Ricardo Nunes: the fundamentalist threat

Image: Lara Mantoanelli


The new mayor of São Paulo has a history of reactionary and conservative positions

On the list of banned words for the new mayor of São Paulo, gender is number one. Ricardo Nunes (MDB) has a trajectory known for defending values ​​of the most reactionary and conservative wing of the Catholic Church. He defends School without a party and is an enemy of women. Since the discussion of the Municipal Education Plan (PME) of the city of São Paulo, in 2015, then councilor Ricardo Nunes has been a fierce advocate of removing the word gender from the document, and consequently contrary to the human rights of a significant part of our city: women, lgbtqia+ people and other social minorities.

It even established pedagogical persecution in municipal schools that established this debate with their students and families in the school community. Defending a school without a party and with a prejudiced, persecuting and uncritical ideology. The entry of Ricardo Nunes, due to the death of Bruno Covas, sparked a new alert in addition to the evidence of crimes committed as a public agent, given the processes to which the mayor responds - among them corruption schemes with daycare centers associated with the City Hall from Sao Paulo.

The warning I am referring to is the fact that Ricardo Nunes aligns himself with one of the biggest problems we are experiencing in the democratic crisis we are facing: religious fundamentalism. We know that a Secular State is fundamental for guaranteeing the rights of social minorities: such as women, LGBT people and the black population. Religious fundamentalists are capable of proposing a true system of torture for women who are raped and found pregnant by the abuser – such as Fernando Holiday’s own PL 352/2019 (PATRIOTA) which imposed ultrasound and religious assistance for women who had the right to legal permissiveness of abortion.

Or like PL Law No. 5435/2020, by Senator Eduardo Girão (PODEMOS), which proposed a scholarship for women who must obligatorily have the children of their rapists. Still, positions such as the Minister of Women, Family and Human Rights, who went so far as to say that girls on Ilha do Marajó were raped because they were not wearing panties.

Fundamentalists still figure in the defense of agribusiness, real estate speculation, banks and the arms industry. They figure in the defenses against religious diversity, against gender diversity and abuse religious freedom to deliver hate speech. To say that trans bodies, black bodies, female bodies are criminalizable, that they should have less rights and support from public policies.

In the Manifesto à Nação, made by evangelical parliamentarians in 2018, the axes of religious fundamentalists were: minimal state, meritocratic school, and family values ​​to lead the nation. The question I ask is: What Family? The same Ricardo Nunes is accused of committing violence against his wife, accusations that were withdrawn by his wife, which were hushed up and denied, on many occasions.

The worst thing is that the fundamentalists' tactic is to naturalize as inherent to public policies, moralities that are religious and not public policies. Naturalizing conservative notions of family and individual freedom is a tool to make invisible that the Church is not separate from the State. During the PME discussion, in 2015, Nunes stated: “But don't talk so much about this Church issue, because it's not about religion, but how can anyone say 'you don't have to give a stroller to a boy and a doll to a girl? ' This is wrong? Who has a child is not the girl? That's why she gets a doll” And under the defense that “The State can be secular, but not atheist.”, the then councilor defended that his worldview and religiosity should take precedence over the rights of women and LGBTQIA+ people . This is what we are going to face in the coming years, therefore, it is necessary to combat religious fundamentalism in politics. The secularity of the State involves laws defending the lives of all people, all forms of family and the autonomy of women over their bodies. Let us be attentive to the subtleties of fundamentalisms, one of them is to apparate the discussion of Human Rights and replace serious formulations on the subject, with speeches that aim to maintain the structure of privileges of those who do not want to give up political power and to act for their own benefit.

* Simony of Angels is a doctoral candidate in anthropology at USP. She is a member of the Collective “Evangelicals for Gender Equality”, of the Evangelical Black Women Network.


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