(A Former Catholic Nun)
I have an Indonesian friend, a Christian who came to America seeking asylum because of persecution by Muslims. She told me what happened to some friends of hers in Indonesia.
A Christian couple went to get some money at an ATM machine. Some Muslims cut them with machetes and they died.
A father heard a noise in the middle of the night. He woke up his family and they ran out the back door. They escaped just in time. A group of Muslims set their home on fire.
A man was walking down the street with his two children. Some Muslim men with machetes asked him if he was a Christian. He replied, Yes. The men cut off his arms and his ears and left him to bleed to death. His children ran for their lives.
Christian churches are being burned, sometimes while they are full of people. In some areas, Christians rent hotel rooms to worship on Sundays because worshiping in churches has become too dangerous. Churches are too visible and too easily attacked.
Muslims are not the only people who are persecuting Christians. Let's take a look at Mexico.
In Mexico, Catholics have been persecuting Evangelical Christians.
Many Chiapas Indians in Mexico have become Evangelical Christians. A book of their personal testimonies is available online. A video about them is also available. [Note 1]
Mexican Catholics have been torturing and killing these Evangelical Christians. They have been burning their homes and churches. Many Chiapas Indians have become refugees. The local Mexican government officials rarely attempt to arrest or prosecute the Catholics who do these things. (You can read about this online.) [Note 2]
In July 1992, the Mexican Government published a law which says that people are free to practice the religion of their choice. Most Catholics openly practice their religion. However, Mexico's Evangelicals are being persecuted and local officials rarely attempt to protect them. Although there are laws on the books which should protect Evangelicals, local officials usually don't put those laws into practice. [Note 3]
Considering the situation, it is unfortunate that immediately following his visit to Mexico in 1999, the Pope exhorted Latin American Catholics to vigorously defend their faith against Protestants. Some Mexican Catholics could interpret that as encouragement to keep on persecuting Evangelicals. [Note 4]
In August 2002 the Pope visited Mexico again. Mexico's President, Vicente Fox, kissed the Pope's ring. Fox is a Catholic. Traditionally, kissing the Pope's ring is a way of showing personal loyalty to the Pope and to the Catholic Church. [Note 5]
If I was an Evangelical Christian in Mexico, having my President show submission to the Pope would not increase my confidence in being protected from persecution.
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1. We Will Not Be Stopped. This is a book about the persecution of Evangelical Indians in Chiapas, Mexico. It includes personal testimonies. It can be purchased online.
Stronger than Guns. This video is produced by Open Doors, which ministers to persecuted Christian. It features persecuted Christians in Mexico, Peru and Columbia. (Scroll down the page until you find Stronger than Guns. As of November 2002 it is the second video listed.)
2. Persecution in Chiapas Goes On, UCB News, November 16, 2002. (UCB is the United Christian Broadcasters.)
Persecution in Mexico (May 20, 2000)
Mexico — Persecution in Mexico (September 2002)
3. The Rutherford Institute's Handbook on Religious Liberty Around the World: Mexico
4. Pope Arrives in St. Louis after Triumphant Visit to Mexico, The Detroit News, January 26, 1999
Persecution in Mexico (May 20, 2000)
5. News stories about the President of Mexico kissing the Pope's ring. The first story has a picture.
Copyright 2002 by Mary Ann Collins.