that we remain at your side in this fight. A few days ago, in the Third High Authorities Human Rights Meeting of Mercosur, in Buenos Aires, Brazil suggested the introduction of two items for consideration: the theme of torture and cruel and degrading treatment and the fight against prejudices for sexual orientation. Another initiative came from the Special Secretariat for the Human Rights, launched on June 9, in the State Legislature of São Paulo, the Brazil Without Homophobia program, during solemn session where the legislative authorities from São Paulo celebrated the GLBT Pride Day on the solicitation of State Deputy Ítalo Cardoso [from PT].

I want this parade to result, as has been happening with other similar events, in peace and happiness, with a view to being an important sign of the increasing visibility of the homosexual movement and a sign of consequent gathering of forces in the fight against resistance and prejudice.”

Receive my fraternal hug.

President Luiz Inácio ‘Lula’ da Silva[8]

Of course, the Lula support is not limited to words only. The Brazil Without Homophobia program counts on a federal budget of 125 million Real (about 60 million dollars) for 2006. For a nation that has experienced great economic hardship, such an amount is not insignificant. Gay parades, seen by the government as cultural events, also receive grants in the millions.

Such support has produced striking results. In 2005, Brazil was the world champion in gay parades. In 2006, the São Paulo gay parade was the largest in the whole world.

However, the Lula administration has not been aggressive only in its pro-homosexuality domestic push. It also has an international agenda, and it has shown its domestic policies to other nations.  Before the United Nations General Assembly, Brazilian Ambassador Frederico Duque Estrada Meyer said Brazil had the program entitled Brazil Without Homophobia, which outlined actions to strengthen public and non-governmental institutions for combating homophobia; capacity-building for professionals involved in promoting the rights of homosexuals; disseminating information of rights and promoting homosexual self-esteem; and stimulating complaints on violations of rights.”[9]

In the Organization of the American States, Brazil introduced a resolution for the establishment of a future Inter-American Convention against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance.  The resolution was approved in 2005.  Its most important ambition was its leading role in a world campaign, in the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR), to characterize any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation as violence against human rights.

During the April 2003 meeting of the UNCHR, the Brazilian government (supported by Canada and the European Union) introduced its Resolution on “Human Rights and Sexual Orientation.” This resolution recognizes homosexual conduct as a human right. Obviously, Brazil, Canada and the European Union knew that the great majority of international public opinion was against the attitude of giving special rights for individuals practicing homosexuality.

The resolution was a surprise to the Brazilian Congress in Brasilia, which learned about it only some time after the Brazilian delegation in the UN had already presented it. It was a surprise also to the evangelical leaders, for before the 2002 presidential elections, Lula had made the commitment in a meeting with important ministers and bishops not to let his government promote issues favoring abortion and homosexuality. Yet, the Brazilian delegation in the UN, which represents the Brazilian government’s interests and views, has defended just these issues, under a carefully veiled language of “reproductive rights” and “sexual orientation.”[10]

Representative Dr. Elimar Damasceno requested directly from the Brazilian government an explanation for its resolution in the UN. He noted that it “deals with a subject where there are no approved laws in our country and where there is no consensus in our society, because of its religious and cultural consequences.”[11] The Foreign Affairs Ministry in Brasilia officially refuted Rep. Damasceno,

...in response to your last question on “who has authorized the [Brazilian] representatives [in the UN] to present the mentioned Proposal of Resolution,” it is proper to point that... the politics of Brazil in the human rights issues are explicitly favorable to the promotion and protection of the minority rights.[12]

So according to the Brazilian government’s view, those practicing homosexuality are a minority deprived of protection. According to the draft of the resolution:

…human rights and fundamental freedoms are the birthright of all human beings, that the universal nature of these rights and freedoms is beyond question and that the enjoyment of such rights and freedoms should not be hindered in any way on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Brazilian Minister Samuel Guimarães, from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, affirmed, “So the main aim of the [resolution] is to guarantee the principle of non-discrimination — the cornerstone of the building of promotion and protection of human rights since its beginning in the United Nations system — regarding groups discriminated against around the world because of their sexual orientation. This position is based on the notion that advancement in the subject of human rights benefiting a discriminated minority represents gain to other groups suffering discrimination….”[13]

Fortunately, the Lula resolution was not successful in 2003. UN Brazilian ambassadors made new endeavors in 2004, and were faced with Muslim opposition. In 2005, the Lula administration gave its resolution up prematurely out of respect to Muslim leaders taking part in the Summit of South American-Arab Countries in Brasilia.  Out of respect to them, the Lula administration also cut Israel from the map used by the Foreign Affairs Ministry at the Summit.

In the Lula’s strategic socialistic agenda, homosexuality may be sacrificed for Muslim interests, but not for the Bible or moral interests. It sacrifices Israel much more easily than it sacrifices homosexuality.

Gay strategies for visibility  

The main pushes from the homosexual movement are its efforts for visibility, especially through gay parades and public kisses, where gay couples kiss one another challenging social mores. Through such actions, gay militants publicize themselves and their cause. When challenging laws restricting or prohibiting their public kisses, their maneuvers appeal for laws for their protection and against prejudice. So a mere kiss in a busy shopping mall may seem to them a significant legal achievement.

Their major visibility strategy is parades.  In 2005, 75 parades throughout Brazil were recorded.  In 2006, Brazil saw some 102 parades. The 2006 gay parade in São Paulo drew 2.4 million.

According to the Associated Press:

The 10th annual Sao Paulo Gay Pride Parade saw go-go boys and drag queens dancing on the roofs of sound trucks blasting music as they rolled down the skyscraper-lined Avenida Paulista — the financial heart of Brazil’s biggest city.

The march came two days after police said about 3 million people joined an evangelical Protestant rally on the same Sao Paulo avenue, demonstrating their growing influence in the world’s largest Roman Catholic country.

“The traditional church doesn’t want us,” said Pastor Justino Luis, 42, who started a church serving 200 mostly gay and lesbian parishioners.

Waving a banner with the words, “I’m Happy, Gay and Christian,” Luis said, “I know (God) loves me the way I am, and I know when he made me he planned for me to be the way I am.”[14]

This visibility strategy is very effective, for two days before the gay parade, evangelicals had their March for Jesus, yet the great media outlets focused their attention on the gay rally.  The March for Jesus was largely ignored, except for a few gays participating and trying to show that they were also evangelical.

The political actions are very intense too. Through the assistance of gay lobby groups and leftist politicians, a Parliamentary Front for Free Sexual Expression was founded, consisting of many members of the Chamber of the Deputies. It seeks to introduce bills favoring the interests of the gay lobby.

As for the gay lobby, it seeks:  1) Implementation and monitoring of the Brazil Without Homophobia Program;  2) Decentralization of resources and actions in STD and AIDS with gays and others;  3) Approval of two federal laws by the National Congress (prohibiting discrimination due to sexual orientation and registry of civil partnerships;  4) the Brazilian Resolution in the UN’s Commission on Human Rights against discrimination due to sexual orientation;  5) the defense of a secular State that is against religious intolerance towards GLTB;  6) the National Day Against Homophobia and Gay Pride Day.

Gay and PT activist Beto de Jesus, who traveled to the U.S. some years ago to be trained by his American counterparts and who has participated in the Brazilian delegation to the UN, said: “We have a Parliamentary Front for the Free Sexual Expression comprising almost 80 representatives and senators, but we cannot pass federal laws due to the intolerance of religious representatives (Catholics and evangelicals). Our Civil Partnership Bill has been stuck in Congress since 1996, in spite of the efforts of Brazilian GLBT groups — over 200 in the country.”[15]  This partnership bill was introduced by former PT Representative Marta Suplicy, considered the Queen of Gays in Brazil since the first conference of ILGA in Latin America in Rio in 1995.

Even though the National Congress has not given its approval to the same-sex civil partnership bill, gay activists are successfully conquering the sympathy of activist judges. In Rio Grande do Sul State, in South of Brazil, such judges are opening ways to gay marriage by giving to gay couples significant victories. Judge Roberto Arriada Lorea told, “In no place is it said that homosexuals are not allowed to marry and are not allowed to adopt a child.” Since 2004, register offices in Rio Grande do Sul are bound to accept the register of stable union for homosexuals, who are also entitled to adopt.[16]

Facing the tsunami  

Liberal mainline denominations in Brazil have embraced a psychological, secularist stand on homosexuality. For example, the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession, a largely ethnic German denomination, officially declared on homosexuality in 2001:

There is among specialists, no absolute consensus nor in the science in regard to the nature of homosexuality, nor in the biblical interpretation of those passages referring to homosexuality. Neither there is such a consensus in the Evangelical Church of Lutheran Confession.[17]

The Roman Catholic Church has an official Vatican paper on homosexuality, but their progressive bishops in Brazil have a hard time divulging it publicly.  Many Protestant churches have basically the same stand as the Vatican paper, but most of them do not proclaim their views publicly.  In mainline liberal Protestant churches, the stand is public, but there is an effort to avoid Biblical condemnation to homosexuality. And while most of the conservative churches keep silent on the issue, Brazil has seen the growth of gay evangelical churches as the Metropolitan Community Church, a gay denomination from the U.S.  Apart from the religious people, moral disapproval to homosexuality has been rare, because of the social pressures condemning prejudice and homophobia.

However, many Brazilians, especially the poor and the less intellectual, are protected from the electronic media, and they represent a serious hindrance to the establishment of amoral liberalism, where homosexuality is just an item of a larger, sinister agenda.

Among evangelicals, there are some campaigns to reach out to men and women in homosexuality. Movimento pela Sexualidade Sadia (Movement for a Healthy Sexuality), an evangelical group headed by an ex-homosexual, leads efforts to evangelize in gay parades, talking about Jesus to participants and delivering leaflets featuring the testimonials of ex-gays and lesbians.

Catholic and evangelical politicians have also been trying to counter the gay tsunami through the introduction of bills. Among them are: Bill 2279/03 (Federal) authored by Representative Elimar Damasceno that makes illegal the act of kissing between persons of the same sex in public; Bill 2177/03 (Federal) authored by Representative Neucimar Fraga that creates an aid and assistance program for sexual reorientation of persons who voluntarily opt for changing their sexual orientation from homosexuality to heterosexuality.

State representative Edino Fonseca, an Assembly of God minister, introduced a bill in the Rio de Janeiro State Legislature to establish social services to support men and women wanting to leave homosexuality. He has also introduced a bill to protect evangelical groups offering assistance to such men and women from discrimination and harassment. His former bill was defeated by the powerful gay lobby. The latter bill is facing severe opposition.  It says: “No divulging of information on the possibility of support and/or the possibility of sexual reorientation of homosexuals is to be considered prejudice.”

With the kind support of Focus on the Family and Dr. James Dobson, in 2004, I was able to publish on several Brazilian websites, the document “The Gay Agenda and the Sabotage of Human Rights,” written by Dr. Yuri Mantilla and translated and adapted by me, exposing the Brazilian sexual orientation in the UN. The following excerpts are from the document:

The recognition of sexual orientation as a human right will demolish the universal nature of human rights. If sexual orientation (homosexuality) is recognized as a human right, laws that protect family in every country will suffer grave assault and will be changed so that individuals practicing homosexuality will have the right to marriage, to adopt children, affirmative action and service in the military, among many other privileges. If the gay lifestyle receives protection as a human rights issue, then the universal meaning of the family will disappear. Such acceptance of homosexuality will violate the rights of family and the legal meaning of marriage of the overwhelming majority of people around the world. If human rights are recognized based on the sexual behavior of persons practicing homosexual acts, then what about the “rights” of pedophiles and other perverts? This kind of approach, extremely subjective, knocks down the universal essence of human rights. Homosexuality is not a human right, nor even a human need, but only a desire to live sexually against nature, and such desires and behaviors cannot be given protection and privileges.

The draft resolution of the Brazilian government also says: “Call upon all States to promote and protect the human rights of all persons regardless of their sexual orientation.” This action will be a serious menace to the right to religious freedom, a universally recognized fundamental human right. Christianity and other important world religions consider homosexual behavior to be a violation of God’s laws, and if the resolution is approved, it will endanger the right to religious freedom of millions of Christians around the world.  They could be prosecuted merely for expressing their beliefs about homosexual conduct and for quoting texts from the Bible disapproving of same-sex acts. Even without the approval of this resolution, it is impossible to address the problem of propagation of homosexual behavior without suffering, especially from the liberal press, accusations of homophobia (a new word coined to discourage those wanting to discuss the problem seriously), intolerance and religious extremism. Yet, the promotion of homosexual behavior, especially among males, spreads atrocious diseases.[18]

The resolution also notes “the attention given to human rights violations on the grounds of sexual orientation by the special procedures in their reports to the UNCHR, as well as by the treaty monitoring bodies, and encourages all special procedures of the UNCHR, within their mandates, to give due attention to the subject...”

It is a strange paradox that a large country such as Brazil, with its huge Catholic and Evangelical populations, is spearheading the invention of special rights for individuals practicing homosexuality as a priority of its foreign policy. Even though the pro-homosexuality position of the Brazilian government could be seen by other Latin American nations as a totally novel way to address human rights issues, this position is not new.  It was not born in Latin America. For several years morally decadent Western nations have, under the pressure of pro-homosexuality activists, pushed such ideas, and they have always sought to influence less developed countries. The current Brazilian government has demonstrated its willingness to follow and conform to those influences.

Canada and the European countries have been systematically advancing agendas that are contrary to the legal, historical, and moral values of Latin America. The promotion of abortion and special rights for individuals practicing homosexuality is part of these agendas. What is really surprising is the position of the Brazilian government, the main proponent of homosexual “rights” at the UN Commission on Human Rights. The Socialist government of Brazil is imitating the European pro-homosexual radicalism, and such radicalism is contrary to the laws and culture of Brazil and Latin America.[19]

In the document, I introduced all the names, addresses, email and phone contacts from the Brazilian ambassadors to the UN. This alert helped mobilize some Catholic and evangelical leaders. Later, international gay groups complained about the successful Brazilian grass-roots efforts to press the Lula administration to abandonits sexual orientation resolution in the UN.

The fight of an evangelical psychologist  

Usually, medical literature in Brazil does not refer to homosexuality as an abnormal behavior, for many fear the politically correct police. Yet, a courageous evangelical psychologist Dr. Rozangela Justino, has founded Abraceh, the Association for Support to the Human Being and Family, an NGO to help men and women who want to leave homosexuality voluntarily.

For her attitude of showing compassion to homosexuals in need, Dr. Justino has been suffering threats and intimidations even from the Federal Council of Psychology in Brazil.

According to Dr. Justino, “Most of the psychoanalysts consider homosexuality to be a perversion and in a general way psychologists understand homosexuality as immaturity in the psychosexual development. The World Health Organization classifies several behaviors linked to homosexuality as disturbances and directs people to seek treatment for change. From a spiritual perspective, it is a sin. Nevertheless, the Federal Council of Psychology (FCP) issued the resolution below. Because FCP issued this resolution, pro-homosexuality activists press the Rio de Janeiro FCP chapter to punish me. I have been threatened by administrative lawsuits from the FCP chapter, but they know that the Federal Constitution and the Declaration of Human Rights favor me, for we still have scientific, expression, and religious freedom in Brazil.”

Below are excerpts from the Federal Council of Psychology Resolution

23 March 1999

“It establishes norms of conduct for psychologists in regard to the subject of Sexual Orientation.”

WHEREAS, homosexuality is not a disease, disturbance or perversion;

WHEREAS, Psychology can and should contribute through its knowledge to clarify the subjects of sexuality, helping to overcome pre-judices and discriminations;

It determines

Article 2: Psychologists should contribute, through their knowledge, to a reflection on pre-judice and to the extinction of discrimination and stigmatizations against those demonstrating homoerotic behaviors or practices.

Article 3: Psychologists shall not use any action for making homoerotic behaviors or practices pathological, nor shall they use coercion to direct homosexuals to unsolicited treatments.

Sole paragraph: Psychologists shall not collaborate with events and services proposing treatment and cures of homosexualities.

Article 4: Psychologists shall not offer their opinions, nor will they participate in public pronouncements, in the media, with a view to reinforcing existing social prejudices in regard to homosexuals as sufferers of psychic disorders.

What should Brazilian evangelicals do?  

The homosexual expansion has been extraordinary in Brazil, because gay activists and their allies are completely focused on their goal. Likewise, evangelical churches should focus on their responsibility to bring homosexual men and women into a relationship with Christ.

Both Catholics and evangelicals need to be delivered from Liberation Theology and its Protestant versions, which keep them focused on many irrelevant and diverting issues. In order to face the social, political, and legal challenges from the gay activism, Christians in Brazil should have a social and political involvement free from “progressive chains.”

Even though many evangelicals disagree with the abortion and homosexual position of the Lula administration, they are urged by “progressive” propaganda to divert their attention to many other issues: health, education, and job assistance to the poor, etc. Homosexuality and abortion are just minor items on a long list of leftist interests on the agenda of evangélicos progressistas. Sadly, evangelicals in Brazil are misled into believing that Christian social action preached by the progressistas is the gospel.

Therefore, to counter these evangelical misconceptions about social action, there is a need to launch efforts to educate the evangelical public that there is real social action other than the progressive approach. Thus they would be better prepared to face adequately major challenges, such as abortion and homosexuality. Of course the other issues would also be addressed, but not from a leftist perspective.

Brazilian people will choose their new president in 2006. Again, the candidates promise social and political miracles and everything else appealing to the hearts of the voters. The great tragedy is that, according to polls, most evangelicals will vote for him who has during all of his administration promoted just the values that the Bible condemns.

Endnotes

1 www1.folha.uol.com.br/folha/brasil/ult96u38532.shtml

2 www.lula.org.br/noticias/not_int.asp?not_cod=731&cf_cod=21&sis_cod=37

3 http://www.trekshare.com/travel/travelogue.htm?journalid=3484

4 http://gonline.uol.com.br/livre/gnews/html/gnews3316.shtml

5 http://oglobo.globo.com/online/educacao/mat/2006/03/09/192206378.asp

6 Sodomy means the homosexual perversion committed by the city of Sodom in the Bible.

7 http://gazetaweb.globo.com/gazeta/Materia.php?c=82176&e=1236

8 United message, translated by Julio Severo: Source: http://www.pt.org.br/site/noticias/noticias_int.asp?cod=43692

9 http://www.unis.unvienna.org/unis/pressrels/2005/ga10407.html

10 LifeSite Daily News, July 3, 2003. See also: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2003/wom1404.doc.htm

11 Requerimento de Informações nº 408, de 2003, do Dep. Elimar Máximo Damasceno, Câmara dos Deputados, Brasília.

12 Ofício nº 34, do Ministério das Relações Exteriores, Brasília, datado de 11 de julho de 2003.

13 Ofício nº 34, do Ministério das Relações Exteriores, Brasília, datado de 11 de julho de 2003.

14 http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/americas/06/17/ brazil.gay.parade.ap/index.html

15 http://www.ilga.org/news_results.asp?LanguageID=1&FileCategory =44&FileID=153

16 http://www.gtpos.org.br/index.asp?Fuseaction=Informacoes&ParentId =329#anc340205

17 http://www.luteranos.com.br/posicionamentos/homossexualismo.htm

18 The Religion & Society Report, November 2003, p. 6.

19 Translated from the Portuguese version, where there are many textual contributions by this author.

 

 

 

 

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