Dogs gotta bark, fish gotta swim, and the World Council of Churches has to reaffirm its 1960s-style Marxist heritage from time to time. With the assistance of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Council for World Mission (CWM), an interfaith group of totalitarian-lovin’ lefties “theologians, activists, pastors and educators from around the world” gathered May 15-20 for a workshop entitled “Spirituality of Resistance, Liberation and Transformation,” which was held–where else?–in Cuba.
They ended their week by putting out a “communique” that sounds like it was put together by a machine that randomly strings together leftist cliches:
We are in Cuba, a country that approaches the celebration of 50 years of its revolution. Cubans describe the present period as a “Kairotic” passage, a time of crisis and opportunity. The people’s suffering is acute because of the U.S.-imposed blockade and the general forces of empire. By “empire” we mean the complex and dynamic international regime of power anchored by the United States, with its military power, neoliberal globalization, racist and patriarchal ideologies and policies of environmental degradation. In spite of these forces of empire and Cubans’ relentless suffering, isolation and impoverization, we have been inspired by the ways Cubans persevere in struggle, embodying joy and resistance, dignity and self-esteem.
In the present moment, for example, Cubans’ earlier revolutionary successes in agrarian reform have been set back by the empire’s brutal blockade, other international developments, and by tensions within the country. Still, Cubans press forward with ongoing reform, inventively crafting new modes of agro-ecology.
Our meeting in Mazanzas has thus been blessed by having Cuba as a present point of reference throughout all our discussions of the crises of empire. This workshop was originally planned to take place in Beirut, Lebanon. The explosion of conflict there, and the continuing illegal occupation of Palestine by the forces of empire, remind us that this is a Kairotic moment for so many other groups worldwide.
Love that last bit–the reason they didn’t meet in Beirut has nothing to do with the unnamed imperial demon (Israel), but the violence precipitated by their good buddies in Hezbollah. In short, they were worried that their friends might mistake them for target practice.
There’s really no point in trying to take apart this kind of nonsense, whose lefty-babble is so hackneyed and detached from reality that it might have come from the Web site of the Workers World Party. I do find it amazing that at this late date anyone could be so mindlessly adulatory of the island gulag, but then, for some people, it’s always 1968.
The statement then goes on to a collection of equally mind-numbing nonsense about “the multiplicity of spiritualities,” including tripe such as this:
We affirm that the problems of empire, amid which justice movements struggle, are not only political problems but also spiritual challenges. Empire spawns its own destructive spiritualities, such as the “religious right,” and thus it seeks always to co-opt the powers of religion for imperial aims. New spiritualities are coming forth to oppose imperial spiritualities, and these should be supported.
What would a gathering of Marxist theologians be without a swipe at the “religious right”?
Religious groups and all peoples of conscience should recognize a leading role for indigenous peoples, honouring especially their earth-centered spirituality, focusing on interdependencies of body, mind, land, community, and spirit, as resources for a liberating justice for all creation. We affirm the struggle of all First Nations peoples for their land and for their rights to self-determination.
Here we have the obligatory “Christianity bad, paganism good” declaration.
In this time especially, the empire’s worldwide “war on terror” has created a virulent form of Islamophobia that compounds other related racisms. Emergent spiritualities must stand with our Muslim sisters and brothers and work with them for a more just world for all peoples.
And when the people who aren’t engaged in terrorism take over, guess who will be among the first to have their heads on the chopping block?
Then we have their take on Christian spiritualities in particular:
Justice movements challenge Christians to relinquish the hegemony of their Christian language and rituals in movement work, even when this means leaving the comfort zones of Christian belief and practice. New acts of Christian humility and confession – due to Christians’ construction of empire building, colonization, racism and patriarchy – must entail a new collective and variegated spirituality forged from among all peoples, recognizing especially the initiatives of long-colonized and oppressed peoples.
How dare you Christians continue to be Christians! Why, the planet would be a one-world, Muslim-ruled, Jew-free, egalitarian ecotopia without you! Down on your knees and beg forgiveness, you racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, neo-Nazi, Zionist, capitalist, heterosexist, colonialist, patriarchal (“have we forgotten anything? Oh, yeah…”) Republican pigs!
Christian leaders and institutions, when participating in justice movements, must foster liberating spiritualities by re-interpreting their Christian stories, beliefs and practices to challenge forthrightly the forces of empire.
And stop being so Christian!
According to the WARC Web site, the representative of the world’s Reformed churches was positively inspired by her sojourn in the workers’ paradise:
Patricia Sheerattan-Bisnauth, executive secretary of WARC’s Office for Church Renewal, Justice and Partnership, said the crisis of the times calls for a radical spirituality to energize the covenanting for justice movement.
“Connecting with the struggle, resilience and vision of the Cuban people and the spiritualities of aboriginal peoples and various faith traditions brings fresh impetus in our struggle for justice,” she concluded.
I think there’s really only one appropriate response to all this–take it away, Riff: