Christian Book Touting Manly Aggression Inspires Violent Fundamentalist Meth Trafficking Cult
"My boys chew their graham crackers into the shape of handguns at the breakfast table." - John Eldredge, from Wild At Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul
What if your million copy-plus bestselling inspirational book calling on men to act more manly, aggressive, even violent became a key source of inspiration for a ruthless cultic Christian paramilitary fundamentalist crime syndicate that controls most of the Crystal Meth traffic in the US and is fond of tossing severed heads into Mexican discos ? You'd probably feel awful. Or at least a bit embarrassed. As a June 25th column in the Colorado Springs Gazette that sounds like it could have been written by satirists from The Onion, Local Christian author laments popularity of his book among ruthless Mexican gang, (the post has since been re-titled, to the milder "Mexican drug cartel co-opts Springs writer’s message") notes, "Writers can't control how readers interpret the words they write." Very true. But has La Familia really "co-opted" John Eldredge's paean to the glory of male aggression ?
We'll have a look at the book in question, Wild At Heart , by John Eldredge, in a moment. But first, a bit about the ruthless cultic Christian paramilitary fundamentalist crime syndicate fond of tossing severed heads into Mexican discos.
As Tim Johnson details, in a recent McClatchy News/Seattle Times story that's helped put La Familia back in the spotlight this summer, La Familia leader Nazario Moreno just came out with a 104 page booklet, Thoughts, with advice such as, "If you want to say 'I love you!' to those who surround you and to your friends, say it today." It's like a Hallmark card but, as Johnson details, a little incongruous too:
If it seems bizarre for the leader of a drug gang that beheads or quarters enemies to offer advice on Christian living, well, maybe. However, the gang known as La Familia Michoacana is a pseudo-Christian posse that mixes zeal and inspiring slogans in its pronouncements. Members are ordered to study the Bible and pray the rosary, even as they gun down police, dismember opponents and manufacture highly addictive crystal methamphetamine.
Here's how Time Magazine's As Saul Schwarz summed it up, in a June 28, 2010 Time Magazine story, "Mexico's Meth Warriors,"
Mexico's newest drug cartel, and certainly the most bizarre, is La Familia Michoacana, a violent but Christian fundamentalist narco-gang based in the torrid Tierra Caliente region of western Michoacan state. The group is infamous for methamphetamine smuggling, lopping off enemies' heads and limbs, and massacring police and soldiers... Yet La Familia's leader, Nazario Moreno "aka El Mas Loco, or The Craziest One" has written his own bible, and his 1,500 minions hold prayer meetings before doing their grisly work.
Nothing like a prayer meeting before hacking people's heads off with Bowie knives - which is exactly what La Familia did to five men, in a stunt that helped put the violent narco-cult on the media map.
As Professor George W. Grayson, a senior associate at the Center for Strategic & International Studies and author of the new book Mexico's Struggle with Drugs and Thugs describes the 'severed head disco incident', in a report on La Familia ,
La Familia burst into the limelight on September 6, 2006, when 20 masked desperados stormed into scruffy Sol y Sombra night spot in Uruapan, Michoacan, fired shots into the air, ran up to the second floor from where they tossed five human heads onto the black and white dance floor.
They left behind a message, written on cardboard: "The family doesn't kill for money. It doesn't kill women. It doesn't kill innocent people, only those who deserve to die. Know that this is divine justice."