Normalizing Relations With Cuba
1985 Church of the Brethren Resolution
In creation, God formed the world as one world. Throughout history the world has been divided and redivided into regions and into nations. Our world now knows alienation and enmity between nations because of economics, political ideology, cultural ethos, and perceived threats to security.
In the body of Christ, we have experiences a unity that transcends human divisions, and political, cultural and economic considerations. As members of the body of Christ we recognize that Christ’s gospel message is one of reconciliation between the divine and the human and among all nations.
We believe that peaceful relations cannot be achieved among nations without their mutual recognition of each other.
In 1978, dialog began between representatives of the Church of the Brethren and the Iglesia Cristiana Pentecostal (Christian Pentecostal Church). When a delegation from the Iglesia Cristiana Pentecostal visited the United States in 1980, these preliminary discussions culminated in a signed covenant with the Church of the Brethren to be in mission together in a style of mutuality. Although 1981 passed with no communication between our two churches, and travel has been difficult there have been opportunities to visit one another since that time. A delegation from the Iglesia Cristiana Pentecostal was present at Annual Conference in 1984.
Having related to our Cuban Christian sisters and brothers in the Iglesia Cristiana Pentecostal. We have an increasingly, urgent desire to normalize diplomatic relationships between our governments. It would be helpful to the Iglesia Cristiana Pentecostal to be associated with a sister church that has taken this official stand.
Present United States policies toward Cuba are increasing tensions in the Caribbean. The United States is the only major Western nation that follows this policy on “non-relations” with Cuba. In light of our official diplomatic relations with the Peoples Republic of China and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic, our rigid, restrictive policy toward Cuba is even more out of step politically. The economic boycott against Cuba has been counterproductive. Cuba has been forced to develop local industry and to lean heavily on the USSR. Certainly there are issues to be settled between the United States and Cuba. Compensation for United States property owned prior to the Cuban revolution, treatment of airline hijackers, and radio interference are a few of these issues. Normalization of diplomatic relations would allow the discussion and possible resolution of these and other issues.
Out of our Christian understanding of justice for all through peaceful and nonviolent means, we, as members of the Church of the Brethren, recommit ourselves to building goodwill and understanding between the people of the United States and Cuba. Therefore the Church of the Brethren, meeting in Annual Conference in Phoenix, Ariz., July 2-7, 1985 requests the officers of Annual Conference to petition the President, the Secretary of State, and key congressional leaders to take steps necessary to:
- Restore normal diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba.
- End restrictions on travel to Cuba.
- Encourage communication with Cuba and dialog between our citizens.
Action of the General Board 1985: The general Board approved the resolution and directed that it be sent to the 1985 annual Conference for adoption, through Standing Committee.
Elaine Sollenberger, Chair
Robert W. Neff, General Secretary
Action of the 1985 Annual Conference: Jerry W. Ruff a Standing Committee delegate from the Shenandoah District, presented the recommendation from Standing Committee that Annual Conference adopt the RESOLUTION ON NORMALIZING RELATIONS WITH CUBA. The RESOLUTION was adopted.