U.S. Urged to Intervene on Rights of Protestants and Jews in Spain

A predominantly Protestant group yesterday asked Secretary of State Herter to protest the recent conviction in Spain of a Protestant minister, for opening his church for worship, and against restrictions applying against Jews as well as Protestants.

The group, “Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State,” said in a letter to Mr. Herter, that “both Protestant churches and Jewish synagogues must meet behind closed doors in Spain and they are forbidden to carry any religious symbol on their exteriors.”

The POAU said that “many of the most influential Catholic publications in the United States have recently published editorials and articles declaring that Franco’s policy in dealing with Protestants and Jews is unfortunate.” The group pointed out that the repressive measures adopted by the Spanish Government apply to both Jewish synagogues and Protestant churches.

“Under the Spanish law of 1945, and the 1953 concordat between the Spanish Government and the Vatican, any ‘public manifestations’ of any religion other than the Catholic faith have been made illegal,” the POAU complained. “Both Protestant churches and Jewish synagogues must meet behind closed doors, and they are forbidden to carry any religious symbol on their exteriors. They must function without juridical status, and they are forbidden to publish any literature for general distribution.”

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