Argentines demand separation of church, state

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Buenos Aires, July 25 (IANS) Dozens of people had turned out in front of the Buenos Aires cathedral for a peaceful demonstration to demand the separation of church and state in Argentina.

In wake of the political and social debate over abortion, Vilma Ripoll of the Socialist Workers Movement (MST) on Tuesday said that the next battle will be of ensuring the separation of church and state, Efe news reported.

“We’re a lay country. Only over many years did the (Catholic) church manage to get us to sustain its structure,” Ripoll said, adding that the church has become a “business” that takes advantage of “subsidies” for the clergy.

Just a few days before the August 8 Senate vote on the pending abortion law to decriminalize the voluntary interruption of pregnancy, the MST urged the people to carry signs bearing slogans such as “Church and state, separate issues” and “Let anyone who wants a priest pay for him”.

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“The unity between the church and the state results in us paying 40 billion pesos ($1.455 billion) every year so that they have a private business, like private education, and on top of that they use the education of our kids to inculcate medieval ideas in them and mobilize them against basic rights,” said national MST leader Alejandro Bodart.

In the past the Church has tried to quash other historic laws in Argentina, such as the divorce law and the equal marriage law, he added.

Senators are now debating the pros and cons of the measure.

–IANS

mag/sed

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