John Lennon died because he offended God by suggesting that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, according to the embattled head of the Brazilian Congress’ human rights panel.
“The Bible says God does not let this type of offense go unpunished,” evangelical pastor Marco Feliciano said in remarks published by local media Tuesday and gleaned from a video of a sermon he made at his church in 2005.
Feliciano, who is facing growing calls to resign from the rights panel over his disparaging comments about gays, women and blacks, also said he would have liked to see the body of Lennon when the English pop star was shot dead in December 1980.
“I would have liked to be there the day they discovered his body, I would have lifted the cloth which covered him and would have told him: Excuse me, John, but this first shot is in the name of the Father, this one is in the name of the Son and that one in the name of the Holy Spirit. Nobody confronts God and survives for debauchery,” the pastor is heard saying in a video available on the Internet.
Lennon rose to global fame as a founding member of the Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed pop music groups.
Feliciano, who describes himself as a “pastor, singer and businessman”, was elected president of the House of Deputies’ commission of human rights and minorities last month.
He was elected deputy of the conservative Christian Social Democratic Party (PSC) in 2010.
The 40-year-old pastor has been facing a barrage of protests from human rights groups for saying on his Twitter account that love between persons of the same sex leads to “hatred and crime” or referring to Noah’s biblical curse of descendants of his son Ham, meaning the African race.
But he has rejected growing calls for him to resign.
Luiza Barros, the Brazilian minister in charge of racial equality, signed a motion deeming “unacceptable” that Feliciano remain in his post given that he harbors prejudice against gays and blacks, press reports said.
Human Rights Minister Maria do Rosario also slammed the pastor’s remarks for “inciting hatred and prejudice”.
Feliciano, who is under investigation for alleged embezzlement within his Pentecostal church, has denied being anti-gay or racist.
His election to the rights panel was seen as a sign of the growing political influence of evangelicals, who have 67 seats in the Congress out of a total 513.