Javier Martínez-Torrón

Forty years of religious freedom in Spain: a retrospective

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Religious Freedom; Spain; Constitution; Freedom of Conscience; Church-State Relations.

This article contains the author's personal interpretation of the arrival of religious freedom to Spain with the 1978 Constitution and its development by the 1980 Organic Law of Religious Freedom. The author provides an explanation of the various factors that permit understanding of the way in which Spanish democracy understood religious freedom as well as institutional relations between the State and religious communities. Without minimizing the very valuable contributions of the new constitutional regime in this area of fundamental freedoms, the author identifies some limitations that conditioned the options available to the Spanish legislature in those years. On this basis, the author points out what he perceives to be the main flaws of the current system of relations between State and religion in Spain: the deficient functioning of the main State bodies with competence on religious issues (the Advisory Commission on Religious Freedom and the Registry of Religious Entities), the unequal application of the constitutional principle of State cooperation with religion, and the insufficient protection of individual freedom of conscience.

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