religion and terrorism

Image: Silvia Faustino Saes


There are fundamentalist groups and unscrupulous religious leaders who confuse themselves with God to confuse the unwary and threaten democracy

In view of the terrorist attacks that took place in France on October 29, 2020, let us remember the terrorist attack against the production company Porta dos Fundos on the eve of Christmas 2019, December 24. By throwing open the hidden back door, the back door bothers the powerful and requires us to think about our “moral” conception, averse to the diversity of “minority” views, qualified as such not because of demography – hence, “minorized majorities” -, but due to its low institutional representation. The authoritarian attempt to protect and silence divergent and minority speeches entails a possible violent action against the listeners of these speeches.

The Christmas specials from 2013 to 2017 were each 15 minutes long videos. In 2018, already on Netflix, the Christmas Special lasted 45 minutes, always with the same humorous verve, being awarded the International Emmy for best comedy with the film If You Drink, Don't Eat. In our view, this 2018 Christmas Special had less reflective potential than “The First Temptation of Christ”, aired last year. Despite this, in 2020, as Porta dos Fundos’ interest is to make a joke and not polemic – without fleeing the fight in favor of freedom of expression –, Netflix did not put it in the running for the same award that they won in 2019.

Humor is for laughing, and laughing especially at hierarchies, civil or religious, self-referenced as “sacred”. After all, the cultural phenomenon of the religious is ambiguous. There is a fundamentalist Christianity and a liberating and pro-life Christianity. We know of Christians without hypocrisy with regard to sexuality – I quote the Catholics for the Right to Decide movement – ​​and evangelical pastors without the obsession with the faithful's money, just remember Pastor Henrique Vieira. Alongside these people and movements, there are fundamentalist groups and unscrupulous leaders who confuse themselves with God to confuse the unwary and threaten democracy.

And this threat is serious! How can you not remember the threats against cartoonists after the publication of Mohammed cartoons on September 30, 2005. From the need to explain the Muslim religion to Danish children, there was a contest to draw Mohammed and the atrocity of about 250 dead in attacks Islamic fundamentalists. This count includes the 17 dead in the attack on the weekly Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket on January 07, 2015 in Paris. A persistent threat, as shown by the Danish intelligence service's March report, exemplified by the two wounded in the attack carried out in Paris on September 25, 2020, and the three killed in Nice on October 29.

In dark times of neo-fascism, unfortunately, we are not far from this situation. Jair Bolsonaro's strategic and electoral discourse against “Christophobia” creates a bellicose climate that does not exist for a religion that has become a common conscience for a large part of Brazilians. The risk is that it ceases to be a “musical background” of our culture to rescue its muscular and anti-democratic sense with “Christian fascism”. In this sense, the attack suffered by Porta dos Fundos worries us, but also motivates us in our solidarity with this production company in its courage for believing in freedom of expression.

* Marcelo Barreira He is a professor at the Department of Philosophy at UFES.


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