Mexico (MNN) — Reports have been trickling in about persecution of evangelical Christians in Mexico since before 2001. Today the report from Compass Direct News comes out of the state of Chiapas, which has had long-standing instability. The persecution is still "accelerating daily in the indigenous regions" reported the National Bar of Christian Lawyers.
State representatives have met with local leaders in some cases to insist on the protection that evangelicals have by law. Though the constitution protects citizens from religious persecution, problems arise because of small town leaders.
Christians refuse to pay the quotas that these small town leaders demand, which are used to pay for traditional Catholic festivals that merge native "traditional" religions and Catholicism. Christians in the area do not feel it is right to contribute since the
celebrations often result in drunkenness and immoral behavior.
Leaders expel evangelicals from their homes and seize their land if they refuse to pay. The director of the NBCL Alfonso Farrera says the reports of unresolved cases have mounted to 200. "Threats, intimidation, and robbery or expulsion from their communities or death," are included in these reports said Farrera.
Last January 31 three evangelicals who were shot required hospitalization. Religious persecution was determined to be the reason for the ambush. In another case, leaders destroyed water pipes that serviced 40 evangelicals and later prohibited them from chopping wood. Many cases are still pending.
Evangelicals say that, though they are accused of not participating in community projects directed by Catholics, they often go above and beyond what is asked of them.
One Roman Catholic Bishop, Felipe Arizmendi was quoted in Mexico City's newspaper February 8 saying, his church has no connection with the "so-called traditional Catholics, who do not depend on our diocese, do not take into account the Bible nor the laws of this country, but are governed by their own agreements and traditions."
Please pray for the Christians there as they struggle to uphold their convictions and face the loss of their homes.