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Mexican Anglicans call for separation of church/state: The Church of England Newspaper, January 6, 2012 p 7 January 12, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico, Politics.
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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Anglican Church of Mexico stands with the country’s political left in opposing amendment of Article 24 of the country’s constitution, Archbishop Carlos Touche-Porter tells The Church of England Newspaper.

Reforming the constitution to lift restrictions on religious groups holding services in public without first receiving government permission is a “very dangerous move that would only benefit the majority [Catholic] church and the growing ultraconservative Neo-Evangelicals and Neo-Pentecostals.  Both groups are equally right wing and eager to impose their “values” on the entire population,” Archbishop Touche-Porter said.

On 15 Dec 2011 members of the lower house of the Mexican National Assembly approved changes to Article 24 lifting restrictions on public worship introduced in 1917.  The bill had the support of President Felipe Calderon and members of his ruling National Action Party (PAN) as well as conservative members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which governed Mexico from 1929 to 2000.  However, leftwing PRI deputies along with the deputies from the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) have voiced strong opposition to the reforms.

The Archbishop of Mexico, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, applauded the move to reform the constitution. “Every human being has the right to religious freedom to believe or not to believe, and practice or not practice. All those who believe in human rights should be glad, because this concept has eventually been applied in the First article in the Constitution,” he said according to the Agenzia Fides news agency.

However Archbishop Touche-Porter noted that “our right wing Federal Government, led by the PAN is only trying to restore the privileges that the Roman-Catholic Church lost in the Constitutions of 1857 and 1917.”

“Most Mexicans support a total separation of Church and State,” the Anglican archbishop said, adding that “we are not used and do not wish to have uncontrolled open air religious services or to see the President of Mexico and other politicians making a public display of their religious beliefs.”

The amendment must still be approved by the Senate and 16 of Mexico’s 31 state legislatures for it to become law.

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