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The Church and politics

The line between education and persuasion is very thin
Sunday Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City – Photo: Cristopher Rogel Blanquet/EL UNIVERSAL
20/12/2017
08:49
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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Mexico is a secular state: the different religions practiced in the country don't interfere with political or government issues, and authorities respect equally all the religious associations. The separation of the Church and the State is declared in the Political Constitution of the country.

This distance, however, can shorten once in a while and both the State and the religious institutions sometimes get so close it seems laicism doesn't really exist.

In the country, there've been cases of local mayors who have surrendered their communities to Jesus Christ, or state Governors who have consecrated their state to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and even presidents who have attended a religious temple as their first act after taking office.

On the other side, religious ministers – mainly during electoral times – have been denounced of influencing their congregations for suggesting they vote for a specific candidate, or for disapproving another.

EL UNIVERSAL publishes today that the Mexican Episcopal Conference will provide “citizen formation workshops” at the 93 dioceses of the country, in order to strengthen the citizen's principles to defend their rights and reject “all acts of unlawfulness, corruption, impunity, violence, and injustice.”

Inevitably, ministers and priests – regardless of religion – are considered by the faithful to be authorities on the matters of the spirit...and politics. Therefore, it falls on these religious officials to be prudent and acknowledge they have a “power” to influence their congregations, better used to address the importance of fulfilling one's duties as a citizen – such as voting in the presidential elections – than for the benefit of a particular political group.

The goals of these workshops mentioned above stress the “need of citizens who can strengthen democracy through participation and who can rebuild our social fabric.” The line between education and persuasion is very thin. Besides, civil organizations currently offer similar courses. Is it really necessary to launch these actions during electoral times?

A Presidential election is an opportunity for every Mexican citizen to vote this upcoming July 1, 2018, freely, without duress, convinced their decision is the best for themselves and their family, and not because it's the suggestion of a religious institution.

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