Americans United for Separation of Church and State

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Church State Issues

Monterrey mayor gives city to God

Jun 13, 2013

The News

Published on Tuesday, 11 June 2013 01:10

by VÍctor MAYÉN

The News

Monterrey Mayor Margarita Alicia Arellanes Cervantes gave Jesus Christ the key to the city at a public prayer event held on Saturday.

Arellanes Cervantes said that her city, which, ironically, was first settled by Sephardic Jewish conquistadors, was founded in the name of God, which is why Christians needed to “conserve it, defend it, love it.” She added that only “the light of faith in God can drive out darkness” and asked God to enter the city and make it his abode.

Her speech caused controversy after it was recorded and uploaded to YouTube. Mexico has one of the strictest separations of church and state in the Americas. The 1917 Constitution prohibits religious figures from attempting to influence politics, and it was illegal to wear clerical garb in public as late as the 1970s.

Cristina Día Salazar, who represents Nuevo León in the Senate, said that the mayor may have crossed a “very delicate” line, as her actions threatened Mexico’s official secularism. “I understand that the intention was to make a public prayer,” she said, adding that she believed that the issue needed to be analyzed by legal experts.

Fellow Nuevo León Senator Marcela Guerra Castillo said that the “Monterrey Prays” event was only organized by Arellanes Cervantes to gain popularity. “It’s a way to grab people’s attention and create controversy,” she said. “Instead of seeking popularity, she should seek efficiency in the administration of her city.”