Protestantism, a second religion persecuted by the Franco regime

In 2017 Protestantism celebrated 500 years of history over high. The revolution that started Martin Luther in 1517 hanging his 95 theses at the door of the Witt

Protestantism, a second religion persecuted by the Franco regime

In 2017 Protestantism celebrated 500 years of history over high. The revolution that started Martin Luther in 1517 hanging his 95 theses at the door of the Wittenberg Palace Church against Rome and its excesses changed the course of the world: anticipated the illustration, it was a revulsive for the Vatican and the beginning of a society more Modern. At the grand celebration, four years ago, from Luther in Madrid, the then Minister of Justice Rafael Catalá on behalf of the Government, but no other political leader. Why is that ningune to a faith that in Spain profess something more than one million and a half of people? "Public opinion continues to consider Protestantism as a foreign religion for foreigners," says Expansionnavid Casals, Director of Protestant Documentary, Silenced Story. In it denounces the intolerance and persecution to which communities and their believers were subjected, especially during the Francoism.

The revolution that Martin Luther began in 1517 and who left Europe in two quickly came to Spain through books, printed and pamphlets, but the Inquisition was in charge of pursuing it incarnately. The first Protestant Church of Spain did not opened in Menorca until 1868, when the Liberal Revolution brought with it a Constitution that, for the first time, recognized religious freedom for foreigners. The Welsh missionary George Lawrence was one of the first to assemble parishes, schools and two hospitals in Barcelona.

"Until the Second Republic, which was received with joy by the Protestants, no religious freedom of the Spaniards was recognized for the first time," explains Casals. But the civil war changed the situation completely. "If in the Republican side, Catholics suffered a tough persecution, in the national, the temples and schools were closed and many faithful and pastors, executed or banished," explains Casals. The most emblematic case is the Anglican Reverend of Salamanca Atilano Coco, shot by being Protestant, Mason and Republican.

During the Franco regime, the Protestants beuted to be suspected "JudeoMason or communists", explains the art historian Daniel Giralt-Miracle in the documentary. The Spain that presumed to be "Spiritual Reserve of the West" did not tolerate a religion that he considered foreign. "Except in Madrid, where the regime had to preserve appearances so as not to bother the ambassadors, the Protestant work in the rest of Spain was clandestine until 1945. The cults should be done in the homes, and the faithful were fined to participate in meetings Clatendestins, "explains Casals. The defeat of Franco's allies in World War II forced the regime to allow the reopening of the temples, but not from schools.

After the Second World War, the Spanish's jurisdiction brought some religious tolerance, but the attacks against the temples continued and it was normal to dawn with the windows broken and painted. "Below Luther and the family of him", "I go to England" or "Live the Pope" were some of the usual messages. The documentary points out that the fact that there was no religious freedom was decisive for Spain to be out of the Marshall Plan. "The US Congress approved the inclusion of Spain, but the Spanish Protestants informed the White House of the persecution they suffered. The then president, Harry S. Truman, who was Baptist, sent an emissary to Spain and certified the situation. Truman urged the regime to allow religious freedom, but before the refusal of the Bishops and the silence of the Vatican, Spain was self-covered from the aid, "explains Casals, who also recalls an incendiary pastoral from Archbishop of Seville in 1947 after which he is He started a wave of attacks and assaults on the temples.

What was the persecution of the Spanish Protestants? The Catholic religion was present in so many aspects of daily life during the Franco regime that Protestants were punished in various ways, such as having to wait years to receive an authorization to marry by civil or to enroll a newborn with a Name of the Santoral, as Lidia. Protestants were not buried along with others: their site in the cemetery was next to abortions, suicides, agnostics and Jews.

The most difficult situation was experienced in military service, which concluded with the jure of the flag and a mass, in which the soldiers had to kneel. "Do not do it because he tied against the conscience and convictions of him could suppose the opening of a war council, and being months and even years in prison," recalls Casals. The persecution decreased something with the Vatican Council II and the opening of the North American military bases in 1953, but the hostility followed. Intolerance reached 1973, two years before the death of Franco, when a Barcelona Methodist pastor was prosecuted by the court of public order for an article in which he denounced the lack of religious freedom published in an internal magazine.

Talking about Protestantism today is to talk about a multitude of branches: are the liberals, conservatives and fundamentalists, who make a literal reading of the Scriptures. The historical churches (Lutherans, Anglicans, Baptists, Mennonites, reformed or Presbyterians, Methodists, Quakers) join others emerged in the last 150 years: Adventists, Salvation, Charismatics, Pentecostal and Neopenthosteral Army.

It is estimated that there are about 800 million Protestants, around 37% of Christians around the world. In Spain, the proportion is less: there are accounted for 4,529 Protestant temples in 825 municipalities, according to the Pluralism and Coexistence Foundation, which depends on the Ministry of the Presidency. It is estimated that, of all the churches, some 3,000 have opened in recent years as a result of immigration. By communities, the leader is Catalonia (943) and then Madrid (807), Andalusia (693) and the Valencian Community (495) are situated. Although it is difficult to know exactly the number of prosthetics faithful, it is estimated that they are close to one and a half million. "The Protestant and Evangelical Churches have defended full religious freedom in Spain for a century and a half, and have suffered the intolerance and persecution in the first person. And yet, these are absolutely unknown facts," says the documentary director.

Casals explains that the case of more flagrant discrimination is that Social Security did not recognize until the end of the 1990s the Pastor's Labor Category. "Many of the retired shepherds with whom we have spoken do not charge a public pension, although it recognized it in April 2012, a judgment of the Tribunal of Strasbourg, which the State remains un-applied," denounces. "In the documentary, we have interviewed 12 testimonies that suffered the intolerance and repression in the first person, there are different prisms: those who consider that there should be an institutional gesture of reconciliation by the State and the Catholic Church, and others who say they do not expect Nothing of this world. In what there is a unanimous diagnosis by all the Protestant and Evangelical Churches, it is that they feel treated by the State as a second religion, "he concludes.

Updated Date: 04 December 2021, 01:30

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