Brazilian government demands apology from televangelist for ‘homophobia’
February 21, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Brazilian federal prosecutor is demanding that a televangelist retract certain statements he made in 2011 which the prosecutor says incited “hatred” against homosexuals - a thinly veiled threat of future legal action.
“The people in the Gay Parade mock the symbols of the Catholic Church and no one says anything,” televangelist Silas Malafaia reportedly said. “The Catholic Church should take a stick to these guys, you know? They should lower the club on them.”
Malafaia has reportedly responded to criticisms that he was inciting violence against homosexuals by stating that by “take a stick” (“entrar de pau”) and “lower the club” (“baixar o porrete) he meant the Church should “formulate criticisms, take legal actions.”
In his remarks Malafaia was referring to the desecration of sacred images that occur regularly in homosexual parades in Brazil.
Federal prosecutor Jefferson Apareceido Dias says the comments contain “clear homophobic content, because they incite violence against homosexuals” and “constitute hate speech, incompatible with he constitutional functions of social communication.” He is demanding that Malafaia give a public retraction, devoting double the time to his apology as he did to the original statements.
Malafaia, a minister with the Victory in Christ Assembly of God whose broadcasts are viewed by millions in Brazil, the United States, and many other countries, says the accusation against him is “absurd.”
“I am absolutely not going to retract. The gays manipulate my statements to incriminate me, and I am the one who has to retract? This must be a joke.”
The threat against Malafaia reflects a growing conflict between the regime of socialist president Dilma Rousseff and religious broadcasters, who were largely responsible for her near-defeat in the 2010 presidential elections.
Following objections by Evangelicals and Catholics to Rousseff’s pro-abortion and homosexualist record, she found her poll numbers dropping, and was forced into a runoff with one of her three major opponents. She then signed a statement promising not to initiate pro-abortion or homosexualist legislation during her term in office.
Socialist government authorities are also seeking to withdraw the broadcasting license of the Catholic New Song (Cancao Nova) television network, whose programs have also been critical of the social policies of the ruling Worker’s Party.