Socialist Government Raises Church/State Wall

October 1, 2004

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

On October 1, 2004 The Christian Science Monitor reported, "Since its transition to democracy more than 25 years ago, Spain's wall between church and state has been a bit porous. Despite ratifying a constitution in 1979 that prohibited a state religion, the country's dominant Roman Catholic church has continued to enjoy preferential treatment from the government. But now, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero's Socialist government is working to shore up the barrier between church and state. Last week, his administration announced plans for a 'road map' that would treat all religions equally under the law, remove religious symbols from public spaces, and end compulsory religious instruction in public schools. Most controversially, it would divest the Catholic Church of the economic and social privileges it has enjoyed for centuries. Some say the Socialists are trying to strip Spain of its special heritage. Others see evidence of a natural evolution towards full democracy in a secular state."