Friday, May 15, 2009

No more separation of Church and State in Venezuela

Oh dear, another one of those days! I am up to 4 posts with this one!

We just got a new cadena and Chavez is out of the country. How come? Well, the Nazional Assembly who is not entitled to that right unless directed by the government (or under ceremonial circumstances) decided to force a cadena. It was of taped material (a cadena is supposed to be direct as it is supposed to be important urgent information, and not propaganda). Not only it was not a pertinent information but the content was in fact a direct violation of the constitution.

Let's go by parts.

First, for those who do not know what a cadena is. It is the forced simultaneous broadcast on ALL TV and ALL Radio stations of the country. And I mean ALL. As such it is conceived to used sparsely in case of emergency or for major messages to the nation. Under Chavez it has become simply a propaganda tool used for hours on end to silence criticism from the opposition. Not to mention that on occasion during cadenas the government performs illegal deeds as nobody can get information to react until the deed is done (remember the infamous cadena of April 11 2002 when Chavez hid the downtown massacres likely ordered to his sharp shooters).

Second, the "material" aired by the Nazional Assembly was a montage of the declarations of two priests attending, AGAINST the Catholic Church who had sanctioned them.

It is irrelevant to this discussion to examine the merits and demerits of the internal Catholic Church spat. What is relevant here is that under no circumstances the Nazional Assembly of Venezuela can take side with one religious partiality against another one. And even less bring it to a cadena. Not only article 59 of the constitution guarantees that all religions must be treated equally (will Cardinal Urosa be invited to offer a rebuttal? Will the Evangelical groups be invited to discuss the issue too? Is some shaman going to bless the debate?) but the separation of Church and State is so ingrained in Venezuelan constitutional history that the 1999 Constitution does not even bother writing somewhere something like "there is no official religion in Venezuela".

But it got worse, once the two priests stated their case the chair of the Nazional Assembly asked on a vote. A vote on an internal religious matter!!!!!!

As such not only the Nazional Assembly blatantly violated the 1999 Constitution, but it violated a secular tradition which includes Venezuela as one fo the first LatAm countries to establish freedom of religion, divorce, and other such practices.

Third. The most irksome aspect here is that the Nazional Assembly who is constituted by a bunch of people who have not set foot in a Church or Temple in decades, who swear and call the name of the Lord in vain, who do not believe even in their mother words of love (assuming that there is still something lovable in folks like Cilia Flores) takes the hypocrite moral high ground to condemn the Catholic Church hierarchy on an internal matter of said church.

You know, as a French culture product I am reminded of the French Revolution which tried first to make the Catholic Church a State Church. Then, as it did not work out, Robespierre tried to make an ersatz called "Culte à l'Etre Suprême". This of course did not work at all and the French Revolution simply fell into a godless system until Napoleon, who believed only in himself, came to put some order and co-opt the Church so effectively that it was basically an arm of government until the Third Republic finally separated once and for all the Church from the State, at the end of the XIX Century.

Thus I cannot be surprised that chavismo is using two rogue priests to launch a renewed attack on the Church (one of them, well, I wonder how he became a priest to begin with, there is definitively a scarcity of vocations). But let not any other religion rejoice in this pathetic charade; let me remind them that all religions are incompatible with the cult to Chavez, and their turn will come surely, just as Globovision turn is coming these days. One by one, any group or institution bold enough to express dissent with Chavez Manichean view of the world will be severed.

And the one who write this post is someone who has left the Catholic Church when he was 16 year old to eventually settle in a scientific agnosticism when he was in college. Meaning that it has been decades I stopped caring about ANY religion or its fate. Just in case.

-The end-

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