By BosNewsLife Americas Service
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO (BosNewsLife)– Local authorities in southern Mexico have threatened to cut water supplies to additional evangelical Christian families because they refuse to actively participate in traditional religious Catholic ceremonies, investigators said Tuesday, April 29.
Officials in the village of Union Juarez, part of La Trinitaria municipality, reportedly discussed the measures Monday, April 28, after they already cut water and electricity to 25 evangelical families in February.
They also detained one member of the community who attempted to reconnect his water supply, Christians said.
All are members of the local Mount Tabor Evangelical Church. “A total of 27 families are now without water and electricity as the village authorities seek to increase pressure on the Protestants,” explained advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), which investigates the situation.
The latest tensions came after elsewhere in the village of Puebla, in Chapas state, young people representing displaced Catholics and Baptists carried out a pilgrimage to draw attention to “continuing threats and religious intolerance.”
CSW said more than 200 people attended a mass ending the April 26 pilgrimage which was presided over by priest Manuel Perez Gomez, who was detained for five hours and beaten by Presbyterian youths last August.
In the aftermath of the incident, 15 Catholic and two Baptist families were forcibly displaced by Presbyterian militants, before returning to their Puebla homes on April 14 to work the fields, according to rights investigators.
Some regretted turning back. “When I went into my house, I found a rotting dead cat filled with worms on the bed. I asked myself, ‘What are they trying to tell me?’ I shut the door and went to find my things. I was very afraid,” one Christian said, apparently speaking on condition of anonymity.
“I considered returning to Acteal, I felt threatened [as] they had told us that they were going to burn down the house,” CSW quoted the Christian as saying.
CSW’s Chief Operating Officer Andy Dipper said his group has urged the Mexico’s federal government and the state leadership of Chiapas to “urgently intervene in these two cases and to uphold religious freedom, as guaranteed in the Mexican constitution, for all of its citizens” and to detain suspects.
Devoted Christians have been targeted on several occasions in Mexico, where traditional religious habits remain widespread amid an ongoing drugs war that has devastated the country.