Where to begin: Two days ago, the Chamber of Deputies approved the reform to Article 24 of the constitution that will now allow religious organizations to carry out acts of worship in public, rather than being restricted only to religious houses of worship, according to existing legislation.
The change has elicited many strong reactions, and understandably so. Given the historic role of the church in Mexico, as well as its often pernicious influence on current politics (many of them noted in this blog), one should be wary of anything resembling an attack on the secular state in Mexico.
Already, strongly secular PRI senators such as Francisco Labastida and María de los Ángeles Moreno said they will vote against the legislation when it comes to the senate.
Yet as far as I can see, the main reasons why the PRI, PAN, and most of PRD voted in favor for the legislation was simply for Mexico to abide by its international obligations stemming from having signed the San José Agreement on Human Rights. Pro-secular NGOs, however, are worried that the legislation means far more than this.
Let that debate continue.
Yet here the nuttiness starts. La Jornada on its front page declares that the Chuchos, or the social democratic wing of the PRD (long known for its pro-secular attitude, pro grays, pro women, pro abortion, etc), agreed to vote for the legislation in return for Guadalupe Acosta Naranjo, a federal deputy and member of the chuchos or (more formally Nueva Izquirda) presiding the Chamber of Deputies for the coming legislative session. The claim is repeated ad nauseam in a rash of articles in the newspaper by the same two journalists, Roberto Garduño and Enrique Méndez, such as here and here. .
But where is the evidence that this is the case, other than the claims of a few of their PRD and PT fellow legislators who merely say that is so?
I've said it before: La Jornada, once a highly venerable, respected, extremely important newspaper, is becoming a caricature of itself due to its ridiculous biases and distortions of reality: You can't repeat as "fact" a highly incendiary claim just because you are opposed politically to the group stating it.
Seriously. At no point do they even mention the San José agreements, but merely throw in the PRD group in what they call "attack on the secular state." There's more than a bit of irony here: Where was La Jornada, when gay groups, human rights group, pro choice groups, women rights group, etc, were pleading with AMLO in 2006 to take up their cause, as he had promised, in his presidential campaign? When AMLO personally blocked the vote on gay unions as Mexico City mayor? Not a word from La Jornada, which from the early 2000s on appeared more an AMLO mouthpiece (or EZLN, depending on the conjuncture), than the serious newspaper it once was.
Speaking of nutty journalists: Some "catholic reporters" - unclear from what newspaper - brought with them a priest to "bless" the press room. Yes, to bless the Chamber of Deputies press room.
And of course, the criminal thugs of the Mexico Archdiocese - criminal in their numerous cover-ups of child-raping priests and pedophiles on all levels - could not resist the temptation to use their favorite word, the F-word.
F for Fascist. Hugo Valdemar Romero, the spokesperson of sorts for the church, said in response to critics of the legislation that "it is incomprehensible that some parties of a fascist style continue to view this as a violation of the Constitution, as a violation of the secular state."
Leave it to Valdemar, who have always gleefully enjoyed pouring gasoline on fire, to tack the label "fascist" to democratic political parties. Self-projection, much?