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Onward Christian Narcos, marching as to war…

8 June 2009

Add to suspicion that reactionary Christian fundamentism is tied up with recent terrorist activity in the United States (like the attack on a Lutheran Church service in Wichita Kansas recently) the eye-popping report from Mexican federal intelligence services that at least one narco gang is “inspired” by — and prostelytized for — these U.S. based movements.

There is something almost amusing about La Familia, with its study groups and retreats for meth dealers and hitmen, but that is precisely why the Federal Prosecutor considers La familia the most dangerous of the Mexican gangs… unlike the others,  the Michoacan gangsters have an agenda  beyond getting rich the old fashioned way … providing goods and services not available in the legal marketplace).  They are pushing an alternative view of society and culture.

The weapons in their “culture war” — besides the dreary head-chopping and meth production and smuggling operations — are those of the “traditional values” groups in the United States:  specifically literature and propaganda from the Colorada Springs based “Focus on the Family”.   As Diego Enrique Osorno reported in Milenio Semenal last December, la Familia draws its inspiration from the works of “Christian” author John Eldredge of the Colorado Springs based organization, Focus on the Family.

Eldredge’s work celebrates and justifies a  “manly man” version of Christianity…  as Pastor Eldredge writes in his seminal work, “Wild at Heart”:

God designed men to be dangerous. Simply look at the dreams and desires written in the heart of every boy: To be a hero, to be a warrior, to live a life of adventure and risk. Sadly, most men abandon those dreams and desires – aided by a Christianity that feels like nothing more than pressure to be a nice guy. It is no wonder that many men avoid church, and those who go are often passive and bored to death.

jesus_gunGangsterism certainly has its dangerous side, adventure and risk… and nice guys need not apply.   But, it is hard to reconcile criminality with Christianity UNLESS one applies the logic of groups like Focus on the Family, where what’s done in God’s name (and in the defense of “traditional family values”) is morally right.

“La familia does not murder for money, it does not kill women or the innocent.  Those who know these people recognize it is divine justice”

was the message left when the group threw five severed heads (kinda gross photo) on the floor of an Urapan disco.

La familia’s value system — eshewing alcohol and narcotics use (but not the manufacture, transportation or sale thereof), traditional marriage and the patriachical family structure — are not unique, but by pushing for these “traditional values”, has given the gangsters some legitimacy beyond the usual apologists for gangsters as jrural investors.  It has sponsored workshops on Eldredge’s opus, as well as hired Mexican writers in the same vein (Carlos Cuauthémoc Sánchez and Miguel Ángel Cornejo) to give personal motivation courses in Morelia for the gang-bangers.

I’ve said before that Protestantism, which stresses individual  salvation (and being “born again”) has its economic advantages over Roman Catholicism (where the theological discourse is more about civitas dei, and the community of believers) for the personally ambitious.  The peculiar United States form of Evangelicalism — especially the fundamentalist sects that reject tolerance of the other, and define “community” only in the very narrow sense of those who follow exactly the line laid down by the clerical leader — is tailor-made for gangsters.  And… because this dovetails nicely with the more reactionary clerics within the Roman Church, some Catholic clergymen have also defended la Familia.

Much was made of Santa Muerte, and it’s supposed ties to the Gulf Cartel.  That Santa Muerte recongizes criminals as part of the human family does open it to conjectures about ties between believers and gangsters, and led to anti-Muerte activities in some northern communities.  I am not the only one who thought the iconclasm had less to do with supposed anti-narcotics activity and more to do with the assumption that Santa Muerte believers are more likely socialists and PRD supporters and the local communities attempting to persecute its believers were PAN strongholds.

Not that Mexican Protestants — even the growing number of them who follow U.S. style Protestantism — are necessarily criminals, or even tolerant of criminality, but that “traditional values” — as presented by Focus on the Family — do not strengthen the community, nor provide for the common good, but quite the opposite.  When you think about it, most terrorist organizations are conservative groups — Al Qaida isn’t seeking a post-modernist secular state, any more than the KKK is looking for a post-racial America, or anti-abortion groups like Operation Rescue support the rights of women.  All demand a state where their own peculiar and threatened values are upheld — and all dissent from those values is put down by violence.  Focus on the Family may not actively aid and abet terrorism, but  spinning a philosophical justification for holding the line against modernity and tolerance, they give “aid and comfort” to terrorists in the United States and gangsters in Mexico.

July Dogs has a series of four recent posts on la Familia, Focus on the Family and John Eldredge.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. 8 June 2009 4:19 pm

    Wow, great post, Rich.

  2. julydogs permalink
    12 June 2009 12:57 pm

    Rich, thanks for the link to my blog on this. Much appreciated.
    Note: you need to correct spelling: it’s John Eldredge..o

  3. 25 August 2009 4:09 pm

    I found this blog while searching for information about the link between La Familia and American evangelicals, something I had been blissfully unaware of until I read mention of it in a blog by Frank Chadwick. This article provided a good bit of background info. Thanks. When any group comes to believe its members and only its members represent the True Will of God, blood usually flows, whether the group is Al Quida, the Inquistion, or dozens of other examples.


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