Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero,
the Spanish prime minister
The clash between church and state in Spain is heating up ahead of national elections in March.

Tensions began mounting shortly after the election of Jose Luis Zapatero, the Spanish prime minister, in 2004. His Spanish Socialist Workers' Party promised to 'scrap the privileged position of the Church,' and introduced fast-track divorce and passed same-sex marriage legislation.

Today it is estimated that 77 per cent of Spanairds identify themselves as Catholic but only 24 per cent actually practice their faith. And although Spain is an historically Catholic nation, it has a long tradition of challenging the Church's authority.

In recent weeks the Church has struck back organising a massive rally in Madrid in 'defence of the family'.

On a special edition of Riz Khan live from Madrid, Spain, we look at the battle between church and atate with one of the country's most respected authors and theologians, Enrique Miret Magdalena.
This episode of Riz Khan aired from Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 1900GMT, with repeats at 0030GMT, 0530GMT, and 1000GMT

To contact us click on 'Send your feedback' at the top of the page

Watch Al Jazeera English programmes on YouTube

Join our debates on the Your Views section of the site