“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s,” said Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) legislator Jesús Zambrano in response to criticism by the Archdiocese of Mexico of public funding for political campaigns.
An editorial published on Sunday in Desde la Fe, the official organ of the Archdiocese of Mexico, called on the government to reduce support for political parties and political campaigns, characterizing the amount of public money given to support political parties as “immoral and filthily excessive.”
The editorial harshly criticized the Mexican political class for corruption and opacity, as well as for failing to offer solutions to Mexico’s problems. In light of approaching gubernatorial elections which will take place in June, it called for cuts to government support for political campaigns, stating that the millions of pesos in public funding given to political parties and independent candidates only “allows them to access public time on the radio and television to bombard voters with political garbage… There is no reason to allow political parties to immorally waste the resources of a country plagued by poverty. Budget cuts for political campaigns are necessary and urgent.”
Deputy Zambrano told the clergy to stop getting involved in politics, as politicians no longer involve themselves in religious issues. He noted that the Archdiocese is within its rights to express an opinion, but not to call public finance of political campaigns immoral.
“What is legal cannot be immoral,” said Zambrano. “With all due respect, I would like to remind the Archdiocese of the basic principle of respect between the private, the religious, and the public spheres, the political duty for those of us who have a responsibility to society… I don’t judge people because of their religion or lack of religion.”
With regard to the call to cut government support for political campaigns, Zambrano said that such changes might be desirable, but would necessitate changes to the Constitution.
What is legal cannot be immoral…Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”
-Jesús Zambrano, President of the Chamber of Deputies, Democratic Revolution Party