Skip to main content

OK, this NY Times article is an interesting story about a situation between El Salvador and Guatemala in which several important Salvadoreans were allegedly murdered by a Guatemalan death squad. Read the article, it's worthwhile. But what really caught my eye was a two-paragraph throw-away, as follows:

A high-ranking United Nations official here, who requested anonymity to protect his diplomatic neutrality, said he believed the Interior Ministry and the National Police created death squads over the last three years, trying to combat the wave of violent crime by gangs . . . .

The officers in those squads belong to evangelical churches, the official said, and see the extrajudicial killings of gang members, known here as “social cleansing,” as holy work. But they have also begun to commit crimes for their own profit. “It gets out of their hands,” the official said. “They create a Frankenstein.”

Continued...

The picture presented in the cited text took my breath away. It is widely known that Evangelicalism is spreading like wildfire in Latin America, and has been for two or more decades. But that there is an intimate connection there between Bible-thumping and death squads was not known by me.

I'm posting this diary for two reasons: if in fact this is a major force in Latin America today, this Christian-justified "social cleansing", then more people need to know about it. And secondly, I'm really hoping that other denizens of dKos will post informative comments, because I'd really like to understand the dimensions and significance of the phenomenon.

I can't resist mentioning the obvious parallel between the kind of violence promoted by Shiite death squads, the Taliban, and even the strongly Wahhabist al-Qaeda, and "social cleansing" by evangically-oriented groups in Latin America. I mean, what's the world coming to?

Greg Shenaut

Originally posted to Greg Shenaut on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 08:49 AM PST.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  I, too, really hope to hear more about this. (8+ / 0-)

    I am so very sad to say--It doesn't surprise me.

    We need to change the wind.

    by Naniboujou on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 08:50:40 AM PST

  •  John Negroponte (13+ / 0-)

    There is a history of collusion between Evangelical churches in Central America and this kind of "trouble."  As derided as it is on Daily Kos, the Catholic Church in that region was -- and perhaps still is, a bit -- a force for leftist social change.  Apparently, some Evangelical churches were on the opposite side of the struggle.

    I recommended your comment. And then I un-recommended it.

    by bink on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 08:52:10 AM PST

  •  This is not new... (4+ / 0-)

    Particularly in Guatemala.

    Wes? HELL YES!!! Clark 2008! http://www.securingamerica.com/
    Medicare for All...it's doable! HR 676 NOW!!!

    by Snakes on a White House on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 08:55:25 AM PST

  •  The Deadly Salvadoran MS-13 Gang Spread to USA (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Canadian Reader, blueoasis, DBunn, jfm

    Very fast in the 1990's. So it's not inconceivable that these death squads will be "following us here" as well.

    Also, Catholics and evangelical have had violent clashes in southern Mexico
    http://ww4report.com/...

  •  Doesn't surprise me at all (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Canadian Reader, illinifan17

    When you go out in the world with a 'God is on my side' attitude and the belief that your actions in the corporal world in the name of the lord will be excused on Judgement Day, small wonder that killing can be rationalized by these people.

    Really, how different is this from the attitude that the Crusaders carried with them?

  •  The Evangelicals (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fritzrth, blueoasis, DBunn

    are also killing shamans in Ecuador.

    Christianity and Oil, hand in hand, killing around the world.

  •  Relgious people who want to use violence (5+ / 0-)

    always think they can stay in control of it.  They always find that it spins out of control and will not stay within the boundaries they have set.  Fundamentalists of all religions are prone to this because of their "end-justifies-the-means" assumptions.  But, of violence, there is no end.

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 09:07:54 AM PST

  •  This is who they are...... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mmcole

    ....and what they do, throughout history, time and again, yet still, we are supposed to "respect' religion and religious con men and women.
     Until humanity evolves past the lie and the evil that is religion, we are doomed to the kind of events that have plagued mankind since the first time the idea was explioted. Religion is a mental illness, a disease. Religious indoctrination is child abuse. Evangelicals are traitors and fascists.

    •  Religion is just the excuse... (0+ / 0-)

      ...people use to self-justify their bad behaviors. If there were no religions they'd invent other excuses. Psychology 101.

      Religious indoctrination is child abuse. Evangelicals are traitors and fascists.

      An excellent example of this very psychology of hate and exclusion. You apparently understand the phenomenon quite well.

      Satan himself had a 33% approval rating even as he was booted out of heaven.

      by Joy Busey on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 09:38:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not seeing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joy Busey

    much proof of ANY correlation. This sounds like a bunch of hype and religious bashing to me.

    It is widely known that Evangelicalism is spreading like wildfire in Latin America, and has been for two or more decades. But that there is an intimate connection there between Bible-thumping and death squads was not known by me.

    Politicians and diapers need to be changed frequently -- often for the same reason.

    by KnowVox on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 09:33:30 AM PST

    •  I was referring to the text of the NYT article (0+ / 0-)

      where it says "The officers in those squads belong to evangelical churches, the official said, and see the extrajudicial killings of gang members, known here as 'social cleansing,' as holy work." To me, this constitutes an intimate connection between Evangelicism and death squads.

      Greg Shenaut

      •  Yes, I know. (0+ / 0-)

        And the connection was tenuous, at best. Honestly, can we give credence to what some unnamed UN official requesting anonymity believes? I don't -- especially when s/he is quoted by the NYT.

        Politicians and diapers need to be changed frequently -- often for the same reason.

        by KnowVox on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 11:35:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  UN official (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buddabelly, LanceBoyle

    The UN official just confirms what has been seen with Rios Montt's tenure in Guatemala (thousands murdered by death squads) and the tendency of Central American elites to welcome American evangelicals with open arms because they are not "infected" with leftist ideals.

    Not that the Evangelicals are uniformly and singularly evil.  While it may sound astounding to North Americans, Evangelical practice is less machista than that of the dominant cultures, which attracts women (and thus families).  Evangelicals generally have enough ministers in areas that rarely see a Catholic priest.  Evangelical demands can be less exacting:  a Mayan family who adopts Evangelical Christianity has little chance of being encouraged to take on a cargo, which involves great expenditure and prodigal alcohol consumption.  It helps that Evangelicals have only had 20-25 years to serve as a Bad Example while the Roman Catholic Church had 20-25 generations to heap up scandals.  And while many priests and nuns, as well as Archbishop Romero, have given themselves to martyrdom, the Roman Catholic hierarchy tends to be almost as deaf to poverty and injustice as Evangelicals.  (Note that despite his large archdiocese, Oscar Romero was martyred an Archbishop, not a Cardinal.)  

    Dems in 2008: An embarassment of riches. Repubs in 2008: Embarassments.

    by Yamaneko2 on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 10:24:09 AM PST

  •  Since you didn't know, start by reading what US $ (0+ / 0-)

    did to stir up RADICAL ISLAM in AFGHANISTAN in two links below.  Some geniuses thought it would help get them to fight proxy war for us against "Godless communists" of Russia.  Result -- Taliban and Bin Laden and 9/11 and Iraq.  You can Google for USAID and UNICEF textbook debates, including our tax dollars buying textbooks that helped exaccerbate Palestinian militancy.  Question the "mission" of Bush daughter for UNICEF schools in American nations south of us?
      Then think about the religious/political wars to demonize the "OTHERS" right here is US.  Current target --Gays and female reproductive control.  
        Our founders knew evils of church/state mix in the history which preceded them. FANATICS are just so much easier to hype using both god & country. Sad but true. Hezbolah means "Army of God."  
        Those of us who tried for decades to KEEP religion private were brushed off as nuts, secularists, etc. Even though many worked just as hard to promote interfaith understanding and tolerance.
       We are repeating the worst of history --- and without our open consent.   Crusades, massacres, tortures(witch burnings, Inquisition) and enslavements were justified for centuries as God's work. Abuse of faith is the evil.
    Windfalls of War - The Center for Public Integrity
    The University of Nebraska at Omaha is home to the Center for Afghanistan ...
    lost the USAID contract for Afghan educational textbooks and teacher training. ...
    http://publicintegrity.org/... - 44k - similar pages
    washingtonpost.com: From U.S., the ABC's of Jihad
    Violent Soviet-Era Textbooks Complicate Afghan Education Efforts ... University of
    Nebraska at Omaha $6.5 million to provide textbooks and teacher training ...
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/... - similar pages

    Unless all votes count, none count. REVOTE FL 13!

    by Neon Mama on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 10:45:13 AM PST

  •  Also search massive theft of taxes funneled to (0+ / 0-)

    "FAITH-BASED INITIATIVES." These dollars are funding pastors and projects and internal U.S.propagandists devoted to narrow minded hate mongering.  A few good "privatized" former government functions, like drug treatment etc., are mixed in to obfuscate. Honorable clerics basically refuse to participate.  Go figure.
       It isn't any more legal than other Bu$hco obscenities, but try to get anyone to enforce constitiution-----and sound anti-faith?  When Florida Supreme Court ruled out some of bubba JEB Bush tax diversion thru "vouchers" to religious schools, he vowed to get around it! He collected big bucks to his "education PAC" for more than a year before term limits dumped him. I worry about what he's up to.  Y'all should.

    Unless all votes count, none count. REVOTE FL 13!

    by Neon Mama on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 11:16:42 AM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site