An effort to weaken Mexico’s policy of strict separation of church and state has failed.

The proposal, made late last year by a member of the left-wing Morena Party, would have altered Mexico’s Law of Religious Associations and Public Worship to remove a specific reference to a provision ensuring “separation of the State and churches,” reported the Associated Press.

Had it passed, the measure would have given religious groups greater access to media, allowed more church ownership of property and allowed religious leaders to have a greater presence in government-owned facilities.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador publicly opposed the measure, effectively killing it.

“I do not think that modifying this principle helps – on the contrary,” López Obrador said. “I think everyone, the majority of Mexicans, agrees that the lay state should prevail, which the constitution establishes. Render unto God what is God’s and unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.”

Sen. Maria Soledad Luévano Cantú, who proposed the change, said her goal was to create an atmosphere where “we can work together so that thousands of religious associations in our country can help Mexico become a country where we all live better off.”

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