MP wants to create law banning ayahuasca for minors and confessional religious education

A bill proposed by State Representative Damaris Moura (PSDB) seeks to create a state religious freedom law that wants to ban the consumption of ayahuasca by children under 18, institute non-denominational religious education in public schools and determine that slaughter of animals in cults respect the principle of dignity, among other points.The 38-page text was approved in November by the Alesp Constitution, Justice and Drafting Committee (Legislative Assembly of São Paulo) with the assent of the rapporteur, Rep. Janaina Paschoal (PSL), and referred to a thematic committee for consideration. .

Today, there is no state law regulating religious freedom, compiling definitions and rules on the subject. What is in terms of legislation is the article of the Constitution that guarantees freedom of belief and the exercise of cults and punishments in the Penal Code.

In São Paulo, there is also a law of religious intolerance, sanctioned in September, aimed at punishing the type of discrimination.

“The project gives a practical treatment, defining how to exercise religious freedom in the various relationships of human coexistence, and set a safe standard for the judiciary to follow,” says the author of the project, who is in her first term and was for ten Chairman of the Religious Law and Freedom Committee of OAB-SP.

The ban on ayahuasca, tea made from two Amazonian plants consumed in Santo Daime rituals and other spiritual works, for minors is one of the controversial points. In the text, the deputy uses the term “narcotic substances”, which include the drink and the like. It is not uncommon for young people to use tea during rituals.

Regarding religious education in public schools, the project says it will not be confessional (ie, classes should not follow a specific religion), but “will respect the values ​​that express the religiosity of Brazilians and foreigners residing in the state.” The rule goes against the decision of the Supreme Court (Supreme Court) of 2017 that authorized the confessional teaching in public schools.

In the same article, he says that public schools “will not allow ideological content that contradicts religious freedom.” Ideology in class is cited elsewhere in the project: It states that teachers are forbidden to instill in students religious and ideological beliefs that violate religious freedom.

The slaughter of animals in cults, according to the text, is permitted, but with restrictions: legal provisions regarding the protection of animals and the principle of dignity must be respected.

The bill also says that civil servants may miss work on religious guard days (with compensation, as compensation on another day).

On actions to promote freedom, the text creates a seal for companies engaged in religious freedom, a state conference to combat intolerance, and the creation of a database to monitor actions by agencies involved in programs to combat religious intolerance.

Points in the text are criticized by experts and religious groups.

For Eulálio Figueira, professor of religious science at PUC-SP, the project fills a gap left by the Constitution by detailing what religious freedom is and how it can be guaranteed. But it says there are loopholes that are not enough to secure it.

He cites the issue of non-confessional teaching in institutions, which could be circumvented by another article, which allows someone to “profess their own religious beliefs, look for new adherents, express and spread freely by word, image or any other medium, his thinking in religious matters ”.

Still on this point, says that it is necessary to make clear who will be the professional who will teach the classes in question. “Otherwise there will be people of good will who will teach the religion they know. And the principle of non-confessionality is broken, ”he says.

The ban on ayahuasca should be a relevant point of debate, says social scientist Christina Vital of Iser. “To refer to some beverages and products manipulated in religious cults, therefore sacralized, as narcotics is a kind of approach that generates distrust in the non-Christian religious community,” he says.

For her, while the power of parents is reinforced when talking, for example, of homeschooling (defended by the Bolsonaro government), it is no longer respected and valued when the theme in question is the use of sacred substances in cults.

The expert also believes that the bill could open the door to shielding religious from accusations of libel and libel by preaching by allowing people to “express their beliefs, opinions, criticize, agree and praise scientific, social, political facts and events or any other act. , based on this belief, on constitutional and legal limits. ”

In general, he says, the project is important because it discusses religious intolerance, a question until recently “obscured by the subjugation of religious, especially of Afro-Brazilian matrices”. But he says we need to be aware of the actors who lead the debates and the religious interests they defend.

Religious leaders also question points in the text. Father Guimarães, president of Abratu (Brazilian Association of Religious of Umbanda Candomblé and Jurema), criticizes the inclusion of religious slaughter in the text, an issue already defined by the Supreme Court. “When you add the question of the principle of dignity, it creates a situation of legal conflict,” he says.

For Romi Bencke, theologian and secretary general of the Conic (National Council of Christian Churches of Brazil), it is not for the state to regulate the ritualistic practice of a particular tradition of faith, but itself: “From the moment the state grows in the right to interfere through the principle of religious liberty violates the principle of secularism. ”

The deputy says that the law will not interfere in the liturgy of religions, but guarantee the right to it.

Fonte: TIME 24 NEWS

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