According to a report by Vision Beyond Borders, an affiliate of Mission Network News, warming diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba has had the same results as US-China relations when it comes to human rights violations. The promise of softening human rights violations and iron-fisted Communism by normalizing relations is a false premise, as I’ve mentioned before.
Soon after Secretary of State John Kerry opened the US Embassy in Cuba last year and made comments about pushing for more democracy in Cuba, the rulers of the island nation decided to push back hard against the notion they would just give up their Communism. They intensified the targeting of what they believe is the symbol of Western style democracy–evangelical churches. In the first six months of this year, 1,606 violations of religious freedoms of Christians took place (an increase over last year’s numbers) with a major part of those violations being the unjustified demolition of church buildings, just as in China.
Why should I care when it’s over there?
Patrick Klein of Vision Beyond Borders expressed his concerns with the release of this report that there is a tendency with churches in the US and elsewhere in the West to have a nonchalant attitude about Christians abroad being persecuted, especially when most of us worship in our non-threatened comfort zones. He pointed out that we should always be concerned as Christians when someone else’s access to God’s word is intentionally hindered, no matter where they may be in the world. When we show we care through prayer and other forms of support, he believes it helps us prepare ourselves in case persecution rears its ugly head in our neck of the woods. Such persecution may only be a matter of time given the fact that many pastors in the US are secretly working with FEMA and some of them are starting to install facial recognition software in their buildings to track churchgoers.
Nevertheless, the persecution in Cuba is having the profound impact of encouraging evangelical Cubans to spread the gospel even more. As a result, more and more people are confessing Christ.