Religion in Society

Historic Move: Mexico Introduces Separation of Church and State

| by American Atheists

In an historic move last week, lawmakers in the lower house of the Mexican Congress approved a bill officially instituting the separation of church and state.

The measure will impact a number of important human rights issues including gay marriage, and abortion. The Roman Catholic Church has aggressively opposed these measures. The bill passed 363 in favor with one "no" vote and one abstention. It "guarantees the autonomy of institutions from religious norms, rules and convictions or individual ideologies as well as the equality of people before the law..."

Dr. Ed Buckner, President of American Atheists said that the bill "should send a message to our politicians that in many respects, the world is moving ahead in the battle for human rights."

"We have lawmakers who consider 'secularism' to be a dirty word, and deny the fact that at least in theory, America is a country which supposedly upholds the separation of religion and government."

Indra Zuno, a linguist who will be a Spanish-speaking presenter at the upcoming American Atheists National Convention April 2-4, 2010, said "It's worth noting that my native land has a long, rich history of support for secularism and religious liberty, but I certainly welcome this latest addition to that."

"Religious groups in Mexico, particularly the Roman Catholic Church, have had a stranglehold on our political process for too long," Zuno added.