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...then I saw that Cuba was the Gospel put into
Pope John Paul II's recent mission to Nicaragua was clearly intended to counter this attempt at political subversion of the authentic religious traditions and institutions of that country. Even in Eastern Europe, where ruling Communist Parties long gave the impression of wanting "co-existence" with well-established religious institutions, there are signs of increasing State intrusion into church affairs, and heightened conflict with churches which do not collaborate with Communist purposes. Although there are many distinctive qualities to the circumstances of the churches in Czechoslovakia, Poland, East Germany and Liththe situation of each in its own way bears out this general point.
The churches of the Soviet bloc have most recently been exploited by the ruling political powers on behalf of the Soviet peace offensive. This is accomplished in large measure through the Christian Peace Conference, based in Prague
an organization with which, surprisingly, our own National Council of Churches maintains warm official relations. The Christian Peace Conference calls for disarmament and Christian pacifism but only on the part of the West. It acquiesces completely in Communist repression of peace sentiments within the Soviet empire. It has even forthrightly endorsed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
The purpose of this quite sketchy survey is only to propose that the problem of religious repression, a central issue on the human rights agenda, merits further study by this Committee and by the Department of State. There are many reasons to suspect that the attitude of many Communist rulers toward religion is Once they despised religion as "the opium of the Today they still regard religion as a dangerous drug but many Communist governments now seem interested in the possibilities of becoming dealers in this supposed "drug."
The subversion of religion by the totalitarian state is by far the most cruel and damaging form of religious repression. poisons the one vessel of conscience and spirit that often remains to the subjects of police society. It violates history's traditional place of consolation and sanctuary. It turns the refuge of the oppressed into another of the torments of the
There will surely be some comment here about the deficiencies of this year's Human Rights Report in treating the human rights violations of nations with which the United States has some common interest or alliance. While it surely has some imperfections, I consider this year's Report to be a serious and careful survey of the condition of human rights in the world, and I believe most of those associated with our Institute will share Nevertheless, as excellent as this document is in
its assessment of the freedoms of conscience, association, and religious expression, it may if anything be too gentle in its description of the abuses of religion in the Communist world.
The government of the United States has many ways in which it can attempt to influence the practices of even these adversary systems. One hopes that these will soon receive at least as much attention as the means we have for punishing our allies attention that has long been neglected by the Executive Branch, the Congress, and, not least, by many of our own churches.
Jacques Mauritain, Christianity and Democracy, trans. Doris
Alexis de Toqueville, Democracy in America, trans. Henry
Don Luigi Sturzo, Nationalism and Internationalism, (New
Press release, October 17, 1981; Religion in Communist
Denis D. Gray, "Religion Under Fire in Communist Vietnam",
As reported in New World Outlook, January, 1982; published by
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1982, U.S.
From a transcript of the NBC "Today Show", June 6, 1972; as published in the Cuba Resource Center Newsletter, July, 1972, p.4.
9/ As quoted in The United Methodist Reporter, Dallas, Texas, September 9, 1977.
10/ James Wallace, "Christians in Cuba", The Cuba Resource Center Newsletter, April, 1973.
11/ As quoted in "Revolution and the Intellectuals in Latin
America", by Alan Riding, The New York Times Magazine, March 13, 1983.
Mr. YATRON. I want to thank all of you gentlemen for your very helpful contributions to our deliberations. I want to apologize. We have run out of time and there is a vote on the floor and an important appropriation bill coming up, so there will be no questions. Your contributions have been of great importance to us and will be part of the record.
We thank you very much. The subcommittee stands adjourned subject to the call of the Chair.
Thank you very much.
[Whereupon, at 12:10 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned, subject to the call of the Chair.]
REVIEW OF U.S. HUMAN RIGHTS POLICY
Review of Section 502B of the Foreign Assistance
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 1983
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND
The subcommittee met at 2:10 p.m., in room 2200, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Gus Yatron (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. YATRON. The subcommittee will come to order.
Our subject this afternoon is the advisability of retaining the word "consistent" in the phrase "consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights." This phrase recurs in U.S. law to prohibit security assistance, economic aid, the provision of surplus agricultural goods, and votes for international financial institutions to countries whose governments engage in such a consistent pattern of human rights violations.
Earlier this year, the Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs reported out legislation which would strike the word "consistent" from the law designed to restrict U.S. support in international financial institutions to governments which engage in a consistent pattern of gross violations of human rights.
Whether or not the Foreign Affairs Committee should also strike the word "consistent" from legislation within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Foreign Affairs is the focus of today's hearing.
To help us examine the meaning of "consistent" in domestic law in its relation to international usage and the implications of removing it from the existing statute, we are happy to welcome a distinguished group of experts. Our first witness will be Congressman Jerry M. Patterson, chairman of the Subcommittee on International Development Institutions and Finance of the Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs.
I would like to say that Congressman Patterson has been a strong supporter of human rights, and it is his initiatives which have resulted in the hearing today. So we would like to say welcome to our colleague, Congressman Jerry Patterson.
Mr. PATTERSON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.