Press Release, ECBF
European Coordination Bureau of Freethought
The ECBF Informs Secular and Freethought Organisations
According to the website Laicismo.org, catholic groups intend to install 1300 crosses in the Sierra de GUADARRAMA (near Madrid, in Spain).
“Up to this day, they installed four religious symbols, but their intention is to reach 1300. This initiative of various catholic groups aims at installing on the Sierra de Guadarrama summits a total of 1300 crosses” according to the official notification broadcasted by internet and spread through the internet catholic portals.
The organizers are, among others, the associations Cruz de San Andrès and the Cruz de Borgoña, this one being Carlist (supporting the lineage of Charles X and of the Bourbons). “This action aims to defend common values as abnegation and bravery.” According to InfoVaticana, the participants defending this action “without prejudice” are moved by an “apostolic fervour.”
In a note published in the Hispanidad portal, also of catholic inspiration, the coordinators explain that this initiative is led by “young brave people” willing to achieve a “little heroicness.” They do indicate that it is essential to carry water and stone necessary to make concrete, for the installation and permanent fastening on the “crowned summit.”
As shown by the video of the previous issues (this year being the fourth), the group of Catholics climbs each year on a summit, an excursion which costs 10 euros by person. The walking believers climb the paths, carrying a cross, a picture of the Virgin and flags of Spain and Vatican. Then they photograph each other.
It should also be noted that two new goals were added to the intentions stated in the previous issues: arouse the implication and cohesion of Christians against “the incoming Islamic invasion” and the fight against “the liberal adaptation that invades society.”
So, on last August 9th, during its fourth issue, the summit of la Maliciosa (1540 m), in the heart of the Guadarrama National Park, was “crowned” by a four meter high cross.
The daily newspaper La Cronica del Norte informs that many groups of mountain dwellers and walkers became alarmed on social networks, denouncing the presence of these crosses and of pictures of the Virgin on the summits of Sierra de Guadarrama.
The foresters of Peñalara published a page on Facebook where they explain that these groups did not obtain any authorization. They warn about the dangers for the Sierra of such an initiative, achieved without permission.
As far the National Geographic Institute is concerned, they explained that these crosses are settled on geodesic points, that is to say on places where the Institute installed conic beacons to help localisation. A special permission is required to put in place such permanent devices.
After the tumult caused by this issue, the Department of Environment of Madrid exhorted the religious organisations to suspend this activity for which “no permission was delivered.” According to a spokesman of the Department, permissions are only granted for special occasions as the anniversary of the Royal Spanish Society of Mountaineering Peñalara, which was allowed to place a commemorative plaque.
Goal 1300 persists
The religious groups who initiated the erection of these crosses answer, enthusiastic, to the Department: “To all those who resist to the freedom of catholic faith: any Virgin or cross which will be subject to demolition will be an unforgivable motive to multiply by two the number of crosses.” According to them, this rush to set up crosses was decided “directly by Rome” without explaining their exact relation with the Vatican and will persist “As long as a catholic remains in Spain, with an apostolic zeal, they will raise crosses, in name of Truth.”
The participants “will continue to undertake regularly this event, until reaching the number of 1300 summits on all the Spanish geography, with crosses and the Virgin” because carrying and installing religious symbols on the mountains is, according to them, “legitimate, honourable and worthy of a Christian activity to promote the apostolic fervour.” Furthermore they announce that they will take all necessary measures “to avoid futures boycotts” of their official website, which remains inaccessible.
A copied idea
The website Laicismo.org explains: “what is happening with Sierra de Guadarrama is a copied idea. Close to the town of Siauliai in Lithuania, there is what we call the “hill of crosses” created during the tsarist repression of the uprisings for Lithuanian independence in 1831. Several attempts were made to make them disappear in the soviet period (1961, 1973 and 1975) but the crosses appeared again. Today, there are thousands of crosses (among which the white wood cross given by John-Paul II during his official travel in the country). This gives an ugly panorama that you can see on the photograph here below.” (see http://laicismo.org/detalle.php?pk=37242)
To erect crosses on the Spanish mountains, a project of “religious fundamentalism” according to Europa laica
The President of Europa Laica, Francisco Delgado, qualified the goal of the various Christian organisations as “religious fundamentalism.”
The Department of Environment of the Community of Madrid already warned that no item may be installed in the natural public areas without authorisation, so that the regional government “should adopt a correct attitude facing an illegal behaviour,” as indicates Francisco Delgado in Servirmedia.
According to the President of Europa Laica, this behaviour is far from attracting new persons to Christianity, but, on the contrary, products more rejection in the population and, in his opinion, “the only pursued goal is to install religious symbols everywhere to do a show of force, in order that one sees that they are the majority religion.”
On the other hand, Francisco Delgado explained that, facing this behaviour, they will work with environmental organisations to stop the setting up of these items in the natural areas, “because it is something totally illegal.”
The European Coordination Bureau of Freethought expresses its support for secular Spanish organisations in their various protests against this attempt to impose a religion on an entire country.
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