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The Rise of Fundamentalist Belief

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The Rise of Fundamentalist Belief

A couple of months ago, while the protests were raging here in Brazil, I spoke to a local friend about the demands of the protesters. Aside from corruption, lack of infrastructure and poor education, it surprised me to hear that one of the chief complaints of thousands of the protesters had to do with homosexuality.

He said that a large strain of Christian fundamentalism has arisen in Brazil in recent years and the federal government planned to officially label homosexuality a psychiatric disorder and provide funding for corrective "treatments," -- i.e., the infamous "gay camps" where they send LGBT kids to force them to become straight (Spoiler alert: the LGBT kids end up hanging themselves.)

I was surprised not only by the fact that the progressive social issue brought out young, educated Brazilians in droves, but the fact that the rural and religious political contingents of the country are becoming more conservative despite the country's rapid economic development.

I was similarly surprised in 2010, when in Australia, a friend there told me of the rise of the Christian right pressuring their government to teach intelligent design in science classes and to enforce stricter so-called "family values" laws …

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