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Brazilian Court Declares Umbanda and Candomblé Are Not Religions

By E C Ballard

A Federal Court in Rio de Janeiro issued a decision in which it opines that Afro-Brazilian religions are not religious and that their “religious events do not contain the necessary traits of a religion.”

The definition was in response to an action by the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) which called for the withdrawal of videos of evangelical cults that were considered intolerant and discriminatory against religious practices of African origin on YouTube.

The judge overseeing the case expressed the opinion that for a belief system to be considered religion, it must follow a basic text – such as the Bible, Torah, or the Koran, for example – and have a defined hierarchical structure, as well as a single (monotheistic) deity as the main focus of worship.

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