AÂ MEXICAN drug gang, La Familia Michoacana, are, by all account, murderous thugs. But they are evangelical Christians too – and, according to this report in Time magazine:
Protect their local community â€¦ and are disciplined to abstain from narcotics themselves and care for their homes and children. They are also made to study a special Bible authored by the gang’s spiritual leader, Nazario Moreno GonzÃ¡lez, alias El Mas Loco, or ‘The Maddest One’.
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.
La Familia also claims to employ thousands of people â€” all from the state of Michoacan â€” and pay them wages of at least $2,000 per month, more than 10 times the minimum wage. The gang says they do not tolerate robbery, kidnapping or drug dealing in their communities. But they reserve the right to use righteous violence against anyone who betrays or crosses them.
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.
Their use of extreme violence against rivals and police has given La Familia a brutal reputation across Mexico. They first burst to fame in 2006 when gangsters severed the heads of five rival traffickers and rolled them onto a disco dance floor.
Their latest round of bloody mayhem kicked off on July 11 following the dawn arrest of alleged gang lieutenant Arnold Rueda Medina from his family home. In an attempt to rescue him, gunmen besieged a police base for 20 minutes with grenades and automatic rifle fire. When they couldn’t break him free, they launched simultaneous attacks on police in towns and cities across Michoacan for the next three days. In total, at least 16 officers were killed, and dozens of police cars torched in a campaign one Mexican commentator dubbed the “Tet Offensive” of the drug war.
Meanwhile, The Archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, declared this week that the existence of the Devil really, really exists.
During a conference for exorcists in Mexico, the cardinal said skepticism leads many to deny the existence of the Devil and dismiss his actions as psychological, socio-cultural or paranormal phenomena.Â Others, out of extreme gullibility, see the Devil everywhere and grant him supernatural powers as if he were God, the cardinal stated.
Rivera added that many people embrace esoteric and occult practices because of their estrangement from God.
He encouraged exorcists to appeal to the Virgin Mary for help, as she plays a special role in the fight against the demonic.
She brings us to Jesus, she protects us and cares for us in this difficult ministry … Mary also participates in exorcisms. She herself is an exorcist and expels the devil through her sanctity. The Lord Jesus, together with the Virgin Mary, helps us to lend a hand to those who are weakest and most in need, especially in sensitive and prudent cases of liberation or exorcism.
Hat Tip: Robert Stovold