The persecution of Christians in rural Mexico is severe, widespread and persistent. Rural Mexican Christians face fierce opposition from varied sources, and their stories remain largely untold — not only among Christians in other nations but also among most Mexican Christians, who are shocked to learn that other followers of Christ in their nation suffer violence and are driven from their homes.
Mexico City is one of the world’s largest and most prosperous cities, and much of Mexico is beautiful, stable and free. Since these are the parts of Mexico experienced by most Mexican nationals and nearly all outsiders, the stories of rural Christians are unknown. The isolation of our Christian family members is the enemy’s work of discouragement, but the sharing of their testimonies and resulting prayer and fellowship are our spiritual weapons. The persecutors, and ultimately our spiritual enemy, work to prevent the larger body of Christ from knowing about their wicked acts. We must never be unaware of Satan’s scheme to divide, isolate and destroy the church (2 Corinthians 2:11).
Marxism — atheistic communist ideology — continues to be one source of persecution in Mexico. Many are surprised to learn that today, decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, this ideology is on the rise in Central and South America. But even those who are aware of communism’s growth in places like Venezuela and Bolivia rarely know that Marxist groups have semi-autonomy in parts of southern Mexico and that they severely persecute Christians.
Organized crime groups, often referred to as cartels, also persecute Christians. They oppose the Christian faith because a biblical stand for righteousness inherently condemns their illegal activities: narcotics and human trafficking, bribery and murder.
The message of faithful pastors as well as that of godly parents and teachers competes with both the criminals on the street and their highly placed bosses within the cartels. Those who take a stand for godliness, righteousness and truth often pay a price in many parts of Mexico, including areas along the U.S. border.
A third source of persecution, this one widespread throughout rural Mexico, is the use of the law and communal violence to enshrine traditional pagan beliefs as the centrepiece of rural communities.
Rural Mexico is awash with paganism and Roman Catholicism. The problem is not that people are free to believe what they want, pagan or otherwise, but that government and religious leaders in these communities misuse laws and use intimidation and violence to eliminate competing beliefs. The light of the Gospel is a powerful competitor to the darkness of the traditional religions’ debauchery and idolatry.
Let us work to ensure that the enemy of our souls will be unable to isolate our Christian brothers and sisters. May they no longer suffer in silence or serve alone!
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