Updated 12:22 PM EST, Wed, Jan 26, 2022

Guatemalan President Rejects the Promotion of Jesús de la Merced to Army General

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Guatemala's president thwarted the promotion of a Jesus Christ statue to army general.

Orlando Aguilar, the parish priest in the neighborhood church where the statue called Jesús de la Merced has been staying, said in a mass on Christmas Eve that on Jan. 3 the figure would be promoted as general of the Guatemalan army, the Guardian reported. The local media suggested that the honor was to be conferred before the 300th anniversary of the blessing of the statue in 2017.

However, the capital's bishop expressed his disagreement.

"Brothers and sisters, as I have said and repeated many times, nobody consulted me about ascending Jesús de la Merced to the rank of general in the army," Archbishop Oscar Vian said, as quoted in the Guardian's report.

President Alejandro Maldonado also didn't approve of the statue's promotion as general of the army.

"As armed forces commander general I have not sought to grant this symbolic rank to the religious symbol," the Guatemalan leader said, insisting that he would never sign one except if the Roman Catholic officials had given their consent, the Guardian further reported.

This was not the first time that the statue was being promoted to military leadership, the news outlet noted. During cholera outbreaks in the 1800s, then-president Rafael Carrera presented the rank of army colonel to the statue. It was also marched around Guatemala to fight the epidemic.

The statue's parade through the streets ahead of Easter is a part of centuries-old traditions brought in by the Spanish conquest of Guatemala, the Guardian added.

Study Found Religious Conflict Has Been Dividing Human Society

A new anthropological study found that religious conflicts have been dividing human society for over 2,000 years, when powerful states appeared in the Central American region that comprises present day Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico.

The research of numerous Mexican archaeological sites dating back to 700 B.C. has revealed that the increase of religious beliefs across Mesoamerica resulted to a rise in political and social disputes, India Today reported.

Through field research in the Rio Verde Valley and the Valley of Oaxaca on Mexico's Pacific coast, researchers from the University of Colorado and the University of Central Florida found that religious rituals contributed to building small scale community connections, which then impeded the development of huge institutions, India Today added.

The study also found that religion influenced politics greatly, the news outlet noted. The people's religious beliefs prevented the transition towards centralized power, leading to the appearance of a regional state.

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