The reports about Andrew Brunson’s release are just another example of how little the media know about evangelical churches.
A pastor in Neuquén had to be protected by the police after a conference. An NGO denounces the “slander and abuses” of the Green Kerchief activists.
Hugo Márquez has been a pastor for more than 40 years in Argentina, where he leads one of the biggest churches in Neuquén, a city of 400.000 inhabitants in the East of the country.
Some days ago, he experienced an “unprecedented situation”, he told Spanish news website Protestante Digital, “something I never thought I would experience as a pastor”.
The pressure of pro-abortion activists obliged him to “secretly leave the auditorium” where he was taking part in a conference, “I had to enter a police car to be brought to my church, and get inside the building through a back door, escorted by police officers”.
Márquez says this violent pressure on evangelical Christians in the city is caused by “the activists of the Green Kerchief, the ‘pacific’ people of the LGBTI collective, led by a civil servant of the Neuquén government”.
GOVERNMENT PRESSURE ON THE CHURCH
The evangelical pastor, who knows Argentina and other Latin American countries well, says the provincial government and its Ministry of Citizenship have a direct responsibility in this harassment. Several government workers have slandered the evangelical church “making statements [in the media] with untrue information”.
The attacks are not only putting pressure on evangelicals. The night before the incident described, pro-abortion groups caused heavy damages to the Roman Catholic cathedral. “There was no justification or provocation, they just went and attacked the building for no specific reason”.
'ANGER AND VIOLENCE'
Pastor Márquez believes these latest events in Neuquén show that “the LGBTI movement does not even respond to provocations, we are the object of their anger and violence. As one of their activists said: ‘You are my enemy and, if I could, I would kill you’”.
The pastor explains that the activists “battered the doors, shouted insults, threatened to end with our lives and our institutions”.
His response and that of other evangelicals is of peace: “We will not react against these people, but we will defend our ideas and our convictions with all of our strength”. The evangelical leader quotes the words in the New Testament: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”.
ATTACKS SHOULD NOT BE TOLERATED IN DEMOCRACY
The NGO “Pro-Life Unity Neuquén and Alto Valle” expressed its rejection of “any personal or institutional attack” like the incidents in the last days.
LGBT and pro-abortion activists “should not shut down the freedom of speech they themselves preach”. The NGO said “slander and abuses” should not be accepted.
The group denounced in a statement “the sequence of events which attempt against fundamental freedoms of the pro-life sectors”. A “religious worship service had to be cancelled after the attack of Green Kerchiefs, with stones and Molotov cocktails”.
But also “attacks in the media against an educational institution just because it teaches values which are part of its vision” are not acceptable. The NGO refers to the campaign against the faith-based school AMEN, run by a Baptist church. These kind of public pressures have also been frequent in the social media in the last weeks, during the social debate around the Argentinian abortion law.
The pro-life group in the province calls for “tolerance, freedom and justice, because we live in a democracy. We, meanwhile, have the same duty to be careful and caring to make sure our deeds match our words”.
UPDATE: ATTACK AGAINST RADIO STATION
A group of uknown people attacked on Tuesday the radio broadcasting studio of Radio Gospel Alternativa in Chos Malal, 300 km north from Neuquén.
This radio station is part of an evangelical network of radio broadcasters.
"Violents burst in our Gospel Alternativa Radio in the city of Chos Malal as they broadcasted our programmes from Neuquén. They are not able to accept the difference of ideas, they are not democratic but totalitarian", Pasto Hugo Márquez wrote in Whatsapp message to other evangelicals in the region.