Marco Feliciano Accused of Homophobia and Racism
Marco Feliciano, an evangelical pastor from the Christian Social Policy, is accused of homophobia, racism, and excluding outsiders from sessions in Brazil’s lower house of parliament that were previously open to the public. Last April, human rights groups called for Feliciano’s resignation due to his bigotry. He is also under investigation for embezzlement charges.
On March 7, Feliciano was elected as President of the Brazilian House of Representatives’ Human Rights Committee by a vote of eleven out of the Committee’s eighteen members during a session closed to the public. He was the only candidate for the post, and was appointed as a result of “horse trading” for key positions in Congress among the main parties.
Widespread Opposition to Feliciano
Protests continue against Feliciano, with protests at home in Copacabana and faraway in Paris at the Brazilian Embassy. Activists have disrupted the Commission for Human Rights and Minorities’ work which is supposed to draw up legislation and consider cases of human rights violations. “A bigoted congressman should not run a commission aimed at ending prejudice,” said the country’s largest online group Avaaz that called, in a petition, for his resignation. That petition garnered 465,000 signatures.
Anonymous, Internet hackers, have documents incriminating Feliciano’s financial backers. Feliciano retorts that his critics are taking his comments out of context and that he is not “homophobic.” An on-line poll by the newspaper The Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper found that 80.6% of the 100,320 respondents agreed that Feliciano should leave his position. Many of Brazil’s celebrities such as signer Daniela Mercury, have come out against him.
Some Offensive Remarks
On his Twitter page, he has said that Aids was a “gay cancer.” He has also said that Africans are “cursed since the times of Noah.” (He believes that his comments about Noah do not constitute racism). According to Feliciano, he is not against their promiscuity. “I don’t want my daughters to go out on the streets and see men with shaved legs kissing each other. The Brazilian family must be respected.”
Despite his prejudicial remarks, Feliciano has won support from many in the evangelical christian movement. His twitter stream includes words of endorsement from numerous pastors, including one, that Feliciano retweeted, who claimed that gay foster parents rape their children.