“That’s right. This senator Davi Alcolumbre is more like Tranca Rua, that devil to whom offerings are made to lock the street, to lock paths!”, said in the Tuesday, October 12th edition, commentator José Carlos Bernardi, of the Os Pingos nos program Is, broadcast by Jovem Pan radio.
Article 208 of the Penal Code, on the crime of religious sentiment, says:
To mock someone publicly for reasons of religious belief or function; prevent or disturb a ceremony or practice of religious worship; publicly vilify an act or object of religious worship.
Penalty – detention, from one month to one year, or fine.
Right here, at Folha, the debate on the limits of freedom of expression and crime was a heated agenda last week.
And the obvious statement won. Freedom of the press is not freedom to lie. Freedom of opinion is not freedom to lie.
In the case of the comment about the entity Exu Tranca Rua, there is the professional aggravating factor. It is a communication company and a program whose obligation is to disseminate and promote the truth.
Exu Tranca Rua is not a demon. On the contrary. He is, for followers of the Umbanda religion, of African origin, a deity that opens and clears paths. But this lie was created centuries ago.
The commentator of Jovem Pan is what we call “single evangelical”. With timid academic training, erratic vocabulary and little knowledge of the Christian Bible (he quoted in the same speech about Exu, proverbs 15 , verse 1 out of context, as if he had only read the book that follows, never studied). At UOL, we have the erudition of columnist Ronilso Pacheco, an evangelical who enlightens us when he ends up being called to talk about the followers of his religion who preach exactly the opposite of what she says.
In 1995, Bishop Sérgio von Helder kicked and punched the image of Nossa Senhora Aparecida. “The biggest mistake in the history of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God,” said its leader, Bishop Edir Macedo, in his authorized biography. The offense to Catholics was so great that Macedo had to go public to apologize and von Hélder left the country.
Calling the entity Tranca Rua a demon is a similar offense to followers of African-derived religions.
The populist journalism of the show Os Pingos nos Is, with an exotic cast of people who seem to be there to say what they want to hear from their viewers, which during their lives on Youtube transforms the comment sector into a kind of threshold of tormented and angry souls that they look more like a mob of earthmen roaring for Barabbas. Love and truth pass far away from there.
The Christian God, and/or the evangelical God, must accompany everything with horror. But certainly no surprise.
Religious offenses happen on all sides, in all sides of the world. I lie. There is no news of any African or indigenous religion that practices religious offenses.
On the other hand, an offense against these religions means more because sacred spaces for them have been systematically and violently destroyed by force in our country. When an evangelical like José Carlos Bernardi kicks a saint, it is a crime, but churches will not be destroyed or Catholics killed for it. Terreiros, mothers, fathers and sons of saints are the main target of murders for religious reasons in Brazil, according to the CCIR (Commission to Combat Religious Intolerance of the State of Rio de Janeiro).
What we do? Do we demand better training from our communicators? To study more?
Demanding the basics, which is not to divulge lies, no longer works.
The ignorance of those who have had the power to speak to the masses is global, and it assumes that in order to speak to the masses, one must be ignorant.
The world was taken by surprise (not this column) when the phenomenal Abdulrazak Gurnah, a black writer from Tanzania, won the Nobel Prize for Literature. It had never been published in Brazil. Within the publishers, it is assumed that there are professionals prepared and always in tune with the literature produced outside the US-European axis.
A sentence from a text of Abdulrazak’s own anti-colonial literature perhaps explains it better.
He wrote in “By the Sea”, a book published by Bloomsbury Publishing, in 2001.
“Sometimes I think it’s my destiny to live in the rubble and turmoil of crumbling houses.”