[In the June 28, 2010 Time Magazine online, the article “Mexico’s Meth Warriors” detailed the violent acts of La Familia Michoacana whose “… grisly calling card is the severed head of an enemy. There have been at least 20 decapitations this year in their stronghold of Apatzingán, a colonial city of 100,000 inhabitants who live in perpetual fear of the gang. Recently, four severed, blindfolded heads -- one belonging to a federal cop -- were left on its main monument with a sign warning folks to ‘take a good look’ at what happens to those who cross the Michoacán mob.”
This same group is now said to base part of their ideology on the writings of John Eldredge.]
Violent Mexican gang hijacks U.S. evangelical’s book [Excerpts]
By Alfredo Garcia
Drawing from an unlikely source, La Familia Michoacana (the Michoacan Family) bases part of its ideology on the book “Wild at Heart,” by John Eldredge of the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Ransomed Heart Ministries.
Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, known in Mexico as “El Mas Loco” (The Craziest One), runs La Familia with rigid discipline and pseudo-evangelical spirit. Doubling as both a political and social force, La Familia is known in Mexico, a nation that has been plagued with drug-related bloodshed, for its extreme violence.
According to Time magazine, while Moreno Gonzalez ferried cocaine to the U.S. in the 1990s, he was influenced by Latino evangelicals and images of the mafia in “The Godfather” films. Later, he returned to Mexico with a sense of religious justification—and Eldredge’s book.
The book has become central to La Familia’s recruitment strategy and group mentality.
For new recruits, the cartel turns to addicts in drug rehabilitation clinics, helping them overcome addiction before forcing them to join the group. Family values and religion are emphasized during the recruitment process, which includes daily group prayer sessions and mandatory readings.
Included in the readings is Eldredge’s book, Spanish translations of which have been found in police raids of La Familia strongholds.
Eldredge’s theology is based on a “muscular” view of Christianity, one that emphasizes an “authentic masculinity” that has been lost, he said, in modern Christian theology.
Central to “Wild at Heart” is an image of man as warrior, willing and able to fight the battle, rescue the beauty, and live the adventure.
Eldredge says he has had mixed feelings about the group’s use of his book. “You know, at first I was shocked and angry,” he said, initially calling the mishandling of his book “pernicious.”
“But after I had thought about it, I thought that I’m delighted that `Wild at Heart’ has found itself into their cult because hopefully it will bring change.”
[TBC: We have addressed Eldredge’s book in a past issue of the newsletter: http://www.thebereancall.org/node/8262]