Monday, October 22   Sign in or Register
Evangelical Focus
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud

Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.

Do the media in your country usually portray evangelical Christians accurately?




Should religious minority soldiers be allowed to object to religious ceremonies?

A guide about religion in the Spanish armed forces warns about the privilege of the Roman Catholic Church over other confessions, especially in religious assistance.

SOURCES Protestante Digital AUTHOR Daniel Hofkamp, Evangelical Focus MADRID 02 SEPTEMBER 2015 11:20 h GMT+1
armed forces, Spain A parade by Spanish armed forces.

The Spanish Observatory for Religious Pluralism (which is part of the Ministry of Justice) has published a guide entitled “The exercise of religious freedom in the Spanish armed forces”, which reviews the legal and practical framework of religious freedom within the army, and gives recommendations for correct application of that freedom.

The guide was written by a university professor, with the assistance of the defence minister, the commission of the Spanish Observatory for Religious Pluralism, and several federations from different religious backgrounds.

The publication aims to “tackle all practical issues related to the exercise of this freedom inside military centres and units, included everything related to religious assistance”, as the guide’s introduction explains.

Despite the changes that have occurred in Spanish society in recent decades, the guide points out that the Spanish armed forces have hardly any information about religious pluralism among their members.

As a result, the Spanish military has not adopted many measures or adapted its structures to this new reality.



The armed forces legal system has recognised religious freedom, which protects the right of every soldier to maintain and make public their beliefs, which must be respected and taken into consideration.

According to the guide, religious assistance is “a right to satisfy the religious needs of all members of the military, so the State must recognise, guarantee, and promote it.”

Religious assistance guarantees the military the right to worship, receive religious training, be buried according to their beliefs, and to have a diet which respects their religious convictions.

At the same time, it gives them the right not to declare their faith, not to receive religious assistance that is contrary to their beliefs, and not to participate in religious activities against their will.



The Guide warns about the conflicts that may arise between discipline and religious freedom: “any action from the authorities which forces members to participate in religious acts will be considered a violation not only of religious freedom, but also of the neutrality that every public authority must have.”

Such conflicts include when, “as a part of a military function, it is necessary to worship an image of a Catholic saint or virgin”, because the armed forces regulations (article 21) say that soldiers must follow the orders of their superiors.

According to the guide, the best solution would be that the authorities “exempt non-Catholic members of the military from these activities, which must be strictly voluntary.”



The guide concludes by giving some recommendations for better implementation of religious assistance within the Spanish armed forces.

First of all, it recommends including non-Catholic personnel in the Religious Assistance Service, especially “people from religious confessions that have agreements with the State, like Evangelicals, Muslims and Jews.”

The experts believe that personnel “must have the same rights and obligations as the rest. The staff would be appointed by each religious confession, and the armed forces will confirm their designation.”

Secondly, the guide asks the armed forces “to set out the conditions for religious assistance so that religious personnel would be able to do their job; all the costs generated by this assistance will be paid by each religious confession.”

In order to carry this out, the armed forces would need to “establish an identification system for the religious personnel in charge of the religious assistance for the military who are members of their confession”, the guide concludes.

For more information, you can dowload the guide (in Spanish) here.




    If you want to comment, or


YOUR ARE AT: - - Should religious minority soldiers be allowed to object to religious ceremonies?
Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

Photos: #WalkForFreedom Photos: #WalkForFreedom

Abolitionists marched through 400 cities in 51 countries. Pictures from Valencia (Spain), October 20.

Photos: Reaching people with disabilities Photos: Reaching people with disabilities

Seminars, an arts exhibition, discussion and testimonies. The European Disability Network met in Tallinn.

Photos: Hope for Europe Photos: Hope for Europe

Unity in Diversity is the theme of the conference. Representatives of Evangelical Alliances and many other church leaders gathered in Tallinn (Estonia).

Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow

A team of Steiger mission is starting conversations about the gospel in the middst of the football celebration in Russia.

Biotechnology: “There is a difference between restoration and enhancement” Biotechnology: “There is a difference between restoration and enhancement”

“We have to understand the times in which we live, and have discernment”, says Doctor Peter J. Saunders.

The Manzanas case The Manzanas case

A short documentary about how retired pastors and widows of an evangelical denomination in Spain fight a legal battle for their pensions after the favourable ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.

How does romantic love change over time? How does romantic love change over time?

Psychatrist Pablo Martínez uses a metaphor to explain how romantic love evolves.

‘Mediterráneo’ ‘Mediterráneo’

“Something will change if you have hunger and thirst for justice”, sings Spanish artist Eva Betoret in a song about the refugee crisis.

How the loss of universal values led to a loss of civility How the loss of universal values led to a loss of civility

Author Bruce Little: “We have moved from a sense of responsibility to ‘my personal rights’”.

Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube

EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.