San Mateo Times and Daily News Leader Thursday, April 27,1978

The Public Voice

Editor, The Times:

Last February the Argentine military government decreed that all religions except Roman Catholicism must register with the government or be barred from legally conducting their religious affairs.

The government said the decree was aimed at establishing "effective control" over non-Catholic religions. Religious organizations considered in the government's eyes as "injurious to the public order, national security, morality and good habits," can be kept out of the official register. Besides Roman Catholics in Argentina, there are about 600,000 Jews and at least 500,000 Protestants of various denominations.

Three religious groups have already been outlawed. Last year the Videla regime, which took power in a 1976 military coup, banned Jehovah's Witnesses, Hare Krishna and the Divine Light Mission.

Religious Liberty in a nation is as real as the liberty of its least popular religious minority. Look not to the size of cathedrals for proof of religious freedom. Ask what is the fate of a Protestant in Argentina, the Jew in Saudi Arabia, the Arab In Israel, the Catholic in Poland, or the atheist in the U.S.A.

We must remain vigilant and be ready to speak up against hatred, fanaticism, bigotry and religious intolerance.

San Mateo