The Nazis had a word for this process: Gleichschaltung. A political word borrowed - like so many others - from the realm of engineering, it mean "co-ordination." The idea was simple: all institutions needed to work together as if they were part of the same machine.
Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
2 Timothy 3:12
It is often pointed out by observers of Europe’s Islamic Problem that the hospitality and tolerance shown to Muslims on arrival in the EU is not reciprocated. The treatment of Christians in majority Muslims nations shows a situation quite the reverse. Whereas Muslims are in receipt of financial benefits and every available convenience and comfort in our non-Muslims lands, protected by host governments and with any criticism of their influx or religion strictly policed, in Muslim lands Christianity is undergoing blatant purging. As expected, this imbalance is not a focus of the MSM. Instead, this systematic ideological and ethnic cleansing is drowned out by the constant media drumbeat sounding around the fetishes of Muslim victimhood, Islamophobia and racism, that potent trio.
In Arab countries, it is safe to say, Christianity is not welcomed with open arms, state benefits and refugee shelters. No one is waiting at the airport or station to meet Christians and hold up embroidered banners of welcome. It isn’t like that, not at all. Instead, Christianity, tolerated theoretically as it is in certain sections of the notoriously inconsistent Koran, is certainly not tolerated de facto in Muslim majority countries, and is in fact persecuted in a way that ought to make the West – and certainly the Vatican and its Anglican counterparts – recoil in horror. Instead, Church of England primates – an oddly apt phrase - talk of the inevitability of sharia law in Britain and urge bishops to grow beards as part of an Islamic outreach programme. It would be funny if there were not so much blood.
But Christians are not persecuted only by Boko Haram, ISIS and the other Mohammedan supremacist sects. There is another long-standing foe of Christianity which is redoubling its efforts and joining the lynch mob; Communism.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is an organisation campaigning for the rights of Christians in a world of ubiquitous human rights in which they, apparently, no longer have a share. They may be the closest thing to the Church Militant currently fighting Christianity’s corner. And Christianity needs to be fought for, if it is to remain. It may be no coincidence that two ideologies who march increasingly in lockstep, Islam and Communism, are redoubling their efforts to persecute Christianity. And, on a related subject, CSW’s recent report on the persecution of Christians in Cuba may highlight one of the consequences of the recently changed relationship between the USA and Cuba.
After a steady but unremarkable post-millennial increase in anti-Christian activity in Cuba, 2015 saw a tenfold increase on 2014. The criteria here are ‘harassment, intimidation and violence’ and, to give numerical perspective amid percentile statistics, these indicators have risen from 220 to 2,300.
Cuba is conspicuous by its absence in the league tables of Christian oppression. But these statistics often use death rates as an indicator, and Cuba is not killing its Christians, not yet. But it is intimidating them, at governmental level, and it has politicised the question of religious faith expressed as choice, belief and social behaviour.
The Epiphany celebrations at the Resurrection Baptist Church in Rosalia, Villa Clara are a good example, regularly targeted as they are by local Communist Party officials, who deliberately arrange and fund competing events to harass the church by disrupting their activities.
The Cuban Office of Religious Affairs (ORA) has a ‘consistently antagonistic reltionship’ with many of Cuba’s religious groups, says the report, which in a country where 56% of the population identify as Christian, puts the authorities on a collision course with over half the people. The ORA realizes that the church, and control of its information structure, is a vital tool in its ongoing attempt to keep the people faithful to the ideological uniformity required by Communism (and, non-coincidentally, by Islam). Thus, Roman Catholic priest Jose Rodriguez Alegre’s home and church have been fitted out with CCTV and his email accounts blocked after his refusal to do the state’s work for it by excluding certain politically undesirable individuals from worship.
This the low-level activity; the repression of Cuban Christians is not just some off-colour Tweets or Facebook posts, as Islamic ‘watchdogs’ Tell Mama were found to have included in their rap sheet of supposed Muslim oppression in the UK. As well as being overtly politicised, the reprisals in Cuba are also violent and oppressive, including beatings, absurd prison sentences, detention in boiling automobiles, and a focus on The Ladies in White, a group of women who are the wives of political prisoners.
Since 2003, the Ladies have attended Sunday Mass dressed in white – symbolic of peace – and then walked in silence through the streets of Havana to protest the incarceration of their husbands, Cuba’s desaparicidos. Their harassment, detention and oppression eerily foreshadows the contemporary German government’s increasingly totalitarian treatment of PEGIDA, the anti-Islamisation organisation whose silent walks in Dresden (originally) were intended to reiterate the silent processions of the old days of the Berlin Wall. To walk in silent peaceful protest against creeping totalitarianism is not approved of anywhere, it would seem. Cuba is becoming a useful model for the future of Europe, perhaps.
While the Ladies in White are silently criticising their government over Socialism, dissident groups in Europe are protesting against their governments over Islam. One might forgive the dissident, anti-Islamisation collectives in Europe for believing that Muslims merely have to whisper ‘Jump!’ to the ruling elites to elicit the time-honoured response; How high? It is not so with Cuba’s 4,000 or so Muslims. Islamic News laments that;
‘Sheikh Aboudy said he insisted that Cuba’s Muslims be allocated a house [in Havana] which they can use as a mosque, and that the Muslim World League would aid the mosque, without interfering in the politics of the country. He said he told the officials that such a move would symbolise a degree of cooperation with the Muslim world. Their reply, he said, was that they would present the request at the next meeting of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, and that his would take time.’
In a Communist country, a guarantee to present your case at the next Central Committee, although this may take some time, means no. It means no. In the West, Muslim leaders must occasionally be tempted to see what they could ask for – in the form of a veiled demand and a more closely draped threat – and receive from the appeasement-happy UK government. Not so in Cuba. But, as mentioned, this is a question of degree, and the apparent hostility towards Islam may mask another motive.
This method is used in Europe; if you are targeting one religion, make it look as though you are targeting all religions. To expedite their preferred situation, the Cuban government use one of the great unsung weapons of Communism; control of bureaucracy. From the CSW report;
“They [the government] issue a written 'reminder' to all religious groups and fraternal organisations which stipulates that they must submit requests for all activities in advance with a 5 peso charge for review and permission from the Department of Associations. The text of the notice has an intrusive and exhaustive list of questions including who is invited to participate, names of moderators and other panellists along with the schedule of activities, and whether or not foreigners will be present.’
This technique, in Europe, makes Islam a useful tool for the elites, if they can successfully ride the tiger. It is a useful tool too in the ongoing, de facto erasure of Christianity and Christian social structures from the West, as evidenced both in Europe and The USA. If both these stricken power blocs are not actually Communist, they are doing excellent impressions of political entities who would like to keep that busted flush alive.
The ‘Cuba Crackdown’, as CSW are calling it, chimes with the recent actions of a man who has been called a Communist by an increasingly vocal faction of writers outside the MSM. One of the notable examples of political cross-pollination in 2015 was the USA’s outreach to Cuba.
Obama sat down with Raul Castro twice in two months. Amid the self-congratulatory poses and the lack of anything but PR, actual reportage was closed down. Reporters were quickly ushered out of the talks, questions unaddressed. This was an almost purely symbolic set of exchanges. The only thing the White House confirmed apart from general blather is that Americans can do business in Havana; sanctions and statutory prohibitions against travel to and from Cuba would be lifted, the White House said. When I was young, having a Cuban stamp on your passport could pose problems even getting into America as a tourist. Obama has thrown a large dog treat to Castro; perhaps he wants his pound of Christian flesh. All he asked in return, perhaps, was that Castro cause Islam some minor inconvenience in order to keep up the façade of social justice and equivalence of treatment.
If the Cuban government is prepared to up its persecution of Christians by 1,000% per cent because Obama has thrown them a bone, Christians the world over ought really to be united in their condemnation of a blatant ideological programme of terrorism by a national governing body. And this tenfold increase in Christian oppression takes place, of course, within a country whose regime is not noted for transparency. Grimmer punishments than detention in a boiling hot car would be unlikely to make it through the fine ideological mesh of the Western media, pro-Communist as they are.
For the Cuban authorities, Christianity and by extension Christian practices are a problem to be solved, a systemic glitch or flaw to be engineered into compliance in time-honoured Socialist style. To look at Europe, you might think that Islam at least presented a similar problem, mutatis mutandis. But the curious thing is that, for the leaders of Europe’s elites just as much as the rugged comrades-in-arms of the Castro dynasty, the problem is also Christianity and its attendant nationalistic, volkish habits. For it is not just Christianity as a variation of religious worship which is targeted by Islamists, Communists and Social Progressivists, but the societies which came with it. Christians who are concerned about their future in Europe should turn their eyes not heavenwards, but to Cuba.