The Hour of God? People in Guatemala Confronting Political Evangelicalism and Counterinsurgency (1976-1990)

University dissertation from Uppsala : Swedish Institute of Mission Research

Abstract: This dissertation is focused on one of many aspects of religion and politics in Guatemala in recent history (1976-1990). This period is characterized by unequal wealth distribution, ethnic divisions, civil war, and U.S. influence. It is a contemporary mission history examining missionary efforts directed from the United States, Guatemalan responses, and indigenous initiatives.The problem concerns a movement within Protestant evangelicalism, which in this study is called Political Evangelicalism, and its relationship to the counterinsurgency war which the Guatemalan military waged against guerrillas, political opposition, and the Mayan majority. The problem centers on the following interrelated questions: How did Political Evangelicalism appear in Guatemala and how did it develop? How did agents of Political Evangelicalism act? What kind of discourse was employed to legitimize armed and structural violence? What was the relationship between Political Evangelicalism and counterinsurgency strategy?Political Evangelicalism must be reflected through different actors and aspects of Guatemalan conflicts to be understood. Therefore, Political Evangelicalism is placed in the broader context of the Guatemalan situation and its relation to the United States. This is a chronological study describing the role and development of Political Evangelicalism on three levels: the relationship between the United States and Guatemala; Guatemala on the national level; and an in-depth study of the Ixil people. The focal point is on the Guatemalan national level. A wide array of empirical material is employed, including interviews, unpublished documents, official documents, booklets, articles, and so on.

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