Get your minds out of the gutter, people. He hasn’t turned into a flasher. But he has had a flash of serious statesmanly inspiration:
Bolivian President Evo Morales has called for change within the country’s Catholic Church, accusing it of acting as in the “times of the Inquisition”.
Mr Morales said Catholic leaders should understand the need for freedom of religion and belief.
His government recently announced plans to teach a range of religions in schools, as well as native traditions.
Church leaders have opposed the planned changes, calling on Catholics to defend their faith.
“I want to ask the [Church] hierarchies that they understand freedom of religion and beliefs in our country,” Mr Morales said.
“It’s not possible to impose their views. I am very worried by the behaviour of some Catholic Church leaders, who act like in the time of the Inquisition.”
He insisted Bolivia would continue to respect the Church.
He spoke out after Catholic leaders criticised the planned reforms, which would break the long-standing dominance of Catholicism in Bolivian schools.
The archbishop of Santa Cruz, Cardinal Julio Terrazzas, said on Sunday that Catholics were being “passive” in the face of Mr Morales’ planned changes.
“Great wars begin with small theories… with this discourse of hate, of rancour, of unforgiveness,” he said.
On Sunday the country’s education minister, Felix Patzi, said Catholic leaders were “lying” over claims that the government was aiming to destroy the Church.
However, he said the planned changes would allow Bolivians to break down “ethnic borders” that have marginalised native traditions for more than 500 years, the Associated Press reported.
It’s kind of funny that the church is so up in arms lately over anything that bids fair to break its stranglehold on hearts and minds. They’re pulling the same thing in Venezuela, where the education minister is bent on cutting the old ties between church and public schools. It’s a prudent move, designed to render Venezuela’s system more like the separation of church and state that prevails in most parts of North America and Europe. But to hear the churchmen tell it, you’d think the Vatican was being firebombed! Nobody’s kicking them out of the country, so there is really no reason for them to carry on like this, unless of course they’re looking for a “legal” way to maintain a theocratic monopoly on the minds of the people.
Besides, have they never heard of Sunday school?