Brazil: Primetime Prejudice Against Atheists Triggers Mass Response

On July 27th, José Luiz Datena [pt], a famous Brazilian TV host who runs a show called Brasil Urgente on national television, “delivered a speech of deep prejudice and bigotry against atheists, against those who ‘do not have God in their hearts'”, according to Robson Fernando, from blog Arauto da Consciência [Herald of Consciousness, pt].

Photo shared by Flickr user Juliano Marques under a CC license ( Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic)

Blog Ateus do Brasil [Atheists from Brazil, pt] explains what triggered the discussion:

Ele criou uma enquete no seu programa para as pessoas responderem se acreditavam em Deus ou não. Quando viu que muita gente tava votando “não”, ele abriu o berreiro.

“Como nós temos mais de mil ateus? Aposto que muitos desses estão ligando da cadeia.”

“Ateus são pessoas sem limites, por isso matam, cometem essas atrocidades. Pois elas acham que são seu próprio Deus.”

“É só perguntar para esses bandidos que cometem essas barbaridades pra ver que eles não acreditam em Deus.”

Disse que só quem não acredita em Deus é capaz de cometer crimes. Disse que ateus são “pessoas do mal”, “bandidos”, “estupradores”, “assassinos”. Disse que a culpa da violência e da corrupção do nosso país é dos ateus.

“Quem é ateu pode desligar a televisão, ou mudar de canal pois eu não faço questão nenhuma de que assistam o meu programa.”

Além disso ele disse que respeita todo mundo, mas se tem uma coisa que ele não gosta é “gente que não acredita em Deus porque não pode ser uma pessoa boa”.

He created a poll on his program for people to respond whether they believed in God or not. When he saw that a lot of us were voting “no”, he began to roar.

“How come we have over a thousand atheists? I bet that many of these are calling from jail. “

“Atheists are people without boundaries, that's why they kill, commit such atrocities. Because they think they are their own God. “

“Just ask criminals who commit such atrocities to see that they do not believe in God.”

He said only those who do not believe in God are capable of committing crimes. He said that atheists are “evil people”, “bandits,” “rapists,” “murderers.” He said the atheists are to be blamed for our country's violence and corruption.

“Those who are atheists can turn off their TV or change channels because I do not care if any [of you] are watching my program.”

In addition, he said he respects everyone, but if there's one thing he dislikes it is “people who do not believe in God because they cannot be good people.”

Such angry comments on atheists triggered a furious reaction [en] from bloggers and Atheist organizations [pt], such as the ATEA, that called on all netizens to contact the TV station that runs Datena's show to complain, and also called for a protest on Twitter:

A emissora tem uma página de comunicação com os telespectadores. No momento, o envio de mensagens para o Brasil Urgente está desabilitado, mas uma alternativa é dirigir suas reclamações aos programas de jornalismo. Pode-se ainda utilizar sites como o reclameaqui, o Twitter [Twibbon] ou o Tag #CalaBocaDatena, também do Twitter. Em breve, daremos notícia sobre a série de ações judiciais a que daremos início.

The station has a contact page for viewers. The facility to send messages to Brasil Urgente has been disabled, but an alternative is to direct your complaints to current affairs programs. You can also use sites like reclameaqui [complain here], Twitter [Twibbon] or use the #CalaBocaDatena tag, also on Twitter. Soon, we will give news about the series of lawsuits that we will begin.

Paulo Lopes, on his blog, adds [pt] that the Atheist organization ATEA (Brazilian Association of Atheists and Agnostics) asked for a right to reply and, at the same time, that Datena exploited the situation to attract more attention and viewers. For the blogger, they are both taking the issue a bit too far:

A associação atribui ao episódio uma importância que ele não tem. “Esta causa é importante e pode significar um grande salto em nossa luta por reconhecimento”, exagera.

Datena tem aproveitado a reação dos ateus para exercitar o seu destempero verbal. No dia 17 deste mês, de olho no Ibope, ele disse que deseja que os ateus se “lasquem”. Dúbio, reafirmou que “quem não acredita em Deus geralmente não tem limites” e em seguida falou que nunca meteu “o pau em quem não acredita em Deus”.

The association [ATEA] has attributed to the episode an importance that it does not deserve. They play up: “This is an important cause that might mean a great leap in our struggle for recognition”.

Datena has taken advantage of the atheists’ responses to exercise his verbal distemper. On the 17th of this month [August], with an eye toward the Ibope [Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics] stats, he said that he hopes atheists “screw themselves”. Caught in two minds, he reaffirmed that “whoever does not believe in God generally has no boundaries” but then said he has never “criticized severely those who do not believe in God.”

Photo by Flickr user Swperman shared under a CC license ( Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic)

On the 17th August, Datena commented live on his show on the ATEA's request, once more insulting Atheists. In response to this the blog Bule Voador commented that he needed “someone to teach him logic, please” [pt].  Bule Voador [Flying Teapot, pt] blog also posted excerpts from the Brazilian legal code, and tips from a lawyer, in order to help netizens to open lawsuits against the host. A transcription of Datena's hate speech can be found here [pt] and some more angry reactions can be found at the blogs No Lado Escuro da Lua [On the Dark Side of the Moon, pt] and Lindo Dia Feio [Beautiful Ugly Day, pt].

Video responses

The audience found an equivalent way to react to the display of prejudice on primetime TV. The blog Sedentário e Hiperativo [Sedentary and Hyperactive, pt] posted a video of Pablo Villaça, editor of the website Cinema em Cena, criticizing Datena's attitude and offensive comments on Atheists. Robson Fernando also posted a series of YouTube video responses with netizens criticizing Datena that can be found here, here and here.

YouTube user DanielFragaBR's presents a video advising Atheist individuals who feel offended by the hate speech on how to sue Datena. Back in June, well before the controversy, the video-blogger had already noted that:

Ser ateu no Brasil é como ser católico no inferno

Being an Atheist in Brazil is like being a Catholic in hell.

1 comment

  • […] ブログArauto da ConscienciaのRobinson Fernandoは、無神論や無神論者に対する偏見と思われるブラジルでの出来事を数件引用している。(グローバスボイスも以前、テレビ司会のJose Luis Datenaが生中継中に表した偏見について投稿している。) […]

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