Crime Wave Targets Christian Communities in Mexico
7/18/11 Mexico (ChristianPost) – Shocking crime and violence directed against the Christian community in Mexico has seen at least 100 pastors kidnapped during President Felipe Calderon’s current term in office, the National Fraternity of Evangelical Churches (Confraternice) has said according to Mexican publication Excelsior.
The Confraternice President, Pastor Arturo Farela, has reported that crime is prevalent in the country, and that especially Christians and young people being treated at Christian Rehabilitation Centers are being targeted.
One of the most shocking crimes to come out of Mexico was the kidnapping of renowned evangelical pastor Josue Santiago Ramirez, who was kidnapped on April 10, in Lazaro Cárdenas, Michoacán.
Ramirez was kidnapped while holding Sunday service in the El Shaddai Evangelical Church. The kidnappers then demanded a ransom of 20 million pesos (approximately $1.7 million USD), and even then would not guarantee to return him alive.
Another remarkable case was the murder of New Life Church pastor Eduardo García’s son, Abraham García, in Juarez city, in 2010.
Yet another crime in Juarez city saw six people from a Rehabilitation Christian Center, Alcanze Victoria brutally attacked. The assault left four of them dead and two injured in 2010, according to the municipal police.
Christian leaders in the country have said that a core reason for the crimes is that attackers see it as means of generating money. The leaders have explained that in the last three years they have had to pay so-called “security” for their churches so they would not be attacked. Payments have varied in value from between 10,000 and 30,000 pesos (around $800 and $2,500 USD) in at least 11 states of the country.
Catholic clergy are not exempt from violence. According to “Fides of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples”, 14 Catholic priests, including two seminarians, were violently killed over the past six years.
“It is alarming the number of priests that were murdered, but we can not blame the regime for the murders because the causes vary,” said Hugo Valdemaro, Archdiocesan Director of Social Communication.
Evangelical congregations are calling on members of organized crime in the country to repent and return to a righteous path. However, there is hope; they highlight that there are now 151 former-murderers and kidnappers who have turned to Christ and are taking the Word of God to prisons in Juarez.
Evangelical churches in the country are creating an agenda to support national unity against the crime wave, and are hoping that together, a long-term solution to the problem can be found.