In a situation reminiscent of the Catholic Inquisitions in Europe, nearly a year ago (Spring 2015) cousins Casto Hernández, 31, and Juan Placido Hernández, 26, were arrested for having a private Christian gathering in Casto’s home in a town in Mexico. The authorities arrested the Pentecostal cousins for having a non-Catholic religious celebration at Casto’s house and were threatened with losing their homes and being run out of their town, Chichiltepec, if they refused to recant their faith and join the Catholic Church.
Their inquisition lasted 30 hours, but the men continued to refuse to deny their faith and were subsequently told they had 18 hours to get out of town. After acquiring a religious freedoms attorney with the help of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a charitable organization, the men pleaded their case in court and had video evidence to back them up. A series of deliberate delays continued to drag the case on for months until November 15, 2015 when new people were put in place at the public ministry that handled the case. More time went by as the new official decided to review the case from its beginning.
In the meantime, they were pressured to drop the case and told they would be allowed to return home. But that wasn’t good enough. They wanted guarantees that they would not have to face another incident and would be free to worship as they chose. Finally, this week a legally-binding agreement was forged that guaranteed the Hernández cousins their religious freedoms and the right to dwell peacefully in their homes. Once the agreement was put into effect, their attorney stated, “We, and more importantly Casto and Juan Placido, are very pleased with the outcome of this process. The village authorities came to the hearing planning to fight but when they realised they were only a step away from going to prison, they changed their position. We hope that this case will set a precedent in Mexico and contribute to an overall change in culture, where the law is applied correctly and religious freedom for all, as protected in our constitution and in the various international treaties to which Mexico is party, is upheld.”
2 …unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. 3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts. Malachi 4
Ruth Gedhill, Mexico: Expelled Christians allowed to return home with full religious rights, ChristianToday.com, February 8, 2016.