The transformation of religion into law

Image: Emre Can Acer


What makes politicians propose rules such as banning same-sex marriage, even though they know it could cause a crisis between the powers that be?

In recent weeks, (yet) something that happened in Brasília made the news: the Social Security, Social Assistance, Childhood, Adolescence and Family Committee of the Chamber of Deputies approved Bill (PL) 5.167/2009, which prohibits marriage between people of the same sex, even contradicting the current understanding of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) on the matter, which ruled in May 2011 on ADPF nº 132-RJ and ADI nº 4.227-DF and decided that this criterion was irrelevant for the constitution of marriage.

Even so, the matter still needs to go through two other thematic committees before being sent to the Federal Senate for further consideration. Although we believe that, at some point in the Legislative Process, this PL will fall; and, even if approved, it will be declared unconstitutional by the STF, which despite not legislating, as it is the one who determines the (un)constitutionality of norms, its understanding is binding, normative.

In any case, it is worth observing and analyzing the reasons that probably lead politicians to propose this type of rule, even knowing that it could cause a crisis between the Powers.

As is normally the case with politicians who exercise their role through a mandate, the main reason is electoral! With the expansion of conservatism in Brazil, these groups and their politicians know that there are demands aimed at regression and, therefore, even if such a PL is not approved, it gives some relevance to those responsible for it and also to those who supported it.

Max Weber gives us a possible explanation of this behavior on the part of Brazilian society when talking about law (Law) and convention (Konvention), the author gives us possible explanations. Given its methodological individualism, “convention” is the influence of approval or disapproval by other individuals on the agent’s behavior (WEBER, 2000, p. 215).

“[…] According to all historical experience, from 'convention', from the approval or disapproval of the surrounding world, there always develop, as long as religious belief is strong, hope and the idea that supernatural powers will also reward or they will punish that behavior approved or disapproved by the surrounding world. Or also – in appropriate cases – the assumption that not only the person directly affected, but also the surrounding world could have to suffer from the vengeance of those supernatural powers, making it necessary, therefore, to react – either each one individually or through a coactive apparatus of the Association." (WEBER, 2000, p. 217)

Na Bible, there is no shortage of stories in which an entire society was punished for attitudes disapproved by God, texts on which, apparently, these political-religious groups rely on to substantiate these types of actions. Some examples of these stories are: the Flood (Genesis, 6:5-7, NIV); the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis, 19:12, NIV): and also the threat that God made to Moses to destroy the people for building a golden calf in Moses' absence (Exodus, 32:9-10, NIV).

By focusing on this aspect of Christianity, a return to a previous state of consciousness is made, in Hegelian terms. The pagan Greek world, centered on the figure of the polis, is founded on the basis of religion, whose strict rules cannot be broken so as not to incur the wrath of the city's protective gods and thus lead it to ruin. All fields of the individual's life were regulated by the rules of religion, with no individual freedom, since all the individual's actions must be directed towards the interest of the city, to the point of prohibiting even celibacy (COULANGES, 2004, p. 198-199 and 284-287).

This is, therefore, the universalism of the Greek State, which imposes itself absolutely on the particularity of citizens. The Greek citizen is, therefore, a tragic figure, as he must choose between his particular and universal dimensions, but he is inseparable from both, which leads him to be a criminal regardless of what he chooses, as he violates the particular law of the family or the universal city law; It is no coincidence that the greatest exponent of the Greek world is the tragedy of Antigone, representative of the particular law of the family, whose clash is with Creon, king of Thebes, the highest authority of the priestly religion of the universal Greek State (KOJÈVE, 1947, p 103-104 and 185-188).

Christianity puts an end to polis Greek: it is the death of the concentration of sociability in the city by expanding the horizons for the human race, as well as representing the separation of the mundane from the spiritual, allowing Law and State to develop independently of religion and creating the embryo of individual freedom to starting from the freedom of the soul (COULANGES, 2004, p. 482-489). Because of this, it represents a revolution in the history of human consciousness, it is a particularistic religion in opposition to pagan universalism, in addition to representing the ideal creation of repeal between the particular and the universal, whose realization is restricted to the Beyond (Beyond), that is, it cannot yet be realized in the earthly world (KOJÈVE, 1947, p. 191-192).

When an appeal is made to respect this morality and transform it into law, Christianity, which should represent a later stage in the development of consciousness, becomes Greek paganism: the fear of doing something that displeases God and disgrace will befall one. this community resurfaces, tries to mix law and the State with religion again, imposing the universality of worship on individuals; the tragedy will repeat itself. An inversion is sought not only of chapter VIII of Phenomenology of Spirit, but a throwback to one of the most primitive forms of self-awareness.

In the end, some of these people really believe they are protecting the country.

*Thiago Feliciano Lopes is a lawyer.

*Antonio Barsch Gimenez He is a graduate student at the Faculty of Law at USP.


COULANGES, Fustel de. La cité antique: études sur le culte, le droit, les institutions de la Grèce et de Rome. Geneva: Arbre d'Or, 2004.

KOJÈVE, Alexandre. Introduction à la lecture de Hegel: lectures sur la Phénoménologie de l'Esprit. Gallimard, 1947.

WEBER, Max. Economy and Society. Translated by Regis Barbosa and Karen Elsabe Barbosa. Brasília: UnB, 2000.

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