Interview with Brazil’s “most discriminated against and persecuted” Pro-Life Activist
Julio Severo reveals details of lengthy struggle against attempts of UN and US organizations to corrupt Brazil society
By Steve Jalsevac and Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
SAO PAULO, August 28, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) — LifeSiteNews.com’s Matthew Cullinan Hoffman recently had the opportunity to extensively interview Julio Severo, to ask him about the situation in Brazil, and the challenges he faces as a pro-life and pro-family activist increasingly under fire by anti-life forces in his country.
Severo was recently described by the Brazilian philosopher and political commentator Olavo de Carvalho as “the most discriminated against and persecuted of Brazilians”. Involved in the pro-life and pro-family movement in Brazil since 1987, Severo has written the definitive work on gay activism in the country and more recently has written a pro-life prayer book.
Severo’s work has been mentioned in the Brazilian National Congress, as well as major national magazines, including Show da Fe, Eclesia, and Enfoque Gospel. He is a theological consultant and correspondent for the Christian Research Institute in Brazil. He is also a leader in the homeschooling movement in that country, which operates underground due to government persecution.
Through his blog, http://juliosevero.blogspot.com, Severo writes critiques of the pro-abortion and pro-homosexual movements, as well as the administration of Luiz Lula, the current president of Brazil, who favors both movements. The blog, which is read and published widely in Brazil, recently came under attack from homosexual activists, who convinced Google to block it for several days. After receiving numerous protests, including articles written by Olavo de Carvalho and others in major Brazilian newspapers, Google restored the site (see LifeSiteNews coverage at http://www.blogger.com/profile/03079977728841299575).
In the interview Severo provides a fascinating history of his far-sighted and courageous efforts to warm Brazilians about foreign attempts to bring both full abortion access and acceptance of homosexuality to his strongly pro-life and pro-family nation.
He began by spearheading a successful effort to close an illegal abortion clinic and by protesting at the US embassy over its abortion on demand situation. Soon after, UN and US based forces, together with Brazil's very liberal media successfully campaigned to expand abortion rights in Brazil. It was unthinkable during Severo’s early protests at the US embassy that many Brazilians would themselves soon begin to be subject to and believe abortion propaganda.
In 1995 Severo began writing his book, “The Homosexual Movement”, which, when published in 1998, was perceived by Brazilians as being unnecessary and alarmist. As it has turned out, Severo tells LifeSiteNews, “Now, my book is very outdated, because the Brazilian gay movement ran ahead of all the warnings of my book!”
Brazil’s prominent pro-life, pro-family activist also exposes the duplicity of President Luiz Lula who, prior to his election, emphasized he was a God-fearing man who respected family values. Since Lula's election, reveals Severo, “abortion and homosexual ‘rights’ are advancing in a fast pace”.
For his dedicated efforts Severo has been repeatedly threatened by abortion and homosexual activists. He has nevertheless continued his efforts for the protection of life and family, with a special emphasis on prayer. His hopes for the growth of what is still only a small pro-life movement in Brazil are greater now that Brazil’s evangelicals are becoming involved.
See LifeSiteNews.com Interviews Brazil’s Pro-Life Evangelist Julio Severo - Part 1
Julio Severo Interview — Part 1
Severo tells how he became involved in pro-life and how Brazil has been changed since the late 1980s
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
See introductory story at http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/aug/07082811.html
SAO PAULO, August 28, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com)
LifeSiteNews.com: How long have you been involved in pro-life and pro-family work? How did you get started?
Julio Severo: My first contact with the pro-life message was through publications from Last Days Ministries, in 1986. Through them I learned about Americans Against Abortion (a branch of Last Days Ministries). Before, I supported abortion in cases of rape and risk of life. Later, after reading the LDM materials, I had a change of mind.
In 1986, I wrote LDM asking for their help because I wanted to close a clandestine abortion clinic in Sao Paulo. But I was afraid, because I did know that there were policemen covering this clinic. LDM could not help me, but they gave me several contacts in the US. One of these pro-life contacts suggested that I get in touch with Fr. Paul Marx [founder of Human Life International], which I did. Fr. Marx put me in touch with Dr. Talmir Rodrigues and Dr. Humberto Vieira. They gave me a lot of guidance, but they could not help me. So I found a special police agency and explained the problem, but what helped most was that a friend of mine, who worked in a police station, asked the police officers to get involved. They were able to close the clinic.
The next year, 1987, I went to the American consulate in São Paulo and delivered Americans Against Abortion leaflets. I did it because I had read, through Americans Against Abortion literature, that America had a horrible abortion law, but that President Reagan was against it. I greatly admired Reagan because of his strong moral stances.
LifeSiteNews.com: When you took this anti-abortion literature to the US consulate, what were you trying to accomplish?
Julio Severo: Well, I was 22 years old and I had read a lot about Americans getting jailed at the front of abortion clinics just because they were peacefully praying. I did not understand it. America had much more democracy than Brazil, but Brazil had never jailed pro-life people. This was unthinkable.
I heard about cases where American pro-lifers were jailed just because they had distributed pro-life literature and I decided to get involved in this battle. Within the consulate, I received an order to stop my activities and an American official told me that I should deliver to her all my pro-life leaflets. I told her that if she took them I was going to get in touch with Brazilian TV channels, and she did not take them from me. I told her that even though she hindered me from distributing them within the consulate, I was going immediately to distribute on the sidewalk of the consulate, because that place was Brazilian territory, and in Brazil abortion was illegal. They respected my decision, even though some American officials were near. I distributed them to all people entering the consulate.
LifeSiteNews.com: Do you find it ironic that you began this battle fighting against legal abortion in the USA, and now you are fighting against US-based organizations in Brazil who are attempting to expand legal abortion in your country?
Julio Severo: Yes. My two first great battles were: to close a clandestine abortion clinic and help and sympathize with all my pro-life brothers and sisters who were getting jailed in America. That is why I decided to distribute pro-life leaflets in the US consulate. It was also a frightening experience, because in the next days a dark car was near my house in a very suspicious way!!
LifeSiteNews.com: Did anything happen with regard to the car?
Julio Severo: It came sometimes, but some time later it did not come back. Were they watching me? Today I think: could my name be on some U.S. black list?
LifeSiteNews.com: And so, you began your pro-life work in a political environment that was very different from the one that you have today in Brazil, correct?
Julio Severo: Oh, yes! I do not remember any pro-abortion activities.
LifeSiteNews.com: Abortion was illegal in almost all circumstances, and the public was strongly against it?
Julio Severo: Yes! The Brazilian people were completely against it, but I believe popular soap operas were slightly undermining moral and religious stances. Soap operas were and are extremely popular in Brazil. Brazil at that time was much, much different from the current Brazil.
LifeSiteNews.com: How has Brazil changed since the late 1980s with regard to human life issues?
Julio Severo: The great difference is that today there are many organized and coordinated efforts and NGOs promoting abortion. Moreover, the current Brazilian government supports abortion. No past Brazilian government has supported abortion.
LifeSiteNews.com: How has the culture changed? Are Brazilians as opposed to abortion today as they were in the 1980s?
Julio Severo: There is a survey showing that most Brazilians do not want abortion decriminalization. Yet, in the past Brazilians could not even hear and see support for abortion on TV and radio. Today they tolerate this, but are against abortion.
LifeSiteNews.com: Would you say, then, that the media has changed, but the culture has changed less?
Julio Severo: I would say that the liberal media could not freely reveal its views on abortion, but today it does it freely. The public has been molded by it. This is my perception. I remember that in early 1990 Rede Globo, the biggest TV channel in Brazil, was given an award because its soap operas were indoctrinating the public with family planning ideals.
LifeSiteNews.com: Who gave them the award? Do you remember?
Julio Severo: Yes, the United Nations. I have this UN document in some place of my things.
LifeSiteNews.com: Let’s go back to the issue of NGOs and other organizations involved in promoting abortion in Brazil. Generally, from where are these organizations receiving their support, and where are they based?
Julio Severo: In early 1990, I visited the UNFPA office in Brazil, and I saw that they had a book showing all international groups funding many anti-life groups in Brazil. Most of these groups were based in America. Yet, through Fr. Paul Marx, I already knew that Brazil and other Third World countries were being heavily assaulted by the investments from anti-life groups in America, Canada and Europe. Yearly, I visited the UNFPA office in Brazil.
LifeSiteNews.com: What are the principle struggles that pro-life people are involved in and have been involved from the time when you began your work in the late 80s, to today?
Julio Severo: In the late 80s, I saw only Catholics in the pro-life movement, and their focus was abortion. In the 90s, the pro-life movement was still Catholic, and in the mid 90s they added sex education to the important items on the pro-life agenda. Through their kind assistance I came to know the Brazilian Congress and I learned how to promote the pro-life principles and values there. I am specially indebted to Dr. Humberto Vieia, the president of Providafamilia [Pro-Life and Family].
More recently, evangelicals entered in the battles, not only because of abortion, but also because of the furious advance of the gay movement. Interestingly, Catholics until very recently did not want to get involved in the fight against the gay agenda, because they feared that it could in some way harm their focus on abortion. But now they are increasingly conscious that the anti-life forces are composed by pro-abortion and gay militants, This is a very recent change, though. As you have seen, I have struggled to awaken people about the gay agenda since 1998.
Part II http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/aug/07082901.html
LifeSiteNews.com Interviews Brazil’s Pro-Life Evangelist Julio Severo — Part II
Pro-abort and homosexual movement tactics, the disaster of Luiz Lula, homosexual activism in Brazil, persecution of Severo, a prayer book
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
See Part I at http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/aug/07082810.html
SAO PAULO, August 29, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com)
LifeSiteNews.com: What are the tactics used by the pro-abortion and homosexual movements in Brazil?
Julio Severo: They are undermining rights linked to family and sexuality. There are pervasive propaganda efforts showing that women are vulnerable and need state protection. Then they are trained for empowerment, to understand that the ideal life is to enter the work force, put the children in the dayschool, etc.
In the sexual area, abortion has been systematically presented as a health issue, not a criminal issue. IPPF [International Planned Parenthood Federation] has been very active in the abortion debate in Brazil, introducing statistics on the abortion impact on Brazilian women. There are also similar reports by the Alan Gutmacher Institute. Brazil is a signatory of CEDAW [Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women] and other UN documents, without any opposition, because the Brazilian people were not aware of their risks. Only recently have pro-lifers been getting involved in the role of our government in the UN, but I fear that it is too late, because Brazil has already signed all major UN documents.
LifeSiteNews.com: What has been the effect of the election of Luiz Lula on the politics of human life and human sexuality in Brazil?
Julio Severo: Disastrous for two reasons: 1) He was supported by a majority of Christians, who were misled by progressive Catholic and evangelical leaders. 2) He himself misled Christians to become president, because during the election campaigns he told everybody that he was a God-fearing man, that he respected family values, that after his victory he would not let his government promote and get involved in the abortion and homosexual issues. Then you can see that many people were misled.
LifeSiteNews.com: How were they misled? What has Lula’s conduct been since he entered office?
Julio Severo: Now abortion and homosexual "rights" are advancing in a fast pace. He has publicly defended and supported gay parades. He has publicly defended explicit sex education. He has publicly spurned moral and Christian values. His Minister of Health has publicly supported abortion. His Minister for Women Affairs, who worked in the Brazilian delegation in the UN supporting abortion rights, is now promoting such "rights" in national policies for women.
LifeSiteNews.com: Does the content of Lula’s sex education programs contradict traditional sexual morality?
Julio Severo: Yes, because it has transmitted values, but not traditional values. Such education accepts sex without marriage, sex only for pleasure -- for children and teens! It teaches them how to avoid pregnancy and sexual diseases, but it does not teach them how to get prepared for marriage. In fact, it does not teach in any way anything positive about marriage, husband, wife, etc. Children at school cannot be exposed or taught about the traditional role for men and women. Instead, they learn that women can do anything men do. Sports cannot be limited for one sex only in schools. For teens, education is more elaborated and "advanced". In the schools, there is no mention of "wife" or "husband". Usually, government propaganda uses "wife" and "husband" in negative contexts, like wife-battering, etc.
LifeSiteNews.com: You wrote a book in 1998 called “The Homosexual Movement” in Portuguese. Why did you choose to write this book in 1998, and what is it about?
Julio Severo says: Well, the initial inspiration came in March 1995. It was a spiritual urging, in fact. I felt God telling in my heart that I should write a book on the homosexual movement, but I was afraid, because in that time to get involved in homosexual issues was shameful. Yet, after some time I decided to answer to this urging. And I saw the confirmation of such a need when ILGA (International Lesbian and Gay Association) had its first meeting in the Southern Hemisphere, in Rio de Janeiro, in July 1995 (I think that this is the right month, but I am not sure). It took three years to be written. When it was published, many people said that it was unnecessary.
LifeSiteNews.com: Does it only cover homosexual activism in Brazil, or worldwide?
Julio Severo: It discusses the timid activism in Brazil, presenting evidence that Brazilian groups were receiving support and know-how from American groups. It also showed many examples of the aggressive advance of the homosexual movement in America and Europe and how Brazilian groups would eventually copy their American and European counterparts. Back in late 1990s people used to tell me that Brazil would never suffer such violent promotion of the homosexual agenda. Now, my book is very outdated, because the Brazilian gay movement ran ahead of all the warnings of my book!
LifeSiteNews.com: You have recently written another book, this time on prayer. Is it also related to human life and sexuality issues?
Julio Severo says: Yes! It teaches how to pray for our families, work and about government. It teaches also how to pray against the promotion of abortion and homosexual issues. This book has my pro-life imprint!
LifeSiteNews.com: Recently, homosexual activists attempted to silence your blog, juliosevero.blogspot.com. At that time, the Brazilian philosopher Olavo de Carvalho wrote in a national newspaper: “Julio Severo, as a reprisal against his moral crusade, now has his social and professional life totally destroyed. He is the most discriminated against and persecuted of Brazilians. He cannot confront, alone, a gigantic mass movement subsidized by billionaire foundations that, having made itself out to be a victim persecuted by a solitary and poor adversary, now shows a monstrous, cynical, and perverse dishonesty.” What kind of persecution have you received from the homosexual movement in Brazil?
Julio Severo: The initial persecution was by a homosexual government official in my former town. Frequently, I have received threats by email. There was also an explicit threat against me, published online. Besides, there are articles calling me names and inventing homosexual lies about me.
LifeSiteNews.com: What were the threats?
Julio Severo: More recently I was informed about attempts by Luiz Mott [the leader of Brazil's homosexual movement] to find my address. The article online said "Vamos dar um fim físico ao maníaco Julio Severo"; Let us physically destroy the maniac Julio Severo.
LifeSiteNews.com: These threats are on homosexual websites?
Julio Severo: They have been posted in major leftist websites. I have received an email where gay writer Fabricio Viana threatened to sue me. I have received it in August. My lawyer told me that while they do not know my physical address, I am secure.
LifeSiteNews.com: What are your thoughts about Brazil's future? Do you see any signs of hope?
Julio Severo: I think Brazil is in a fast spiral destructive course. Its great weakness was believing the left and liberal ideology. These ideologies are eating the Brazilian society as a cancer, eroding family and religious values. I think that the only hope is a strong pro-life and pro-family movement detached from the leftist contamination so common in Brazilian politics and society.
LifeSiteNews.com: Do you see such a movement emerging in Brazil today?
Julio Severo: I see a very small pro-life movement, and the good news is that Evangelicals are getting involved.
For more information about Julio Severo's struggle in Brazil:
His blog in English: http://lastdayswatchman.blogspot.com
His blog in Portuguese: http://juliosevero.blogspot.com
His email can be found at this address: http://www.blogger.com/profile/03079977728841299575
Previous LifeSiteNews coverage:
Plan to Shut Down Blog of Brazil Pro-Family Leader Backfires