An NGO in Argentina has issued a statement urging one of the country's governors to oppose the demands of the association, “September 20,” which is calling for the removal of crucifixes and other religious symbols from all public places.
This initiative, the directors of the NGO, "Para Hacerse Oir-Hablemos Claro" (To Be Heard, Speak Clearly) explained, comes in response to a campaign taking place in many parts of Argentina, “which if successful, would rob our society of its religious values, its culture and its traditions. All of which make up our national identity.”
Martin J. Viano and Araceli Alvarez Viano Ramilo, directors of the NGO, said that the “September 20” organization has requested that authorities in the city of Mendoza remove all crucifixes and religious symbols from public spaces, calling them an "invasion" upon modern society. Their organization argued that these “objects” contradict the principle of the "neutrality" of the state and hamper efforts that encourage democracy, pluralism and mutual respect.
Members of Hacerse Oir stressed the importance of understanding that in the Argentinean legal system, under Article 31 of the Argentinean Constitution, the display of religious symbols in public buildings is accepted. The constitution is also the supreme law in Mendoza, they noted adding that the same constitution gives continuity and permanence to both pre-existing and current social structures.
In addition, Article 2 of the constitution explains that the government supports the Roman Catholic religion. In this context, "support” means: “the unification of the morals of the state with the morals of the Church” as well as “the recognition of the Church as a public entity,” Hacerse Oir said.
Due to the purpose of the constitutional declaration regarding the Catholic faith, “the existence of crucifixes in public offices is a clear example of the juridical status enjoyed by the Church,” they stressed.