Colombian pastor Alfredo Torres of Christians for Peace has negotiated with armed groups to free hostages. Once Torres asked a member of the secretariat of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) why the group persecutes evangelicals. The FARC official gave the following justifications:

  • Evangelical pastors live well, at the expense of the people. He cited as an example a pastor of a church of 1,000 members who left San Vicente del Caguan. The pastor took his herd of cattle with him, rather than leave the animals for the needy of the community.

  • Evangelicals take up offerings, but do not have a vision to improve society. The FARC leader noted the lack of an evangelical school in San Vicente. When the FARC organizes community projects, such as building bridges, everyone but the evangelicals pitches in to help. Yet the evangelicals are the first to use the bridge. The church places great emphasis on saving souls but does little to relieve physical suffering.

  • Evangelicals are agents of U.S. imperialism.

  • Evangelicals organize corrupt political parties.

  • Evangelicals are anti-guerrilla. They believe the FARC are the only bad guys and that everything the government does is good, despite its rampant corruption.

Compass Direct news service, which monitors religious persecution throughout the world, read this list of charges to a former FARC sub-commander who has since converted to Christianity. Is this really what the FARC believes about evangelicals?

Yes, he replied, in addition to other things.

  • When peasants join a church, they will not follow the FARC.

  • Guerrillas can't get a foothold in a community with a church.

Thus, armed groups promote an image of the church based on gross ignorance or lies. For example, they allege that a woman ...

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