On the eve of Easter, Minister Kassio Nunes Marques, of the Supreme Federal Court (STF), released masses and religious services throughout Brazil. The decision was published this Saturday (3/4).
The decision was made by Nunes Marques at the worst moment of the pandemic in the country. According to the National Council of Health Secretaries (Conass), Brazil this Saturday surpassed the mark of 330 thousand deaths by covid-19. In the last 24 hours alone, 1,987 people died from the disease.
In the preliminary (provisional) decision, the minister points out that states and municipalities cannot issue rules that completely prohibit face-to-face religious celebrations as a measure to fight the pandemic. The preliminary injunction has yet to be analyzed by the plenary of the Supreme Court, but there is still no date set for the trial.
Large agglomerations, such as festivals and religious cults, are identified by infectologists as environments conducive to the transmission of the coronavirus.
“The categorical prohibition of cults does not even occur in states of defense or state of siege. How could it occur by local administrative acts? Certainly, health issues are important and must be observed, but for that, you cannot make a blank slate of Constitution “, wrote the minister.
“By treating religious service as non-essential, States and municipalities can, indirectly, eliminate religious cults, suppressing an absolutely essential aspect of religion, which is the holding of meetings between the faithful for the celebration of their rites and beliefs” , he pointed out.
The minister granted the injunction in an action by the National Association of Evangelical Jurists (Anajure), which challenged state and municipal decrees that limited religious services and celebrations to try to contain the coronavirus.
Case reporter, Nunes Marques cited public transportation, markets and pharmacies as examples of essential services that continue to function during the pandemic. “Such activities can effectively generate meetings of people in even smaller environments and subject to a lesser degree of control than in churches,” he wrote.
“Hence, I conclude that the reopening of temples and churches is possible, although it occurs in a prudent and cautious way, that is, with respect to minimum parameters that observe social distance and that do not encourage unnecessary agglomerations”, wrote the minister.
In the decision, Kassio Nunes Marques pointed out that sanitary measures must be respected during religious activities. Among them are: requiring the use of masks; minimum distance of one and a half meters between people; the environment should be airy with doors and windows open; limit the capacity to 25% of the capacity; make gel alcohol available and measure the temperature at the entrance to the temples.
In his conclusion, the minister argues that religious activity is essential. “I recognize that the moment is one of caution, in view of the pandemic context that we are experiencing. Even so, and precisely because we live in such difficult times, it is more necessary to recognize the essentiality of religious activity, responsible, among other functions, for providing welcome and comfort. spiritual.”
Kassio Nunes Marques was appointed to the Supreme Court last year by President Jair Bolsonaro (without a party). He took over the vacancy of the then dean of the Court, Celso de Mello.
This Easter week, both the PGR (Attorney General’s Office) and the AGU (Attorney General’s Office) asked the Supreme Court to suspend municipal and state decrees that limited religious services.
Both bodies are commanded by the attorney general, Augusto Aras, and by the attorney general of the Union, André Mendonça, respectively.
Both are considered strong candidates for Bolsonaro’s nomination for the vacancy of Minister Marco Aurélio Mello, who will retire from the Supreme Court in July.
Political analysts pointed to the requests as a way for the pair to gain strength with the evangelical segment, Bolsonaro’s support base. Pastors of large evangelical churches are critical of the suspension of services as a means of coping with the pandemic.
The president has already stated that he intends to appoint a “terribly evangelical” person to the Supreme.
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