Scientology’s Foundation Mejora presents new scholarly book about 10 years of promotion and defense of religious freedom

Grand News Network | May 29, 2024
Scientology’s Foundation Mejora presents new scholarly book about 10 years of promotion and defense of religious freedom

Brussels, Brussels, Belgium, 29th May 2024 –  The Mejora Foundation, which has consultative status with the UN ECOSOC, presented its latest book at the Faculty of Law of the University of Seville, a prestigious university with more than 500 years of history. The debate was attended by professors, teachers and students. The book “10 years of Promotion and Defence of Religious Freedom (10 Años de Promoción y Defensa de la Libertad Religiosa: Análisis, Retos y Propuestas para el Presente y Futuro de la Libertad de Creencias en España y Europa)”, has been published by the specialised publishing house Dykinson. The presentation was attended by professors from the University of Seville Mar Leal and Rafael Valencia, Professor Zoila Combalia from the University of Zaragoza, Professor Ricardo García from the Autonomous University of Madrid, as well as lawyer Isabel Ayuso Puente and Iván Arjona-Pelado.

“The book “10 Years of Promotion and Defence of Religious Freedom: Analysis, Challenges and Proposals for the Present and Future of Freedom of Belief in Spain and Europe (10 Años de Promoción y Defensa de la Libertad Religiosa: Análisis, Retos y Propuestas para el Presente y Futuro de la Libertad de Creencias en España y Europa)” has been published with the intention of addressing the contemporary and future challenges faced by the oldest and most modern religious entities“, explains Arjona. 

This collective work, coordinated by Professor of Constitutional Law Alejandro Torres Gutiérrez and Iván Arjona-Pelado, President of the “Fundación Mejora” as well as of the European Office of the Church of Scientology, has been co-published by Dykinson and FoRB Publications. It is the result of a project, co-funded with the support of the Pluralism and Coexistence Foundation, which will be accessible in university libraries across the country to promote debate especially among students.

The book, which has 564 pages divided into 29 articles, is a compilation of analyses and proposals on freedom of religion and belief in the Spanish and European context. The Fundación para la Mejora de la Vida, la Cultura y la Sociedad (Foundation for the Improvement of Life, Culture and Society), the beneficiary of the project, which has been presenting the Religious Freedom Awards in Spain for 10 years, has been in charge of carrying out this initiative. The aim is to promote knowledge and accommodation of religious diversity within a framework of dialogue, coexistence and the fight against intolerance and hate speech, often generated by the misuse of language. To this end, and under the coordination of Professor Alejandro Torres, all the winners of the Religious Freedom Awards from 2014 to 2023 were asked to contribute an article of their choice on the subject of freedom of belief, in order to provide knowledge not only about the origins, current situation and legal framework, but also about the current challenges and proposals for improvement from different points of view.

The rich content of the book covers a very wide range of topics, from criminal protection of freedom of religion to teaching religion in schools, religious discrimination before the EU Court of Justice, cooperation agreements with denominations, religious symbolism at the Paris Olympics, data protection, marriage, peace agendas, stereotypes, hate crimes, animal welfare, discrimination, and many other issues. 

The book contains articles by full professors and lecturers from leading universities throughout Spain, experts in law, anthropology, sociology and public management: Isabel Ayuso Puente, Isabel Cano Ruiz, Adoración Castro Jover, Oscar Celador Angón, Zoila Combalía, José María Contreras Mazarío, Mónica Cornejo Valle, Juan Ferreiro Galguera, Ricardo García García, Marcos González Sánchez, Ana Leturia Navaroa, Dionisio Llamazares Fernández, María Cruz Llamazares Calzadilla, Inés Mazarrasa Steinkuhler, Igor Minteguía Arregui, Mercedes Murillo Muñoz, Paulo Cesar Pardo Prieto, Francisca Pérez-Madrid, Catalina Pons-Estel Tugores, Eugenia Relaño Pastor, Miguel Rodríguez Blanco, Salvador Tarodo Soria, Alejandro Torres Gutiérrez, Gorka Urrutia Asua, Rafael Valencia Candalija, Ana María Vega Gutiérrez and Mercedes Vidal Gallardo. It also includes acceptance speeches for the Religious Freedom Awards such as that of the British lawyer who gained recognition for Scientology in the UK, Peter Hodkin. Now that it has been published, some of the authors will be meeting in different universities to generate debate on the subject, with the first debate having taken place at the University of Seville on 27 May, and at the Carlos III University in Madrid on 5 June.

The Foundation for the Improvement of Life, Culture and Society, created by the Church of Scientology in 2015 under the protectorate of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of the Government of Spain, and in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations since 2019, has been a key player in designing, hosting and directing this project. 

“We are very happy to have been able to contribute to the compilation of this transversal work, which we hope to use as a tool to generate debates and proposals for improvement throughout the coming academic year,” says Iván Arjona, who is grateful “that a publisher as prestigious as Dykinson has shown interest in publishing this work“.  The renowned Editorial Dykinson, based in Madrid, has been at the service of knowledge and culture for years, focusing on the publication of academic and scientific works, consolidating since its inception as a benchmark in the Spanish publishing field. Dykinson’s commitment to quality and the dissemination of knowledge is reflected in the careful selection of its publications and its dedication to issues of social and legal relevance.

The book’s foreword highlights the importance of religious freedom as a fundamental pillar that transcends the boundaries of individual beliefs to land at the very essence of humanity. Through its pages, the book invites readers on an intellectual journey that challenges prejudices, fostering empathy and promoting tolerance as pillars on which to create a more inclusive and respectful society.

“We want not only to inform, but also to inspire a dialogue that builds and enriches communities to address the problems that still persist in the 21st century,” said Arjona. With the support of the Pluralism and Coexistence Foundation and the collaboration of numerous experts, “10 Years of Promotion and Defence of Religious Freedom” stands as an essential work for understanding and promoting freedom of belief in our contemporary societies.

In dedicating this collective work, Arjona did not hesitate to dedicate it to “those whose freedom is threatened; those who have suffered imprisonment for their beliefs; those who suffer slavery or martyrdom, and all those who are victims of brutal treatment, of chains and shackles, or of attacks“, emotive words taken from “A Prayer for Total Freedom” by L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, thus underlining the book’s commitment to the defence of human rights and freedom of belief.

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