If there is one church in America that anti-religious zealots love to go to its Riverside Church.  Located on the upper west side of Manhattan, the church’s environment is such that non-believers are made to feel right at home while traditional-minded believers are made to feel like pariahs.  No wonder, then, that this was the forum extended to Fidel Castro at the close of the U.N. Millennium Summit.

Castro was greeted by 2,400 loyal followers screaming, “Hail Fidel—Jail Giuliani.”  He charged them up all night giving a marathon of a speech that extended beyond 1:00 a.m.  To great applause, the thought-control dictator blasted the United States for maintaining economic sanctions against Cuba, labeling the policy “criminal” and “a violation of human rights.”

Cheering Castro on were two United States congressmen, Maxine Waters of California and Jose Serrano of New York.  Both of these Democrats were active in the fight to send Elian Gonzalez back to Cuba.  Also in attendance was Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, former head of the National Council of Churches, another leader in the send-Elian-back crusade.  At the time of the Elian controversy, all three pretended they were neutral on the moral credentials of Castro.  On September 8, they proved they were not.

Those who defend slave masters have no moral authority to object to any form of tyranny.  That’s one story.  But there’s another story here: imagine what would happen if a Catholic church allowed a right-wing dictator to rant for hours on end?  Is there anyone who doubts that the elite media would be demanding an IRS investigation of this crass violation of church and state lines?

There will be no investigation of Riverside Church.  But our file on these duplicitous events is growing.  We can’t wait to use them in the event some IRS nut tries to get the Catholic Church.

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