Church of Scientology of Spain Celebrates 35th Anniversary 

Spanish Scientologists marked the occasion by hosting their 2nd annual Religious Freedom Awards.

The Church of Scientology of Spain had great reason to celebrate as September 19 represents two milestones for the Church in Spain—the 35th anniversary in Spain and of the 2004 inauguration of its magnificent Ideal Scientology Organization at Calle de Santa Catalina in Madrid.

Mr. Ivan Arjona, President of the Church in Spain was master of ceremonies for the event that also presented four human rights advocates with Religious Freedom Awards.

President of the Church of Scientology of Spain Mr. Ivan Arjona at the event marking the 35th anniversary of the Church in Madrid and the Church's 2nd annual Religious Freedom Awards

Those acknowledged were:

  • The Department of Ecclesiastical Law of the University of Leon, represented by Professor Salvador Tarodo and Professor Paulino Pardo
  • Professor Mercedes Murillo Muñoz, Technical Advisor of the General Department of Faith Relations of the Ministry of Justice
  • British solicitor Mr. Peter David Hodkin.

The award was a replica of Tizona, the sword once carried by El Cid, the legendary hero of medieval Spain. It is a symbol of wisdom, strength, moderation and justice.

“Freedom of thought, conscience and 
religion are essential rights guaranteed by the 
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” 

On it is inscribed this message: “The Spanish Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights hold religious freedom as a human necessity, tied as it is to the eternal search for the origin of reason, life and all creation.”

In accepting his award, Professor Tarodo said, “I take this prize as an incentive for the future to continue defending religious freedom.”

Professor Murillo told those present, “We live in an increasingly pluralistic society—and by being different we are better and thereby enrich the society in which we live.” She asked those attending to join her in remembering those who are persecuted because of their beliefs.

The final awardee won a landmark and unanimous decision from the UK Supreme Court that brought the legal classification of religion, religious worship and religious discrimination into the 21st century, overturning the narrow definition of religion as stated in the Places of Worship Registration Act of 1855. He brought the case on behalf of his daughter, a Scientologist, who insisted on the right to be married in her Church, which the 1855 act had previously prevented.

“Freedom of thought, conscience and religion are essential rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by the United Nations in 1948,” said Mr. Arjona in explaining why the Church champions religious freedom and decided to establish this annual award.  “The Declaration emphasizes that these and the other rights enshrined in the document are ‘the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.’”

The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.

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