By Arkady Petrov

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – President Jair Bolsonaro again suggested the nomination of an evangelical Christian to the position of Federal Supreme Court Justice on the evening of Thursday, June 13th, commenting on the STF’s decision to characterize homophobia and transphobia as racism.

He said, "Don't the press come at me, saying that I want to mix the justice system with religion. We all have a religion, or we don't. We respect it and have to respect it."
Jair Bolsonaro said: “Don’t the press come at me, saying that I want to mix the justice system with religion. We all have a religion, or we don’t. We respect it and have to respect it.” (Photo internet reproduction)

“The state is secular, but we are Christians. We respect the majority and minority, but Brazil is a Christian country,” said Bolsonaro who followed up by adding: “With all due respect, the Federal Supreme Court typified homophobia as if it were racism. Is it not time for an evangelical Christian in the Supreme Court?”

The statement was made during a speech at an event commemorating 108 years of the “Assembly of God” church in Belém, PA. Bolsonaro went on stage alongside religious leaders and was met by an ovation. Also on stage were the Governor of Pará, Hélder Barbalho (MDB), the Mayor of Belém, Zenaldo Coutinho (PSDB), members of Congress, and Senators.

It is the second time that Bolsonaro has suggested the appointment of an evangelical Christian minister of the STF while commenting on the argument before the STF regarding the criminalization of homophobia. The first occasion occurred on May 31st as he attended the National Convention of the Assemblies of God, in Goiânia.

He said: “Don’t the press come at me, saying that I want to mix the justice system with religion. We all have a religion, or we don’t. We respect it and have to respect it.”

In the decision handed down on Thursday, the STF issued caveats to make it clear that repression against homophobia and transphobia does not restrict the exercise of religious freedom.

In other words: The faithful, pastors and religious leaders have been ensured the right to preach their convictions, as long as these manifestations do not devolve into hate speech, inciting hostility or violence against the LGBT community.

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