Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, July 08, 2013

Separation of church and state

In Mexico, keeping religion non-political is as important as keeping government non-religious.

Mexican land donation to church draws fire
Cancun, Mexico
A government donation of land to the Roman Catholic church to build a chapel in the Mexican resort city of Cancun is drawing fire in a country sensitive to religious favoritism.

Local officials in other Mexican cities have drawn fire recently for publicly "dedicating" their cities to Jesus Christ and God at religious events, despite the country's long history of religious conflicts, including the 1920s Cristero war in which tens of thousands died.

But the Cancun donation especially angered some residents because the government-owned land was designated for public use…

Mexican law says the government should be non-religious and not show any preference for any one faith…

[R]eligion is [a] sensitive theme: Mexico was dominated economically, spiritually and intellectually for centuries by the Catholic church. After the 1910-1917 revolution, strict anti-clerical laws were passed that sparked a 1926-1929 uprising by militant Catholics known as the Cristero War.

While the restrictions were eased in the 1990s, many Mexicans - even those who are nominally Catholic themselves - are wary of any church involvement in politics or public affairs…
See Wikipedia on the Cistero War. (The article is controversial and includes non-objective descriptions.)

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