The mystery of the lost freedom of conscience

The mystery of the lost freedom of conscience

The mystery of the lost freedom of conscience

Freedom of conscience has disappeared from the agreement between PSOE and Sumar

Image: Pixabay

Licencia Creative Commons


Miguel Ángel López Muñoz


Does the new government agreement between PSOE and Sumar represent the beginning of the recovery of a state and secular education, if we pay attention to what they claim in the pact when they say: “we will promote an education based on tolerance and secularism”? Will a law on the right to freedom of conscience finally be promoted and will the Agreements with the Holy See be denounced? Only Pangloss, Candide’s companion in Voltaire’s homonymous work, could believe that this would have the slightest chance of happening with this Government.

Since 2006, various parties such as Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) or Izquierda Unida have promoted legislative proposals to repeal the Ley Orgánica de Libertad Religiosa (LOLR) (Organic Law on Religious Freedom) and to develop, on the one hand, a comprehensive law on freedom of conscience in order to respond to the new scenarios of religious pluralism that have emerged in society and, on the other hand, to regulate and apply other options of conscience different from the religious ones. The PSOE itself, in 2008, promoted the reform of the LOLR, even drafting an “Organic Law on the right to freedom of conscience and religion” in 2009, law that they never dared to process in Parliament.

Later on, with the Popular Party in power, the non-independentist Catalan left proposed in the Senate in 2013, a Law on ideological, religious and worship freedom, which meant that both religious and non-religious organisations were subject to common law. This law finally was not passed. The 1992 Agreements were annulled and the denunciation of those which were signed in 1976 and 1979 was proposed. Later, Podemos raised in Parliament the need to repeal the LOLR and, even in 2017, ERC managed to approve by parliamentary majority the need to urgently legislate an Organic Law on ideological, religious and worship freedom.

By the end of 2019, unlike the agreement signed on October 24, 2023, and with Unidas Podemos as PSOE’s partner, their programmatic agreement was much more specific when it stated: “We will approve a Law on Freedom of Conscience that guarantees the secularism of the State and its neutrality towards all religious confessions”, taking up the baton of what the Government of the second term of Rodríguez Zapatero did not dare to process. Despite four years in government, there was never an opportunity to make headway with what had already been agreed upon.

Additionally, if we look at the paragraph after the reference to secularism, the agreement which was signed in 2023, shamelessly limits itself by stating that: “in religious teaching [qualifications] will continue without counting for the average grade. This is in keeping with the LOMLOE which was approved in 2020, and makes it clear that they will do no more. Nothing in the real direction of promoting an education based on tolerance and secularism. Things such as starting a process to reduce the number of grant-maintained schools with the goal of strengthening public, secular and inclusive education so as to guarantee the effective equality of opportunities; promoting respect and constitutional values for all, to the detriment of the “own values” of each ideology whose legitimate space is not found in the classrooms; daring to remove confessional religion from school, instead of expanding religious indoctrination with the inclusion of representatives of other confessions with Agreements signed with the State; or shielding the possibility that autonomous communities governed by the right establish a “parental pin” that interrupts and perverts the didactic programs and curricular and extracurricular activities elaborated by teaching officials in relation to contents that the “parents” want to prohibit based on their particular ideology. Not to mention the repeal of the Agreements with all religious confessions, including the denunciation of international Agreements or the reform of article 16.3 of the Spanish Constitution.

Freedom of conscience has disappeared from the agreement between PSOE and Sumar. Let’s all raise our glasses and toast for them for four more years. Otherwise, let’s denounce the role of both in this new contempt for secular education, the effective protection of the right to freedom of conscience and the secular state, with which it continues in the line opened by the so-called “transition to democracy”, in the protection of the privileges of the Catholic Church achieved in the Dictatorship.

Source: educational EVIDENCE

Rights: Creative Commons

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