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"How a skeleton folk saint of death took off with Mexican transgender women"

Discussion in 'Religious News' started by Saint Frankenstein, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein Pyrphóros ⚡ Lux Aeterna
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    I just thought this was interesting and worth posting. I've always been fascinated with Mexican culture and religion, going back to the pre-Columbian Aztecs. Santa Muerte seems to be a folk Catholic revival of the Aztec Goddess of Death, Mictecacihuatl. (I had a pulling towards her husband, Mictlantecuhtli, a few years back so I really respect them both.) Also, I am transgender and am very aware of the plight of trans people, especially trans women of color, who have it the worst out of all the LGBT community.

    "GUADALAJARA, Mexico (RNS) — Betzy Ballesteros, a 26-year-old transgender sex worker, keeps a shrine to Santa Muerte, the skeleton folk saint, in her home.

    Surrounding the statue are candles, candy and the grainy photos of several friends who were murdered and abandoned — people such as the transgender woman whose mutilated body was stuffed into a suitcase and dumped by the roadside on March 11. (A 43-year-old suspect has been detained, but authorities have still not released details of the victim’s name or occupation.)

    Violence against transgender women is common in Mexico, mostly because employment discrimination forces many to turn to sex work for money.

    The skeleton saint — with her female form and association with death — is particularly appealing to transgender sex workers, who face the persistent threat of violent clients and transphobic hatred.

    Unlike official church figures such as Our Lady of Guadalupe whose images are ethereal, Santa Muerte appeals to those with practical problems and passions living on the country’s margins. Devotees ask her for protection, even when sex work is their only occupation.


    “The majority of us believe in Santa Muerte,” said Ballesteros. “She’s a god to us. I ask her to shield me from danger and provide work and clients.”

    [​IMG]
    Betzy Ballesteros holds a photo of her deceased transgender friend Ana in Guadalajara, Mexico, on March 26, 2017. (Photo: RNS photo by Stephen Woodman)

    The cult of Santa Muerte is an example of religious syncretism, with roots in European Catholicism and Aztec beliefs.

    Condemned as satanic by the Catholic Church and frequently portrayed as a narco-cult in the media, worship of Santa Muerte is nevertheless a fast-growing new religious movement in the Americas, according to Andrew Chesnut, professor of religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University and the author of Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint.

    “Mexican Catholics and evangelicals tend to view transgenderism as a lifestyle choice,” said Chesnut. “But the fact that Santa Muerte is outside the orbit of both evangelical and Catholic Christianity makes her much more appealing. It’s much easier for followers to feel that she’s not going to be judgmental.”

    In contrast, many transgender women feel rejected by mainstream churches.

    “I went with some transgender friends to Mass one time,” said Ballesteros. “The priest stopped his sermon and told us to leave the house of God. After that, I decided I wouldn’t ever go back.”"
    Rest of article here: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news...erte-death-transgender-women-mexico/99867052/
     
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  2. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein Pyrphóros ⚡ Lux Aeterna
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  3. Rival

    Rival Noahide Fundamentalist
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    The hell? That priest should be excommunicated.
     
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  4. DanielR

    DanielR Active Member

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    You are aware of the homophobia present in Judaism right?
     
  5. Rival

    Rival Noahide Fundamentalist
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    It's against the act, not the person. And in any case, if a Rabbi told a Jew to leave shul because of such a reason I'd denounce him too.
     
  6. ZooGirl02

    ZooGirl02 Well-Known Member

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  7. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein Pyrphóros ⚡ Lux Aeterna
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    Who cares what the Church's naive followers have to say about it? They're just mad they're losing members. They, themselves, are driving people away with their ugly attitudes. The wheels of time are turning. They committed cultural genocide against the peoples of the Americas and the people who have been forgotten by your uppity, hypocritical clergy are turning elsewhere. I hope Her cult spreads far and wide. Hail Santa Muerte! Hail Mictecacihuatl!
     
    #7 Saint Frankenstein, Jul 28, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017
  8. EverChanging

    EverChanging Well-Known Member

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    I know, right?
     
  9. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man.

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    Ghost recon Wasteland centers itself around this in the story line.
     
  10. ZooGirl02

    ZooGirl02 Well-Known Member

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    Why do you say these things when you identify yourself as a Catholic?
     
  11. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein Pyrphóros ⚡ Lux Aeterna
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    That was before I identified as a Catholic and when I was angry.

    I will say that the callousness and corruption of the clergy is partially responsible for the rise of this cult. The way trans people are treated is awful. Of course they're going to turn elsewhere.
     
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  12. DavidFirth

    DavidFirth Well-Known Member

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    I don't think Jesus would kick them out. Jesus came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.
     
  13. SomeRandom

    SomeRandom Still learning to be wise

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    Yeah, the Catholics would say that. They drove people away with their behavior and are now just angry that people don't like being treated as dogs so looked towards someone else. If they acted like Jesus in the first place, perhaps the "cult" wouldn't be needed.
     
  14. DavidFirth

    DavidFirth Well-Known Member

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    I've always liked Mexican culture, too. Salma Hayek. Need I say more? ;)
     
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  15. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...

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    I must say honestly that I think that's rubbish. Even the Commandments speak to that -- it's not enough that you don't take your neighbour's stuff (that would be theft, and it would be an act) -- you're also commanded not to covet it, and motivation is 100% integral to personhood. If you feel up to the task, try following the reasoning through...in the tradition of Jewish learning and study of Torah.
     
  16. blü 2

    blü 2 Active Member

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    Whatever the RCC of Mexico says, Santa Muerte shows that where there's a gap in the market, it'll be filled.

    The obvious association is with the Day of the Dead. It's the festival of Mictecacihuatl, Lady of the Dead, whom St Frankenstein mentioned in the OP.

    Just the thing for this, the age of the zombie movie.
     
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