Happy Atheist Forum

Religion => Religion => Topic started by: Nahuel on January 29, 2010, 02:01:26 AM

Title: State + church
Post by: Nahuel on January 29, 2010, 02:01:26 AM
I'm sure this is something widely discussed here. Just wanted to share some facts about how it is over here (Argentina).

Religious belief here is strong and wide.
Quote from: "Wikipedia:Religion in Argentina"A majority of the population of Argentina is nominally Roman Catholic. According to one source, about 76.5% of Argentinians are Roman Catholic, 11.3% religiously indifferent, 9% Protestant (with 7.9% in Pentecostal denominations), 1.2% Jehovah's Witnesses, and 0.9% Mormons.[1]In the last decades, as in the rest of America, there has been a rise in Evangelical movements, which have mostly gathered converts from Catholicism in the lower classes. Although Jews account for lesss than 1% of Argentina's population, Buenos Aires has the second largest population of Jewish people in the Americas, second only to New York City. Argentina also has the largest Muslim minority in America (see Islam in Argentina). According to Annuario Pontificio, based on parish statistics, 89% of the population is Catholic. [2]
Yet "religiously indifferent" seem to rank quite high in the statistics. But according to these statistics, in the northwest (where I live) 91,7% are Catholics.
From other sources (http://www.reservas.net/alojamiento_hoteles/argentina_information.htm):
QuoteA study made by members of the Argentine Episcopal Conference revealed that 77% of Argentineans have been baptised a Roman Catholic. However, only 18,5% practise the religion while 35% never go to church.

I'm really more concerned about religion sticking its nose in government's business with the government actually enabling it. For example, here are some parts of the Argentinian Constitution that mention religion:
Quote from: "Wikipedia:Religion in Argentina"The Preamble of the Argentine Constitution reflects the deistic beliefs of many of the crafters, often influenced by ideas of the Freemasonry (when not Freemasons themselves). The statement of the Constitution's goals ends by "invoking the protection of God, source of all reason and justice".
The Constitution includes several references to religion. The 14th article, which summarizes the rights of the citizens, includes religious freedom: "All the inhabitants of the nation are entitled to the following rights: ... to freely profess their cult...". The 93rd article allows for the president and the vice-president taking office to swear their oath before Congress "respecting their religious beliefs".

Now here's the annoying part:
Quote from: "Wikipedia:Religion in Argentina"The state grants the Roman Catholic Church special privileges to it, based on the second article of the Constitution:
El Gobierno federal sostiene el culto católico, apostólico, romano.
"The Federal Government supports the Apostolic Roman Catholic religion."

There' seems to be a sort of... misinterpretation of that article. They thought:
support = echonomic support
QuoteThe Constitution states that the Government "sustains the apostolic Roman Catholic faith" and provides the Catholic Church with a variety of subsidies not available to other religious groups. These subsidies, estimated at $4 million per annum, have been described as compensation for expropriation of properties that belonged to Catholic institutions in the colonial era. For instance, the Government pays monthly salaries or allowances to Catholic diocesan and auxiliary bishops, Catholic seminarians, Catholic border parishes, a group of secular priests, and retired Catholic bishops. These payments are exempt from federal deductions for the equivalent of income taxes, social security, and medicare. The Government doubled the bishops' salaries in 2006 from approximately US $1,300 (ARS 4,000) to approximately US $2,600 (ARS 8,000) monthly. The Catholic Church also enjoys institutional privileges such as school subsidies, a large degree of autonomy for parochial schools, licensing preferences for radio frequencies, prison chaplains, and prisoner access.

Source: US State Department 2007 International Religious Freedom Report; Argentina (http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2007/90239.htm)

 It seems a little condradicting to the article that states "freedom of religion", since the Catholic church is the only one they "support". And the bishops make ARS 8,000!!! In 2007, a teacher (with a 10 year seniority) in a public university made ARS 1,101.41. So a bishop makes 7 times more money than a teacher... And teacher faught big fights to earn that.

I've always wondered how other countries manage these situations, if they even exist.