Saturday, March 08, 2008

Roman Catholic Church's Efforts to Influence Election In Spain Could Backfire

The current election in Spain somewhat parallels the upcoming one in this country in that it is in many ways a contest between the intolerant reactionary forces that want to impose religious beliefs via the civil laws and the forces of modernity that want more progress social laws as opposed to a drift towards the past. A good versus evil contest if you will, with the reactionary forces representing evil in my view. One of the major reactionary forces in Spain is, of course, the Roman Catholic Church which has been accused of trying to inluence the election and return the pro-Church conservatives to power. Hopefully the Church's efforts will fail as mentioned in this Washington Post article ( The bottom line is that the Church needs to stop meddling in the secular laws. Here are some brief highlights:
The themes and tenor of the campaign illustrated the intense polarization and distrust between young, modern, secular Spaniards, who lean toward the Socialist Workers' Party, and older, more traditionalist churchgoers, who tend to favor the Popular Party. Many voters believe that if the Popular Party returns to power, it could work to overturn the Socialist legacy of laws legalizing same-sex marriage, making divorce easier and faster, reducing the role of religion in public education and strengthening gender equality.

Catholic leaders [held] a massive rally in Madrid about two months ago that was addressed by Pope Benedict XVI in a video link from the Vatican. During that gathering, several cardinals also launched attacks against the Socialist government for legalizing gay marriages, liberalizing divorce laws and reducing religious instruction in schools. Although the vast majority of Spaniards are Catholic, polls show that the country's 40 million people are increasingly straying from the church's teachings. Abortions and divorce are rising, while church attendance and family size are shrinking. While the Popular Party probably doesn't mind the church's tacit support, some analysts say, the nearly explicit embrace of the party may hurt it more than help it. "When you have such an active church in the state, it mobilizes the left," said Socialist leader Elena Valenciano. "The Socialists are using this to their advantage by painting the PP as a clericalist, ultra-reactionary party, with some success," Powell said.

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