The laic State and the
Leaded by Daniel Sottomaior Pereira, ATEA – Brazilian Association of Atheists and Agnostics, institution registered, has the aim of develop activities in the field of social order which promotes atheism, agnosticism and laicism of the State.
Its first public action in Brazil was entitled “campanha dos ônibus” – bus campaign, a movement similar to the one occurring in Europe, which consists of sticking slogans on buses divulging the thoughts and objectives of the institution. One of the highlights of the campaign is the phrase which requests the effective laicism of the State, a priority in ATEA’s agenda, believing it should be a priority to the citizens of any creed as well.
According to its followers, ATEA is not a sect and doesn’t aim to burn Bibles and its path will depend solely on the decision of its members. They understand that an organization of such type has been necessary since a long time ago in Brazil.
Its second action was a document sent to the Public Ministry by ATEA’s president, who got offended when he saw a crucifix on the wall of a governmental department. If the State is laic, why do the public bodies have religious symbols?
The Public Ministry embraced the proposal and required the Justice the removal of the religious symbols. The action transacted in the 3rd Federal Court of Civil Justice of Sao Paulo city, but it was rejected by the judge Maria Lúcia Lencastre Ursaia.
According to a note released by the Federal Justice, the judge considered the presence of religious symbols in public bodies in a country with a Christian historical-cultural background, like Brasil, normal without “any offense to the liberty of creed, guaranteed by law, given that, to the agnostics, or to the ones devoted to a different creed, such a symbol nothing represents, being similar to a painting or statue, decoration objects”.
In a specific part of the sentence, she argues that the laic State isn’t supposed to be seen as an anti-religious or anti-clerical institution. And affirmed: “The laic State was the first political institution that guaranteed the religious liberty”. “The liberty of creed, cult and the religious tolerance were accepted thanks to the laic State, and not as an opposition to it. Thus, the laicism can’t express itself by eliminating the religious symbols, but tolerating them instead.”
It’s a decision of first instance, which means that the subject will last way longer and will only be completely solved when it reaches the Supreme Justice.
However, what matters isn’t the process itself, but its motivation.
It seems to be clear that religious fundamentalism and intolerance practiced by religious entities is the cause of this new movement of opposition, whose content is the dislike for anything that represents the religion responsible for the facts that bloodied the world, such as the Crusades and the Inquisition, which shouldn’t have been promoted by who supposedly lives according to Jesus teachings.