Mexico’s evangelicals join Latin America’s co-believers in political activism

Mexican evangelicals are following the trajectory of evangelicals in Latin America as they embrace conservative politics, according to Carlos Garma of Universidad Autonoma. Garma, who presented a paper at the recent meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion in Washington, said that observers considered evangelicals in Mexico as an exception to the conservative trend because of the former’s support of state secularism against the influence of Catholicism. But recently, gains in gay right initiatives have helped move evangelicals closer to Catholic right groups. In 2016, the Mexican Constitution was modified to allow for same-sex marriage and adoption by gays and lesbians. A coalition of Catholics, including bishops and cardinals, and evangelicals formed to fight such initiatives. Aside from Pentecostals the coalition also included traditional Protestants, such as the Presbyterians and Baptists.

The National Front for the Family was organized and supported by the Conservative Party, with the evangelicals eventually started their own party, El Pais (the Fish). Garma traced the conservative evolution of evangelicals to 2014 under the presidency of Felipe Calderon in the Conservative Party fight to defend the Mexican family. Although the party lost in several Mexican states, but by 2016, evangelicals and Canadians galvanized enough support through marches with one in Mexico City drawing 250,000. Garma says that it is difficult for one church, even the Catholics, to have much influence under Mexican pluralism, but bringing together the “once-mortal enemies” of evangelicals and Catholics may have more political traction.