Time Magazine reports on one of those ultra-violent drug gangs in Mexico:
Mexico’s newest drug cartel, and certainly the most bizarre, is La Familia Michoacana, a violent but Christian fundamentalist narco-gang based in the torrid Tierra Caliente region of western Michoacan state. The group is infamous for methamphetamine smuggling, lopping off enemies’ heads and limbs, and massacring police and soldiers. (Most recently, on June 14, a band of Familia gunmen ambushed a federal police convoy in Michoacan, killing 12.) Yet La Familia’s leader, Nazario Moreno — aka El Mas Loco, or The Craziest One — has written his own bible, and his 1,500 minions hold prayer meetings before doing their grisly work. . . . .
Federal agents seized one copy of La Familia’s Bible in a raid last year. Quoted in local newspapers, the scripture paints an ideology that mixes Evangelical-style self-help with insurgent peasant slogans reminiscent of the Mexican Revolution. “I ask God for strength and he gives me challenges that make me strong; I ask him for wisdom and he gives me problems to resolve; I ask him for prosperity and he gives me brain and muscles to work,” Moreno writes, using terms that could be found in many Christian sermons preached from Mississippi to Brazil. But on the next page, there’s a switch to phrases strikingly similar to those coined by revolutionary Emiliano Zapata. “It is better to be a master of one peso than a slave of two; it is better to die fighting head on than on your knees and humiliated; it is better to be a living dog than a dead lion.”
The sect also uses the Internet to spread its gospel. On one online forum, hundreds of supporters sing the praises of Christ and La Familia. “Victory to La Familia Michoacana, gloryfying Jesus by helping others,” writes one aficionado who calls himself Fran. “Evil will only reign until Jesus stops it,” writes another who calls himself the Messenger.
Terry Mattingly, in the link above, asks, in what sense is this gang Christian, evangelical, or fundamentalist when the leader writes his own Bible? Not to mention other questionable practices that fall short of conservative Christianity, such as selling drugs and cutting off people’s heads. Still, just as voodoo is a pagan religion that draws on Roman Catholic imagery, La Familia seems to be a pagan religion that draws on evangelical protestant imagery, especially the self-help and prosperity gospel varieties.