The Spanish evangelical community wants the Historical Memory law to recognize the persecution and repression that this group suffered during the Civil War and the Franco dictatorship and thus recover from oblivion the contribution of Protestants to the history of Spain.
The writer José Luis Villacañas receives on Monday the ‘Unamuno Prize, a friend of the Protestants’ which annually delivers the Protestante Digital online newspaper – linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance – to a person or institution that has contributed to plurality and coexistence.
Villacañas has been organizing the Spanish Reform Congress for more than a decade, dedicated to the study and historical analysis of Protestantism in Spain and is the author, among others, of the book “Imperiophilia and national-Catholic populism”, in which he disputes accusations about the Protestant reform and theories about the Inquisition.
“The prize is thanks to those who have discovered us in the middle of oblivion and have shown that there is a Protestantism far removed from the stereotype, prejudices and superficiality with which we are sometimes analyzed,” the spokesman of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance, Pedro Tarquis, who directs Digital Protestant.
Tarquis has acknowledged that, when talking about historical memory, it “hurts” them to disregard them and remembers that some of the last people executed by Franco were Protestants, a collective that also suffered exile.
“We have been repressed, then forgotten and then caricatured,” says Tarquis, who points out that, just as there is a day that commemorates the victims of the Holocaust, or the expulsion of Muslims from the Peninsula, they would also like to have a day That reminds evangelicals and proposes October 31, the day of the Protestant Reformation.
Villacañas is also in favor of extending the Historical Memory to the persecution suffered by the Reformed Churches and recalls the “Franco campaigns demonizing the Protestants”.
It refers to episodes such as the one that gives its name to the Prize, which commemorates the friendship between writer Miguel de Unamuno and Protestant pastor Atilano Coco. Unamuno interceded in favor of Coco to prevent his execution by Franco’s troops at the start of the Civil War, which he finally failed to achieve.
“The restitution of historical memory is still pending,” said Villacañas, who believes that the Law of Historical Memory is too oriented to the persecution of political groups and not so much social, despite the fact that Franco had an idea of what should be the “hygiene” or the “race of the Spanish people” that involved the persecution of many groups, one of them the Protestant.
There are no official figures, among other things because “the inquisitorial model implied that there was no memory of who had been convicted.”
“I believe that the Law of Historical Memory should open the eye to integrate not only political groups, but also others that promoted the democratization of Spain and were very persecuted and forgotten,” he says.
In this way to the normality that the Protestants ask to undertake, they ask the new Government to be sensitive with this confession and religious plurality.
Tarquis gives the example of state funerals and recalls that both the Spanair accident and the 11M attacks were Catholic ceremonies, despite the fact that among the victims there were people of different denominations.
Thus, he proposes multiconfessional funerals so that all people feel welcomed and that normality and good coexistence in the country are imposed.