Monday, April 20, 2009

Brazilian Pro-Family Activist Julio Severo Flees Brazil To Avoid Charges Of Homophobia For Preaching Biblical View Of Homosexuality

Proponents of Federal hate crimes laws claim that such laws won't be used to silence religious clerics or anyone else who expresses public disagreement with the practice of homosexuality. But the experience of Julio Severo in Brazil seems to indicate that hate crimes laws in the United States will eventually be used as a gateway to impose restrictions on free speech. Already this concern is being echoed in regards to proposed legislation in Connecticut implementing their Supreme Court's decision on gay marriage; no religious conscience exemption is contemplated so far.

WorldNetDaily is reporting that Julio Severo, a prominent Brazilian pro-family activist, has been forced into exile along with his two kids and a wife in the advanced stages of pregnancy because of the hate crimes laws that are being implemented in his native land, perhaps providing a preview of what Christians can expect in the United States should similar hate crimes proposals be implemented. Severo reports he was forced to flee his homeland after federal prosecutors there recently charged him with "homophobia" for his statements about the nation's Gay Parade in 2006. Severo has also blogged about his experiences HERE.

The article in question that originally sparked controversy, in which Severo criticized Brazil's homosexual parade, also urged homosexuals to repent of their behavior and turn to Christianity. The article went on further to suggest that there are links between homosexual organizations and pedophilia. While evidence presented by author Erik Holland on the Homosexinfo website does not show a direct connection, he shows that homosexuals tend to be overrepresented amongst child molesters.

Severo explained that although Brazil has no specific law stating that the broadly interpreted "homophobia" – a term used derogatorily against those who choose to follow biblical precepts and not endorse homosexuality – is illegal, an increasing number of case rulings show that it is considered a crime. Brazil appears to be one of a growing number of countries cracking down on "homophobia."

Severo also disclosed that Brazil is imposing growing constraints on how the Gospel can be preached in that country. He said that while Brazil does not criminalize Christianity, it does regulate what biblical principles can and cannot be preached, and it bans biblical citations that disapprove of the homosexual lifestyle.

"Brazil grants freedom to preach Christianity, provided that the sermons avoid negative mentions of state-protected behaviors and cultural trends. The Brazilian government is establishing more and more categories of protected behaviors, banning negative mentions. So Brazilian preachers need to get updated on the latest political changes and preach a Gospel according to the state interests... .Today, it is risky to preach a complete Gospel in Brazil. Because of the diversity politics, you cannot say anything negative about witchcraft, especially when such practices are from Africa", Severo explained.

Severo cited another example of enforcement. "In Rio, a Pentecostal minister led a criminal to Jesus and convinced him to deliver himself to police. Rev. Isaías da Silva Andrade accompanied the former criminal to police and when they asked how his life had been changed, the minister answered that the former criminal lived under the influence of demons from Afro-Brazilian religions which inspired him to criminal conduct, but now he found salvation in Jesus. Because of this innocent account, Rev. Andrade is now being prosecuted for discrimination against the Afro-Brazilian 'culture'! If condemned, he will serve between two and five years in jail," Severo said.

Pastors have also been fined and jailed in Canada for speaking out against homosexuality. Stephen Boissoin was fined $7,000 by the Alberta Human Rights Commission for writing a letter to the editor of a newspaper in which he was critical of the practice of homosexuality.

Nevertheless, Severo is determined not to be silenced. He says that the voice that God gave him will continue to be used to alert Brazil, whether he is in India, Kenya, Nicaragua, or any other country in the world.

The proposed law generating concern in the United States is H.R. 1913, the "Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act". The bill already has 42 co-sponsors, and was introduced into the House on April 2nd by U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. If the committee passes on it, it would come up for a full House vote sometime later this spring.

The trick is to strangle it in committee. Visit the Truthtellers Action Page to find out what you can do to stop this bill from making it out of committee.

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