On the eve of Easter, Minister Kassio Nunes Marques, of the Federal Supreme 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 surpassed the 330,000 death mark from covid-19 this Saturday. 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 regulations that completely prohibit face-to-face religious celebrations as a measure to combat the pandemic. The precautionary measure has not yet been analyzed by the full Supreme Court, but there is still no date set for the trial.
Infectious disease specialists identify large crowds, such as festivals and religious cults, as favorable environments for the transmission of the coronavirus.
“The categorical prohibition of sects does not even occur in states of defense or a state of siege. How could it happen due to local administrative acts? Certainly, health issues are important and must be observed, but for that, you cannot make a blank slate. of the Constitution ”, wrote the minister.
“By treating religious service as something 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 said. outside.
The minister granted the precautionary measure 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 gatherings of people in even smaller settings 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 crowds,” the minister wrote.
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 must be aired with open doors and windows; limit capacity to 25% of capacity; make available alcohol gel and measure the temperature at the entrance of the temples.
In his conclusion, the minister maintains that religious activity is fundamental. “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, to provide welcome and spiritual comfort “.
Kassio Nunes Marques was appointed to the Supreme Court last year by President Jair Bolsonaro (non-party). He assumed the vacancy of the then dean of the Court, Celso de Mello.
This Holy 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.
The two 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 duo to strengthen itself with the evangelical segment, Bolsonaro’s base of support. Pastors of large evangelical churches criticize the suspension of services as a means to cope with the pandemic.
The president has already said that he intends to appoint a “terribly evangelical” person to the Supreme Court.
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