Earlier this year, nearly 50 Mexican evangelicals returned to their hometown of Buenavista Bahuitz, in Chiapas, after five years of exile. Local leaders, who had forced the families out for leaving the “traditionalist” church, agreed to let them return on the condition that they pay a fee to support the village’s annual festivals.
But while the 12 families told World Watch Monitor that they’re just happy to be back, US officials and Christian persecution groups are ratcheting up pressure on the Mexican government to better protect indigenous Mexicans who leave a syncretistic Roman Catholicism. (Traditionalist Catholics in southwestern Mexico practice a blend of Catholicism and indigenous rites, according to Morning Star News.)
“It is time that the Mexican government provides justice and protection for victims of religious persecution while dealing with local and state officials that are part of the problem,” said Jeff King, president of International Christian Concern (ICC), in a statement. “A slow wave of religious persecution has been sweeping across Mexico and the culture of corruption and lack of accountability that surrounds religious freedom cases needs to end.”
In June, Roberta Jacobson, a senior State Department official, questioned Mexico about reports of “widespread discrimination, violence, and displacement” among its indigenous evangelical communities in Chiapas and other southern states, an ICC report stated. (At the beginning of July, Jacobson was nominated to be the US’ next ambassador to Mexico.)
That same month, the ICC launched a social media campaign and petition calling on “the Mexican government to turn their attention to the most marginalized members of its society and ensure that all faiths are given equal protection and rights.”
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SOURCE: Christianity Today