.- Leaders of the Protestant community “Christian Center of Salvation” have called for a new law that would declare President Hugo Chavez to be the “elder bishop” of Venezuelan Protestants, require their beliefs to be taught in schools and demand economic benefits for their leaders.
According to the Venezuelan daily “El Mundo,” the proposed law on “Ecclesiastical Evangelical Power” in Venezuela was given to government officials by the leaders of the Christian Center of Salvation, Esmelin Lugo and Renato Ramirez.
The Center claims to represent more than 17,000 Evangelical churches in Venezuela and says the government should “immediately cease” supposed political privileges granted to other religions in Venezuela.
The measure calls for the mandatory teaching of Protestant beliefs in all grades and says President Hugo Chavez should be declared “Elder Bishop” by the Evangelical Protestant Church.
The two Protestant leaders said the State and the government should provide financial support for Evangelical churches and should create a pension and retirement fund for pastors, ministers, and Evangelical bishops who have completed 32 years of service or more.
Venezuelan Congressman Edgar Zambrano warned the proposal would constitute an attack “not only on the Catholic Church but also on the Venezuelan people, who are mostly “Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman.”
96% of Venezuela’s nearly 26,000,000 citizens are Roman Catholics; 2% are Protestant.
“There is no doubt President Chavez is behind this proposal that would simply grant him just another coronation, as if he were some kind of high priest,” Congressman Zambrano said.