McIntyre, “All of Their Customs are Daughters of Their Religion'”

McIntyre, Kathleen M. 2013. ‘All of Their Customs are Daughters of Their Religion’: Baptists in Post-Revolutionary Mexico, 1920s–present.  Gender & History 25(3): 477–497.

Excerpt: My analysis of this contentious Baptist project in the Central Valley of Oaxaca reveals the intersection of missionary and revolutionary agendas with contrasting conceptualisations of gender, ethnic and regional identities. Although members of the Unión Femenil felt a Christian obligation to support indigenous converts, they saw Zapotec culture as a frustrating obstacle in attaining a dual (and at times competing) Mexican/Christian identity. Local conflicts in the Central Valley community of San Jerónimo Tlacochahuaya led to alternate martyrdom narratives that speak to the larger religious conflicts in indigenous Mexico but prioritise Protestant, not the dominant Catholic, histories of martyrdom. By examining an oral history of martyrdom, I trace a community’s construction as well as its contestation of collective memory. Primarily a local history of one Baptist congregation, this article details these events and experiences as representative of a larger pattern of religious conflict in Oaxaca. However, what makes this study of Tlacochahuaya particularly important is that it provides an intimate look at the interworking of a new belief system in a centuries-old village that the predominantly mestizo Baptist men and women did not understand in the post-revolutionary period.