I have been keeping my eye on a few things going on in Spain that may have a direct impact on my family. Julie wisely reminds me that I need to think about these current events with my eyes firmly upon the Lord. We read the news (occasionally) and cast our cares upon the Lord, for his plan is perfect and we can trust him. At the same time, we also need to be prudent and prepared for what may come. For now, I’ll just share a few current events that may affect us and our friends:
- There is a radically left political party gaining ground in Spain called Podemos. They currently have 20% of the Spanish vote and are the second biggest party in Spain. They are very similar to the politically left party of Hugo Chavez (and now Nicolas Maduro) in Venezuela, a party that morphed rather quickly into a dictatorship and effectively destroyed their country. It may be that Podemos is different, but we may not have to wait very long to find out.
- Taxes have risen and keep rising at alarming rates. While most Spaniards don’t realize it or seem to care that much, we have really felt the last 51 decisions to raise taxes. Julie and I compare gas and electricity bills over the last few years and are shocked at the differences. Just to give one other example, while the price of gas has gone down in the rest of the world over 50% in the last few years because of the drop in oil prices, here the price has gone down about 5%. This is because politicians have seen fit to raise taxes and disguise it while prices on oil are low. When the price per barrel of oil rises again, Spaniards simply will not be able to afford the cost of travel. Neither will we. Just imagine what doubling the price of gas will do to the economy (the cost of food, etc.).
- Spain’s social security program is about to run out of money. By most estimates, the Spanish pension plan will not have a dime left midway through 2017. My guess is that Spain is going to ask Europe for another buyout, and it may be that the EU gives in yet again. The alternative to another buyout are tax hikes that would simply devastate the majority of Spanish families. I look around at the people in my little congregation and seriously wonder how they would get by if taxes rose another 75-100% in the next couple years. Half of the families of our church would experience a significant financial crisis.
- Sexual ethics in Spain have taken a “progressive” turn. The Spanish government just passed a bill which requires elementary public schools to invite homosexual couples to come talk to children about the dangers of homophobia. Podemos, the political party I mentioned earlier, wants to include with this bill a preposterous clause. They argue that a child of any age, and without the approval of their parents, can undergo a sex change paid for by the government. The key authority over the child in this case would be the school counselor and the school. If any “non-progressive” parents would disapprove such a decision, the school could intervene and pay for the surgery, removing the child from the home.
There are a few other current events that I could share, but this is probably a sufficient overview. Please pray for our dear friends here in Spain, that God would have mercy on them and help them stand strong in their faith in spite of these events. God is on his throne and Jesus the Son of God is ruling at his right hand. The Spirit of God is moving in our little church and making us more like Jesus.