The president of the College of Catholic Lawyers in Mexico, Armando Martinez Gomez, announced this week the organization would send a proposal to the National Congress and local legislatures to reform the Constitution in order to strengthen religious freedom in the country and allow religious education in public schools.
Martinez Gomez, who will be presenting the proposal in the name of the Archdiocese of Mexico City, said it was very important that the Constitution be reformed “in order for there to be true religious freedom, because Mexico continues to a be a restrictive country in this area and therefore the Church is focused on this issue.”
He noted that during the debate on the legalization of abortion in Mexico City, “the freedom of expression of religious leaders was restricted” and “several lawsuits against clergy members are still pending.”
Martinez Gomez stressed that clergy members “are citizens who have the right, like the rest of Mexicans, to hold and to express opinions and political, non-partisan positions.” However, they are constantly restricted in exercising that right.
He said that one of the objectives of the proposal is to allow for religious education to be imparted in public schools, thus allowing parents to exercise their right over the education of their children.
The spokesman for the Archdiocese of Mexico City, Father Hugo Valdemar, said, “This is not about subduing the secular State or returning to laws and privileges of the past. This is about making our Constitution consistent, which on the one hand provides guarantees to all citizens, but in practice these guarantees are taken away from us.”
The communications office of the Archdiocese of Mexico said the demand for religious freedom is not about a privilege dependent upon the will of political leaders and their policies, but rather it is the “clear recognition of an inalienable right.” “It’s not about a right of the Church as an institution,” but rather “a human right of each person, of each people, of each nation.”
The restriction of freedom of religion is “contrary to human dignity,” it said, and the respect the State owes to religious freedom excludes the tacit or explicit promotion of irreligiosity or indifference, as if the religious dimension of life were totally foreign to the people.”