April 2019 Church & State Magazine - April 2019

Brazilian President Backs Religious Right Legislation

  Rob Boston

Brazil’s new far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, is hard at work trying to integrate conservative Christianity with government – and he’s getting plenty of help from sympathetic lawmakers.

Right-wing legislators have introduced a host of bills that promote socially conservative causes. The measures would allow creationism to be taught in public schools, require classes on the “Holy Bible” in schools, grant early release to prisoners who attend Bible study, end marriage equality (which is currently legal in Brazil) and promote the displays of crucifixes in government buildings.

Bolsonaro was raised Roman Catholic, but his wife and son are evangelical Protestants. During the 2018 campaign, he allowed himself to be baptized by a Pentecostal pastor during a visit to Israel.

Regardless of what his personal beliefs may be, political observers in the country say Bolsonaro owes a political debt to the country’s Religious Right, which backed him heavily last year. Asked why evangelicals backed Bolsanaro, an Assemblies of God pastor replied, “Abortion, deconstruction of traditional family and sexual indoctrination of children in schools.”

An American Original

Is the separation of church and state in the Constitution?

Absolutely. The separation of church and state is baked into our founding documents and our system of government.

The “wall of separation between church and state” is an American original. It’s an American invention. We should be proud of that fact. And we should fight any disinformation that threatens this ideal.

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