Victory for Religious Freedom in Salamanca!

January 22, 2015

The City rectified, held just before the trial, for a fine imposed on Jose Macias, evangelical city that was sanctioned by distributing treated.  Article Link

 

"I breathe calmer". Kent Albright, pastor of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Tormes Salamanca, shows his relief and joy at what he considered a triumph of justice and religious freedom protected by the Constitution in Spain.

 

The story begins last March 6, 2013, when Jose Macias, deacon of the church, divided treated to pedestrians in the city of Salamanca. It was something I did a while and never encountered any problems.

 

Until that day, a police police decided to punish by a fine. According to the agent, Jose Macias was handing out "advertising" without permission or license to do so. "The material was distributed a leaflet called 'The four keys of life', which is printed the address of our church," says Kent Albright.

 

José That day was accompanied by another fellow Evangelical Church Assembly of Brothers. It was a natural activity that also understood that it was protected by the Constitution.

 

The fine, however, was confirmed six months later by the City, the church sent the complaint and demanded a payment of a fine could be up to 3,000 euros . In this case, it was stated that the penalty was for "occupation of public roads without authorization".  

 

A TRIAL

 

From the church surprised this fine did not make much sense, but had no choice but to hire a lawyer and take the case to court. "We present arguments to the City three times, and then we responded twice rejecting our reasons. We call the Constitution, it did not sell anything and that wielded the City ordinance related to a commercial activity and therefore we should not apply ", tells Kent Albright. Moreover, it is a rule that skips "very often" by restaurants, bars, clubs and local businesses. "They could punish many, but fell on Jose Macias. It was pretty frustrating, "says the pastor.

 

The appeal court took a trial date for Tuesday January 20 took shape. But just the day before the notification Hall arrived, accepting the appeal and recognizing that Jose Macias had not violated the ordinance and that his right to hand out leaflets is guaranteed by the Constitution.

 

In the second paragraph of the letter issued by the Salamanca City Council says that "the distribution is covered by the right to freedom of expression under article 20 of the Constitution."  

 

ENCOURAGEMENT TO CONTINUE

 

The document, signed by the mayor, estimates that "the activity was not punishable." The complaint is annulled and the act before the court was quick and satisfying. "Lasted only eight minutes. In a few days we will have the judgment, we now expect we will return the payment of the fine and the minutes of our lawyer, because it is recognized that we were right, protected by law ".

 

Throughout the process, the church was advised of the legal department of the Evangelical Federation (Ferede) and support of the pastors of the city.  "Carolina Well, the Ferede, has closely followed the case because it could set a bad precedent. There are other municipalities that have similar rules, but the point is that we should not apply to us who want to express their ideas freely in the public sphere " , added Albright.

 

"We consider it a victory for justice and freedom. Sadly many other countries do not have laws that protect this activity, but here in Spain itself we have it and we can use it. I hope that this will serve as encouragement to those evangelists who have in Spain to act calm in spreading the gospel, "says the pastor.