The Federation of Evangelical Religious Entities of Spain analyses the challenges and achievements of evangelical churches in 2022.
The Federation of Evangelical Religious Entities of Spain (FEREDE) lamented that 2022 ended without the recognition of pensions for evangelical pastors who were prevented from contributing before 1999.
“Evangelicals in Spain still face situations of discrimination and lack of equality in the exercise of our rights. We began 2022 with the expectation of seeing some of them resolved, but yet another year, we saw no political will to improve the rights of Protestants”, said the executive secretary of FEREDE, Carolina Bueno, in an interview with news agency Europa Press.
Spanish Protestants expected the government to solve the “discrimination” suffered by evangelical pastors who could not pay social security contributions during the dictatorship, and were not included in the social security system until 1999. Their case was supported by the European Court of Human Rights and by the Spanish Supreme Court in 2017.
“It is frustrating to see so much emphasis placed on eliminating the discrimination other groups face, and on solving all kinds of historical memory problems, in contrast to the historical discrimination of the Protestants in our country”, added Bueno.
[photo_footer]The executive secretary of FEREDE, Carolina Bueno. / Photo: Buenas Noticias TV
She also expressed the Protestants' concern about some of the recent laws passed by the government, such as the ‘trans law’ or the reform of the abortion law, “due to the possible harm they could cause to the exercise of fundamental rights, such as religious freedom, freedom of expression, conscientious objection and the right of parents to educate their children according to their religious and moral convictions”.
Despite all this, the executive secretary of FEREDE assured that Protestants continued throughout 2022 to work and try to be of help to society, with solidarity projects, spiritual assistance in prisons, hospitals and detention centres for foreigners, facilitating evangelical religious teaching in schools and promoting cooperation with other religious groups.
She also stressed the entity's projects to fight human trafficking, to help migrants, families at risk of social exclusion and the most vulnerable children, as well as the evangelical social response to help Ukrainian refugees affected by the war.
Bueno recalled that Diaconia Spain (the 'social branch' of FEREDE), responded to the call made at the beginning of the year by the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations to welcome Ukrainian refugees on their arrival in the country, by opening new shelters for refugees and with the offer of churches, evangelical organisations and families to take in people fleeing the war.
Bueno pointed out that, after the “difficult years of the pandemic”, churches and evangelical organisations in general have “strongly" resumed their activities, initiatives and projects, and many of them have done so while maintaining the use of technological tools that they were forced to use during the lockdown.
They have also resumed congresses and retreats in a year of “a lot of activity” for the evangelical world as a whole.
“We have seen that the rate of growth and the number of evangelical entities that have been set up has recovered the figures of before the pandemic, after the break caused by coronavirus”, concluded the executive secretary of FEREDE.