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New Project Attempts to Achieve a State without Religion in CR

Well this ought to be an interesting debate and since Costa Rica is trying in every way it can to mimic the USA with its no smoking laws etc… who knows it might pass. It was the 2009 election, when a huge rock fell on the sensibilities of the Catholic Church. That rock was talking to expel God from the Constitution of a predominantly Catholic country, who teaches this religion in public schools.  

It was not feasible at the time, but stirred up public debate.Now after three years of discussion between those who want to keep Costa Rica as the only state with religion in Latin America and those who insist on leaving it as a secular entity, no specific creed. Now with a new legislative attempt to revive this debate as the Bible says that Jesus raised Lazarus, the discussion is opened.

This is a bill already introduced by Rep. PAC, Maria Eugenia Venegas, supported by lawmakers from several opposition parties, to amend Article 75 of the Constitution to read that “the state will be neutral in religious matters” and continue to ensure freedom of worship, as is the case.

That is, claims that the state treats all religions equally and not give priority to Catholicism, despite being the majority creed.

The biggest difference with the text of 2009 is that this leaves the word “God” in the Constitution. Appears in the proposed new Article 194 for public officials to swear “by God or by his personal convictions.”

Venegas, a practicing Catholic and devotee of the Virgin Mary, said it hurt to see how the attempt died three years ago. “Now we need not ‘remove God’ in order to avoid sensitivity to the Church,” he said Friday.

There is little served his intention because, although Catholic leaders have not yet published an official position, Bishop Jose Rafael Quiros, treasurer of the Episcopal Conference, expressed his rejection of the bill on the grounds that it promotes “intolerance of religion” .

Despite the closeness President Laura Chinchilla has shown with the Catholic Church, the government promises to study the project in depth, they could agree in part, according to Minister of the Presidency, Carlos Ricardo Benavides. “The important thing is to be respectful and not promote an atheist state,” he said.

Another difference of this project in 2009 is the “season”. He stoked the political campaign with the controversy that President Oscar Arias favored and Chinchilla, his successor, he would reject.

On this occasion, although there are fumes unleashed election, is still pre-election year and Venegas believes that it could push for approval of this year and then in 2013, for constitutional reforms to be voted on two different legislatures.

Kattia theologian Castro, a member of a group called “Daughters of the Bold” admitted that a change in the Constitution does not automatically change the “privileges” of the Catholic Church, but said it is a first step in addressing specific issues such as fertilization in vitro or sex education.

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