The Moderator of the United Church of Canada went on a tropical vacation to the utopian island of Cuba.
If you think utopian is a sarcastic description of the nation ruled by a ruthless communist dictatorship, it is and it isn't. While in popular understanding, 'utopia' is thought of as the ideal society, the actual Utopia conceived by Thomas More is a repressive, draconian land obsessed with order and punishment. The context of that latter, accurate meaning very much describes Castro-governed Cuba.
On his blog, UCC Moderator Gary Paterson shared some thoughts about the two-week trip he and his partner Tim Stevenson embarked upon in Cuba.
Among Paterson's notes were:
In bemoaning the Cuban government's seemingly greater interest than that of Canada's in Moderator Paterson's opinions, he has ignored a rather significant element. Cuba is a communist dictatorship and will try to get endorsements of various self-serving bodies willing to cooperate with it. But Canada's government is a democratic one and derives its legitimacy from free elections. So unlike for Cuba's strongmen, the desires of an irrelevant denomination, comprised mainly of radical geriatrics with an average age 68 and climbing, isn't something the Canadian government needs to indulge in order to validate itself.
More disquieting is the apparent identification that Paterson makes with Cuba's government against those that would seek to undermine the dictatorship's rule when he continues with:
So the Cuban government has a "commitment to freedom of belief"???
Perhaps Moderator Paterson might like to share that with Cubans that were executed or are still rotting in jails for expressing ideas that conflicted with the Castro brothers.
The United Church of Canada truly is a bizarre institution. It sees itself as a vehicle for a particular brand of what it deems "social justice." But that brand often manifests as opposition to western democracies and sympathy for brutal, ant-democratic dictatorships. That recently played out in the UCC's embrace of the anti-Israel so called Kairos Document. The document itself is anti-Semitic and sides with Palestinian ambitions which have played out as both undemocratic and antithetical to Christianity in the region, while demonizing liberal, democratic, pro-Christian Israel.
The United Church of Canada's membership has been in drastic decline since the 1960's. Its radical positions and aging demographics have condemned it to a slow death. Seeing the twisted values coming out of the United Church now, it may be fair to say that end cannot come soon enough.
h/t Eddard Stark