BY : ZETA TERESA PEREIRA
The Supreme Court of Brazil rejected the lower court’s ruling to remove a Netflix satire film that portrays Jesus in a gay relationship. The head of the Supreme Federal Court in Brazil, Judge Antonio Dias Toffoli allowed the appeal filed by Netflix against a temporary injunction banning the movie.
The movie named, “The First Temptation of Christ” is a satire film that portrays Jesus as gay. The movie is oriented around Jesus’ return home with his boyfriend after 40 days in the desert, as Mary and Joseph plan a surprise party for Jesus’s 30th birthday. The film is produced by the company named Porta dos Fundos. It was released on the 3rd of December 2019 and was streamed on Netflix. The film, ever since its release has attracted criticisms from conservative politicians and religious evangelicals.
The film company that produced the movie stated that it opposed any act of censorship, violence, illegality and authoritarianism and vowed to continue broadcasting its work in Brazil. Netflix backed up the movie by stating that they support artistic expression and will fight to defend this important principle which is the heart of great stories.
QUESTION OF LAW:
The question of law to be considered here is whether the film hurts the religious sentiments of Christians.
Minister Dias Toffoli stated that the exercise of freedom of expression reaffirms and enhances other constitutional freedoms. The court of Brazil denied the idea that the movie was insulting to Christians. A humorous satire cannot have the ability to weaken the values of Christian faith whose existence is traced back to more than two thousand years.
The lower court in its decision stated that that the movie must be taken down as it is likely to cause more serious and irreplaceable damage than its suspension. The judge held that this decision is not only beneficial to the Christian community but to Brazilian society too, which is mostly Christian. But the very next day, the Supreme Court overturned this decision.
The film company’s headquarters was attacked on Christmas Eve with Molotov cocktails. No one was hurt. Several men with their faces covered took part in the assault. The suspect fled to Russia immediately. He stated that even though what he did was crime, he believed that it was morally correct to do so.
The case however is not closed yet as full appeals court will need to hear the case as well as an additional Supreme Court justice.
It is high time people try and respect others’ views and not react to everything violently.