About 70 Protestant Christians lived in the village of San Rafael Tlanalapan, Puebla state, until Monday (Sept. 12), when they faced a frightening ultimatum – leave immediately or be “crucified or lynched.”

Traditionalist Catholics in the village, near the municipality of San Martín Texmelucan about 60 miles from Mexico City, reportedly threatened to burn down or otherwise destroy their homes.

The Protestants left.

The traditionalist Catholics, who practice a blend of indigenous and Catholic rituals, reportedly asserted that 20 years ago an assistant village president had vowed that no temple of any non-Catholic faith would ever be permitted in San Rafael Tlanalapan. Protestants in Puebla, Hidalgo, Chiapas and other states sometimes refuse to help pay for and participate in traditionalist Catholic festivals, which often include drunken revelry and what they regard as idolatrous adoration of saints.

In 2006, the Protestants in San Rafael Tlanalapan asked for government help after Catholics led village authorities to cut off their water supply.

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