Religion in my country
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03-03-2010, 05:46 PM
Religion in my country
What follows is a long rant about how powerful the church is in my country. Read if you are bored, because maybe it's not interesting.

Just wanted to share some facts about how strong the power of church is on the Government and the people over here (Argentina).

Religious belief here is strong and wide.
Wikipedia:Religion in Argentina Wrote: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:
Quote:A 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:
Wikipedia:Religion in Argentina Wrote: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:
Wikipedia:Religion in Argentina Wrote: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
Quote:The 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

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.
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03-03-2010, 06:03 PM
RE: Religion in my country
In the United States, separation of church and state is a vital part of our country's principles. The First Amendment to the Constitution reads as follows:

The First Amendment Wrote:Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Note the first line: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". Congress is constitutionally prohibited from limiting or advancing religion in all federal issues and establishments.
I'm very glad that this is the case, as it prevents such things as teacher-led prayer in school, the teaching of Biblical history and other religious issues being brought into our lives against our wills. I am sorry that your country doesn't have this. It must be very annoying.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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03-03-2010, 06:31 PM
RE: Religion in my country
Yes, I do believe that this separation is of extreme importance for our country. This things that I mentioned seem to be slowly changing though. For example, before 1994 (when the constitution was modified) a president had to be catholic. Religion is still tought here in public schools (this is perhaps the most unpleasant aspects of all this) even though public education should be religion-free.

When I was in primary school I had to take religion, but there was a kid in my class who was a Jehovah's Witness and then two others that were Jewish. They didn't really have to take the class, but the teacher said that "Religion" was just.. another name for "morals and ethics", so we were just tought about how bad abortion is and how life is sacred and all that bs.
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03-03-2010, 10:18 PM
RE: Religion in my country
I had always thought that Canada was's the Wikipedia excerpt:

"Government and religion
Canada today has no official church, and the government is officially committed to religious pluralism. In some fields Christian influence remains.

Christmas and Easter are nationwide holidays, and while Jews, Muslims, and other groups are allowed to take their holy days off work they do not share the same official recognition[citation needed]. The French version of "O Canada", the official national anthem, contains a Catholic reference to "carrying the cross". In some parts of the country Sunday shopping is still banned, but this is steadily becoming less common. There was an ongoing battle in the late 20th century to have religious garb accepted throughout Canadian society, mostly focused on Sikh turbans. Eventually the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Royal Canadian Legion, and other groups accepted members wearing turbans.

Canada is a Commonwealth realm in which the head of state is shared with 15 other countries, including the United Kingdom. The UK's succession laws forbid Roman Catholics and their spouses from occupying the throne, and the reigning monarch is also ex officio Supreme Governor of the Church of England, but Canada is not bound by these laws. Within Canada, the Queen's title include the phrases "By the Grace of God" and "Defender of the Faith."

While the Canadian government's official ties to Christianity are few, it more overtly recognizes the existence of God and even the supremacy of God [9]. Both the preamble to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the national anthem in both languages refer to God.

In 1957, Parliament declared Thanksgiving "a day of general thanksgiving to almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed.", stating that God is almighty and that Canada is blessed. [10]

Some religious schools are government-funded. See Section Twenty-nine of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

For the most part, I don't normally see too much complaining going on. We have Catholic schools and, from my perspective, that is the only place religion is taught...the public schools seem to abstain from teaching anything religious. When I was in the primary grades, we had to say the lord's prayer but, by the time I got into high school (early '90s), it was no longer required.

I don't agree that the government funds the Catholic schools. I have heard of some Atheists trying to remove that, as well as the "...god keep our land..." part of our national anthem. I think once funding is taken away, we can all rest easy in a public school system that has a variety of nationalities in it that kids can interact.
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07-03-2010, 10:48 PM
RE: Religion in my country
The US does indeed have separation of church and state, but it's not it's only truly on paper. Sure, we've removed prayer from school and federal buildings such as courthouses, but until the religious beliefs of American politicians no longer influence their choices on big decisions, there will be no true separation of church and state.

I was also of the impression that the majority of all of South America was Roman Catholic. Maybe I'm wrong.
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07-03-2010, 11:01 PM
RE: Religion in my country
(07-03-2010 10:48 PM)Silvance Wrote:  The US does indeed have separation of church and state, but it's not it's only truly on paper. Sure, we've removed prayer from school and federal buildings such as courthouses, but until the religious beliefs of American politicians no longer influence their choices on big decisions, there will be no true separation of church and state.
Well said. We don't have prayer here in school or stuff like that, just "moral and etics" teaching in the form of religion. We are not tought creationism or any bible shit (at least when I was in school). But we (each one of us) is paying the salary of bishops through our taxes! That's just wrong.

(07-03-2010 10:48 PM)Silvance Wrote:  I was also of the impression that the majority of all of South America was Roman Catholic. Maybe I'm wrong.
Well, why do you think you are wrong? It's true.
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