Sheinbaum's victory in Mexico draws concern of pro-lifers, support from some Evangelicals

Presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum of ''Sigamos Haciendo Historia'' arrives to give a speech after the first results released by the election authorities show that she leads the polls by wide margin after the presidential election at Hilton Hotel on June 03, 2024 in Mexico City, Mexico.
Presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum of ''Sigamos Haciendo Historia'' arrives to give a speech after the first results released by the election authorities show that she leads the polls by wide margin after the presidential election at Hilton Hotel on June 03, 2024 in Mexico City, Mexico. | Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Following Mexico's presidential elections, Claudia Sheinbaum, 61, a leftist scientist and the first woman ever to become president of the 129 million-strong nation, will take office on Oct. 1. With the country facing numerous challenges internally and externally, some Evangelicals express hope and pray for God's wisdom to address issues, while pro-life groups have raised concerns about the promotion of a culture of death and values that are contrary to the Bible.

As Mexico’s leader, Sheinbaum will be tasked with fighting the violence that left almost 190,000 dead during the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). She has promised "zero impunity." But the challenge her government will face is to rule a country where approximately 80 people are killed daily by criminal groups that control territories with the complicity of some of the authorities.

The new president must also reduce the poverty rate that afflicts a third of the population, mitigate the growing impact of climate change in a country plagued with drought and water shortages, and navigate the nation's complex relationship with the United States, which is expected to be tense.

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Sheinbaum graduated from the School of Sciences of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), with a major in Physics in 1989. She obtained a master's in Electrical Engineering from the main center of studies of that country and was the first woman ever to start the doctoral program in engineering in 1994, during which she did research in the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California.

She held her first public office in 2000, as secretary of environment, invited by the then-elected-chief of government of the DF (now called Mexico City), Andrés Manuel López Obrador. In 2015, she was elected as a delegate for Tlalpan, a district of the country’s capital. By 2018, she became the first woman to be chief of the government of Mexico City.

Despite being promoted during her campaign team as a progressive woman, she held some meetings with representatives of over 30,000 Evangelical churches registered with the government secretary of Mexico at the start of her presidential campaign in September last year. Sheinbaum made a pact with the Encuentro Solidario Party (PES), the main means of parliamentary representation for the Evangelical right in Mexico.

Paradoxically, Encuentro Solidario — which lost its political registration in 2021 and was part of Morena, a coalition supporting the governing party for the 2018 election — is openly against abortion, same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples.

Yet, both then and during this new election, Evangelical groups supported Morena, which in only 10 years not only won the presidency of the country two times — first, with Lopez Obrador, now with Sheinbaum — but is consolidating itself as the main political force in Mexico.

Pastor Gilberto Rocha Margáin of the Centro Cristiano Calacoaya explained to Christian Daily International that “Morena, though it is a name that stands for Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional (National Regeneration Movement), was intended as an allusion to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the 'morena' (dark skinned), mother of Mexico for the Catholic world. So Morena is a brand, an image intended to reach all Mexicans. Claudia Sheinbaum had to follow the line of discourse of the last president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. So much so, that at some point, she wore a skirt with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe printed on it; though she has publicly said that she does not believe in God, and is not a Catholic, nor a Christian, nor a Jew.”

Margáin added that “Morena, as a party, promotes death."

"Some months or maybe even weeks ago, they published an image known as ‘Saint Death’ with a menacing warning message not to oppose President López Obrador. [And that] in an Aztec culture, where these beliefs carry much more weight than in other Latin American cultures," she added. 

“Besides, Morena has performed Satanic rituals inside the Senate and the Chamber of Representatives, which violates the premises of a secular state and not supporting any specific faith,” the pastor said.

All of these incidents are starting to cause unease in pro-life organizations that foresee a future of politics that they believe will neither defend life nor be positive for the Mexican people.

The first to express this concern was Aarón Lara, chairman of the Ibero-American Congress for Life and Family, who said: “There are many things to consider in order to understand what happened, but the fact is that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador won; his C plan won, and they will have a majority in Congress, with which he will be able to make constitutional changes without opposition.”

Lara noted as remarkable that Xiomara Castro, president of Honduras, was the first leader to send her greetings to Mexico’s president-elect.

“The first one to congratulate her was madam President of Honduras Xiomara Castro, a staunch leftist. Morena won, that is the reality we are living. A party that promotes the cult of death, that is pro-abortion, pro-gender ideology, anti-Christian, has received from the majority of the country (including a vast sector of Evangelical churches) the endorsement to govern following that philosophy,” he said.   

Christian Daily also spoke with the chairman of the Confraternidad Evangélica de México (CONEMEX), Julian Hernández Moreno, who struck a different tone and said that the president-elect is “a person who prepared herself for this and who, with God’s help, with the Mexicans’ help and the support of the Christian churches, will move forward.” 

Sheinbaum has sometimes agreed with Evangelical churches, he points out, and said Mexicans should place everything in God’s hands with strong trust.

“Evangelical churches have always prayed for our government leaders, that they be tools used by God, so that, through them, the country may prosper. Evangelical churches play an important role in health, politics, education and peace,” he said.

“We hope to continue to cultivate that relationship as government and Evangelical churches,” he added and expressed hope for a prosperous relationship in the future.

"What CONEMEX expects from the authorities is to provide care to all people, and especially, to Christian churches. Far from fear, to team up for the good of our country, cultivating spiritual and universal values, promoting life, family and religious freedom,” he said.

While Sheinbaum’s presidency has not started yet, the expectations about how her administration will govern are cause for much speculation. What is certain is that Morena has consolidated power that will be difficult for any opposition to challenge.

As Sofía Collington, a Mexican political analyst and lecturer at the Queen Mary University of London, said to BBC Mundo: “What happened [during the election] shows that Morena is here to stay and goes beyond AMLO’s popularity. Today, it is posed as the majority party in Mexico with no other political force that can even come close in terms of votes.” 

Originally published on Diario Cristiano, Christian Daily International's Spanish edition.

Christian Daily International provides biblical, factual and personal news, stories and perspectives from every region, focusing on religious freedom, holistic mission and other issues relevant for the global Church today.

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