Edgar Zavala Pelayo is a research professor at the Centro de Estudios Sociológicos of El Colegio de México. He is the author of Sociologies and the Discursive Power of Religions.
This translation has been automatically generated and has not been verified for accuracy.
In the 1850s, and amid disputes and armed conflicts between liberal and conservative political groups, the Mexican Parliament gradually approved a series of legislative reforms that would end a considerable part of the legal and economic prerogatives of the Catholic Church in this country. While these measures arguably did little to affect the religious life of majorities outside the legislative precincts, they would lay the foundations for what has since been called the “secular state” in Mexico. Reinforced by the anti-clericalism of the revolutionary and post-revolutionary movements in the first decades of the 20th century, the “secularism of the State” in Mexico has prevailed as an articulating axis not only in government speeches but also in the speeches of most of the social forces and political, educational and cultural institutions of a progressive, liberal and/or modernising nature. Although reforms were approved in 1992 to grant certain concessions to all registered religious associations in the country, such as the right of religious agents to vote in elections and the right of religious agents to be voted under certain conditions, anti-clerical secularism in Mexico remains a central discursive referent. The different semantics and modalities of application of this secularism are frequently debated by experts, but its ultimate desirability and place among the founding principles of modern Mexican society and state are little questioned.
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