Evangelical church spreads the hate in Brazil

Marcos Feliciano is a pastor, but he isn’t a loving shepherd.

In the future, when we look back to today’s world, the homophobes will be seen in the same light as racists. They will be considered regressive, inflexible, cruel and small minded. They will be seen as selfish people, who don’t want things to change because they are terrified of giving more rights to others because somehow, in their tiny minds, that would mean fewer rights for themselves.

Looking back to the civil rights battles in the USA, it is saddening and disappointing that humans still find the time and the energy for hatred of this magnitude. Things are getting better, but very slowly. In the US, only 11 states have legalized gay marriage – this is about 16% of the American population that has equal marriage rights and can marry who they want, no matter the sex of their significant other.

In Brazil, 12 states allow same sex marriage. This is remarkable progress for a country where hate crimes against homosexuals happen often, and people think gays should either be exterminated or treated for their ‘abnormality’.

Though it seems like things are going well for Brazilian LGBTs, the better things get, the harder those against love and equal rights are fighting. The president of the Brazilian Congress’ Human Rights committee, Marco Feliciano is a known racist, misogynist and homophobe fighting against just that; equality. He is also the leader of the evangelical church in Brazil, a faith followed by 15.4% of the country’s population. Feliciano publicizes a hateful attitude through his position, one that is supposed to help humans, no matter their race, sexual orientation or gender.

But it seems he is incapable of even understanding the concept of equality. He has introduced a bill to Congress that plans to ‘cure’ gays of their sexual orientation.

“Africans are descendent of someone cursed by Noah. That’s a fact. The curse is the reason for the controversy,” he tweeted. “Don’t be irresponsible, Twitters. The curse that Noah throws on his grandson Canaan remains on the African continent, hence the famine, pestilence, disease, ethnic wars!”

“The evil of homosexual feelings leads to hatred, crime, rejection. We love homosexuals, but abhor their promiscuous practices,” he tweeted again.

In an interview where he affirmed he was against feminism (surprise, surprise), he also said it leads to homosexuality in society.

“When you stimulate a woman to have the same rights as men, when she wants to work, her role as a mother gets cancelled,” he actually said out loud. “And if she can’t be a mother, there are two options: she either doesn’t get married or she maintains a marriage with a person of the same sex.

“She will enjoy the pleasures of a union and not have children. I see this as subtle way to attack the family, when you stimulate people to release their instincts and live with people of the same sex, you destroy the family, it creates a society that will only have homosexuals, you see that society disappear because it generates no children.”

He has also claimed that John Lennon died because he was punished by God because of his ‘Beatles are more popular than Jesus’ statement and that Lady Gaga is the devil. Does hatred cause insanity or is it his religion making his delusional?

The power Feliciano and his church have over the population of Brazil is truly shocking. And his arguments are convincing to those who really are devoted to the church. The plan to ‘cure’ gays implies that homosexuality is a disease that can be treated – yet he claims his church loves homosexuals but abhors their choice to be gay. So which is it, a choise or a disease? It doesnt matter. He closes all doors and enforces hate, no matter from what angle he approaches the subject.

Another pastor, Marcos Pereira, from the same church, is being investigated on 20 rape charges, homicide, money laundering and drug trafficking. Since Wednesday, May 8th, women have been camping outside where he is being detained to defend him, even going on hunger strike to do so. Pereira molested and attacked his victims by saying they were possessed by evil spirits that would only be exterminated if they had sex with a ‘holy man’. Still, women want his freedom, believing the all the accusations are vile lies. One of his victims claimed she was abused from 14 to 22 years old, and 20 other women have come forward since the investigation started. There are reports of abuse since 1998.

Feliciano has also defended Pereira, calling him an ‘international leader’.

It is apparent that news of rape, abuse and sexual harassment has increased over the last decade. Though it is a grueling task to find out whether is it the number of news reports that have increased, or the number of attacks, one thing is certain; rape culture still exists, and it is even spread by those in religious, political, and authority positions – all over the world. And so is homophobia. If these women vouching for the pastor believe the church over 20 women who have spoken up about the traumatic ordeal of being raped by this man, they will undoubtedly all believe homosexuality is wrong and has to be cured.

Feliciano and his church are not quitting anytime soon despite protests. It’s not just the fact that they manipulate public opinion but also that they force money off their believers (10% of their salaries), take advantage of weak people who need rehabilitation and real help, and sell miracles. The Angolan government actually banned Brazilian evangelican churches because of its false advertisement and misleading the people.

In the future, everyone involved in this sick need of putting people down and denying their rights, will be seen as the people who were against the abolition of slavery. They will be the villains. At least we have that to comfort us.

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