Monday, April 6, 2009

Santa Muerte: Both a Religious and a Criminal Symbol

Here is an interesting, and unfortunate, story from Mexico where there exists a religious cult in which adherents pray to Santa Muerte (Saint Death) in order to protect them from violent and untimely deaths, especially in high-crime neighborhoods. Santa Muerte, resembling the Grim Reaper, is depicted in many shrines, chapels, churches, and on statues throughout the country.

Santa Muerte also is popular among drug traffickers, as soldiers have found shrines of the Saint during drug raids of safe houses. This has lead to law enforcement officials to destroy shrines and statues as part of criminal activity.

The faithful adherents now argue that they are now being targeted by the state and that they suffer from religious persecution. They are holding rallies to bring awareness to their plight and to try to influence President Felipe Calderon.

What is sad, however, is that that true symbols of religious devotion have been co-opted and now have become symbols of criminal activity, and that attempts to suppress the criminal symbol infringes on the rights of the religious adherents.

1 comment: said...

Check out the article called, La Santa Muerte: Mexico's Death Goddess posted on written by Kenneth Bell. He seems to disagree with your conclusions. He believes it is a cult that was formed in the slum. I haven't heard much about this till recently so have just begun my research.