Vox brings an initiative to the Congress to shut down the state-funded Pluralism and Coexistence Foundation, which supports the evangelical, Muslim and Jewish federations. Evangelical representatives respond.
A budget of almost 2 million euros per year to support initiatives of faith minorities in Spain should disappear.
This is the proposition that Vox, the hard-right party close to the Roman Catholic Church, has brought to the national parliament. The initiative came just days after a ‘lone wolf’ Salafist jihadist killed a priest and wounded others in an attack against two Roman Catholic churches.
Vox says the money administred annually by the state-sponsored Pluralism and Coexistence Foundation (in Spanish: FPyC) should go to support “Spanish families in social or economic emergency”. According to the them, FPyC only “disseminates and promotes faith confessions that are, in some cases, hostile to democratic coexistence and attack the dignity of women”.
The annual report of the FPyC shows that the main beneficiaries of the subsidies are the Federation of Evangelical Religious Entities (FEREDE) with around 500,000 euros, followed by the Islamic Commission (400,000) and the Federation of Jewish Communities (200,000).
In its motion, which still has to be accepted for debate in the Spanish Congress, Vox argues that under the “apparently laudable” aims of the state-owned foundation there is a hidden intention of “promoting faith confessions hostile to democratic coexistence”.
Vox even defines the Pluralism and Coexistence Foundation as an “ideological space at the service of the sectarian purpose of the Government that uses the money of the Spanish people” to “perpetrate a frontal attack on our identity and roots” and spread “dogmas and pretensions of globalist social transformation represented by the 2030 Agenda”.
For Vox, supporting faith minorities with public money helps these confiession to “acquire a greater influence in our society, perpetrating the call effect of illegal immigration”. The FPyC is therefore “completely distant from the real needs of Spaniards, the common good, coexistence, the rule of law and the identity of Spain, and that only serve the purpose of placing and subsidising people and entities related to the dissolving postulates of the left”.
The proposal of what is the second largest party in the opposition came as a surprise to evangelical leaders of the Ferede.
[photo_footer]Statement of the Ferede on 31 January, responding to the proposal of Vox.
In a statement issued the day after, Ferede underlined that “the Evangelical or Protestant denomination (…) is not hostile to democratic coexistence, nor attacks the dignity of women. On the contrary, its historical trajectory in the defence of freedoms and human rights, especially religious freedom, in our country is widely accredited”.
The evangelical federation defended the work of the FPyC in “supporting initiatives aimed at promoting religious freedom, dialogue, peaceful coexistence and the fight against intolerance in our society”.
Ferede also used the opportunity to publicly ask if “VOX plans to present a proposal or alternative to improve the situation of discriminatory treatment that still persists in Spain in terms of funding and public aid to non-Catholic religious denominations”.
[title]What is FPyC?
The Pluralism and Coexistence Foundation was created in 2004 at the proposal of the Ministry of Justice under a Social Democratic government. It has had a budget allocation since 2004 that has varied according to the designation of the State budgets of each financial year. In 2010 it reached what has been its maximum budget, with just over 5 million euros, which was drastically cut to just over one million euros in 2011.
Its stated aim is “to encourage the recognition and accommodation of religious diversity as basic elements for the guarantee of the effective exercise of religious freedom and the construction of an adequate framework for coexistence”.
Its own projects include the Observatory of Religious Pluralism, which presents statistics and studies of interest on the establishment of religious minorities and the promotion of research on the socio-cultural evolution of the evangelical, Muslim and Jewish minorities Spain.