Sin of omission
Open Doors USA, a non-denominational Christian organization that monitors persecution around the world published its latest list of countries in which Christians are harassed. This list is getting some attention in newspapers around the world.
And guess which country is not on their list?
This is the first thing this professor encountered this morning, before his cup of coffee. And the professor immediately gained an alertness far greater than any offered by caffeine.
The professor had no choice, then, but to write to these good people and lecture them. Pedant.
In case you want to see this list, which includes Colombia, but not Cuba, go HERE. And please consider sending a missive of your own in which you simply state the facts without elaboration, just as if you were in an old Dragnet episode, answering Sargent Friday's questions. Just the facts. They need to hear from more than one cranky professor. Take a look at their web site, then write: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is the email I sent:
Thank you for the great work you do on behalf of persecuted Christians.
I'm writing because I am greatly puzzled by a very serious omission in your latest list of countries that persecute the faithful.
Why isn't Cuba on your list?
It is well known that the Castro regime in Cuba still persecutes Christians, in various ways.
Perhaps you were misled by some press reports that greatly exaggerated the "improvement" of relations between the present totalitarian regime and some churches?
Yes, the Castro regime has recently cozied up to the Catholic Church, where it has found several compliant bishops, and it also invites Protestant church groups to visit and funnel dollars into the Cuban economy. But the sad truth remains that anyone who openly practices the Christian faith is hounded and ostracized. And God help any pastor or lay person who dares to publicly criticize this state of affairs. They will be hounded, ostracized, even imprisoned if they persist in showing the least opposition to the present regime and its policies.
Did you know that anyone who attends church regularly in Cuba is carefully watched by the government's security agents, and that any such person is never allowed to hold any jobs other than the most menial ?
Are you aware of the fact that when the Pope visited Cuba last year, many of the faithful were prevented from attending his open-air Masses?
Are you aware of the constant persecution of the Ladies in White, a group of women who peacefully congregate in churches and march in silence through the streets to protest the incarceration of political prisoners?
Are you aware of the fact that any child who is known to receive religious instruction of any kind, or any child who attends church regularly is discriminated against at school and banned from receiving any education past high school?
Are you aware of the fact that anyone who dares to teach sunday school or any sort of religious instruction is obligated by law to turn in the names of the children they teach to their neiborhood Committee for the Defense of the Revolution, and that anyone who fails to do so can be severely penalized? This is how the government keeps track of "counter-Revolutionary" children.
Are you aware of the fact that in Cuba it is a crime to possess a copy of the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights?
These are just a few items. I could list many more. And so could anyone else who is aware of what is really happening on that island.
Just take a look at this web site from another organization that monitors religious persecution:
... Or, take a look at this one: http://www.csw.org.uk/cuba
....Or this one: http://www.csw.org.uk/cuba
That should get you started.
You really need to look more closely at what is actually happening in Cuba, please. You owe those Christians as much as any others in the world.
Carlos M. N. Eire
T. Lawrason Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies