Should we kill our best friend when he or she criticizes our decisions?

In many countries, criticizing the government or its leaders is criminally punishable. What does the experience of Henry VIII teach about our Constitutional rights?

If we go back in history we should see many similarities between the Brazilian government's actions and the Tudor's actions regarding criticism. The historical landmark that we can set as the starting point of our discussion is the killing of Thomas More, best friend of Henry VIII, who was sentenced to death due to his position against the new Church of England.

Most of us know that until the modern era it was very common for a State to punish individuals by death - an easy answer to many crimes.

Society's view of this type of punishment was contradictory. People would oppose capital punishment only if they though it was unfair. It is important to emphasize that even nowadays there has been a great number of people that continue to believe that capital punishment must be the way to go for severe cases.

(fictional dialogue)

"But You are my best friend..."

"I know..."

"That is why I must kill you because your sole existence against my opinion I cannot endure..."

"In order to survive must I change my mind? How can I speak my mind if I do it without free will?"

"The problem, dear friend, is that, if you speak your mind, people will hear, and I will lose power."

"Power has won the battle against love..."

(end of the dialogue)

Brazilian Constitution has given us the world wide famous Freedom of Speech. Something that has been debatable nowadays because of the growth of a very violent society - due to a severe crises in our economy. Another fact in favor of the end of civil liberties is that our Constitution is very new. It was drafted in 1988; as a consequence, many people has not taken freedom itself as an everlasting right. Hence, the Constitution can be changed, our political system can be amended, our rights can be reconsidered.

I have looked for, and I have found people that love this nation and its future. We better not to kill our best friends. On the contrary, we should allow them to speak, talk to them, hear their voices, and consider their issues. The challenge among people has always been: Should we kill them for power?

Prof. Thiago Calmon

Director of Instituto de Inglês Jurídico Thiago Calmon



O fenômeno jurídico apresenta mais proximidades e semelhanças com o fenômeno religioso do que a pobreza que as principais vertentes teóricas atuais têm conseguido detectar; tanto no âmbito do direito quanto no âmbito da religião. Com efeito, ambos são experiências de regulação social e de solução de conflitos.

Tanto a decisão judicial de uma controvérsia quanto as experiências cristãs de perdão de ofensores, por exemplo, possuem semelhanças em suas estruturas e efeitos claramente regulatórios em suas perspectivas sociais.

Todavia, mais do que apenas semelhanças ritualísticas e discursivas, esses dois campos da experiência humana guardam entre si uma relação histórica de intersecções e permanências. A ancestralidade religiosa do conceito moderno de lei é visível e inegável. Do mesmo modo, a presença de rituais, recitações, cerimônias e vestimentas no mundo do judiciário em muito decorrem das liturgias cultuais. O direito, enfim, é um nítido tributário da religião. Assim, a compreensão da complexidade que caracteriza o fenômeno jurídico reclama, em seu âmago, a compreensão das relações e estruturas do fenômeno jurídico. Mais do que isso, é preciso enxergar o direito através das lentes do discurso religioso.

Nesse sentido, as categorias da ciência das religiões revelam importantes contributos para a tarefa, uma vez que, em vez de entenderem os elementos sagrados como meros conceitos e instituições a serem estudados, consideram, ainda que para fins de estudo, as forças divinas como reais e concretas no seio das comunidades que vivenciam tais experiências. Em outras palavras, a ciência das religiões entende as figuras dos deuses não como algo a ser hermeticamente analisado a partir de conceitos teórico-filosóficos, mas antes como uma presença real e sentida no seio da comunidade religiosa, buscando compreender de que maneira se dá a relação entre essa presença e aqueles que a veneram. O sagrado, entendido como conceito, assume uma outra dimensão interpretativa, resultante não do olhar de um intérprete externo, mas sim do interior da própria experiência religiosa.


The legal phenomenon has presented more similarities to the religious phenomenon than the resulting simplicity that has been found under the current theories; both in the scope of the law as in the scope of the religion. In fact, law and religion are means of social regulation and conflict resolution.

The rulings in response to an offense and the Christian experience of redemption, e.g., have presented similarities under their structure and effects that are quite aimed to regulate social interactions.

However, more than just ritualistic and discursive similarities, these two fields of human experience have a historical relationship of intersections and permanences. The religious ancestry of the modern concept of law has been undeniable. Likewise, rituals, recitations, ceremonies, and garments in the world of the justice system were influenced by cultic liturgies. The law has been a tributary of religion. Thus, the understanding of the complexity that defines the legal phenomenon demands, in its core, the understanding of the relations and structures of the legal phenomenon. More than that, it is important to emphasize the analyzes of the law through the lens of religious discourse.

In this sense, the categories of the science of religions reveal important contributions to the task, because, instead of understanding the sacred elements as mere concepts and institutions to be studied, they have considered, the divine forces as real and concrete within the communities that go through these experiences. In other words, the science of religions understands the figures of the gods not as something to be hermetically analyzed from theoretical and philosophical concepts, but rather as a real presence, felt within the religious community, seeking to understand the relationship between this presence and those who venerate it. The sacred, understood as a concept, assumes another interpretative dimension, resulting not from the eyes of an external interpreter, but from the interior of the very religious experience.

Dr. Caetano Correa

What does the term “Bill” mean?

On September 25, 1789, The American Bill of Rights was drafted by Congress and transmitted to the state Legislatures twelve proposed amendments to the Constitution. Numbers three through twelve were adopted by the States, making the Bill of Rights a very famous document through history!

Thomas Jefferson who argued: "A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference."

The American Bill of Rights, inspired by Jefferson and drafted by James Madison, was adopted, and in 1791 the Constitution's first ten amendments became the law of the land.

The United States Bill of Rights plays a central role in American law and government, and remains a fundamental symbol of the freedoms and culture of the nation. One of the original fourteen copies of the U.S. Bill of Rights is on public display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

Contrary to what many believe, the term “Bill” is not only defined as an amount of money owed for goods supplied or services rendered set out in a printed or written statement of charges, or an invoice that one of your suppliers will give you, that which, sooner or later, you will have to pay. It has another meaning, that is as important as this one - Bill: “Draft document before it is made into law / a draft of a proposed law presented to parliament for discussion.”

Summarizing, a bill is proposed legislation under consideration by a legislature. A bill does not become law until it is enacted by congress or parliament and, in most cases, signed by the executive. Once a bill been enacted into law, it is called an Act or a Statute.

In case you missed it, some big bills were introduced in 2017 in the USA, with the entrance of Donald Trump and the new government, some polemics about the major bills that were introduced arose, among them the two main are the “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants act of 2017” and the “American Health Care Act of 2017.”

Have you heard about the proposals included in those Bills?

It is important to research to find out!

The next step is to wait for approvals. And if they are approved, they will become law. We must have a critical sense about every bill, and hope that those responsible for voting will be wise in choosing what is best for the people.

Prof. Hanna Lelis

Managing Director