Thursday, March 22, 2007

The criminalization of homophobia in Brazil and the Christian churches

Dear Friends

I make available to you the complete text of the anti-homophobia bill in Brazil. It was approved in the Chamber of Deputies, through many pressure efforts, including from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (http://www.iglhrc.org/site/iglhrc/section.php?id=5&detail=638). To go in effect, it needs now to be approved by the Federal Senate.

I make also available to you the corrected article “The criminalization of homophobia in Brazil and the Christian churches” by Dr. Zenóbio Fonseca. Brazil is under serious threat, for this anti-homophobia law may be approved in the Brazilian Congress at any moment. To understand how Brazil has reached this point, please read the article “Behind the homosexual tsunami in Brazil” (http://lastdayswatchman.blogspot.com/2007/01/behind-homosexual-tsunami-in-brazil.html ), written by me and published originally in The Religion & Society Report, by The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society.

The complete text of the anti-homophobia law in Brazil, translated by me, is below the article by Dr. Fonseca.

Julio Severo

*****************************************************

The criminalization of homophobia in Brazil and the Christian churches

By Dr. Zenóbio Fonseca

Rio de Janeiro, March 19, 2007 - This article seeks to offer a short presentation on the new legislation involving sexual orientation, and its repercussions on the Christian religious organizations. That new legal variation will be introduced in the Brazilian laws, through the approval of the Bill 5003/2001 by the Chamber of Deputies (House of Representatives) on November 23, 2006.

This bill changes the federal Law 7.716/89, which addresses crimes of prejudice based on race or skin color, as well as the Brazilian Penal Code (Law 2.848/1940) and the Consolidation of Labor Laws (Law 5.4252/1943), introducing new penal dispositions toward discrimination or prejudice of gender, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.

We see that this parliamentarian proposal, currently under consideration in the Federal Senate under the Bill 122/2006, has been the primary goal of the entire homosexual movement in Brazil and other countries sympathetic to this issue, as the media has extensively shown, for it makes prejudice based on gender, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity a crime. [1].

The critical point is that this is a new law addressing the issue of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Why should Christians in Brazil be worried? Christians are against exclusion--Christianity taught by Scriptures shows we should pursue love as our goal and be committed to biblical values.

Theoretically, it can be affirmed that the “conflict” will happen between the regulations introduced in Bill 5003/2001 and the Christian values that the Bible defends. In a special way, the “conflict” will hit Christian people and Christian religious organizations. In other words, it will hit any individual or group--including churches--that doesn’t accept homosexual behavior or sexual orientation as an acceptable practice or social pattern in any public or private place.

For example, we quote articles 8º-A and 8º-B proposed by the bill, which would penalize any attempt to restrict homosexual expression:

“Article 8-A: To hinder or restrict the expression and the manifestation of affection in public or private places open to all people, because of characteristics foreseen in the 1st article of this Law: Penalty: between 2 (two) and 5 (five) years of incarceration”.

“Article 8-B: To forbid the free expression and manifestation of affection of a homosexual, bisexual or transgender citizen, when these expressions and manifestations are allowed to other citizens: Penalty: between 2 (two) and 5 (five) years of incarceration”.

The Bill, that may go into effect at any moment in 2007, will bring serious juridical conflicts to the Christian religious organizations, their leaders and members in Brazil, because the commandments and principles that the Bible defends are contrary to the values, teachings and indoctrination of the sexual orientation ideology. Sexual orientation is just one of the many terms employed to designate and protect homosexuality.

Some Brazilians claim that, if approved, the bill will in no way affect, directly or indirectly, evangelical churches (or, in the Brazilian juridical expression, religious entities), under the allegation that the Brazilian Constitution guarantees the freedom of faith, religion and worship [2]. However, the Constitution mentions protection in the form of Law.

Here is the greatest doubt: the Constitution mentions protection to the religious temples in the form of Law. However, on the other hand, Bill 5003/2001 brings in its essence that sexual orientation is an universal and human principle, supported by the same Constitution. In other words, the issue involves the principle of the dignity of the human person [3].

This is so true that, when addressing the subject, some Brazilian courts have already been basing their decisions under that new view, that is, they have been addressing the subject as a principle of human dignity and equality.

One cannot forget that there are amendment bills to the Constitution under consideration in several States and the Chamber of Deputies, introducing the term sexual orientation as a principle expressed in the constitutional chapter of the fundamental principles. [4]

The pro-homosexuality stand of the Brazilian government is not a new development--in 2003 Brazilian diplomats introduced a similar resolution to the UN Human Rights Committee. The resolution was defeated by the opposition of Muslim countries[5].

As well, Brazil is the author of a new resolution[6], now in the Organization of the American States, where it has introduced sexual orientation as an universal principle of the dignity of the human person, forcing all of the members to accept that value under the resolution. If approved, it will have the force of domestic law in the signatory countries.

In that sense, we view with great concern the approval of the bill, as it makes no exception whatsoever for the Christian doctrines, liturgies and values that are contrary to sexual orientation and homosexuality.

For us to understand the subject and the legal and religious consequences, we use a simple argumentative example: an ordinary citizen has enrolled his son in a public school or day care, where he is taught about free sexual choice, sexual orientation[7], marriage and adoption by same-sex people. As well, the child is exposed to the current trend that teaches homosexual behavior is something that is an inborn human characteristic. At that point, the Christian father or mother, when informed that such values are obligatorily taught in his/her son’s school, takes a stand against those teachings, because of his/her biblical values. The school director, a teacher or Guardianship Council (Children Protection Services) may denounce the parents for discrimination based on sexual orientation, with a penalty of up to 5 years in prison.

Here we have the main point of reach and reflexes of the law, for who is the church and the body of Christ? They are the members, the people that profess faith in Christ Jesus.

In fact, if the church (material temple) is not hit in a direct way in its liturgy, church members will be affected when, in living and defending Christian values, the daily practice of their faith conflicts with homosexuality.

That is the worst threat of the bill, because it will hit any Christian expressing a view contrary to the free expression of the sexual orientation ideology and its values, that have been institutionalized as government programs[8] in the politics favorable to the GLBT population [9], in the federal program Brazil Without Homophobia[10], through the Ministry of the Culture, Education, Health and National Secretary of Human Rights.

Such facts here mentioned are not new in countries where similar laws are already in place, where Christians and churches are beginning to suffer the serious impact of those laws on their freedom of expression and faith, in confrontation with homosexuality.

In England, British Prime Minister Tony Blair affirmed that churches will have to accept laws against discrimination for sexual orientation, same-sex marriage and adoption by homosexual “couples”. [11]

In the American State of New Jersey, mayors and judges were alerted about the possibility that they might be prosecuted if they refused to apply pro-homosexuality anti-discrimination laws, under fines of $10,000 dollars[12].

In Pennsylvania, two grandmothers, one 75 years old and another 70 years old, together with nine other evangelicals, were arrested for speaking about Jesus in a public sidewalk. The basis for their arrest was a law against hate and discrimination. Local ministers are looking for insurance for protecting themselves from prosecution[13].

We can see that in countries where they exist, anti-discrimination laws have, after implementation, become more rigid and broad.

It is important to present this short world panorama to help remind Christians of what may happen in Brazil, if Bill 5003/2001 gets approved.

It is worthwhile to mention that the Brazilian juridical system has several prosecutional and constitutional apparatuses in place that protect human rights, through habeas corpus, individual or collective court injunctions, public civil actions and individual actions seeking restitution for moral damages to people that feel that they were disrespected in their individual rights.

In that way, the approval of this bill to guarantee and enforce the rights of the sexual minorities would be illogical, because of the juridical means that already exist in Brazil.

Zenóbio Fonseca, M.Sc., Juridical Consultant and college professor.

Email: zenobiofonseca@gmail.com

Translated by Julio Severo:

http://www.lastdayswatchman.blogspot.com

juliosevero@gmail.com

Notes:

[1] Article 2 of Bill 5003/2001: “Defines crimes of discrimination or prejudice based on race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity”. (NR)

[2] Article 5, clause VI of CRFB: “The freedom of conscience and of faith is inviolable, being assured the free exercise of the religious services, and is guaranteed, in the form of Law, the protection to the worship places and their liturgies”.

[3] Article 1, clause III of CRFB: “the dignity of human person”.

[4] The National Pro-Life and Pro-Family Association website presents a list of several bills under consideration in this issue: http://www.providafamilia.org/novosite/index.htm

[5] Source: http://www.midiaindependente.org/pt/blue/2004/02/274038.shtml. Accessed in February 4, 2007.

[6] Source: http://www.adital.com.br/site/noticia.asp?lang=PT&cod=20657. Accessed in February 4, 2007.

[7] Bibliographical references of monographs on the sexual orientation issue from INEP. Website:http://www.inep.gov.br/PESQUISA/BBE-ONLINE/lista.asp?navegacao=proxima&Doc=M&cod=37341&Assunto=EDUCA%C3%83%C6%92%C3%86%E2%80%99%C3%83%C2%A2%C3%A2%E2%80%9A%C2%AC%C3%82%C2%A1%C3%83%C6%92%C3%86%E2%80%99%C3%83%E2%80%A0%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2O+SEXUAL&P=1&nl=20. Accessed in February 4, 2007.

[8] Source: http://www.pt.org.br/site/noticias/noticias_int.asp?cod=45269 . Accessed in February 4, 2007.

[9] Source: http://www.planalto.gov.br/seppir/clipping/set2006/MixBrasil_1809.pdf . Accessed in February 4, 2007.

[10] Source: http://www.mj.gov.br/sedh/documentos/004_1_3.pdf. Accessed in February 4, 2007.

[11] Source: http://gonline.uol.com.br/site/arquivos/estatico/gnews/gnews_noticia_19122.htm and http://gonline.uol.com.br/site/arquivos/estatico/gnews/gnews_noticia_19094.htm. Accessed in February 4, 2007.

[12] Source: http://gonline.uol.com.br/site/arquivos/estatico/gnews/gnews_noticia_19031.htm. Accessed in February 4, 2007.

[13] Source: WND. Translated and adapted by Julio Severo: www.juliosevero.com.br

*****************************************************

FINAL COMPOSITION

BILL 5.003-B, of 2001

It alters Law 7.716, of January 5, 1989, which defines crimes provoked by prejudice of race or skin color, gives new composition to § 3 of the article 140 of the Law 2.848, of December 7, 1940 — Penal Code, and to the article 5 of the Consolidation of the Labor Laws, approved by the Law 5.452, of May 1, 1943, and takes other measures.

NATIONAL CONGRESS ordains:

Article 1: This Law alters Law 7.716, of January 5, 1989, Law 2.848, of December 7, 1940 — Penal Code, and the Consolidation of the Labor Laws, approved by the Law 5.452, of May 1, 1943, defining crimes provoked by discrimination or prejudice of gender, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Article 2: The amendment to the Law 7.716, of January 5, 1989, is now put in force with the following wording:

“It defines crimes provoked by discrimination or prejudice of race, skin color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity”. (NR)

Article 3: The caput of the article 1 of the Law 7.716, of January 5, 1989, is put now in force with the following wording:

“Article 1: Crimes provoked by discrimination or prejudice of race, skin color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity will be punished, in the form of this Law”. (NR)

Article 4: Law 7.716, of January 5, 1989, is now put in force with of the addition of the following article 4-A:

“Article 4 — Direct or indirect actions of dismissal by an employer or his representative: Penalty: between 2 (two) and 5 (five) years of incarceration”.

Article 5: Articles 5, 6 and 7 of the Law 7.716, of January 5, 1989, are now put in force with the following wording:

“Article 5: To hinder, refuse or prohibit the entrance or permanence in any public or private setting or establishment, open to the public: Penalty: between 1 (one) and 3 (three) years of incarceration”. (NR)

“Article 6: To Refuse, deny, hinder, ignore, impair, defer or exclude, in any system of educational selection, enrollment or professional promotion: Penalty: between 3 (three) and 5 (five) years of incarceration. Sole paragraph. (Revoked)” (NR)

Article 7: To overtax, refuse, ignore or hinder the lodging in hotels, motels, boarding houses or similar places: Penalty: between 3 (three) and 5 (five) years of incarceration”. (NR)

Article 6: Law 7.716, of January 5, 1989, is now put in force with the addition of the following article 7-A:

“Article 7: To overtax, refuse, ignore or hinder the rent, purchase, acquisition, leasing or loan of real state or equipment of any purpose: Penalty: between 2 (two) and 5 (five) years of incarceration”.

Article 7: Law 7.716, of January 5, 1989, is now put in force with the addition of the following articles 8-A and 8-B:

“Article 8-A: To hinder or restrict the expression and manifestation of affection in public or private places open to all people, because of characteristics foreseen in the 1st article of this Law: Penalty: between 2 (two) and 5 (five) years of incarceration”.

“Article 8-B: To forbid the free expression and manifestation of affection of a homosexual, bisexual or transgender citizen, when these expressions and manifestations are allowed to other citizens: Penalty: between 2 (two) and 5 (five) years of incarceration”.

Article 8: Articles 16 and 20 of the Law 7.716, of January 5, 1989, are now put in force with the following wording:

“Article 16. Consequences to violators:

I — The loss of the public position or job, for federal employees;

II — Disqualification for contracts with agencies directly or indirectly associated to the federal government;

III — No access to credits granted by the government and its financial institutions or to development programs instituted or maintained by them;

IV — No exemption, suspension, amnesty or any benefits in taxes;

V — Fines of up to 10.000 (ten thousand) UFIRs, which can be multiplied up to 10 (ten) times in case of recidivism, being taken into account the offender’s financial capacity;

VI — Suspension of the operation of the establishments for a period up to 3 (three) months.

§ 1 Resources coming from the fines established by this Law will be destined to educational efforts against discrimination.

§ 2 When the illicit action is practiced by those having contract, concession and permission from the government, besides the individual responsibilities, the penalty of rescission of the contract, agreement or permission will be added.

§ 3 In any case, the period for disqualification will be 12 (twelve) months, counted from the date of the application of the sanction.

§ 4 The cadastral information and the references invoked as justifying a discrimination will be always accessible to all those that are subject to selective process, where their participation is concerned”. (NR)

“Art. 20. To practice, induce or incite discrimination or prejudice of race, skin color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity:

§ 5 What is determined in this article involves the practice of any kind of violent, constraining, threatening or humiliating action, of moral, ethical, philosophical or psychological order”. (NR)

Article 9: Law 7.716, of January 5, 1989, is now put in force with the addition of the following articles 20-A and 20-B:

“Article 20-A. The practice of the discriminatory actions referred to in this Law will be investigated in an administrative and penal process, which will be initiated by:

I — complaint by an offended individual;

II – formal notification by a competent authority;

III – notification by non-government organizations of defense of citizenship and human rights”.

“Art. 20-B. The interpretation of the determinations of this Law and of all of the normative means for protection of the rights of equality of opportunity and treatment will meet the principle of the widest protection of the human rights.

§ 1 In that intention, compliance is to be given not only to the principles and rights foreseen in this Law, but also to all of the determinations of international treaties or conventions which Brazil is signatory of, to the national legislation and administrative determinations.

§ 2 For interpretation and application of this Law, compliance is to be given, whenever is more favorable to the antidiscrimination fight, to the guidelines made by the International Courts of Human Rights, properly recognized by Brazil”.

Article 10. § 3 of the article 140 of the Law 2.848, of December 7, 1940 — Penal code, is now put in force with the following wording:

“Article 140.

§ 3 If an offense concerns the use of elements referring to race, skin color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, or old age or deficiency of an individual: Penalty: between 1 (one) and 3 (three) years of incarceration and fine”. (NR)

Article 11. Article 5 of the Consolidation of the Labor Laws — CLL, approved by the Law 5.452, of May 1, 1943, is now put in force added of the following only paragraph:

“Article 5

Sole paragraph. It is forbidden any discriminatory and limiting practice regarding to access to a job, or its maintenance, because of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, origin, race, skin color, marital status, family situation or age. The only exception is the hypotheses of protection to minors foreseen in the clause XXXIII of the caput of the article 7 of the Federal Constitution”. (NR)

Art. 12. This Law goes into effect in the date of its publication.

Session Hall, November 23, 2006.

Relator

English version: Julio Severo

http://www.lastdayswatchman.blogspot.com

No comments :

Post a Comment