Christian Evangelicals are a growing political force in Latin America. Most recently, they have engaged the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to challenge basic LGBTI achievements, such as same-sex marriage and other demands for equal rights. Several commentators thus speak of an imminent showdown between human rights protections and Christian Evangelism in the region, which would mirror similar conflicts elsewhere in the world. This essay challenges this narrative and warns against a top-down “secular fundamentalism,” which may alienate a significant part of the region's population and create deep resentment against the Court. As it turns forty, the Court faces a “spiritual” crisis: conservative religious movements have become one of its key interlocutors, with demands and expectations that compete with (but could also complement) those of other regional social movements. Difficult as it may be, the Court needs to be bold in creating argumentative spaces that allow for the Evangelical experience to exist in the public sphere in Latin America, in a context of respect for human rights in general, and for LGBTI rights in particular.
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