Mexico’s Christians face beatings, forced conversions at hands of hybrid faiths
Evangelical Christians in Mexico are facing increasing persecution at the hands of rural followers of a hybrid faith who demand submission, say advocates, who are calling on the government to protect religious freedom.
An alarming number of incidents over the past year have seen Christians in a handful of states in southern Mexico attacked, beaten and even banished from their villages, according to the charity group International Christian Concern (ICC). The perpetrators are allegedly synchretists, who consider themselves Christian but practice a blend of mythologies, faiths and traditions.
“They will try to force them to convert, and if they refuse, they are banned from their villages, unable to live with or see their families,” said Nate Lance, advocacy manager for the ICC. “When they refuse to recant their faith, they are expelled from the community.”
While Mexico is considered more than 80 percent Catholic, the nation’s synchretists count themselves in that majority even though the faith they practice incorporates a baffling stew of spiritual beliefs.
“They will try to force them to convert and if they refuse, they are banned from their villages, unable to live with or see their families.”
– Nate Lance, International Christian Concern
Around the world, synchretism describes any faith that incorporates two or more religions or philosphies and includes such beliefs as Rastafarianism, Unitarian-Universalism Santeria and blends of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism practiced widely in China.
In northern Mexico, Christians have faced violent reprisals for their condemnation of drug cartels, but the persecution in the nation’s south is typically sectarian, Lance said.
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