Friday, September 29, 2017

Brazil's Supreme Court Upholds Denominational Religious Classes In Public Schools

Brazil's Constitution, Article 210, provides: "Minimum curricula shall be established for elementary schools.... The teaching of religion is optional and shall be offered during the regular school hours of public elementary schools...." As reported by Folha de S. Paulo and La Croix, on Wednesday, by a 6-5 vote, Brazil's Supreme Court held that this allows teachers in public schools to promote their specific religious beliefs, so long as the classes are optional.  The dissenters argued that religion classes in public elementary schools must be non-confessional, that is, not connected to a specific religion.  The case grew out of a challenge by the Prosecutor General's Office to a 2008 Agreement between Brazil and the Vatican allowing multi-confessional religious instruction in Brazil's public schools.