Protestant theologian, Matias Preisweik, of the Ecumenical Higher Institute has proposed that Bolivia abandon its Christian roots and return to its Andean religion.
During his remarks at a forum entitled, “The State, Religion, and the New Political Constitution,” which brought together various religious leaders, Preisweik questioned if, “in this moment of re-appreciation of things Andean, is there not the dream of having a country ruled by the values of its own ancestral and holistic religiosity?”
Although Catholicism is not the official religion, Preisweik stated, the Church “is recognized as the tutelary institution, like the Armed Forces, but in religious matters,” and, “it portrays itself as a superior force that intercedes for Bolivians before the Kingdom of God.”
He said religious institutions should distant themselves from the State so that secularism can be implemented and so they don’t influence legal issues such as abortion.
In response, Archbishop Edmundo Abastoflor of La Paz recalled that the Church does not exercise or hold any political power and that her members live the vocation of service through educational and social works, in benefit of those in need.
The forum took place amidst a national debate over whether accept a proposal to remove religious instruction from schools. The proposal will come before the National Assembly for a vote on August 6th.