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A ruling will favour the opening of evangelical churches in Madrid

The regional High Court rules that it is not lawful for the Madrid City Council to ask an evangelical church to meet the requirements of recreational activities. The ruling could create a legal precedent.

SOURCES Protestante Digital AUTHOR Evangelical Focus MADRID 10 OCTOBER 2019 17:00 h GMT+1
The church of the Resurrectión in Madrid.

The High Court of Justice of Madrid (TSMJ) has dismissed an appeal filed by the City Council of Madrid against the reuling in favour of the Spanish Federation of Evangelical Entities (FEREDE) and the evangelical Church of the Resurrection in Madrid, regarding the application of the ordinance of protection against acoustic and thermal pollution.



On April 18, 2018, the court ruled that “the worship service is protected by the Constitution and by the Organic Law of Religious Freedom, so it cannot be considered as a recreational activity or a public show”.



“Therefore, the City Council cannot ask a church the requirements applicable to such activities for its legalisation, as a general rule”, it added.



 



CHURCH DID NOT EXCEED THE PERMITTED SOUND LEVELS



In its claim, FEREDE described the use of the acoustic ordinance against the Church of the Resurrection, for the use of a small organ during its celebrations, as “disproportionate”.



The sentence made it clear that “the City Council can only do this when it has verified and proved that the activity causes a sound emission that exceeds the permitted levels”.



It also declared valid the responsible declaration presented by the Church of the Resurrection, by which it was proved that its activity did not exceed the permitted sound levels.



 



FEREDE: “THE SENTENCE COULD CREATE A LEGAL PRECEDENT”



The Madrid High Court of Justice allows to lodge an appeal within 30 days. If the City Council does not appeal during that period, the ruling would be firm. 



It is expected that the authorities will modify its criteria regarding the opening of places of worship, not considering them, in general, as activities that require a level of sound insulation.



In an interview for the Spanish Actualidad Evangélica Radio, the lawyer of Evangelical Federation, Carolina Bueno, explained that the sentence could create a legal precedent that would change the criteria of the municipalities, not only in Madrid but in the rest of the Spain.



Meanwhile, the evangelical Church of the Resurrection has pointed out that, “if our determined involvement in the defense of the fundamental rights of religious and worship freedom, can be projected for the benefit of other confessions or communities, all our time and effort will be worthy”.


 

 


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