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!
“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“…a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion
This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.
Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.
“… an extraordinary statement … a powerfully articulate presentation about what abortion really means, and why a great and moral nation like the United States must not allow the slaughter to continue.”
— Congressman Robert K. Dornan
Running time: 85 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
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.)
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.)