In 1926, Mexican President Plutarco Elias Calles brutally enforced laws to suppress religion. Soldiers on horseback broke into churches, vandalized church property, killed priests and strung up dead bodies on posts to terrify the people.
Government officials, an elite openly admiring Soviet Communism, were determined to destroy all visible evidences of religion, including the cross and other Christian symbols, the wearing of traditional garments by Catholic priests and nuns, and religious processions. Soldiers could order anyone to repeat "Long live the federal government," with death the punishment for refusal.
Mexico's Constitution required the schools to be active participants in the battle to secularize the country and suppress religion. The Constitution stated: "Education services should be secular, and, therefore, free of any religious orientation."
About 90,000 Mexicans died in the fighting that ensued as the Christians, calling themselves Cristeros, resisted bravely. They got little or no help from the Vatican, but eventually, in 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized 25 Cristero saints and martyrs. The U.S. government apparently was interested only in protecting its oil interests.
Our first reaction to the killings in this movie is "of course, this can't happen here." The bloody part may be improbable in the United States, but the contempt for religion here is already evident.
It's not difficult to imagine the hateful words of the Mexican president being repeated in the United States by the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and various other atheist litigators who are aggressively pushing supremacist judges to ban the Ten Commandments -- our national motto -- and crosses from schools and from every public place, even when their purpose is to honor servicemen who gave their lives on our behalf.
Through speeches and regulations, President Obama is trying to eliminate all public references to religion, to force religious worship behind closed doors and to coerce religious institutions into financing drugs and procedures that violate their religious faith. Obamacare will force Christian hospitals, colleges and schools to pay for abortifacients, contraceptives and sterilizations for their employees.
If they don't obey Obama's orders, the penalty is financial death. It's no wonder that Obama campaigned as a messiah in 2008 saying, "We are the ones we've been waiting for."
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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