A group of Brazil’s top lawyers have launched a case with the supreme court against a town council after they ordered their citizens to fast and pray for 21 days in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Order of Brazilian Lawyers (OAB) in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul are preparing to file a case with the country’s Supreme Court against the municipality of Ladario in the Pantanal region of state Mato Grosso do Sul, claiming their order to citizens was unconstitutional.
The town’s council had said in a decree that “considering that Ladario is a Christian town […] all those who can and want to voluntarily, should pray for a period of 21 days from 18th May 2020 to 7th June 2020, as well as carry out one day of fasting to be chosen freely in the cited period”.
The decree also said that on 7th June between 5 am and 6 am all Christians in the town should pray in their homes to ask God to help those with COVID-19 and to protect those who are protecting themselves from the virus.
The document was signed by the town’s mayor, Iranil De Lima Soares, and stated that the decree was made as “the pandemic has brought insecurity to various areas of people’s lives” and “God listens to the prayers of broken people”.
The local president of the OAB, Roberto Lins, said: “This mixture of church and state is unconstitutional, it contravenes a fundamental clause in the Federal Constitution which exactly states that the Brazilian state is a secular state.”
The case is expected to be filed as a Direct Unconstitutionality Action with the Supreme Court today (Tuesday).
The municipality of Ladario has reportedly suffered five cases of COVID-19 with no deaths reported.
Brazil is in the midst of Latin America’s worst COVID-19 outbreak, with 271,885 confirmed cases and 17,983 deaths according to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University.
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