John Wesley must be spinning in his grave.
He was inspired by the Holy Spirit to start a movement that eventually became the Methodist church, one of the great Protestant denominations of today.
In Cuba, however, some of Wesley's successors seem to be acting not because of spirtual inspirations but of some a more base desire to cement favor with the Castro dictatorship by targeting those of the faithful who are standing strong with those of their congreations standing up for freedom.
Catholic Cardinal Jaime Ortega apparently is not the only religious leader confused about whose interests he is suppose to serve on the island.
The latest example of the "political cleansing" of the Methodist leadership ranks was the recent firing of Antonio Raúl Machado García from his teaching position at a seminary in Santa Clara.
Machado, a former chairman of the board of the seminary who taught courses on the history of the Methodist church, was purged by Pastor Mario Alcolea Torres, superintendent of the church in central Cuba, after Machado refused to retract support for Alcolea's predecessor, Yordi Toranzo Collado, who lost his church last month because of his close ties with Cuban dissidents.
The coziness of the church's hierarchy with the dictatorship is illustrated by the fact that Toranzo was personally fired by Bishop Ricardo Pereira, who delivered the bad news in the company of functionaries from Cuban State Security and the communist party in Santa Clara.
Religious leaders trying to curry favor with the regime, at the expense of their flocks' spiritual and earthly interests, is nothing new in Cuba. For whatever, some have allowed themselves to be used by the dictatorship to keep control of the masses.
But the recent exhibition of appeasement by the Methodist leadership may be a new low, if only because of its obvious nature.
Meanwhile, four political prisoners earlier this month fasted for three days to show their support for Pastor Toranzo.
Fortunately, they are beyond the reach of Bishop Pereira and his minions.