BRASILIA, Brazil – A prosecutor is trying to get God off of Brazilian bank notes....
Public prosecutor Jefferson Dias argues that the country is a secular state and that the phrase "God be praised" disregards the rights of non-Christians, and on Tuesday he asked a federal court to order the phrase removed.
"The fact that most Brazilians are Christian does not justify the "violation of the fundamental rights of those that follow different religions or do not believe in God," Dias said in the motion he filed with the court.
Brazil's public prosecutor's office is separate from the executive branch of government and it is supposed to defend the social and individual rights of citizens as well as serving as a watchdog over the government. A spokeswoman for the agency said the initiative for the motion apparently came from Dias.
The Assembly of God Church, one of the largest evangelical denominations in Brazil, opposed the motion.
"God must be praised all the times and everywhere," said church official Tilza Feliciano.
The Roman Catholic archbishop of Sao Paulo, Cardinal Odilo Scherer, spoke to the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper and asked, "Why is an allusion to God a problem?"
"The phrase should make no difference to those who do not believe in God," he said. "But it is meaningful for all those who do believe in God."