Catholic bishops in the Spanish dioceses of Bilbao, San Sebastian and Vitoria criticized the public television station EITB for pulling an ad that promoted religion classes in public schools.
Church leaders called the move “a violation of fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and religious freedom” after the station said the the public service announcement was “incompatible” with their advertising policies.
In a statement sent to CNA on Feb. 7, the bishops said the two ads (one in Spanish and the other in Basque) were sent to the station, which were slightly edited and then aired two days later.
They were soon pulled off the air, however, and despite complaints from the bishops, the station has reaffirmed its decision.
The bishops said the ad removal reflected “a secular outlook that sees religion as something to be excluded from social life” which is “unsuitable for a public institution at the service of all.”
The ads featured two mothers discussing the importance of religious education for their children and encouraged parents to sign their children up for religious classes.
Religious instruction in public schools in Spain is optional, and parents must sign their children up in order for them to attend.