A local city councilman in the town of Sestao, Spain, and leader of the movement “Christians for Socialism,” is criticizing the government’s offensive against the Church, warning that the confrontation will have “costs for both.”
“We’re heading towards a train wreck,” said Carlos García de Andoin. “If things are not brought to a calm there will be costs for both sides: the bishops will lose people in the Church and the PSOE –the Spanish socialist party—will lose voters,” said Garcia de Andoin, who has spent the last ten years trying to reconcile socialist politics with the Christian faith.
According to Garcia de Andoin, “religion as a political issue has been revived,” which “has produced an undue polarization between progressive values, identified with secularism, and conservative values, identified with religious morality.”
He argues that one the principal errors of the government is in the use of the term “secular.” “Secular and religious are not mutually opposing.” The Spanish socialist party “needs to understand secular as inclusive. Secularism is a tradition of liberty and tolerance, and some secularism is uncompromising,” he said.
Other local political leaders, such as Juan Vicente Herrera of the Castilla and Leon region, said the offensive by the Socialist government against the Church “is a ‘vendetta’, which is setting us back centuries.” The government is “reviving closed debates instead of concerning itself with bringing progress to society,” he argued.
“Look, Spain is a non-sectarian state but it is a plural society, and reopening debates that lead to rank anticlericalism sets us back centuries….To me reviving this resentment, this old ‘vendetta’ against traditional values is a mistake,” he said.