On the day before Easter Sunday, Kassio Nunes Marques, Brazil’s newest Supreme Federal Court justice, appointed just months before by President Jair Bolsonaro, allowed houses of worship across the COVID-19-ravaged country to hold worship services indoors, claiming the bans put in place by mayors and governors on religious celebrations violated the “fundamental right to religious freedom.”
The next day, April 4, evangelical Christian churches were packed with Easter worshippers, an immediate payoff for one of Bolsonaro’s key constituencies and a sign for many Brazilians their president’s politics take precedence over the realities of the pandemic, which has killed more than 437,000 Brazilians to date.
Like Donald Trump in the United States, Bolsonaro initially dismissed COVID-19 as a “little flu” and no reason to shut the country down, apparently hoping to keep the economy from failing. And like Trump, the Brazilian president has made evangelical Christian support a centerpiece of his political strategy. As the pandemic grew more dire through the spring, pastors have had a powerful influence on health policy.
Full article at RNS’ website. Date of publication: 18/05/2021.