By David Miller
COCHABAMBA, Bolivia – The lower house of the Argentine Congress is set to debate a controversial draft law which, if ratified, would broaden religious rights in this traditionally Roman Catholic nation. Argentina’s Minister of Foreign Relations and Culture, Angel Centeno, submitted the bill to the Chamber of Deputies last September, acting on behalf of the administration of President Carlos Menem.
The law, which seeks to reform government regulation of non-Catholic religious entities imposed during previous de facto regimes, affirms that “every person enjoys the fundamental right to freedom of conscience and religion guaranteed in the National Constitution” and states that “religious beliefs will never constitute a motive for inequality or discrimination before the law.”
Navarro Floria, legal advisor to Centeno and professor of Juridicial Science at the Catholic University at of Argentina, helped frame the pending legislation because he believes it will strengthen religious liberty rights enshrined in the constitution. Says Floria. “This legislation intends to protect religious liberty.”