Sunday, October 29, 2006

Lula again: high in populism and scandals

Lula again: high in populism and scandals

Julio Severo

In Brazil, Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, who has been President since 2002, has won his presidential re-election on the October 29 polls. He will govern Brazil for four more years.

Lula is one of the founders of the Workers’ Party (PT), a populist Socialist party. One of the first measures of his past administration was to support Hugo Chavez in his political crisis in Venezuela. By the “Foro de São Paulo” pact, leftist leaders and groups have a commitment to protect one another. Lula and Fidel Castro founded “Foro de São Paulo” in 1990 to unify leftists in their mission to spread and strengthen their ideology throughout Latin America.

The past 4 years of the Lula administration have been plagued by successive scandals, involving his staff and government officials, many of whom fell for financial, administrative and personal corruption and other serious crimes. Yet, even though PT has been the main goal of the accusations, Lula himself seems fully armored and has been made in the press reports strangely detached from the immoral conduct of his own staff and party. Such press condescendence should not be surprising, for in Brazil television and other media outlets are eligible for government grants. Lula has repeatedly told reporters and the public that he did not know anything about corruption in his administration. Attempts to impeach him failed.

His popularity remained solid before the October elections. A strong message defending the poor and a government program giving basic food to them have rendered him sympathy from the poor and those who care for them. Such message drew many evangelical followers too. In fact, many denominations approached Lula since the 2002 presidential campaign when PT brought to Brazil one of its old friends — Rev. Jesse Jackson — to assure evangelical leaders from different churches (traditional, charismatic, Pentecostal) that Lula and his party were not a Communist threat. Liberal churches had no need for such encouragement.

With Jackson, Lula himself assured them that he would not let his future administration to get involved in promoting abortion and the homosexual agenda. Yet, the past 4 years saw the launching of Brazil Without Homophobia, a comprehensive official government program to defend and protect homosexuality and fight homophobia, and the Brazilian introduction in the United Nations of a pioneering resolution classifying homosexuality as a human right. Besides, the official PT government program contains reference to abortion decriminalization.

Jackson is not the only responsible for the political “marriage” of evangelicals to Lula. Rev. Caio Fábio and Bishop Carlos Rodrigues, one of the founders of the Kingdom of God Universal Church, were instrumental in the past effort — prior to 2002 — to convince the evangelical population that they should not fear and shun Lula and his Socialism. Today, both have fallen. Rev. Fábio, a Presbyterian, got involved in a series of scandals, including adultery and divorce. Bishop Rodrigues has fallen because of his involvement in political mafias benefiting PT, his denomination and himself. Yet, his church remains politically and financially powerful. It owns the Liberal Party, which has been an ally to PT (Lula’s party) in the Brazilian government since 2003. Brazilian vice-president is a Liberal Party member too.

In 2006, the majority of the most politically vocal evangelical leaders supported the Lula re-election. Rev. Ariovaldo Ramos, former president of the Association of Evangelicals of Brazil (founded by Caio Fábio) and current president of the Brazilian branch of World Vision, told before the October polls: “I support the Lula re-election. I see that his administration introduced social advances that should at least be kept”.

Like Jackson, Ramos is a known Black activist. In 2004, Rev. Ramos took part in a Brazilian entourage that traveled to Venezuela to deliver a leftist manifesto in support of Hugo Chavez.

In situations where there is no favoritism for him, Lula bestows privileges on strong electoral groups. One of the largest Assemblies of God denominations in Brazil decided to side with Lula after their president, Bishop Manoel Ferreira, was promised a government office on September 2006.

In the first Lula administration, Pastor Nilson Fanini, former president of the World Baptist Alliance, had also been granted a similar office. He eventually got involved in serious financial scandals, which left him stranded from the large church he had served for decades.

The Reborn in Christ Apostolic Church, which had also embarked on the Lula campaign since 2002, has been sinking in a scandal quagmire, after its president, Apostle Estevam Hernandes, and some bishops were summoned by the courts for obscure financial transactions. Their estates and banking accounts have been blocked by judicial order. The Foursquare Gospel Church in Brazil is facing similar problems. The president and other leading officials in this church have been summoned by the courts because of illegal moneymaking through their past public offices. While the message and measures to help the poor have been a very successful tool in the hands of political (and even evangelical) opportunists in Brazil, the scandals in the Lula administration and his (evangelical or not) allies are soaring higher than the populism of Lula.

Evangelical leaders allied to Lula have wasted their opportunities to offer spiritual hope to a man in desperate need. Some time ago, he took part in a witchcraft ritual in Africa. Recently, he vented a strange declaration that “the demon that lives in him is not to be awakened, for his wish is to close the Brazilian Congress”.

It is notorious, at least in Brazil, that to get many bills and measures approved, his administration had to buy many parliamentarians. This scandal has been known as Mensalão (big monthly pay-off). His effort to buy the electoral support from the poor through basic assistance and food is called Mensalinho (small monthly pay-off). In fact, the population that benefited has voted overwhelmingly for Lula and his political allies, even those involved in heavy scandals. In spite of his “assistance” to the poor, Brazil has consistently dropped 11 positions on the WEF Growth Competitiveness Index ranking from 2003 to 2005.

Because political, administrative and criminal scandals have been besetting the Lula administration, there is a terrible paradoxical apathy plaguing the feelings of the Brazilian population regarding politicians. Because of the crimes of some, virtually all politicians are perceived as corrupt. So it seems that Brazilian electors did lose their ability to care whether their chosen candidate is ethically reliable or not. They eventually vote for the same individuals that are responsible for the political discontentment of the Brazilian population. Thus, in spite of the many scandals involving many members of the Lula party, nearly all of them were reelected on the October polls. Yet, this apathy has produced strange results among evangelical electors: because of some scandals among some evangelical parliamentarians, most of the Evangelical Parliamentarian Front members did not get reelected. From its 61 members, just 15 were reelected. Even its president, Adelor Vieira, was not re-elected as a congressman. This is an astounding victory for Lula, because his administration had been complaining that religious opposition was hindering its abortion and homosexual bills. Apparently, the next Brazilian administration will have no such hindrance.

In addition, the crisis in the Evangelical Parliamentarian Front (EPF) will be a great advantage for the new PT administration because Adelor Vieira was not re-elected. The new person expected to occupy his place in the EPF presidency is Walter Pinheiro, a Baptist from the PT party, or Bishop Robson Rodovalho, an open Lula-supporter since 2002.

For his new administration, Lula will need other means to get his bills approved in the Congress.

Like his Venezuelan friend, Lula had recently made known that, if re-elected, his intention is to modify the Brazilian constitution. Now that he is president again, it remains to be seen what he will actually do to the Constitution and Brazil.

The Brazilian horizon may be threatening storms ahead. Just less than one day before the October 1 elections, Brazil experienced its worst air traffic disaster, which cost more than 150 fatal victims. For lack of proper warnings, a Boeing crashed.

Such an accident may be a terrible alert. Brasilia needs much more than good political pilots. It needs proper warnings for it not to crash. Yet, for a long time Brazil has lacked good political pilots in its presidency. It remains to be seen what the coming days have in store for Brazil.

Source: Last Days Watchman

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My essay in The Religion & Society Report

I am glad to let you know that The Religion & Society Report issue containing my 12-page essay "Behind the Homosexual Tsunami in Brazil" is being printed and it will be mailed out to its subscribers.

This article, written by me totally in English, speaks of the Brazilian President Lula and his Socialist administration promoting the gay agenda in the whole Brazilian society and even the whole world.

I encourage you to get a copy and read my essay.

The Religion & Society Report is published by The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society, 934 North Main Street, Rockford, IL 61103-7061 USA Phone: (815) 964-5819. Its editor is Dr. Harold Brown.

The gay use and abuse of the word prejudice

The gay use and abuse of the word prejudice

Julio Severo

Gay militants demand special laws. According to their view, those laws are necessary “to protect them” from violence. The great problem is, “What is the ‘test’ that they will use to define and interpret what is violence?” Of course whichever the definition may be, the cases of boys raped by gays are never mentioned, even though they are one of the worst crimes and homosexuality is its main abuse factor.

By the experience of countries that allowed laws against homophobia, we know that interpretations of violence against people involved in homosexuality put in the category of “homophobia crime” even sermons against the homosexual sin. If approved a law against homophobia, there would be persecution and injustice against those not accepting homosexuality. If discrimination is to be against homosexuality, then the Bible and its Author may be placed in that category by a society that worries more about protecting sin than protecting the well-being of its population. Sadly, even some evangelicals are unable to realize what a law against “discrimination” may bring as consequence.

Some time ago, a Brazilian evangelical magazine published an excellent article on the homosexual movement. Yet, it made a comment without considering properly its implications. The magazine commented:

Some demands are more than fair, such as to punish more rigidly absurdities as beatings and even murders of homosexuals, and to curb embarrassments in public places and work places.

Everyone is equal before law — except for homosexuals, that deserve more?

There are several snares involved in the acceptance of those demands. Current laws treat fairly all cases of citizens’ beatings and murders, homosexual or not. There are not episodes where the law allows an aggressor or murderer to go unpunished only because the attacked or murdered individual practiced homosexuality. A judge or court doesn’t have authority to interpret the law that way, for no law leaves unpunished a murderer or aggressor just because the victim practiced homosexual perversion. Such situation is unreal in Brazil. Even if somebody has killed a pedophile, the law it doesn’t exempt him of murder blame.

The law fulfills its role justly to all the citizens, whether homosexual or not. If there are cases of impunity, it is not because the law fails to protect exclusively men involved in homosexuality. It is a well-known fact that there is a lot of impunity in Brazil, but that impunity doesn’t involve only those in homosexuality. There is impunity in all the situations, whether homosexual or not. But when it properly is fulfilled, law does what should do.

Some youths in the São Paulo city, Brazil, killed a homosexual adult male some years ago. They were arrested and condemned, as it would usually happen if they had killed any other citizen. How to punish them more rigidly? Is to kill a homosexual a greater crime than killing an ordinary citizen? Is to murder a gay a greater crime than taking a child’s life? With dozens of thousands of murders happening every year in Brazil, should a dozen of murdered gays be turned into propaganda for the homosexual movement?

What the Brazilian government should do is to correct its proverbial incompetence and to eliminate the death penalty that murderers apply on the whole POPULATION. Why to select individuals involved in homosexuality as special “victims” when overwhelmingly the most of the population, forced to live in a violent social context because of the negligent security politics of the State, does suffer incomparably more and has not a dozen, but dozens of thousands of victims a year, not mentioning a great number of children raped and killed?

An exclusive law to address cases of beatings and murder of homosexuals could not do more than the law has already been doing. Then, what would the objective of such a law be? Probably, just to prevent everything that is interpreted as “violence”, “discrimination” and contrariety to homosexuality. How to prevent specifically? Identifying the sources of the so-called “homophobia” and of any aversion to the homosexual acts. It is exactly in this point that the glances and the ideological machine guns would turn their attention to Christians that mention Bible passages condemning homosexuality. Would the law have interest in doing the distinction that biblical opposition to homosexuality is not the same like hate and violence against individuals in homosexuality? For those struggling to introduce gay bills, all opposition to homosexualism leads to discrimination and aggression against homosexuals.

More than fair demands?

Then are we supposed to pass laws against homophobia, laws protecting homosexuals from being “embarrassed” in public places? Let us think seriously about the implications of such measure. Homosexuals free to kiss each other and make obscene gestures in public places, before children, under the total protection of the law? Why to grant them such freedom and privilege?

Should we pass laws against homophobia, laws protecting homosexuals from being “embarrassed” in the workplaces? Let us think seriously about the implications of such measure. What if an evangelical or Catholic school discovers that one of its teachers or another employee is addicted to homosexual practices? What would happen then? In our simplicity, we may think the children’s protection is priority, above the interests of the gay groups, but it is not on the base of simplicity, innocence and fairness that many lawyers and judges today act. In that case, a law against homophobia would be interpreted entirely “to protect” individuals in homosexuality against “prejudice” and to hinder the school from protecting the children!

If everyone is convinced that those laws are more than fair demands, what will happen to Christians if those laws turn into reality? Laws allegedly made up to combat “homophobia” always eventually privilege and protect the homosexual sin and they always eventually endanger those who do not accept that sin, including Christians.

One of the aims of the homosexual movement is actually to lead the whole society to see their demands as human rights issues. However, if we consider closely, we will see that their demands are not more than fair, but more than cunning. We may, by God’s grace, understand well those and other issues “for we are not ignorant of his devices”. (2 Corinthians 2:11 NKJV)

Distorting the reality

In the voting of homosexual issues in the National Congress in Brasília, speeches equaling opposition to homosexuality as violence is so repetitive and insistent that Christian politicians feel often intimidated, threatened, constrained and forced into a defensive position and into explaining that their stand has no connection with violence, while gay militants never need to suffer the inconvenience and legitimate embarrassment of being charged for the natural connection that exists between homosexuality and sex with boys.

The homosexual movement learned how to corner the opposition, without accepting any charge and accusation. Such attitude reminds greatly PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores — the Workers’ Party, of President Lula) that, when it was in the opposition, it wanted parliamentary investigation for everything and for everybody without fear of confronting nobody, but when it began to govern Brazil with Lula as president it fought with all its strength to suffocate that investigative procedure, even in the most severe cases of corruption involving individuals of its protected government. Coincidentally, the great majority of bills favoring homosexuality and abortion are from politicians of that Socialist party.

In fact, the Lula administration has been trying to promote homosexuality at international level, introducing in the United Nations a pioneering resolution defending sexual orientation as an inalienable human right. If the Brazilian government’s concern with cases of torture, violence and even murder at international level were really legitimate, Lula and his companions would remember Christians.

No human group today has so many victims of murders and tortures as Christians. Every Muslim and communist country is theater of unimaginable cruelties against Christians. More than 150,000 Christians are martyred each year [1]. They are real victims, suffering real (not imaginary) oppressions. They are the victims that usually do not appear in the news. If their suffering were limited just to affront and insults to their Christian lifestyle, they would be able to tolerate it and stay happy. Prejudice and discrimination are comparatively the least preoccupying problems they suffer. The real problem is the systematic torture, not mentioning incredibly high numbers of brutal murders.

However, the Lula administration understands persecution in another way. When two gays kiss one other scandalously in public, offending people and attacking the close children’s innocence, some might have the courage of complaining against the public indecent gay acts. That attitude of not accepting the public gay immorality is, for the Lula administration and for the gay activists, homophobia, prejudice and persecution.

With the help of morally bankrupt governments, that flatter the homosexual movement and treat the faithful Christians as third-class citizens, the arrogant Brazilian gay activists demand rights and special privileges for alleged social persecution. What they call “brutal” persecution, even comparing it to the Nazi persecution of the Jews, it is nothing else than largely cases interpreted as insults and affronts, as in the cases in which they feel offended when the public does not accept their public kisses and other obscene gestures. Of course they also take much advantage of the dozen of murders of homosexuals a year within the violent Brazilian society where all, homosexual or not, run serious and constant risk of being murdered. While they shout and provoke the largest confusion because of minimum issues in order to achieve privileges and maximum rights above the rights that the ordinary citizens enjoy, Christians in hostile countries don’t want anything special — only the right of existing.

Lula has friendship with dictators of communist and Muslim countries, but he doesn’t open his mouth on behalf of the Christians persecuted in those places. His government prefers to open its mouth on behalf of his communist and Muslim friends. His government prefers to open its mouth to defend gays kissing one another in public.

The Lula administration has no desire to protect and guarantee the right of former homosexual Christians to give public testimony about their past-depraved life. Thus, what homosexuals do in public deserves attention and respect, but the public Christian testimony on homosexuality does not.

Promoting unjust prejudice and discrimination politics

The whole society should then ask: Why is the Lula administration privileging individuals involved in homosexual acts? Why does the Lula administration want laws to give special protection to certain categories of individuals, especially on the base of their option for the homosexual lifestyle? Doesn’t the Constitution of Brazil itself establish that all are equal before the law? If a human being is attacked (whether Black, homosexual or even a disgusting neo-Nazi), the law punishes the aggressor. But an antidiscrimination law, for instance, comes to guarantee that some people are more important than everybody else is. That kind of law foments the true racism, prejudice and a great deal of planned and deliberate inequality, putting the race or behavior of certain people as more deserving of state privileges.

It is not incidental that gay activists have been also engaged in the fight of the Black movement. However, the fight to defend and impose the Afro-Brazilian culture (term that often is a camouflage for several Afro-Brazilian occultist practices) may bring unexpected collateral effects. That “culture”, with everything that it represents spiritually, should not be imposed on the citizens or on schoolchildren, because it attacks frontally the spirituality of the most Christians. In the name of an alleged fight against prejudice, the black and homosexual issues are used for the establishment of a minority dictatorship against the majority, when actually the laws have already been protecting very well individual rights. So antidiscrimination laws are unnecessary and dangerous — in fact, they are abuse tools to promote the political interests of the State and of groups alleging to defend minorities.

Laws against the discrimination are a politically correct fad (imported directly from the liberal cultural imperialism of the US) whose noxious effects will be felt in a fulminating way in the close future, where, among another measures, any expression or comment contrary to homosexuality and the practices of African witchcraft will simply be treated as crime, exposing many evangelicals to the threat of lawsuits, sufferings, state persecution and even prison. Besides, that kind of law would promote two “cultures” that embrace each other, for it is known that the African religions and their spiritual entities welcome the homosexual practices.

It is not then mere coincidence that a great defender of the black “culture” is Mr. Luiz Mott, considered the leader of the homosexual movement in Brazil. He has written books on that subject. Evidently, he supports the African religions and the demands of the black groups for special rights, knowing that in the trail of that fight homosexuality and its adherents will be benefited.

Curbing the Christian testimony in the society

Because of that fight, the black “culture” has now special privileges even against evangelicals. TV shows that present people’s testimony that formerly practiced Afro-Brazilian religions and today live in the Gospel have been targeted for prejudice from the State and black groups. That is the only kind of prejudice that the State officially authorizes and supports.

Those public testimonies, although under harassment by the antidiscrimination shock troops, are a part of Christianity from its early times, as the Bible itself proves: “And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed”. (Acts 19:18-20 NKJV)

We need then to question whether the State is entitled to suffocate those public testimonies in the name of a cultural plurality or diversity. If we do not make such questioning now, later the State will think it is also entitled to suffocate the testimony of people who were delivered from homosexuality, so that the mere attitude of telling that there is, in Jesus Christ, hope and escape for those who want to leave homosexuality may eventually to be treated as disrespect and discrimination against a sexual behavior that is now accepted, protected and respected by the new social mores.

Therefore, while there is time, Christians need to fight for the right to preach the Gospel and give assistance to men and women who want to leave the oppression of the homosexual lifestyle, before the merciless Gay Inquisition, in the name of the fight against prejudice and with total state complicity, achieves exclusive rights to commit every kind of intolerance against the testimony and the assistance of Christians in the society.

Julio Severo is author of the book O Movimento Homossexual (The Homosexual Movement), published by the Brazilian branch of the Bethany House Publishers.

Julio Severo English blog: Last Days Watchman

His Portuguese blog: