“What does ANAJURE exist for?” The Marco Feliciano case
Is the defense of civil liberties above religious differences? Or is it not?
By Julio Severo
Rep. Marco Feliciano has been under heavy fire from gay supremacists in Brazil, because he was appointed in 5 March to head the Human Rights Congressional Committee (HRCC) in the Brazilian House of Representatives.
They are furious not only at his stances on homosexuality and abortion, but also because HRCC had always been headed by the ruling socialist Workers’ Party and other socialists, who operated this congressional committee to approve the allocation of millions of taxpayer money to homosexualist projects.
Under this socialist leadership, HRCC also discussed ways to criminalize criticism of homosexuality. Abortion and homosexual sex were their top priority concern.
Gay supremacists were satisfied to see their demands served by hardline socialists.
Then came Marco Feliciano, an Assemblies of God minister. Feliciano has not been theologically trained and has a hard time to express his views in philosophical terms. Nevertheless, he has been clear about values. His simple Pentecostal background has led him to take a firm stand against abortion and homosexuality.
So he has been pressed by all sides to resign: gay supremacists, liberal politicians, abortion groups, liberal media and… liberal Protestants.
A massive group of these Protestants, comprised also by gay Protestant militants, is petitioning the Brazilian government and Congress to remove Feliciano from the HRCC presidency. The House of Representatives president officially wants Feliciano to step down. The president of his party, under such pressure, wants him to resign as well.
Silas Malafaia, renowned Brazilian Pentecostal Televangelist, Supports Feliciano
A number of pro-family Christians, including Catholics, are supporting Marco Feliciano.
The Portuguese version of The Christian Post reported yesterday Silas Malafaia and Julio Severo as the main evangelical voices in Brazil asking Feliciano not to resign. Malafaia is also an Assemblies of God minister and has a massive audience through his weekly religious TV shows.
In the The Christian Post article, Malafaia said that the attacks against Feliciano are coming from leftists.
He has been outspoken about abortion and homosexuality. Like Feliciano, he is not afraid to call abortion a murder and homosexuality a sin. But unlike Feliciano, he is much more articulate.
Yet, both Malafaia and I understand that this is not the proper time for us to judge Feliciano for his lack of theological training and philosophical gifts. Therefore, on account of his like outspoken stance on defense of family values, Feliciano needs support, not criticism or condemnation.
So it is a surprise that ANAJURE issued a public message, on March 20, saying the presence of Feliciano in HRCC “is going to divide, even more, the Evangelical Church” in Brazil.
ANAJURE is a recently born group of Brazilian Protestant attorneys whose purported mission is to defend fundamental civil liberties, especially of Christians.
But its public message, signed by its president, Uziel Santana, has no such defense for the fundamental civil liberties of Feliciano. On the contrary, it accuses the Assemblies of God minister of “fomenting a holy war for his intolerant actions against intolerant” individuals and groups.
The message also questions the personal motivations of the Pentecostal minister, by saying “All of this because personal projects are above the values of the Truth of the Gospel of Christ.”
Reportedly, ANAJURE has had its first defection yesterday, because one of its directors strongly disagreed with the message against Feliciano.
From a Christian group self-appointed to defend fundamental civil liberties, we Brazilians should expect such a defense, regardless the doctrinal differences of the Christian victim. But this is a very hard test for ANAJURE, whose Advisory Council is headed by Rev. Augustus Nicodemus Lopes.
A Gay Activist in a Presbyterian University
Lopes is the chancellor of the Mackenzie Presbyterian University in São Paulo. He has several theological essays against Pentecostal and charismatic movements. Some of his articles are available, in Portuguese, in the website of his university.
On February 28, his university hosted a debate with Jean Wyllys, a member of the Brazilian House of Representatives. Wyllys is also a radical gay militant, working very hard in HRCC to advance the gay agenda.
To debate the gay activist, Lopes invited one of his friends in ANAJURE. But the students in the Presbyterian university booed the representative of ANAJURE, and praised Wyllys.
In the end, Lopes denied that he had sponsored the event, but the official university paper confirms that the debate was held in partnership with the university chancellor office.
This is not the only strange case involving its chancellor. In 2010 he had removed from the university website a Presbyterian manifesto against the gay agenda, because gay activists demanded it. He gave way. But he has never removed his several articles and manifestos against Pentecostals and charismatics.
My exposé of the inconsistent partnership, and the shameful fact that a gay activist was given an opportunity to defend his perversions in a Protestant university, resounded throughout Brazil. Major Protestant news websites published or mentioned my article.
GospelPrime, GospelMais, Portal Fé em Jesus (Faith in Jesus’ Portal) and other Brazilian websites were contacted by ANAJURE, which asked them to remove my article and, in its place, publish ANAJURE articles.
One of the editors, who was under ANAJURE pressure, told me, “Sincerely, I do not know what ANAJURE exists for.”
GospelPrime, GospelMais and others gave in. Yet, Portal Fé em Jesus scolded ANAJURE for its aggression against free speech — in this case, my free speech.
The fact is, if ANAJURE had scolded Lopes for allowing a gay activist in his university, it would not need to ask major Protestant websites in Brazil to censor my fundamental civil liberties to denounce Lopes’ behavior.
Yet, even under duress, my article has had a significant repercussion in Brazil. The Facebook page of Silas Malafaia has spread it to its 168,000 followers.
What about ANAJURE and its purported mission to defend fundamental civil liberties? It is facing a hard time to do it in the case of Marco Feliciano, because its president thinks it is necessary to judge his character and motivations, but it is unable to do it in the case of one of its own directors.
And if you expose him for allowing a gay activist in his Protestant university or for him giving way to gay militants demanding the removal from his university of a Christian manifesto against the gay agenda, ANAJURE shows its muscle to defend cowardice and censor a Christian message against it.
ANAJURE is free to defend and attack anyone it wishes.
Even disagreeing with him, I will support Marco Feliciano for his courage, and I pray that he may not give in to cowards who want him to copy their cowardice.