Posted by: becketfund | December 17, 2008

Spain: Nativity Scene Removed

MADRID – A nativity scene in the state prosecutors’ office was removed after top judge Pilar Barrero objected to its presence, claiming that its presence was unconstitutional, the AFP reported on December 17. The judge argued that the placement of the nativity scene violated Spain’s 1978 constitution, which ensures the separation of church and state. Although some lawyers argued that a nativity scene was a cultural tradition rather than a religious one, the display was removed on the order of the second highest ranking official in the prosecutors’ office, Juan Martin Casallo. There is a continued debate over secularism in Spain, where Catholic symbols remain prominent in public life 30 years after the end of the dictatorship of Francisco Franco who had established Catholicism as a “state religion.” The Socialist-led government announced last week that it was preparing a new law on religious freedom that aims to give greater respect for religious diversity and secularism.

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