The independent blogger Elaine Diaz, who agrees with so many official opinions, had a point when she defined the events surrounding the Church of Santa Marta as a kind of Rashoman. There have been so many versions that the authorities were left with no choice but to broadcast an official note on Cuban television’s prime time National News.

The truth is that Braulio Herrera Tito, the pastor of this Assembly of God congregation, is not an ordinary person. He is one of those preachers who, in any other place in the world, finds a place to found a church, a sect, a group of followers, but he lives in a country where not even a pigeon fancier’s club can be founded without State authorization. I will neither support nor renounce his doctrines, which are said to privilege personal revelations over the word of the Bible, but it seems to me he had the right to break away from his congregation and open his own place without asking for approval from the Communist Party’s Religious Affairs Department, and with the possibility of renting or building his own temple.

I wonder what would have happened if it had occurred to the party secretary of a municipality to disobey the guidelines of the Sixth Communist Party Congress and riot with a group of militants at the headquarters of that organization. Or do black sheep only appear in God’s flock?

12 September 2011