Brazilian Overwatch player creates the National Church of Hanzo
Yes, you read that right. There is now a church in Brazil dedicated to Overwatch’s popular yet controversial hero. Mateus Mognon wanted to see how easy it was to create a church in Brazil, so he chose the most implausible and wild idea he could think of: religion based on a video game character. Keeping with that theme, he also chose Hanzo as its mascot and messiah.
Lúcio, admittedly, would have made a better icon due to his own Brazilian heritage, but Hanzo’s backstory resonated with Mateus, as did the current stigma of subpar Hanzo players who won’t play anything else and make the character so unliked. Mateus figured if he could make a church about the “most hated” character in Overwatch, anyone could make a church.
The deal is that Brazil offers very generous tax exemptions to religious entities. They don’t have to pay property taxes, income taxes, car taxes, or taxes on goods and services as long as they’re linked to a religious belief. This is to protect religious freedoms in Brazil, but is also easily exploitable, as we can see here — almost 68,000 religious entities have been registered so far.
Mateus actually found that it was easier to start a church than to open a business. All he needed was an address, five friends, a lawyer, and money for fees — basically, the amount of effort it takes to create a guild in World of Warcraft.
Since there are actually repercussions for evading taxes through fraud and money laundering, he created tenets to legitimize the new religion of Hanzo:
- Preach peace and harmony on the internet and online communities.“
- A free Tuesday per month for religious studies (i.e., playing Overwatch).
- Consumption of high-calorie foods.
- Initiation into the church and baptism completed by playing an Overwatch match — (or, if the new convert doesn’t own Overwatch, the free-to-play Paladins game will suffice).
- The term “Hanzo Main” and the act of “rage quitting” a game are considered sins.
- Hate speech and toxic behavior in streams are also sins.
Mateus doesn’t plan on doing much with the church, though one of the religious freedoms included with the law is the ability to sell products — which would be pirated in this case — without taxes. Misuse of the church in order to evade taxes or commit a crime could land him up to 15 years in prison. However, it seems he’s more concerned with Blizzard’s repercussions, should there be any. He ended his story with a plea: “Blizzard, please don’t sue me.”
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