Interfaith Dialogue in Spain-Religious Mediation: A Brief Analysis of Spain's Religious Liberty Law*

Article excerpt

I. PROLOGUE ...................730

II. INTRODUCTION ......................733

III. SPAIN'S RELIGIOUS LIBERTY LAW: A BRIEF ANALYSIS ................734

A. Historical and Legal Background .................736

B. Main Features of the LOLR ........................740

1. It affects all religious denominations, including the Catholic Church ......................740

2. It is a law with little content and whose principles are tightly secured ......................741

C. Why Do We Need to Reform the LOLR? ..................742

D. Materials to Be Amended in the LOLR .....................746

1. Manifestations of the right to religious freedom .....................746

2. Legal status of religious denominations ..................748

3. Cooperation between government and religious groups: Agreements ...................749

4. Assets and economic systems of religious denominations ....................752

5. Nondenominational or secular state ........................753

6. Draft religious-liberty law ........................754

IV. INTERFAITH DIALOGUE- RELIGIOUS MEDIATION ...................756

A. What Do Religious Entities Demand? ...................759

B. Mediation and Conciliation in die Religious Sphere ...............762

1. Settlement ....................................763

2. Mediation and culture of peace .......................764

3. Religious mediation ......................766

V. CONCLUSIONS .......................770

I. PROLOGUE

Interfaith dialogue is absolutely necessary for the resolution of conflicts that arise in the fundamental area of religious freedom in contemporary societies. Clearly, great religious diversity exists today, which is evidenced by traditional religions as well as other emerging European religions - and particularly in Spain. This phenomenon gives rise to several fundamental questions. Does the regulation of Spain's Religious Liberty Law ("LOLR," for L·'^ Orgánica de Libertad Religiosa)1 adjust to the needs diat religious diversity poses? Do state and other local and autonomous entities guarantee religious freedom in a full and effective manner? Is the Spanish Constitution's mandate in article 16, section 3, which states that "[p]ublic authorities shall take into consideration the religious beliefs of the Spanish public and shall maintain relations of cooperation with the Catholic Church and the other religions,""2 fulfilled in an effective and practical manner?

Modern Spain, for various reasons, such as migration, development, and the enjoyment of freedoms in matters of religious diversity, is nothing like the Spain of 1978, when the Spanish Constitution was adopted and religious freedom was made positive law. Nor is it like the Spain of 1980, when the LOLR was adopted. This law, though still in force, has been challenged as obsolete, underscoring that it does not meet the needs of a pluralistic society in religious matters, nor does it even meet the needs of those who, exercising their freedom, do not profess any religion. It is, therefore, important to ask whether the Spanish government has effectively guaranteed the fundamental right to religious freedom, especially for religious minorities, specifically in terms of equality of members of various religious minorities in the eyes of different administrations. There are no longer only three "traditional" religions (Jews, Christians, and Muslims). Rather, there are different traditions and religious movements that have a significant presence in Spain and have been given the legal status of notorio arraigo1 (Buddhists, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Orthodox Church); there are also spiritual movements that do not have this social and administrative recognition available in die legal system (e.g., Hare Krishna and Brahma Kumaris). Therefore, these imbalances that affect fundamental rights and freedoms should be analyzed and properly corrected. …