By 9 votes to 2, Corte formed a majority against the face-to-face celebrations at the most critical moment of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country
The plenary session of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) resumes, on the afternoon of this Thursday, 8, the trial of the action that questions the decree of the governor of São Paulo, João Doria (PSDB), which vetoes the presence of the public at masses and services in the State at the most critical moment of the new pandemic coronavirus. In theory, ministers analyze whether mayors and governors have the autonomy to enact restrictive measures of this nature. In the session of this Wednesday, 7, the minister Gilmar Mendes, the case reporter, was the only one to vote – he took a stand against collective celebrations.
In his vote, Gilmar criticized the Minister of Advocacy-General of the Union (AGU), André Mendonça, who defended the opening of the churches on the grounds that there are agglomerations in public transport and flights. “When His Excellency talks about the problems of transportation in Brazil, especially public transportation, and he talks about the problem of air transportation, with the accumulation of people, I could have understood that His Excellency would have now come to the Supreme Court of a trip to Mars, detached from any institutional responsibility, with any subject in Brazil. But Your Excellency, I went to check here, ‘googling’, as the younger ones say, and I noticed here that he was Minister of Justice until recently, with institutional responsibilities, including proposing measures. The Union is responsible for legislating on national transport policy guidelines. About traffic and transportation. It seems to me that there is a certain delusion in this general context. Each of us must take responsibility. This needs to be made very clear. Let us not try to deceive anyone. Especially because the fools stayed out of the Court, ”said the minister.
The session was resumed with the vote of Minister Nunes Marques, appointed by President Jair Bolsonaro to the STF in 2020. Last Saturday, 3, the newest member of the Court granted an injunction that released the presence of services and masses in person across the country , provided that sanitary protocols against Covid-19 were adopted. At this Thursday’s session, he voted to release the celebrations and stressed that, at the time he made his decision, 75% of Brazilian capitals had decrees that authorized the opening of the temples.
“I stipulated criteria so strict that, in some cases, they were more restrictive than the local legislation. Many of the protocols that I have determined were not even included in the most liberal decrees. In these cases, the decision I made was more restrictive, ”he said. The minister also rebutted an excerpt from Minister Gilmar Mendes’ decision, which highlighted that “only a negationist stance” would allow the celebration of masses and services. “It is important to know that the decision I made sought to provide states and municipalities with safe parameters, sometimes even more stringent, so that the constitutional guarantee of religious and religious freedom could be exercised more cautiously,” he said.
According to a minister to vote in this Thursday’s session, Alexandre de Moraes accompanied Gilmar Mendes and voted against the presence of the public in the celebrations. In his presentation, the minister cited the moment of the pandemic in the country and stressed that the Court is not “criminalizing any specific religion”. “At times it seemed to me that we are judging a decree criminalizing a specific religion, persecuting religious, determining the arrest of pastors, priests, prohibiting any type of specific religious assistance. Some excerpts [das sustentações orais anteriores] they were really unbelievable, at a time when the country reaches almost 400 thousand deaths by Covid-19, and broke the record of 4 thousand deaths per day. The world was shocked when 3,000 people died in the Twin Towers. We have 4 thousand deaths a day and it seems that some people cannot understand the very moment of this pandemic: the absence of beds, supplies, oxygen, people dying suffocated ”, he said.
Minister Edson Fachin followed the understanding of ministers Gilmar Mendes and Alexandre de Moraes and gave a clear message to the government of President Jair Bolsonaro. “Unconstitutional is not the decree. Unconstitutional is the omission that does not act immediately to prevent preventable deaths. Unconstitutional is not to promote the means for people to stay at home with respect to the existential minimum, it is to refuse vaccines that would have prevented the collapse ”, he said. Subsequently, Minister Luís Roberto Barroso voted, who also followed the vote of the rapporteur. “It seems to me beyond any doubt that life must have origin, in this case, over the exercise of worship, notably because we are talking about a temporary restriction to one of the manifestations of religious feeling”. Subsequently, without presenting his arguments, Minister Dias Toffoli followed the understanding of Nunes Marques.
Seventh minister to vote, Rosa Weber followed Minister Gilmar Mendes’ report. In her presentation, the minister stated that the release of face-to-face services and masses would cause death, instead of life. Minister Carmen Lúcia followed the majority of the Court and stated: “This disease kills. [Exigir cultos] It is an act of disbelief, a lack of faith in science, in the God of life and in the other. To think about the other, ”he said. Antepenultimate minister to speak, Minister Ricardo Lewandowski followed what he called Mendes’ “historic vote”. Ministers Marco Aurélio Mello and the president of the Supreme Court, Luiz Fux, also voted for the ban on face-to-face services and masses at this time of the pandemic. “The biggest vaccine is not the vaccines that are in the square, but the vaccine for social isolation,” said the dean.