The situation of persecuted Christians in Spain
Spain's rapid secularisation has progressed since 2004, when the radical left came to power. Spanish secularism is not a new phenomenon, but it reconnects the mood that intensified before the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s.
Anti-Catholic manifestations of Spanish secularism take the form of legal discrimination against the Catholic Church, favoring other faiths in the field of education. Calls for protests and violence against priests and the destruction of Catholic churches. Christians are harassed for openly expressing Christian views in the private and public spheres.
Criminal lawsuits for alleged “hate speech” are proliferating. Account freezes on social media are due to “intolerance”. It is forbidden to preach Christian morality about abortion, marriage and sexuality. Views on this subject from a biblical perspective are considered “extremist.” Some lecturers and doctors were denied employment for this reason.
At the end of 2020, the government introduced new regulations to remodel education and further secularization by limiting the number of religion lessons and funding for private schools, 58 per cent of which are Catholic schools. The battle to limit the rights of parents and the implementation of workshops on the ideology of the LGBTQ + community from an early age continues. Students are forced to simulate sexual acts in front of their classmates in a workshop on pornography under the “State Plan against Gender Violence.”
Christian scientists who present research that goes against the ideology of the government (such as on “climate change”) are being persecuted by government agencies. The observatory has documented several cases of faithful expulsion from churches, many of which occurred in April 2020 as a result of the epidemiological regulations.
In addition to government restrictions, there have been cases of social hostility due to the stigmatization of Christians who are accused of spreading the virus. The media frequently mock and insult Catholics. They question Christmas or Easter. Blasphemous materials are spread, and Christians are harassed at work and at school. There is a clear incitement to violence on social media, for example through the hashtag “Burn the Clerics”, which became popular on Twitter in November 2020 and was only removed after many interventions.
The organisation Abogados Cristianos sees an increase in cases of blasphemous “works of art”. Many Spaniards consider Catholic symbols to be symbols of the rule of General Franco, hated by the left. In February 2020, under the “Act on Historical Remembrance”, the Benedictine monks who looked after the Valley of the Fallen were exiled – a mausoleum commemorating the victims of the civil war. Crosses are removed, street names and symbols are changed in Alicante, Andalusia, Tortosa, Gijón, Tárrega, Jaén, Valencia, Cáceres etc. Cribs and crosses are destroyed. The government passed a new law on religious freedom and conscience, which proclaims the complete secularism of the state.
In 2019, 175 incidents related to freedom of expression were registered, 140 of which were related to Catholics. There were also 66 sectarian hate crimes. 51 violent incidents related, inter alia, to to beat the priests. “Spain is the only country where there are clear trends of radical secularism, both on the part of government authorities and social circles.” This led to extremism and the polarization of society.