by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is calling on Mexico to address a “culture of impunity” that has allowed two Protestant families from the First Baptist Church in La Mesa Limantitla to be threatened with forced displacement on account of their faith by Catholic community leaders, CSW reports.
On August 3, Community leaders in the Huejutla de Los Reyes Municipality summoned Protestant Christians Nemesio Cruz Hernández and Eligio Santiago Hernández and threatened to have them expelled from their homes and to cut them off from utility services if they did not desist from holding religious meetings in their houses, CSW said.
The believers were also told to pay an illegal fine that was part of an extra-legal “agreement” the community leaders imposed on the Christians, and on eight other believing families, threatening them with the withdrawal of essential services unless they stopped holding meetings. The other eight families signed the “agreement” but Cruz and Hernández refused.
According to CSW, extra-legal agreements are often used in Mexico as a means by which to harass minority faith groups. “For the most part, these agreements tend to uphold the position of the majority and often invite further restrictions on freedom of religion or belief,” CSW said in its report.
Commenting on the plight of the Hernández and Cruz families, CSW Head of Advocacy Anna-Lee Stangl said in a statement: “The [Mexican] government, at both state and federal levels, must address the culture of impunity which has allowed violations like these to go unchecked for far too long, ensuring that families like those of Mr. Cruz Hernández and Mr. Santiago Hernández are free to practice any religion or belief of their choosing without being forced to pay illegal fines or facing pressure to renounce their beliefs under threat of criminal actions including the cutting of basic services and forced displacement.”
Mexico ranks 37 on the Open Doors US Watchlist of countries where Christians are persecuted.