An Evangelical pastor says he pressured President Mauricio Macri and Buenos Aires province Governor María Eugenía Vidal to stymie efforts to reform Sex Education legislation on a national and provincial level, a leaked WhatsApp audio has revealed.
Jorge Sennewald met with President Macri, Governor Vidal and Social Development Minister Carolina Stanley on Tuesday September 4, according to official records. He was joined at the meeting by Catedral de la Fe pastor Osvaldo Carnival and Quilmes municipality pastor Pedro Ibarra.
The purpose of the meeting "was to get the Evangelical Church on board to help with food help reaching the poor areas", Sennewald explains in the voice message, in which he refers to the president and governor using their first names.
"The actions of the [Evangelical] Church would be much stronger than during [the debate about the decriminalistion of] abortion because they (the government) want to modify the Sexual Education Law... They want to copy and paste LGBT ideas [into the law]. María Eugenía was surprised. Automatically she said: 'I can't believe it. In the Senate, I have a majority so I'm going to stop it immediately'. Two hours later she sent me. Message saying: 'It's done. I spoke with my Senate bloc. This won't pass in the Senate".
Sennewald then alleges that he received a similar response from President Macri, explaining that he got a call from the president's office advising him that the Executive would not support any reforms. A Cambiemos lawmaker from Neuquén province also told Sennewald that "Cambiemos will not give quorum to that modification", he adds.
CONCERN ABOUT THE POOR
The government has been rallying church and social groups as it prepares for an imminent rise in poverty and conflict in poorer areas as a result of austerity measures and and the general economic downturn the country is currently experiencing.
"María Eugenia (Vidal) was very concerned about the needs of the poor. They had spoken with Caritas the day before and wanted to bring us on board", Sennewald says in the audio.
"To summarise, I told them the Evangelical Church was always helping others... So it would not be a problem for us, on the contrary, we enjoy it. And that they could count on us 100 percent for help in Greater Buenos Aires, that we have Churches in all neighborhoods."
"But I made the most of the opportunity (to meet with them). I was there for an hour and half, of which Macri was there for 20 minutes... I said we were concerned and the Church would not negotiate, and we would be very firm, about all the constant attacks on family, the church and anything that has to do with God.