In the dawn of democratic spring, the Italian couple of actor Dario Fo and actress Franca Rame premiered works of their authorship at the San Martín Theater. In May 1984, Fo presented Mystery toad, where he addressed the evangelical mysteries in the jocular style of medieval minstrels, and Rame interpreted Whole house, bed and church, comic-grotesque monologue about women, written from her pioneering feminist commitment as a playwright since the 70s. scandal that caused the couple in their passage through Buenos Aires is a very dark page, an anecdote of violence that included destruction in the theater on Corrientes Street, tear gas in the living room, protests, boos and one complaint from the Catholic Lawyers Corporation where the mayor was asked to prohibit both monologues because “they violate public order and morals, they offend the Catholic Church.”

The boos to Mercedes Morán in a function of the oratory Theodora at the Teatro Colón and the letter circulated these days by the same Catholic Lawyers Corporation have clear echoes of that fatal incident that in that beginning of democracy pretended continue attacks against the cultural openness and freedom of expression of the last period of the dictatorship such as the bomb against Open Theater in 1981.

The alleged conflict is now the adaptation of the work Theodora the trade, directed by Alejandro Tantanian, where the thought of the Argentine theologian Marcella Althaus-Reid, in the interpretation of Mercedes Morán. The journalist Franco Torchia was the one who contributed the Althaus-Reid texts, which are not well known in Argentina, because although the feminist theologian graduated in the country, she served as a professor in Scotland from the mid-1980s until 2009, when the Death was director of the International Association for Queer Theology. As a tribute to his ideas, a text is projected on the stage of Theodora what does it say “Our gods are queer because they are what we want them to be.”

God’s law

But the Catholic Lawyers Corporation does not understand that queer polytheism, for them God must be one way, and they denounce that the work produces acts “harmful to religious freedom”, holding that, As the work was produced within the scope of the City Government, the permanence of the Minister of Culture, Enrique Avogadro, is incompatible due to “poor performance of his duties.”

“All this reminds me a lot about blasphemy crime, something that continues to happen in Spain and that has criminalized people for hurting religious sensibilities, that is the argument they use. Which is the same thing that was wanted to be used in Salta in the National Women’s Meeting when a performance was made in front of the Cathedral where the Virgin Mary had an abortion. In Spain even the actor Willy Toledo was charged with these crimes. It is tremendous because here we go back to the time where crime was confused with sin“, explains Fernando Lozada, from the Coalition for a Secular State. And he establishes a parallel with Iberian laws:”The same thing happens in Spain, there is a corporation of Christian lawyers that makes complaints and follows them to the end, they are fierce in a worrying way. That such a penalty continues to exist is truly inconceivable there. Here there have been retired attempts to introduce the crimes of blasphemy and desecration into our legislation. The first one I remember getting them into a bill was Cynthia Hotton, around 2010 when the Equal Marriage Law, promoted a Law of Religious Freedom which included exactly those two things, desecration and blasphemy, not with those names but when you saw the type of events that were to be transformed into offenses punishable by the penal code that was clearly referenced. Later there were other bills that tried to do similar things, but thanks to the activism of many and many we managed to stop this. I see this outpost of Catholic lawyers very similar to what happens in Spain and there It is a debt of democracy because it is a crime that in principle gave Franco a lot of impetus.”

Activisms for the separation of the State and the Church, which include several proposals for collective apostasy for a Secular State, have grown in recent decades and this recrudescence of reactionary sectors may be due to an evident advance of the awareness of the oppression of religious sectors against human rights and social and cultural developments.

The reign of censorship

For Lozada there is a tendency towards alliances that push for a multi-denominational state that could enhance control over freedom of expression in culture. “Many of the attacks come from reactionary evangelical Christian alliances, such as Aciera. For example, with the series El Reino, it was the Aciera sector that they wanted to censor because they said it stigmatized them, but in reality the series exposed the practices they have. And on the other hand, the sectors of the Catholic Church that have clearly joined forces to try to reach a multi-denominational state and thus prevent us from reaching a truly secular state. “Claudia Piñeiro, who was the most attacked in social networks for being the Co-writer of El Reino, he wrote several messages of solidarity on his Twitter account after the booing of Mercedes Morán and the attack on Theodora. the selective harassment of Piñeiro and Morán, since there are other men responsible for both the series and the opera, shows the macho ideological framework that these religious sectors face the advance of feminism that they call “gender ideology”.

“This of Theodora also reminds me a lot of the censorship and the attack she suffered Leon Ferrari in 2004 at the Recoleta Cultural Center, from sectors linked to the most reactionary of the Catholic Church, including sectors linked to the dictatorship. They first tried to break the work of Ferrari and generate the conflict so that it becomes more visible, and from there try to prosecute it. Judge Liberatori initially closed the exhibition and reopened it with warning signs for the religious. Finally, León Ferrari ended up winning the lawsuit against those who broke the works and had to compensate him ”, recalls Lozada. Ferrari donated the compensation received to the Argentine Homosexual Community (CHA), who supported him in the act in defense of his presentation made after the attack. In the Ferrari incident, as before with Dario Fo and Franca Rame and now with TheodoraThe Catholic Lawyers Corporation also intervened, who now argue that the City’s Head of Government has to request Avogadro’s resignation because it is “unacceptable for them that public assets and resources, belonging to the entire population”, are used for shows. What Theodora. An argument that can turn them against because the bid for a secular state claimed by millions of people in Argentina is against the continued use of public funds to finance churches that fiercely fight the freedom of expression and the human rights of those who live outside of the liturgical repression of confessional religions.

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