Members of a Christian sect in New Jerusalem, a small town in central Mexico, burned down the only public school building in town last month. Now that the beginning of the school calendar has passed, teachers attempted to hold classes in private homes, only to be pelted by stones. They say the Virgin of the Rosary told them schools were built by the devil.
What was that thing about religion being a mental illness?
Authorities are negotiating with a religious cult in southwestern Mexico, trying to persuade leaders to allow public schools to operate in the isolated community, state media reported.
"It is a problem of fundamentalism," Michoacan state government secretary Jesus Reyna Garcia told Mexico’s state-run Notimex news agency on Wedesday.
The talks came after residents of New Jerusalem blocked roads into the community and attacked children, parents and teachers trying to enter a house that had been converted into a school. Three people were injured in the clashes Monday, state officials said.
In July, members of the cult destroyed the only school building in the town, saying the Virgin of the Rosary, who they worship, told them school buildings were built by the devil and were to be demolished.
The rising tension in the 3,000-person community, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) west of Mexico City, has drawn the attention of security officials in Michoacan state, who said 100 police were at the ready.
"We need to remind these people that they are not living in a separate territory, in an island," Gov. Fausto Vallejo told reporters.
Leaders of the cult said they were not opposed to educating the community’s youth.
"What happens is that those people are using the school as a way to introduce to our community things that are banned, like fashion, immorality, vice, drugs and alcoholism," said a New Jerusalem Cathedral spokesman known as Father Luis.
Meanwhile, officials from Mexico’s Council of Bishops have disavowed the group.
"While they use symbols of the Catholic Church, we reiterate that they have nothing to do with it," the council said in a statement Tuesday.
The school year was scheduled to begin on Monday.
The priest is convinced schools introduce the kids to banned ideals like fashion and drugs and alcohol? How about common sense and logic? This is not about the purity of the children. I’ll bet that man knows he’s selling false hopes and misplaced devotion. Education is kryptonite to religious fervor, and where there are educated people, there are seeds of religious doubt. He needs to keep all of those people dumb and angry or they won’t hang onto his every word and pay him tithes anymore.
That’s how that whole deal works.
Props to those teachers for still working to educate the kids though. That would completely not be me. "Oh you threw a rock at me? Bye. I’m trynna educate YOUR ragamuffin kids. I’m still getting a check whether they come to class or not. I’ll be over here reading a book and being a sane human. Go on bout your Crazy People business."