A secular state, cooperating with religious people and institutions

ILRS meeting with Mr Antonio Hernando, MP, Spanish Socialist Party PSOE

The Executive Committee of ILRS had on September 20, 2013 a meeting with Spanish MP Antonio Hernando, secretary of institutional politics of PSOE, the Spanish Socialist Party. The meeting took place in the central office of PSOE in Madrid.

The ILRS’s ambition is to contribute to mobilizing the religious left. The ILRS EC and Antonio Hernando agreed that if Social democrats may mobilize all progressive people in our respective societies to vote, religious and secular ones alike, Social democratic parties have much to gain. The votes and participation of progressive Catholics and the votes of other progressive religious people are welcome. In any globalized and thus plural society, the state has a particular responsibility to treat all religions and religious people equally. That is the way to make space for all citizens’ active contribution to building society. The challenge is how to build a secular state without loosing the active support of religious people. A secular state, religious freedom and cooperation with religious people and institutions is the way ahead.

The ILRS strives to describe a approach to building democratic and just societies that is relevant in the globalized era. Globalization is changing our societies thoroughly and migration changes the religious diversity inside countries irrevocably. As a consequence, new social, religious and political movements emerge. In the 21st century social justice as ideal for building society is found not only in the historic labour movement. Progressive movements, and social justice oriented individuals, just like movements for ecological sustainability are found also in civil society, in NGO’s and among religious people. In religions we may find both progressive and conservative movements and individuals. Social democratic parties are mobilizing all progressive voices religious and secular ones alike.

Socialist and Social democratic parties need to face the challenge of becoming relevant to large numbers of citizens and voters in a society marked by economic crisis and change. That means to generously invite and include old and new progressive voices. To mobilize progressive citizens of all backgrounds and promote social justice, solidarity and a fair society are ways of becoming relevant in our contemporary pluralistic society.


Madrid 2013-09-24