The Brazilian Jesus

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By FRANCISCO FERNANDES LADEIRA*

If Jesus were born in Brazil today, he would be crucified by “good citizens”

In any minimally democratic country, religion is a matter restricted to the private sphere. That is, each one freely exercises his belief, but does not try to impose his religion on the community; nor does it want the constitutional precepts to be based on some book considered “sacred”.

However, unfortunately, this does not happen in Brazil. And what is worse, in our country, those individuals who most defend the mixture between politics and religion – the self-styled “good citizens” – in practice, present postures that are totally different from the one they claim to follow: in this case, Jesus.

Therefore, in this text, I make a brief imaginative exercise about what would happen if Jesus lived in contemporary Brazil, based on the content present in the Bible, sacred book of Christianity.

according to the calls Deeds, Jesus, the son of a poor family, was born in a stable, a place where animals were kept. Therefore, by analogy, if the Messiah were to return to a large Brazilian metropolis, he would most likely have been born in a favela; your skin tone would be dark. Evidently, he would not belong to any clan residing in noble area. This means that, just because of his birth condition, he would already be hated by the “good citizen”, who would consider him the stereotype of the bad guy.

Just as Roman soldiers pursued the “Jewish Jesus”, his Tupiniquim version would constantly be approached by the police; not for committing a “crime”, but for their color and origin. He would also find it difficult to hang out at the mall with his friends: he would either get a “general” from the Military Police, or he would be the target of reproachful looks from the “good citizen” (after all, he would be frequenting a “place” that is not to “people of your ilk”).

The “Brazilian Jesus” would provoke the anger of some evangelical pastors in his community (who, like their counterparts, the moneylenders of the Temple of Jerusalem, use the faith of others for personal enrichment). Like every pacifist, he certainly wouldn't attend services where people make “guns with their hands”. Definitely, he would not be a “myth” voter.

His ideas of “social equality” would cause the “Brazilian Jesus” to be labeled as “communist” and “leftist” by the “good citizen”. Phrases like “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God” or “if you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, give money to the poor”, would sound like “ good citizen” as an envious thing, “prejudice against the rich” and encouragement of the poor’s idleness.

According to Bible, Jesus walked with the marginalized of his time, what we understand today as “social minorities”. Consequently, for not discriminating against blacks, the poor, prostitutes and homosexuals, the “Brazilian Jesus” would be slandered for defending “gender ideology” in groups of WhatsApp by bolsonarista.

According to a well-known biblical passage – the “Pericope of the Adulteress” – Jesus prevented the stoning of a woman accused of adultery, when he uttered the emblematic phrase: “Whoever is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone”. A similar attitude, today, would be worth the accusation of “defender of bandit” by the “good citizen”. Along the same lines, if the “Brazilian Jesus” forgave thieves, as he did two millennia ago, he would be “passing cloth to the bandit”, as he likes to say the “good citizen”.

Moreover, by contesting the status quo and belonging to the marginalized sector of the population, the “Brazilian Jesus” himself, as in ancient Judea, would be considered a “bandit”. But his life, like that of millions of other poor and black people, would not matter, it would be “just another Silva that the star does not shine”. After all, as the main mantra of the “good citizen” says: “a good criminal is a dead criminal”.

*Francisco Fernandes Ladeira is a doctoral candidate in geography at Unicamp. Author, among other books, of The ideology of international news (CRV).

 

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