The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
A reform of the Penal Code would lead those who practice “anti-gay therapies” to jail. Churches respond with prayer to gender ideology plans of the new President.
Christians in Mexico fear the wave of pro-LGBT policies could severely restrict freedom of conscience, freedom of speech and religious freedom.
Morena, the party of the newly elected President of Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador (known as AMLO) proposed an initiative at the national Congress to imprison whoever “carries out anti-gay therapies” with minors to “correct” their sexual orientation.
This draft law would introduce changes in the Penal Code to condemn with one to three years of jail parents, relatives, teachers, health professionals and even religious ministers who “threaten the dignity, integrity and security of people who do not identify with heterosexuality”.
The legislative initiative would change the article 206 of the Penal Code to consider “conversion therapies” as a form of torture, because they “violate Human Rights and cause psychological harm”. The law would be applied to any treatment that could change the manifestations of identity of minors, including practices that not cause physical or psychological harm.
The legislative initiative is led by congressman Temístocles Villanueva, a well-known gay activist.
CHRISTIANS RESPOND WITH PRAYER
Evangelical Christians have reacted to the plans with a “call to prayer”.
“If someone comes to one of our worship gatherings to ask for help and counsel, we believe it is our moral, ethical and spiritual duty to offer help, and our vocation and profession of faith obliges us to do so”, the pastors Gilberto Rocha (Comission of Christian Centres), Aarón Lara (Christian Interdenominational Church) and Julio César Meléndez (Church of God of the Complete Gospel) said in a statement.
Under the new laws, “the free practice of our religion could be punished with prison”, said the group representing more than 4,000 churches in Mexico. “As parents, we could lose the custody of our children, losing the ability to educate them and teach them our values”.
Aarón Lara coordinates the Prayer Movement for Life and Family. The response to initiatives that could “could censor the preaching of the gospel” should be prayer, he said.
In September, more than 10,000 people met in 108 prayer events in 29 states of Mexico.
In October, a ‘sky-blue wave’ protested against Morena’s plans to support abortion.
MANY EVANGELICALS SUPPORTED AMLO CANDIDACY
In the Presidential elections of July, many Evangelical Christians voted for the Social Encounter Party (PES), a pro-life and pro-family party lead by Christians which joined a coalition with López Obrador’s Morena party.
After López Obrador's victory, his promise to respect “freedom of speech and religious freedom” was seen as a message to Christians who feared his left-wing policies could impose gender ideology in schools and other areas of society.
But now evangelicals across Mexico have already expressed their disappointment with the policies announced by the Morena party. López Obrador will inaugurate his presidency on December 1.