Protestantism in Spain
Protestantism had hardly made its impact on Spanish life during the revolt of the 16th century, owing to the diligence of the Spanish government and the Spanish Inquisition. However, it did start to become more prevalent late in the Spanish Empire's history.
Protestantism made a comeback following the Glorious Revolution of 1868, which resulted in the granting of greater religious liberties; this was rescinded again during Francisco Franco's dictatorship.
In Franco's authoritarian Spanish State, Protestantism was deliberately marginalised and persecuted. During the Spanish Civil War, the Francoist regime persecuted the country's 30,000 Protestants, and forced many pastors to leave the country. Once authoritarian rule was established, non-Catholic translations of the Bible were confiscated by the police and Protestant schools were closed. Although the 1945 Spanish Bill of Rights granted freedom of private worship, Protestants suffered legal discrimination and non-Catholic religious services were forbidden in public, to the extent that they could not be in buildings which had exterior signs indicating it was a house of worship and that public activities were prohibited. While the Catholic Church was declared official and enjoyed a close relation to the state, ethnically Basque clergymen harboured nationalist ideas opposed to Spanish centralism and were persecuted and imprisoned in a "Concordate jail" reserved for criminal clergy.
At present, the Spanish government observes the 1978 Constitution of Spain and the Law of Religious Freedom of 1980, thus guaranteeing many religious liberties to minorities. As of 2009, there are at least 1.5 million Protestants residing in Spain.
Significant denominations and groups include:
- Spanish Evangelical Church
- Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church - an extra-provincial church of the Anglican Communion
- Union of Evangelical Baptists of Spain
- Reformed Churches in Spain
- Payne, Stanley Spanish Catholicism: An Historical Overview, p. 186 ,1984 University of Wisconsin Press
- "Religion: Protestant Persecution". Time. 21 April 1941. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
- Wood, James Edward Church and State in the Modern World, p. 3, 2005 Greenwood Publishing
- "Protestants call for 'equal treatment'", by "El Pais," December 10, 2007
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