President of Brazil pushes for worldwide ‘fight against Christophobia’ at UN
NEW YORK, October 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro called for nations worldwide to combat hostility toward Christians in a speech he gave at the United Nations on September 22.
“I call upon the entire international community to protect religious freedom and fight against Christophobia,” President Bolsonaro said.
Union of Catholic Asian News reports that “the pandemic has become a pretext to step up persecution against the Christians” for authoritarian governments. According to Paul Robinson, CEO of Release International, in China, Christians are arrested for holding online prayers, while in Eritrea, Christians fleeing persecution “are barred from accessing shelter camps and other UN support systems.”
Bolsonaro did not expand upon this statement in his recent U.N. speech, which he otherwise largely devoted to the discussion of COVID-19, economic issues, and environmental issues.
He closed his speech by saying, “Brazil is a Christian and conservative country, and has family as its foundation.”
Brazilian writer and cultural conservative Julio Severo noted that the official U.N. report covered much of what Bolsonaro discussed in his speech but did not mention his remark about “Christophobia” or his comment that Brazil is a “Christian and conservative country.”
“The United Nations mentioned nothing not to offend Saudi Arabia, Iran, China and other nations that persecute Christians,” remarked Severo.
Bolsonaro’s vocal support of Christians and conservatism recall his history of Christian and pro-family actions, such as his proclamation consecrating Brazil to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, his promotion of abstinence education, and his opposition to LGBT gender ideology. According to Severo, “[t]he fight against homosexual indoctrination of schoolchildren made Bolsonaro famous among conservatives — even though today his fight is not strong as it was in the past.”
To the conservatives’ dismay, only a few days after Bolsonaro’s U.N. speech, he chose to nominate Kassio Nunes Marques for the Brazilian Supreme Court. According to Severo, Marques is “praised by all the left in Brazil.”
Brazilian lawyer Janaína Paschoal, known for requesting the impeachment of socialist former president Dilma Rousseff, “was perplexed that in a thesis about health, Marques adressed abortion as a women’s health issue, not as murder, not as a life or death issue,” Severo said.
Severo continued, “Perhaps the most important legacy of a president is his appointment for the Supreme Court. What a kind of legacy does Bolsonaro intend to leave for the future of Brazil in the Supreme Court?”
Bolsonaro had said in 2019, “The state is secular, but we are Christians. Or to plagiarize my dear [minister] Damares [Alves]: We are terribly Christian. And that spirit must be present in all the branches of government. Therefore, my commitment: I can appoint two ministers to the Supreme Federal Court. One of them will be terribly evangelical.”
While some evangelicals have expressed dismay at Bolsonaro’s nomination of Marques, Brazil’s president has reassured them that his next nomination will align with the “evangelical” identity he promised them in 2019.
Bolsonaro said on Monday, “We are going to have a very evangelical minister in the supreme court. More than somebody very evangelical, if God is willing, we will have a minister.”