Jose Matheus de Andrade Medeiros, member of ARCAP (Reformed Association for Culture and Political Action) in Brazil informed the Observatory about the restrictions on religious services in the state of Pernambuco as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.
In Pernambuco, religious services were not recognized as essential activities, despite the federal decree from 23 March that acknowledged them as such.
After the governor of the state issued a decree ordering the lockdown of the cities that are most affected by the coronavirus, religious leaders were prohibited from freely moving within the cities and going to their churches to broadcast services of worship.
ARCAP denounced the restrictions on religious attendance, worship, and online broadcast as a violation of religious freedom and of sphere sovereignty.
The organization wrote a formal letter asking the governor to modify the decree.
Lawyers and Presbyterian pastors alongside ARCAP made contact with two Christian members of the state congress who delivered the letter to the governor’s office.
As a result, the decree was reviewed and religious services were declared as essential activities, allowing ministers and some church members to broadcast services and receive spiritual assistance.