The full Court of Justice of Paraíba (TJ-PB) judged unconstitutional a normative act of the Campina Grande City Council that instituted the reading of biblical text at the beginning of the session work. The decision occurred through the judgment of a direct action of unconstitutionality (ADI) proposed by the State Public Ministry of Paraíba (MPE-PB).
The contested text is Resolution No. 054/2014, which states: “All Sessions will begin: ‘In the name of God, I declare this Session open.'” The document adds that the president must read – or indicate a councilor among those present – a Bible verse of your choice.
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According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, it is not up to the Public Power to create a preference for a certain religion – such as the reading of a biblical text in the Sessions of the City Council – aimed exclusively at followers of Christian principles. He also alleged that the preference for a certain religion in the public sphere violates article 19, item I and 37, caput, of the Federal Constitution, applicable to Municipalities by virtue of article 10, of the Paraíba State Constitution.
The rapporteur of the case, judge Marcos Cavalcanti de Albuquerque, understood that it was an affront to article 5, item VI and 19, item I, of the Federal Constitution and article 30 of the Constitution of the State of Paraíba, due to the non-observance of state secularism, of religious freedom as well as an offense against the principles of equality, purpose and public interest.
“Although there is no obligation to adhere to religious belief itself, the adoption of religious practices by state bodies can generate a perception of favoritism or privilege of a certain religion, violating state equality and neutrality”, pointed out the rapporteur.
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Source: BdF Paraíba
Editing: Cida Alves