Mexico cult eyes ‘evil’ secular schools


Authorities are negotiating with a religious cult in southwestern Mexico, trying to persuade leaders to allow public schools to operate in the isolated community, state media reported.

“It is a problem of fundamentalism,” Michoacan state government secretary Jesus Reyna Garcia told Mexico’s state-run Notimex news agency on Wedesday.

The talks came after residents of New Jerusalem blocked roads into the community and attacked children, parents and teachers trying to enter a house that had been converted into a school. Three people were injured in the clashes Monday, state officials said.

In July, members of the cult destroyed the only school building in the town, saying the Virgin of the Rosary, who they worship, told them school buildings were built by the devil and were to be demolished.

The rising tension in the 3,000-person community, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) west of Mexico City, has drawn the attention of security officials in Michoacan state, who said 100 police were at the ready.

Written By: CNN
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  1. Wouldn’t those people be happier in Talibanistan*? And wouldn’t the women in Talibanistan be delighted to swap places with them?

    * or the Jeezus-Gawd Kingdom of Redneckistan, somewhere up north….

  2. What happens is that those people are using the school as a way to introduce to our community things that are banned, like fashion, immorality, vice, drugs and alcoholism,” said a New Jerusalem Cathedral spokesman known as Father Luis.

    To give them their dues, this does sound a lot like the school I attended.

    Ah, happy days.

  3. Negotiating, with a religious cult?  I think a successful  negotiation between Vof the R and officials would require a “miracle”.
    Even if the cult leaders agreed to secular schools, there’s always the chance of a dissenter.  The children are at risk no matter how you slice this situation.

    Wonder what their sign says?

  4. To be honest, what with the ongoing war of attrition in Mexico between government forces and psychotic drug cartels, and the latter’s determination to turn that country into the world’s biggest dope factory, I find it hard to work up much choler over this small enclave’s efforts to prevent itself from getting caught in the crossfire.

    The fact that New Jerusalem happens to be a Catholic community is neither here nor there.

    Maybe it’s because the official Catholic heirarchy has disavowed these people that I feel more kindly disposed towards them; or I may have just seen too many movies, usually westerns but not always, in which a decent and harmonious community tries to resist the advances of progress and keep its way of life.
    Or, more likely than either of these, I’ve been spending too much time lately lurking on Tea Party websites – although descriptions of Mexicans on those sites don’t generally contain words like decent and harmonious.

    To forestall any angry responses I might get reminding me that these people attacked children, can I just say that in standoffs like this one, the authorities invariably try to disseminate stories that the other side is indiscriminately violent. It makes them seem more sympathetic when they storm in and start blowing people’s heads off.

  5. If you believed “school buildings were built by the devil” then destroying them would be sensible.

    Where did they get this nutty idea?  Surely they saw ordinary humans building them. Some deceitful and respected person spread this lie. Presumably the priest saw the school as a threat to his hold over the people.

    The way to fight this is to expose this old fraud.

  6. Religious indoctronation comes in many forms and this is one of the more extremes, put simply it is so lunatic that it knows that it needs ignorance to survive and thrive.

  7. Father Luis says:

    “It’s not that we are against education ….”

    No, sure – except when you’ve lost control of the curriculum.

    My guess is some charismatic leader has emerged – could be male or
    female – who is stoking up the trouble. The sheep are going along with
    it and getting all riled up and the ordinary folk are powerless against
    the emotionally charged hostility.

  8. I have been visiting rural Mexico for work and pleasure for almost 20 years. It is a country I deeply love, not the least because of its proud history, including its revolutionary, liberal, and anti-clerical traditions. In many communities the kind of Catholicism practiced reminds me of home (I’m European), i.e. the cultural and traditional/folkloric aspects of rituals often tend to trump the religious ones, and Catholicism is in many ways undergoing a slow, inevitable slide into irrelevance. In recent years I have been witnessing a somewhat worrying trend, that is the proliferation of US-style evangelical and other churches (particularly the Mormons) in many communities, usually driven by US missionaries and US money, and a partial resurgence of hard-core Catholicism as a consequence, even to the extremes of the drug war-fueled insanity of Turicato/New Jerusalem. 

    In some largely indigenous villages I am familiar with, where the old syncretistic Catholicism and its feast days and rituals mostly served to cement a feeling of community and provided the backdrop to communal activities, shared labour, and government, I have seen the emergence of US-funded evangelical churches drive wedges in the community, with increasing religious strife and the slow breakdown of communities. While not as dramatic as the effects on Uganda’s homosexual population, I see it yet again as an example of the inevitable negative effects religious missionaries have on their victim communities.

    Porfirio Diaz, the early 20th Century Mexican strong man, used to say “Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the Unites States”. I fear God is becoming to close for comfort once again.

  9. Why are they even negotiating with the cult? It’s Mexico, not the Republic of the Virgin of the Rosary. Shouldn’t someone be arrested by now?

  10. Why haven’t they been arrested for arson, harassment and public disorder? This is a perfect example of a weak-willed authority letting criminals of the cloth exist outside of the law.

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