Jay Rogers
Director:
Jay Rogers

Recent Posts

The Forerunner

Spain: Five Hundred Years and Religious Freedom

By Pedro C. Moreno
Published December 22, 2007

At the time of commemoration of five hundred years since the Catholic Monarchs issued a decree by which thousands of unconverted Spanish Jews were expelled from Spain, this nation has signed some “Accords” that attempt, at least in part, to rectify old intolerances, especially in religious matters. The “Accords of Cooperation Between the Spanish State and the Federation of Israeli Communities and the Federation of Evangelical Entities” (FEREDE) were signed on February 21, 1990 and are currently in the process of ratification by the Spanish parliament (the Cortes).

Spain has had a pronounced history of religious intolerance. Once the Spanish civil war was over, the Roman Catholic Church contributed to the establishment of Franco’s authoritarian rule through a “National Catholicism” that excluded all dissident religious movements (Concordat of 1953, Art. 1). Non-catholic churches were closed, religious publications were confiscated, civil marriages were forbidden, non-catholic religious educational centers were outlawed, and religious proselytism (other than catholic) was strictly prohibited.

José Cardona G., Executive Secretary of FEREDE, who recently was awarded the “Gold Medal” by the Spanish Pro-Human Rights League because of his defense of religious freedom in Spain, said: “Any political or religious dissidence was condemned to be repressed and extinguished … in order to maintain the spiritual unity of the nation.” (Principles of the National Movement, Art. 2).

As time went by the Franco regime began to soften, but very slowly because it was constrained by the concordat, “which really was a ‘conformat’ of the state to the requirements of the ‘religious unity,’” said Cardona. In 1978 a new Constitution was signed, providing in Article 16 for “the freedom of religion, worship, and ideology for the individuals and communities, without other limitations in their manifestation than the necessary to maintain public order protected by law.” The third part of the article, state established religion, declares: “No (religious) confession will have official status.” Under this constitutional provision, Organic Law 7/1980 was enacted dealing with religious liberty, and the above-mentioned Accords were made possible based on this latter law.

The Accords drawn within the framework of the principle of “aconfessionality” of the state, recognize the “manifest rootage” in Spanish society of the Protestant Christian communities (and Jewish ones) and give them a status and prerogatives formerly enjoyed only by the Catholic church. Provisions in the Accords, divided in 13 articles, deal with issues such as elimination of property taxes for temples and other places of worship; and equals the term “Protestant minister” to “Catholic priest” affording the former the same recognition and privileges that the latter enjoys, making possible for Protestant ministers to serve as chaplains in the military and to obtain social security. The right to religious assistance by a member of his/her own creed, is also provided for, and can be exercised by any person interned in a military, educational, or health facility.

In the educational realm, public and private schools could be compelled to provide Protestant religious instruction to the students that so required it. With these provisions and considering that the Spanish Protestant population does not even reach one per cent of the population (71,000 people), the status of religious freedom in Spain would be one of the most comprehensive, comparable (at least in theory) to the one in the United States and others countries in Europe.

Enrique Mugica, Spanish Minister of Justice, in his speech given at the signing of these Accords remarked: “When we now speak of Spain, we do not speak of the one which has been for centuries the ‘official’ Spain, as if that would be the only possible one. There have always been other Spains, unavoidably connected to that which was considered ‘heresy’ or the resistance to the yoke of hegemonic officialism.”

“A Spain,” says Mugica referring to the real Spain, “heterodox but infinitely fertile, versatile, agile, creative and dynamic. It is the case of the converted Calvinists, Huguenots, and other forms of ‘Protestants’ in their original sense, because Protestants were, in the most pristine manner, those who raised their voice against the despotic rule of the officialized dogma, a dogma that has always tried to clothe itself with the prestige of the ‘majority’ creed.”

Speaking about democracy, the Minister of Justice added: “It is necessary to recall sometimes that the history of Spain has not always been extremely good at compatibilizing the public sentiment and the democratic system. On the contrary, public matters have always been easy prey of a patrimonial deviation of the idea of ‘the official.’ In consequence, we have been slow to understand that democracy implies not only the realization of the will of the majority, but also the awareness of the limits of that majority.” And he notes: “What we understand as the right to dissent in the defense of a (religious) belief, has become an essential factor of verification for the democratic system.”

Finally, and in relation to the five hundred years, Mugica affirms: “Taking as a starting point this invitation to the maximum liberty and social integration of all creeds and beliefs, we can overcome the negative reference that for many involves the myth of ’92. And I have used the word “myth” intentionally, because ’92 is certainly the Fifth Centenary of a date in which it was inaugurated a time of affirmation and conquest, outwardly oriented and externalized with the expelling of the Jews. This time demonstrated the will to exclude from that political project anything that represented a minority, heterodoxy, dissidence, or mere diversity. The decree that provided for the expelling of the Jews meant, in effect, an exclusive and selective reading of the Spanish reality. A reading, that in my opinion could be equated to a ‘self-denial.’”

The Minister of Justice sentenced: “For the Spanish democracy, ’92 is not the vindication of exclusive epics with a totalitarian vocation, but on the contrary, the symbol of our own historical effort to advance toward democracy.”

Pedro Moreno San Juan, is an attorney, President of the Rutherford Institute of Bolivia and representative for Spanish speaking countries.


Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » World Events

Your comments are welcome!

Textile Help

A Revival Account: Asbury 1970 (DVD)

What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?

Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.

Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!

“This simple video does a wonderful job of conveying something of God’s heart and power, Everyone we have ever shown this to has received an immediate impartation of faith for revival and the power of prayer.”
— Bob and Rose Weiner, Weiner Ministries Int’l

Running Time: 40 minutes

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


Dr. Francis Schaeffer - A Christian Manifesto (DVD)

That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!

Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.

Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.

Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.

Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!

Running Time: 130 minutes

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


The Beast of Revelation IdentifiedThe Beast of Revelation: Identified (DVD)

Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?

Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!

Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.

Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)

Running Time: 145 minutes

$17.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


Abortion Clinic 911 Calls (DVD)

Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!

These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.

Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.

Watch these pro-life videos on-line.

“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California

“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter

$4.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information

Share |

Search this site:
View CCNow Cart/Checkout
View CCNow Cart/Checkout

RSS
Subscribe to
The Forerunner

Have The Forerunner Weblog sent straight to your inbox!

Enter your email address:

YouTube
The Forerunner Channel on YouTube


Promote Your Page Too

Featured Product
If you like the articles on this website, you may also be interested in:

Featured Articles

Live Seminar!

Real Jesus
The Abortion Matrix DVD: Update

The Abortion Matrix:
Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death

is a 195-minute presentation that traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God has produced. You can order this series on DVD, read the complete script and view clips on-line...
continued ...


View My Stats