In dealings with Cold War dissidents, former WCC leader rues failings.
Imshausen Germany (ENI). The former general secretary of the World Council of Churches says the organization failed to give sufficient recognition to dissident movements in the then communist countries of Eastern Europe such as Solidarity in Poland and Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia. “While being aware of the situation and basically sympathetic to their struggle, the WCC gave priority attention to the struggles against racism and for justice and iberation in the southern countries,” said the Rev. Konrad Raiser at a conference in Imshausen, central Germany, on the church and dictatorships in the 20th century. [554 words, ENI-04-0460].
Jacobse: It’s a dishonest apology. Criticism of the WCC (and their American counterpart the NCC) during the Cold War covered precisely these failings. The truth is they were too busy castigating America and the free world and arguing that America was responsible for the world’s tyranny. Communism fell, the archives were opened, and the liberal religious organs were exposed as the useful idiots that they were. Here’s the rub: the people that ran the organizations are the same that run them today. What is needed is not more moral posturing, but an examination of how these organizations contributed to the suffering of the victims of tyranny.
One other point. These organizations never offend their liberal constituency. They follow the path that takes no moral courage. Just consider: Solidarity rises in Poland and the free world stares in astonished disbelief. I was in college at the time. I remember it clearly. It was nothing short of a miracle and every clear-headed person with an eye on the world understood this. Yet the WCC did what? — it remained silent! Sorry, but a two sentence apology doesn’t absolve it of its failings.