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SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico, April 16 (Compass Direct News) – Juan Mendez Mendez became a Christian in a village outside of this city in Chiapas state on April 7, and two days later local authorities put him in jail – for leaving their religious blend of Roman Catholicism and native custom. A catechist in a “traditionalist Catholic” church in the village of Pasté, the 25-year-old Mendez was released on Tuesday (April 10) after spending the night in jail. The previous Easter Sunday, political bosses in the Tzotzil Maya village noticed him missing from a church festival involving what Mendez considered to be idolatrous rites; they summoned him that evening. “They said, ‘What do you mean that you’ve accepted Christ – you mean you don’t believe in our gods [Catholic saints]?’” Mendez told Compass. “And I said, ‘Well, those were just apostles, and now I belong to Christ.’” Town leaders threatened to beat him. Mendez said he replied, “If you’re going to beat me, then here I am.”