The president of the Catholic Confederation of Parents in Spain, Luis Carbonel, announced this week more than half a million people are expected to participate in a November 12 march in protest of a new education law which ignores fundamental rights of parents.
In an internvew with the Spanish daily ABC, Carbonel said the protest is a grassroots effort and not an initiative of the conservative Popular Party or of the Spanish bishops. He noted that there are even “several Islamic organizations that have signed up to participate.”
Carbonel reiterated that opposition to the proposed law is based in part on its attack on the rights of parents to choose which kind of education their kids will receive, which schools to send them to, and whether or not they should receive religious education.
“The State has attributed to itself a responsibility and a right over which it only has a subsidiary function. The public authorities do not have the right to educate citizens but rather they ought to safeguard the freedom of parents to decide this matter for themselves in keeping with the constitution,” he said.
Carbonel criticized government officials for ignorning the opinions of experts and leaders in education who have expressed reservation about the new law. He said the November 12 protest would be called off if the government were to withdraw the measure and present a different law based on consensus.
The bishops of the Spanish region of Catalonia issued a statement expressing their rejection of the new law, saying it does not grant sufficient respect to the fundamental rights which “any democratic and pluralistic society must guarantee” and “which go hand in hand with freedom of religion and of conscience.” They encouraged citizens to carry out protests “in a peaceful and democratic fashion.”