Mexico Debating Over Religious Images in Public Offices

MEXICO CITY, JULY 30, 2001 ( Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera spoke out for religious liberty, amid a controversy over whether religious images should be allowed to be displayed in public offices.

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«What we seek is genuine religious liberty and not the imposition of a state religion, because that would be absurd,» the archbishop of Mexico said at a press conference Sunday.

«Neither does anyone want the imposition of atheism under the pretext of secularism,» he added.

Last week, deputies of the Party of Democratic Revolution denounced a governmental deputy, José Espina, for having pictures of the Virgin of Guadalupe and a crucifix in his office.

Javier Moctezuma Barragán, undersecretary for religious affairs of the government secretariat, said the issue was a private matter.

Asked whether the Catholic Church was trying to gain power by displaying religious images in government offices, Cardinal Rivera Carrera denied such a motive. «We do not believe that anyone will use religion to attain earthly power,» he said.

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