December 26, 1954

With our daily headlines pinpointing problems in Europe, the near East, and elsewhere around the globe, it is easy for us to concentrate on these admittedly important problems, and forget a portion of our own population that is few in number but truly worthy of more attention than the casual and infrequent thought we give it. This is the American Indian, who has been very much in the news in recent months but rarely in the headlines.

An AP dispatch with a Miami, Florida, dateline calls our attention to what most of us would regard as a legitimate request of a portion of the Seminole Nation, namely, that they be given title to the lands they have occupied in Florida for generations.

The Seminoles were one of the five tribes which the federal government removed by force from the southeastern U.S and dumped them into what is now Oklahoma more than a century ago. This Florida band refused to surrender to white man’s force. They fled into the swampy Everglades, and there they have made their home ever since. Recently, members of the tribe met with the present Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and asked two things: 1. That they be given title to the lands they occupy (actually they have a very good claim to virtually the whole state of Florida); and 2. That the federal government recognize as legal their tribal government. The dispatch says merely that the commissioner, Glenn L. Emmons, “promised that the U.S does not intend to destroy the customs or traditions of the tribe.”

But unfortunately the American Indian has learned, often by sad experience, that the white man’s promises may well be double in meaning and not carried out in practice. Let us hope that Mr. Emmons means by his promise that justice in full measure will be done to these people who have all too long suffered injustice in the land which they occupied before the white man came.

I happen to know a little at first hand about a few of the Indian groups, having lived among the Dakota tribes for three or four years, and worked in the U.S Indian Service for eight or nine. At no time have I known the Indians to ask for more than elementary justice in the matter of their property, their governmental rights, and their civic capacities. They have volunteered for military service far beyond their proportion in the general population; the vast majority of them earn their own living and pay their debts; most of them affiliate with some branch of the Christian faith; and yet, while all Indians are citizens and have voting rights, they find themselves hedged in by special federal laws that apply only to Indians, not to the white man; their lands, funds, or other property is often subject to supervision and control by the Indian Service; and they are, in many cases, isolated on reservations that represent areas which the white man once considered undesirable for homesteading.

Unfortunately, the Indian has become something of a political football. Each changing administration feels that what its predecessor has done with the Indian is wrong, and it proceeds to encourage, sometimes indirectly to force, the Indian to go in another direction. Ofttimes, administrations, both Democrat and Republican, have pursued the courses they wished without regard to what the Indians themselves wished. Two extreme views are often crossing swords with each other over the Indian. One looks upon him as a picturesque, romantic figure, and would, figuratively at least, send him back to the blanket and keep him as nearly all Indian as possible. The other often uses the slogan, “Turn the Indian loose,” which, for many, would in effect, mean to put him at the mercy of unmerciful white men who would take what few remaining possessions the Red Man has. The answer is not so simple, but in varying degrees lies somewhere between these two extremes.

Certainly, a few things are clear with regard to the Indian. First, he is a citizen and has all the rights of citizenship. The Indian Service and the American people should never lose sight of this, and I suspect that constant vigilance on the part of the latter will do much to keep the former mindful of its obligations in this respect.

Second, the Indians have varying cultural backgrounds, and their customs, traditions, and desires should be respected insofar as such are compatible with national welfare, and I can personally think of none of these that are not so compatible. There is room in this country for cultural diversity and at the same time for the maintenance of national unity with such diversity. Only a minority of Americans, thank goodness, look with suspicion upon people who are different from themselves.

Third, the Indian deserves, and he should get, all the education he can profit by; education that will fit him to find occupational pursuits in whatever field he desires to enter. Federal schools have all too often looked upon the Indian child as a sort of guinea pig upon which to try out any crackpot theory of education that happened to be the fantasy of the service at the moment.

And last, like any other citizen, the Indian has a right to be respected and accepted for individual merit and personality traits, without regard to race. There is no such thing as a “typical” American Indian, any more than there is a “typical” American white man. Indians are individuals, just as you and I, and they have a right to be accepted or rejected as individuals, not as members of particular minority groups. Until and unless we have done these things, we will not have applied our principles of democratic society to our predecessors in migration – the American Indian.


Here is a roundup of the week’s religious news, by United Press Radio.

Bethlehem: The faithful flocked to the birthplace of Christ this weekend by plane, automobile, and on foot. An estimated six thousand are visiting Bethlehem during this Christmas season. And Arab Jordan has laid down the red carpet for the tourists visiting the holy shrines. Where they’ve only been tolerated in the past, they’re being given a friendly welcome today. Under a cloudless sky, Jordan’s Arab government greeted arrivals through the bullet-scarred Mandelbaum Gate with guides and tourist facilities. The Gate stands on the United Nations Truce Line dividing Israel and Arab Jordan.

The observance in Bethlehem is Roman Catholic, and the Christmas Mass has been celebrated by his beatitude, Alberto Gori, the Archbishop of the Holy Land. There are two Protestant services in Jerusalem, one at the YMCA and one at the American Church of the Holy City.


Vatican City: Ailing Pope Pius XII broadcast Christmas blessings to the peoples of the world (Friday). The 78-year-old Roman Catholic spiritual leader spoke for seven minutes in a Christmas Eve message recorded from his bedside in the Vatican. His voice was weak at first. It grew in strength and then showed signs of fatigue at the end of the 600-word message. In the message, the pope called on the rulers of the world to maintain peace and prayed for those who have been imprisoned because of their faith in God.


Concern of Americans today is with service men and women not at home for Christmas. But substitute family gatherings have been given to many. At homes near their stations in Britain, France, and West Germany and in other places in Western Europe, in Korea, North Africa and elsewhere, Americans away from home have not been forgotten. They are having Christmas services, Christmas trees, special dinners and programs.


Tokyo: Two top-ranking leaders of the Protestant and Roman Catholic faiths are visiting American troops in the Orient.… Dr. Eugene Carson Blake, President of the National Council of Church of Christ in the U.S.A, also has held Christmas services in Korea. Members of the U.S First Marine Division have been his congregation. Dr. Blake, who is the administrative head of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A, declared in a Christmas Eve message in Korea, “Our hope out here is illumined by this knowledge of God’s love which extends to all mankind with intimations of peace and good will [unreadable] despite…the world’s darkness and fear.”

Dr. Eugene Blake, President of the National Council of Churches, is visiting all major commands in Korea. He said he wants to convey the greetings of 30 million American Protestants to as many servicemen as possible during his visit. He toured United States bases in Hawaii, the Philippines, Okinawa, and Japan before going to Korea. He will wind up his 20-day tour and return to the United States Monday.


Francis Cardinal Spellman, the Catholic archbishop of New York, is spending his fourth consecutive Christmas with United States forces in the Far East. Today (Saturday), he has scheduled to say Christmas Mass for troops of the United States Seventh Division. Earlier, he made a round of calls on top United States military and diplomatic authorities in Tokyo, and visited patients at the Army hospital there.

Nor have the U.S soldiers forgot the children near their … stations. From their own pockets they have bought bags of toys and … [unreadable].

December 19, 1954

On this last broadcast before our observance of the birth of the Prince of Peace, it seems appropriate to take a sober look at our world of 1954 to see what some of the problems and prospects are with respect to achieving the “Peace on Earth” that is associated with Him whose birth we are about to observe.

The stubborn fact is that our world this Christmas is divided between that half which is doing its best to blot out any reference to or observance of Christianity and our own half that is, on the surface at least, trying to perpetuate and spread the principles for which the Christ child came.

The Communist world stands for materialism, regards all religion as the opiate of the people, and would crush out any regard for the rights and dignity of the individual as opposed to the prerogatives of the state, which means the small group of men who would impose their will upon the mass of the people. It knows what it wants, where it is going, and will use any means to achieve its end. Truth, human life, the common decencies of civilization – none of these have any meaning to our enemies except insofar as they can use them to confuse and delude us into complacency about the threat they pose for us.

Opposed to this world of dictatorship are the so-called free nations of which we are a part. We subscribe in general to principles that are in general in accord with Christian principles and democracy. But, we are not at all as certain about just what these principles are, about our objectives and ways and means of attaining them. We quibble among ourselves over minor points of policy while our enemies profit by our lack of harmony.

In such a world as this, two things at least are imperative if the free nations are to survive and to perpetuate principles of freedom of Christianity:

  1. Unity among us must be maintained regardless of circumstances or temporary national interest;
  2. A solid and permanent substitute for war must be forged by the free nations.

One of the most profitable techniques of the dictators of all times is that of the axiomatic “divide and conquer” practice. Every time we, the French, the English, or any other free nation let an incident or issue cause us to indulge in quarreling, only our enemies profit. This does not mean that there should not be the freest and fullest discussion of legitimately different points of view among us; it does mean that in such discussion we must never lose sight of the imperative need of reaching agreement without compromise of basic principles. Anything less will eventually weaken the already weak coalition of anti-communist nations and permit us one by one to be swallowed up by the Iron Curtain powers.

And we must not lose sight of the fact also that there are among our own people those individuals and forces who advocate courses that, consciously or unconsciously, would deliver us into the hands of our enemies. These are the super-patriots who regard any concession on our part as subversion or downright treason. Their language sounds brave and self-sacrificing. These are flag wavers, the arousers of emotion, the Joes who would “go it alone.” The truth is that most of us Americans wish that we could go it alone in our own way and not be bothered by unpleasant realities in the rest of the world; the sober truth is that we are and must remain an integral and active part of the world of today whether we wish it that way or not. The truth is that a threat to peace anywhere in our world is a threat to peace everywhere. The truth is that there is no longer a dividing line between the battlefront and the home front. The truth is that we are faced with the unpleasant alternatives of co-existence or co-extinction.

None of us wants it that way, but that is the way it is, and we must behave ourselves in accordance with existing realities. No nation can hope today to exist undisturbed and alone; unity among us is the only basis we have for hope of survival against a world that threatens everything for which the free world stands, and we must permit nothing to cause us to lose sight of that fact. Disunity and war not only can, but likely will, result in the destruction of civilization as we in the Western world know it.

But unity of purpose and action must be more than a temporary coalition; it must forge machinery that will be a permanent substitute for war, the scourge of humanity throughout our history. This substitute is very simple, though achieving it is not so simple. The substitute for war is law.

There was a time in man’s history when war between individuals was the natural order of the day. Two people disagreed, and they fought it out. Today, individuals take their differences to court instead of to the battlefield. Clans and tribes once fought at will, one overcoming the other and imposing its system of control, i.e., law, over its former enemy and over a wider area. Eventually, the concept of the national state came into existence, with the imposition of an orderly system of law throughout the whole nation. Today, internal riots and revolts against laws within the nation are almost unknown. We have through law brought peace and stability within nations, and in the free world we have done so with amazingly little violence to the rights of the individual. It is that area between nations where our danger of war lies today, and it is in that area our efforts to apply law must bear constructive fruit.

At the end of our Revolutionary War, we had 13 independent nations in this country, each trying to do as it pleased without regard to the will or aspirations of the other twelve. For eight years, from 1781 to 1789, these 13 nations or states gradually saw the futility, even the suicidal results of trying to go it alone. They saw that there were certain matters that could not safely be left for each state to determine for itself if all were to survive. And they did the sensible thing; they formed a union in which such matters were turned over to the federal government to be managed in the interests of all states alike.

Nations have today reached the place that our 13 states had reached in 1787. Nations today come much more frequently in contact with each other and their individual interests conflict with each other far more often than did those of our states 167 years ago, and it is out of those frequent contacts and conflicts of interest that the danger of war arises. We solved these problems in 1787 by applying law on a nation-wide basis, so that it would be impossible for one state to go to war with another. Today, whether we like it or not, we must apply something of the same remedy to international relationships.

This means, in effect, that we must create machinery for the enactment and enforcement of law that will apply to individuals and nations on an international scale. A gesture, but only a gesture, has been made toward this in the creation of the U.N., but this world organization has not been given law-making and law-enforcing authority. Until or unless it is, we shall have continuing anarchy and war between nations.

Now most of us do not like this idea, and I am among them. But the whole matter resolves itself into an “either/or” proposition. Either join together or eventually die separately. It is as crucial as that. One of the most telling cartoons circulated during the fight in 1788 for ratification of our own Constitution was that of a snake divided into 13 pieces, with the caption “Join or Die.” This cartoon was credited to Benjamin Franklin, and it portrayed a truth of the times that is equally true of our times.

There [are] those today who regard any such suggestions as the above as less than patriotic; who are unable to see that one could conceivably be loyal both to the laws of this nation and to those passed by an international body deriving its power form the democratic consent of the peoples to whom those law[s] apply. Yet, there is an inconsistency in their viewpoint. We Americans are loyal to our states and we are also loyal to our nation, and there is no conflict between the two. There is nothing inherently conflicting between a conceived loyalty to the laws of this nation and the laws of an international federation in whose composition we have a voice, and I am sure that those of us who would substitute law for the present warring lawlessness resent the idea that because we advocate federation of the free nations we are thereby less patriotic or loyal than those who oppose such an idea.

We, that is, the free nations, have made some halting steps toward such a free world union. In 1946 the U.S., through Bernard Baruch, proposed to the U.N. that atomic energy be brought under international control through a commission empowered to make inspections anywhere in the world to be sure that all nations were living up to their peaceful responsibilities. We have taken the lead in promoting federation of the nations of Western Europe, though many of us are skeptical that this would be a permanent solution, even if it were achieved. We are skeptical for the simple reason that while such a union would presumably be friendly to us at the moment, there is no guarantee that it would always be so or that we could get along with it should it decide to be unfriendly. While such efforts are commendable in the formation of regional arrangements, anything less than an indestructible union of indestructible nations, grounded in democratic principles, cannot guarantee that peace will be permanent.

Admittedly the creation of such a union will be a difficult task, calling for the best brains, the best intentions that the free world can mobilize. But it would be mobilization for constructive, not destructive, purposes. The discouraging factor is that those in high places appear more amenable to advice from vested interests than to the interest of the mass of peoples in the free world. It is significant to note that military men generally have been among the most prominent supporters of the “go it alone” policies, when they should know better than anyone else that this policy has led to nothing in the past but war. But war is their career. It is also significant that munitions makers, businesses with profitable government war contracts, and professional patrioteers were among the most active forces that succeeded in scuttling the League of Nations and in backing Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, and company. It is up to us, the rank and file, the little people of the world, to make our collective influence felt in the halls of Congress and in the United Nations to the end that those representing us understand clearly that while we do not prefer peace at any price, we do realize that the scourge of war can and must be removed as a threat to humanity; that freedom under law is the most important objective for our world of today; that while we realize military security is a must in the light of present conditions, that most of us are hoping to be able to envision a time beyond which we can live secure in the knowledge that war and its tragic consequences will not again be visited on us or our children.


December 12, 1954

Last week the National Council of the Churches of Christ completed the work of its Third Assembly in Boston. The major achievements of this meeting may be summed up under three headings:

  1. It urged its member churches to make use of the council’s facilities to aid    laymen with their ethical problems;
  2. It encouraged churches to “adventure more courageously into racial and    cultural inclusion;”
  3. It repudiated all forms of racial discrimination.

Most of us would agree that these matters deserve the serious consideration of all individuals and groups interested in religion. The problem of ethics is a worldwide one, ranging from personal behavior to what, as a society, to do with the awful power we hold in the potentialities of nuclear fission. As for racial and cultural inclusion, we must accept the fact, whether we like it or not, that peoples of different races and cultures are thrown more often and more closely in contact with each other today than were neighbors of adjoining states a century ago. And with their emphasis upon the divinity of God and the brotherhood of man, it would be ironical, even hypocritical, if the churches were not to take the lead in the fight against discrimination. Hence the council is to be commended for its forthright and unequivocal declarations of position with respect to these pressing issues confronting us all in today’s world.


To all Catholics, and to many, many Protestants, this week has been one of happily decreasing concern over the physical condition of Pope Pius XII, and of increasing pleasure over the amazing progress he has made toward recovery. The 78-year-old pontiff has not only surprised his followers, he has amazed his doctors who, from the implications of their dispatches were reconciled to expecting the worst.


Mention was made a moment ago of repudiation by the National Council of Churches of all forms of racial discrimination. An AP dispatch with a Shellman, Georgia, dateline brings information that a young minister in that community has just been ousted from his pastorate because of a sermon he preached last June in which he praised as just the decision of the Supreme Court against racial segregation in the public schools. This minister and his wife have just moved out of the pastorium into an apartment. In his final sermon to the congregation he disagreed with the prejudices of the members of his church for the stand they had taken. He advised them to call themselves a community instead of a church, and to elect a president instead of a pastor. Indicative of their intolerance in this matter is the fact that most of his congregation left the church while the young man was speaking.

This reporter is deeply conscious of the long established customs and attitudes of Southern people with respect to racial problems. He is himself a Southerner who grew up with, and to some degree, shares these customs and attitudes. He also recognizes that these things cannot be changed overnight by an edict of a body of nine men, whatever their official position. But he also sees inconsistency between the spiritual concept of Christian brotherhood and discrimination between fellow Christians because of the accident of race. The problems involved in working out a policy of integration in the school, in the church, and in the community are difficult, and it appears that the churches can rightly be expected to take the lead in this matter, for to them, it is, or should be, not only a matter of law but a concept of the relation of individuals to each other and to the Creator of us all.


An interesting and significant statement was made by a great American layman this week, to the Chicago Sunday Evening Club. David E. Lilienthal was originally a Chicago lawyer. From 1941-1946, he was chairman of the TVA, and from 1946-1950, he was a chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. He has recently been in the news because of his work, given free-of-charge, in helping the Republic of Columbia develop plans for a program similar to TVA – hence, having a knowledge of law, of at least the administrative aspects of scientific management, and of working with people. Coming from a man with this background, his views on moral and ethical matters are all the more interesting, and worth quoting. “The building of individual character,” he says, “is a greater shield against national adversity than any armament, however mighty.”

“This is not to underestimate the place of military strength under such conditions as now exist in international affairs,” he continues, but “the foundation of America’s greatness lies in the achievement of moral quality, of firm ethical and spiritual convictions, on the part of individual citizens.” This, he says, “is far more important than TVA or atomic energy, economics or government, because the way these matters will be put to work will be determined by ethical convictions and spiritual aspirations of individuals and not by impersonal calculations of science and engineering.”

Here, clearly and simply put, is a statement of a major dilemma of our generation. We have, through science and administrative management, of which Mr. Lilienthal is thoroughly familiar, developed the power to blow ourselves and our world to bits. But this, says the man who had a great deal to do with this development, is not the most important thing. The most important thing is the moral and spiritual values that people hold, for it is these that will determine whether we use this tremendous power to destroy mankind or to lift it onto a level of existence far higher than it has ever before known in this world. Power is important, but how we use it is more so, and how we use it will be decided by those values we consider important. This is not only a challenge to the intelligence and moral fiber of humanity; it is an ultimatum, for if we do not use it wisely we shall destroy ourselves through our failure to do so. This is an inevitable and uncomfortable choice that men of our generation must make, and are making daily, whether we realize it or not.

And these moral and spiritual values must be made to function not only in science, but also in economics and in government, through the choices we make in the type of men we choose and the type of service we demand of them as public servants. “The bullying type of public figure, by violent talk, may appear to succeed for a time, but sooner or later the responsible people show they have had enough. In the perspective of time the standards of character of the American people seem to have been moving steadily toward improving the lot of Man, and it must continue to be so, mainly through the efforts of people who believe in and practice high spiritual, and moral, religious values.


It is easy to get so wrapped up with our own problems at home that we sometimes forget that human problems around the world are often pretty much the same. At times in our history we have allowed ourselves the expensive luxury of bickering and quarreling among Catholics, Protestants, and Jews. Fortunately we have not permitted it to continue for any extended length of time or degree of severity. Something of the same struggle comes to us from Johannesburg, South Africa, where the Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, speaking at an interracial conference of Protestant church leaders, warns his hearers that, in his words, “The church is confronted not so much by heathenism, as by a large growing and aggressive Moslem community.” He went on to express concern that the churches in the Commonwealth are mostly concerned about providing pastoral care for those already members of some Christian faith, and that they are little concerned in trying to spread belief in that faith among those who are at present non-Christians. One hopeful note was sounded in the plea made at the conference for all Christian faiths to explore the possibility of cooperation in spreading the Gospel as a means of both converting the heathen and of lessening denominational rivalry among the churches themselves.


A human problem of another kind, and one that is of concern both to individuals and the community is underscored by an article appearing this week in The Christian Science Monitor having to do with the barriers an ex-prisoner faces when he has paid his debt to society and is released from prison. A tape-recorded voice of an anonymous parolee in Boston described these barriers to the Massachusetts Conference of Social Work meeting in that city. From his own experience, this voice describes what happened. First, there is the legal bar, prohibiting him from employment in a variety of fields. Many employers will not hire him also because of their uneasiness about a man with a record. Then there is the bar of ignorance, the fact that the parolee simply lacks education or training for a trade. But, significantly enough, this ex-prisoner emphasizes that the most difficult bar of all is the one that persistently labels him with the stigma of being an ex-convict.

This voice made no plea for the former prisoner who is insincere about reformation. “It is,” he says, “up to the prisoner to prove his case.” But in a Christian community, he added, “forgiveness is our mode of life … to forgive is the challenge the community faces.” All of us can understand the attitude of the community on the one hand, and the need, often the desperate need, of the released prisoner on the other. To continue to discriminate against those who have committed crimes long after they have paid their penalty to society is going beyond both the letter and the spirit of the laws enacted by that society as punishment. This reporter has no answer to the problem, but he has a question: “What is your (own) answer to it?”


A spokesman for the YWCA has made an interesting report to that organization upon the increasingly important role that women the world over are playing in everyday affairs. Mrs. Elizabeth Luce Moore, chairman of the organization’s foreign division has just returned form a visit to such far-flung places as Japan, Philippines, Egypt, Italy, Thailand, Burma, Hong Kong, and others. On this trip, she consulted war widows, factory workers, and women leaders.

She calls it an exciting story, what these women are doing for themselves and for their community, as they emerge from colonialism, social as well as political. But, in these countries, she warns, communist propaganda is on every newsstand, and in it America is depicted as a nation of military aggressors. She calls what the communists are doing a program that “is insidiously and devilishly conceived, and we’ve got to find a program to counteract it.” She urged wider use of such films as “Atoms for Peace,” which she said had proved so informative to audiences, both male and female, in Italy. Japanese women, she says, are disturbed about the threat of the H-bomb, and need education as to what Americans can do and are trying to do to bring about a peaceful world. People in arid lands are eager to know how atomic power can get them water they need or get salt out of the water they have.

She emphasizes the important work colleges and universities are doing in these lands toward developing community leaders from among their own number, and she stresses the important role the United States can play in helping them provide the training they need for bringing improved methods of community living to backward places. Women in these countries, she is convinced, are eager to learn ways and means of making their newly found freedoms count most toward improving their levels of living. Some of their greatest needs are simple to us, but to them they mean the difference between well-being and want. Such things as getting a well dug, keeping children clean, persuading the elders of the village to cooperate in using the best of the new ways while retaining the valuable ones of the old. These, she concludes, “are worthwhile incentives the women are discovering.”

Several years ago, the U.S embarked on the so-called Point Four program of bringing our own technical knowledge to the aid of backward countries. This program, unfortunately, became embroiled in political partisanship, but there is considerable evidence to indicate that an American health expert, working in an advisory capacity, to help the people of an Indonesian community improve its water supply can bring us more good will than a million dollars of aid doled out for military preparations. This is a point we well might keep in mind as we are called upon as citizens to express our opinion, and vote, with reference to foreign aid.

December 5, 1954

This is “Religion in the News,” a program of non-sectarian comment on current items of religious significance.

It is the viewpoint of this program that the man of religion is rightly concerned about doctrines and creed. It is also recognized that these doctrines and creeds must be practiced in a secular world, a world in which many events and circumstances that are not within themselves primarily religious in nature, do have implications for the spiritual welfare of human beings, both as individuals and as groups practicing their religious beliefs. Hence, an effort is made to stress what appears to this reporter to be the meaning of the news in terms of its religious significance, and without regard to denomination or creed.

In line with this viewpoint, there is significance in an article appearing this week entitled “Christian Japan, Hope of Asia,” by Francis R. Sayre, American diplomat and former chairman of the U.N. Trusteeship Council, who has recently returned from Japan, and who knows the country well. He points out that while the totalitarian forces that drove Japan into becoming a military camp are beaten today, they could rise again. He is acutely conscious of the fact that Japan could succumb to communist propaganda daily poured into the islands from Russian broadcasting stations not far away.

Due to its strategic location and to its potential strength as an ally or as an enemy, Mr. Sayre stresses that Japan is one of the most critical spots in the world. Concepts of democracy and human freedom are knocking at Japan’s gates and demanding revolutionary changes in her thinking and ways of life as well as her international objectives, but he also reminds us that Christianity in Japan has had an unhappy past. For over 200 years the practice of Christianity there was a capital offense. Today only a small fringe of the Japanese are Christian, less than 400,000 out of some 87 million. He asks the provocative question, “Can the Japanese be brought before it is too late to understand and believe in the great teachings of Christ?” This, in his opinion, is the supreme question in the Asia of our generation.

One of the most effective ways to bring this about, he goes on, is to impart Christian concepts into the growing students. To aid in this task some years ago men of high visions founded in Japan the International Christian University, which now has some 350 students from Japan, China, India, Korea, Siam, and the United States. Unlike most other Japanese universities, it is building a dormitory system for both students and faculty, where the two can live and study and work together. Denominationalism and sectarianism have no place there on the campus. The curriculum is built on the humanities, and the objective is a search for truth, based upon the reality of human brotherhood. The particular aim is to prepare men and women for teaching, for government service, and for social work programs. All faculty members and students try to be faithful followers of Christ as each understands the meaning of Christianity.


On Thanksgiving Day, in Lakeville, Connecticut, American Protestantism lost one of its greatest leaders, with the death of Henry Sloane Coffin. Throughout his life of 77 years, Dr. Coffin sought the truth with all the fervor of his Presbyterian conviction. A graduate of Yale and Union Theological Seminary, he became president of the latter in 1926. From the pulpit, platform, or college presidency he preached his convictions with a brilliance and wit seldom matched by anyone.

He was a liberal in the broadest sense of the term, and to him, being a liberal meant championing the right of very man to think what he would, a right that unfortunately finds all too few champions in America today. Some of the causes he championed were looked upon in his day as revolutionary; some of them are so considered by men of small minds today. In his Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, he abolished the practice of rented pews and merged into one this church and a chapel nearby that was maintained for poor people who could not afford to pay rent for pews. He was instrumental in seeing that a Negro was elected to the Seminary’s governing board in 1942, the first major institution of its kind to do so; he tried to heal the breach between the northern and southern wings of his church; he advocated labor legislation to protect the worker; opposed prohibition, though personally he was a teetotaler; urged women entry into the ministry; advocated euthanasia; and was a pillar of support of the ecumenical movement toward world church cooperation; and he blasted the political tactics of Sen. McCarthy with characteristic vigor.

Perhaps the best summary of his philosophy and life work is summed up in his inaugural address at Union Theological Seminary in 1926 when he said “The minister who would make worship appealing and enlarging to others must be himself a man of prayer.… He must acquire the art … of expressing the longings and gratitudes and pertinences of a group of folk feeling after a wiser and a better than themselves, and the art of affirming and making real the self-sufficiency of God.” Those who knew him attest that he mastered that art in an amazing and brilliant degree.


This week, messages of sympathy and prayer poured into Vatican City from all over the world concerning the serious illness of Pope Pius XII. President Eisenhower and the National Council of Churches were among those sending messages. Prayers were offered in the Vatican and by Catholics around the world for the 78-year-old pontiff. The Council of Churches stood for a minute of silent prayer and unanimously approved a message that the organization “prays almighty God that his healing grace may sustain Pope Pius in his hour of suffering.”

[The prayers of millions of Roman Catholics around the world appear to have been answered tonight.… The Vatican reports that Pope Pius, their spiritual leader, apparently is out of the crisis of his illness. The Vatican’s latest bulletin says the 78-year-old pontiff no longer is in immediate danger and is beginning to regain his strength through intravenous feeding of proteins. The announcement says it is hoped that the pope’s rally from his near-fatal collapse will permit him to say a few words over the Vatican Radio Sunday with the St. Peter’s ceremony of the beatification of Italian Benedictine Father, Placido Riccardi.]


The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. held its meeting this past week in Boston, representing some 30 Protestant and Orthodox denominations. Dr. Eugene Carson Blake of Philadelphia has been named the third president of this organization, succeeding Methodist Bishop William Martin of Dallas. Dr. Blake is a Presbyterian.

The council ended its meeting with two spokesman emphasizing that Protestant churches are being challenged by dangerous moral conditions in society. This statement, issued jointly by the Reverends Roy Ross, general secretary, and Roswell Barnes, associate general secretary, both of New York, said, “Juvenile delinquency, racketeering and violence, alcoholism, narcotic addiction, and corruption in public affairs are all increasing and are widespread.”

A key report made to the assembly earlier in its conference meeting directed the assembly’s attention to ways and means of making its potentially huge power felt. This report pointed to the fact that while the institutional strength of the church has grown rapidly in recent years, it is doubtful if this growth in numbers has been accompanied by a comparable growth in spiritual influence. It went on to explore new means of reinforcing the fraternity of faith.

“When we consider how little it costs to be counted among the church members in our country, we are troubled,” the report said. “The average church member is not conspicuously different from the average nonmember. The average church is so much conformed to the world that people are surprised if it sharply challenges the prevailing behavior of the community,” the 6,500 word document on the state of the church continued.


Last week I reported on the growing friction between the Catholic Church and the government of Argentina. From Buenos Aires some news that another development has taken place this week in the conflict between the church and state there. The government has abolished the National Department of Religious Education, the Inspectorate General of Religious Education, and the National Committee of Culture. Their duties henceforth will be taken by the Ministry of Education.


Leaders of many denominations hailed this week the appearance of the fourth and final volume of a series, The Prophetic Faith of our Fathers, a monumental work of research involving twenty years of time and the history of divine prophecy. The originator and director of the work, Dr. Leroy Edwin from Washington, said its purpose is to discover the progressive development of prophetic exposition that constitutes the historic precedents for the Adventist belief in prophecy. This task began in 1933 and has cost more than $100,000 to complete. The first three volumes of this work have already become reference works in more than 1,000 libraries, including that of the Vatican in Rome.


In New York, a group of social scientists has been told that interest in the Jewish religion grows with the degree of Americanization. In addition, the Jewish religious ceremonies most strongly preserved are the joyous ones, which do not require a high degree of isolation from non-Jews. This statement was made at the Tercentenary Conference of American Jewish Sociology. At the same time the conference was meeting, the 300th anniversary of Jewish settlement in America was continuing in Philadelphia.


At a meeting with a group of publicity men in New York this week, a minister emphasized that religious faith is necessary to good public relations, but that it should not be confused with clever salesmanship. Dr. Ralph W. Sockman, of Christ Church Methodist on Park Avenue, told the Public Relations Society of America’s annual conference that people should stop talking about selling religion. “Religion,” he says, “is not a commodity to be sold but a faith to be shared.”

And to that, I am sure, most of us would add a fervent “Amen.” One of the apparent trends in some quarters in recent years (at least, it appears so often that it seems to be a trend with some people) is to assume that a religious cloak is indisputable proof of good standing as a citizen. Certainly it is not the wish nor the role of this reporter to doubt the sincerity of the faith of anyone. But to have men high in public life make statements that imply if they do not say that one can be a good citizen only if he is a good Christian is to confuse the things that belong to Caesar with those that belong to God. As observed in this program before, there are thousands of patriotic but unbelieving citizens, while it is not unheard of that many who do profess belief are found by the processes of the law not to be good citizens.

Religion as a philosophy and a way of life needs no clever salesmanship, nor should it be used as a cloak behind which to sell other goods having no relationship to religion.


November 28, 1954

This is “Religion in the News,” a program of non-sectarian comment on current items of religious significance.

Clergymen, like any occupational group, are expected to impress the people they meet by displaying certain characteristics associated with their calling. Doubtless many of us wonder what a clergyman is like – that is, the person himself, not the professional worker he is recognized to be when he meets us. A glimpse into the clergyman as a man is revealed in a brief item with a New York dateline. In that city, the reputed favorite rendezvous of clergymen is the clerical department of Rogers Peet Company, a clothing firm known as “Duffy’s Tavern,” because it has been run for some 30 years by Frank Duffy, who probably knows more clergymen than any other man in the country. He travels 40,000 miles a year and outfits some 10,000 priests, ministers, and rabbis. Duffy says clergymen are relatively easy to please because they know what they want. (In parenthesis he comments that they usually don’t bring their wives along to help them shop.) Another factor contributing to this easy-to-please characteristic is that styles for clergymen change slowly. Duffy goes on to emphasize that clergymen “have a wonderful sense of humor.” “They enjoy a good joke,” he says, “and when they meet here they rarely talk about ecclesiastical or political matters.” That might be a tip for all of us who feel impelled to talk shop when the minister comes to call.


A short time ago considerable time was devoted on this program to a consideration of the importance of separation of church and state. It is more than gratifying to note that the North Carolina Baptist State Convention, just ended, has adopted a report of its Religious Liberty Committee urging United States Baptists to oppose the teaching of religious subjects in public schools as being contrary to the principle of religious freedom from political involvement. One of the spokesman at the convention pointed out that giving public funds to support church schools is giving away part of our freedom. He says, “to remove, destroy, weaken or change our conception of church and state will prove our undoing.”


We Protestants, and I suspect also many Catholics, probably have only the haziest of ideas as to what life is like in a monastery, or a convent, where, secluded from the secular world, men and women devote their lives primarily to things of the spirit. A glimpse into a hitherto unsuspected feature of monastic life is provided in a book just off the press entitled Cracks in the Cloister. It all started when the monks of a certain Benedictine abbey in England decided sometime ago that at each Christmastime they would feature certain aspects of their lives by satirizing in caricature form their cloistered existence. The showing of these cartoons proved so entertainingly funny to the monks that a Catholic publisher requested and received permission to publish them in book form. The above-named title is the result. The anonymous author signs himself “Brother Choleric.” He has never taken any lessons in art and he carries on regular duties of preaching and teaching. His characters are crotchety, appealing, pompous, and crabby. E.G., a monk is shown prostrating himself before his bishop, and one colleague remarks to another, “Rather ham, don’t you think?” Another shows a fierce little monk clutching a horsewhip and snarling, “Who pinched my relic of the little flower?” Most of the caricatures are taken from real life. The author remarks that one doesn’t have to think up jokes in a monastery. Life there is full of them.

Perhaps too many of us take ourselves too seriously in the sense that we have never learned, nor learned to enjoy, the relaxation that humor brings. It is especially refreshing to be able to laugh at ourselves. I even find some of my own colleagues occasionally taking offense at cartoons or jokes carrying not altogether complimentary connotations about teachers. To me, such things are wholesomely funny, for they take something of both the ego and the seriousness out of me and my regard for my own work. Perhaps these Benedictine monks have found one of the profound secrets of a balanced perspective – the ability to see themselves as human beings with very human foibles.


And, just as we Protestants have the vaguest of conceptions of Catholic precepts and practices, we probably have even more vague ones about the Jewish faith. Yet, about 5.5 million Americans are Jews, and their religion is much older than that of either the Catholics or the Protestants. The smallest segments of Jewry are known as Orthodox Jews. These are the ones who adhere as closely as possible literally to the letter as well as to the spirit of the Old Testament. The largest group, the Conservative Jew, is something of a middle-of-the-roader. He conforms to as much of the old law as is possible under modern conditions, but he is inclined to regard more of the law as symbolic rather than to be taken literally. The third branch is the Reform Jewish faith, constituting some 20 percent of American Jews. This last is by far the most liberal of the three.

A subject of importance in today’s world, especially the Western and Protestant world, has caused considerable controversy among the branches of the Jewish faith – namely, divorce. According to the older Jewish belief, a man could divorce his wife virtually at will, taking as authority for this Deuteronomy 24:1. However, last week conservative Jewish leaders meeting in Atlantic City, New Jersey, decided to make divorce more difficult to get by setting up something of a marriage court into which their members having domestic troubles likely to end in divorce must take their difficulties for adjudication and possible settlement before entering legal divorce proceedings. Couples who ignore this new body or fail to follow its recommendations may find themselves penalized by the church.

As might be expected, and because of their differing views, the three groups regarded the innovation differently. The Conservatives approved it as a constructive change; the Orthodox saw it as an unwanted and unnecessary growth on the smooth perfection of the law; while the Reform segment, which relies on “moral suasion,” said the change was merely an academic one.


Adequate housing has come to be recognized as a fundamental necessity for wholesome family living and personality development, but we as a nation have lagged – and are lagging – far behind our needs in this matter. It is bad enough for the middle and upper income white groups, but it is in a dreadful state for lower income and non-white groups. All too little attention is paid to this crucial matter, but a group of Quakers in a steel-boom area in Bucks Country, Pennsylvania, has done something about it. A development of 140 ranch houses at Concord Park is under construction, and not less than 50 percent of these houses are reserved for Negroes. Two nearby suburban developments, one with 10,000 homes, do not permit Negroes to live there. It is expecting the impossible of any people to condemn them to substandard housing because of race or other unimportant difference, and expect them to be in all respects like people who have their choice of the best of houses in which to live and rear their families. First-class citizenship is not only a matter of responsibility; it is also a matter of rights. Reserving a certain proportion of anything for a particular group smacks of favoritism, which is a restriction upon choice. But perhaps under present conditions, which many of us hope are temporary only, such reservations are the only effective way to insure fair play. Anyway, the example of this Quaker group is one that well could be imitated on individual merit regardless or race, creed, or other distinction. It is an example that doubtless would have warmed the heart of William Penn, who set a historic example of religious and racial toleration in conducting the affairs of his colony, Pennsylvania.


This coming week in Boston, some 2,500 leaders of 30 Protestant and Orthodox churches will meet in the Biennial Assembly of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. This assembly represents 30 Protestant and Orthodox churches in this country and at least 35.5 million members, and will deal with problems ranging from establishment and maintenance of Christian broadcasting stations in Asia to religious education for American children. This, the largest of U.S. religious organizations, will survey its church cooperative activity in 75 different fields, such as evangelism, missions, and research.

The council president, Bishop William C. Martin, of Dallas, says the U.S. has only recently emerged as the most powerful nation in history. But, he adds, if the nation is not brought more fully under God, its own future will be in peril and the peace of the world will be jeopardized.

The Associated Press Religious News Correspondent, George Cornell, says this big experiment among U.S. churches is a giant, thriving, concern after only four years of life. The aim at the start was to see if the various churches could get along working together, but by now it has become one of the dominant features of present day activity in this country.

The national council will hear prominent religious, government and civic persons at its sessions, which will be held at various places in Boston. Among the speakers will be President Eisenhower and Canadian External Affairs Secretary Lester B. Pearson.


For several weeks now a situation of importance to religious people everywhere has been building up in Argentina. Exactly what the details are have not been revealed. From the meager information available, it appears to be basically a difference of opinion between the Catholic Church and the government of President Juan Peron.

The Argentina Constitution declares that church and state are inseparable. Hence whatever the church does is of distinct interest to the government, and may well be the object of governmental regulation. Apparently some priests have interested themselves in the lot – perhaps plight would be the better word – of the working people in their localities, participating in the efforts of the working class to take collective action through labor unions to improve their lot. Last week came news that two priests had been sentenced on charges of disturbing the peace – of course, the peace that dictator Peron wants to prevail. This week a news item informs us that Argentina’s Catholic leaders have promised to keep out of politics, that is, from engaging actively in secular affairs. Along with this promise, however, is a declaration that they will never cease to fight for the basic principles of the church.

A pastoral letter is being read today from pulpits throughout the country pledging the church’s principal prelates to try to find ways to clear up misunderstandings created by the president’s conflict with the clergy. But they make it clear they will not compromise with principles. The letter says, “No priest can engage in the struggle of political parties without compromising his office and the church itself.”

Just what this means when translated into plain English it is hazardous to conjecture. But it can easily be construed to prohibit church leaders from taking an active part, whether as churchmen or merely as citizens, to promote through public organizations, i.e., political parties, the social and economic welfare of their parishioners. A comparable situation would exist if President Eisenhower forbade the National Council of the Churches of Christ to petition Congress to enact legislation providing for low-cost public housing for low-income groups.

While this interpretation may not be correct, it would seem to be logical from the information we get. At any rate, it is a classical illustration of the importance of our maintaining in this country as complete separation of church and state as is humanly possible.


November 21, 1954

A short time ago another radio program dealing with religion used as its theme question one which is of much concern to religious people of all faiths today, namely, should the church concern itself only with making individuals better and stay out of the realm of social action? In other and perhaps simpler words: Is not the main job of the church to save souls and not to concern itself with social and economic matters affecting its members? This is a fundamental question that has caused differences of opinion among church people. It seems worthy of some consideration here.

Virtually all of us would agree that the individual has a right to expect from his church personal help and comfort and inspiration and guidance in his personal life. Whatever else the church should stand for, it must never neglect this primary task of ministering to individuals.

But many people, an increasing number of people, are convinced that the church has a further obligation to hold up before men those principles which should govern a righteous society, and that the church must call attention to gross abuses of human dignity and gross failure to meet human needs wherever they exist in our society. If a family with no roof over its head was going to have to stay out in the cold, and you had an opportunity to put them up or to find them shelter, undoubtedly you would consider it your Christian duty to do so.

But, if we are concerned about a family without a roof over its head, should we not also be concerned about many families who find it impossible to secure adequate shelter and do whatever we could to secure for them, through private resources if possible – if not, through public resources – low-cost housing that will enable us, working as members of society, to see that the less fortunate among us be removed from the degrading situation of having to live in hovels or to beg for a night’s lodging?

But housing is not the only matter affecting the well-being of human beings in our world. We subscribe to the idea that every human being, regardless of race or other artificial distinction, is a child of God and as such has inherent dignity that should be recognized and respected at all times. If, then, we really believe this, do we not have an obligation to speak out when that dignity is being trampled upon by those who have no regard for human personality and who destroy the reputations of innocent people by accusation and insinuations?

One could go on almost indefinitely citing areas of human living which the Christian cannot ignore if he is interested in putting the principles of his faith into practice to the end of making the health, economic, moral, and spiritual conditions under which people live more conducive to human happiness and well-being. We cannot overlook the fact that the Master himself spent much of His time on Earth ministering to the physical and social and economic needs of human beings, as well as to the purely spiritual. He healed the sick, comforted the troubled, fed the hungry, and spoke out against abuses of his day. His example cannot be improved upon.


A United Press dispatch from New York raises a question in connection with this concern about social problems. American Protestant leaders are said to be concerned over a papal statement that the authority of the Roman Catholic Church is not limited to purely religious matters.

Dr. Claud Nelson, executive director of the Department of Religious Liberty of the National Council of Churches of Christ, says Protestant leaders are studying implications of the statement.

Pope Pius XII recently said social problems are not outside the authority of the church because they are of concern to the conscience and salvation of man.

It would seem that the Protestant concern arises of the use of the word “authority,” a word about which we Protestants are very sensitive when applied to control by the church over temporal matters. We generally agree that churches should be “concerned about” such matters, but to suggest that they “have control over” them is another matter. Details regarding the papal statement are meager, and it would be hazardous and perhaps unfair to draw conclusions until more is known as to his meaning.


Atlanta: The Congregational Christian Churches will deny endorsement by the church of Piedmont College until it purges itself of a controversial endorsement by the Texas Educational Association. This college is a relatively small church school in mountainous north Georgia. It has been accepting donations from the Texas association, upon the condition that the college include among its elements of instruction the doctrine of white supremacy. A spokesman for the Southeast Convention of the Congregational Christian Churches says the college will be dropped from sponsorship by the church until it rejects further such donations and, presumably, drops also its emphasis on racial supremacy. Americans of all faiths who believe in the Constitution will applaud this action, for neither the Constitution nor Christianity concedes that one race is superior to another; both affirmatively oppose such a misconception.


The National Council of Churches of Christ is joining with the Japan National Christian Council to give United States troops in Japan opportunity for a more wholesome recreational environment. The American Council says that soldier recreation in Japan, Okinawa, and Korea is limited almost completely to such places as cabarets, burlesque houses, and taverns. The council, which includes 35 major United States Protestant denominations plans, with its Japanese counterpart, to provide not only a more wholesome environment for American troops in Japan but also hopes to improve and restore good Japanese-American relations at the same time. Its plans include the raising of funds to provide off-base recreational centers. The United States General Commission of Chaplains will cooperate in directing the project.


Dr. Price, Chairman of the General Committee of the Friends of Presbyterian Union, is confident that a large majority of his organization will approve his work which seeks to unite the three Presbyterian bodies into a single church. His committee is an agency of a Southern regional group. This group will vote on union in January of next year. Ratification requires an approving majority of three-fourths of the members, or 63 of the 85 Presbyteries. Some groups who are against the union have already voted, for what some churchmen describe as a psychological effect.


One of the oldest Church of England practices has been challenged during the past week; that is, the historic right of the prime minister to appoint bishops of the church with the consent of the queen.

Bishops, rectors, and laymen adopted a resolution at the Annual Church Assembly this week challenging the right of the head of government to make such appointments. Dr. Cyril Garrett, archbishop of York, said: “The present method of appointing bishops and deans is impossible to defend on principles.”


In contrast to the above-cited movement toward unity among the divisions of the Presbyterian Church, the Wisconsin Synod of the Lutheran Church has opposed common prayer sessions held with other groups and denominations. It has also taken a stand against church sponsorship of secular groups, mentioning Boy Scout troops as an instance of the kind of groups it had in mind.


An item of importance, and one of interest to the friends of one of America’s staunchest friends in the United Nations has just been announced. This is the appointment of Ambassador Charles Malik of Lebanon to the board of advisers of a new program of Advanced Religious Studies at the Union Theological Seminary in New York. This program is to start early in the coming year. Dr. Malik’s name is similar to and has often been confused with that of Jacob Malek of Russia, who has likewise been a national representative of the United Nations. No two men could be more different, for the Lebanese Malik is a Christian and a good friend of the West, while the Russian Malek is a communist and quite naturally is a friend only to Russia and Russian interests.


One of the imponderable questions that continually intrudes itself upon the interest of thinking people is the nature of the human being. With some of the simplicity that the ancient philosophers viewed matter, the Rev. George H. Murphy believes contemporary life is made of mind, body, and soul. At Western Maryland College he majored in biology and anatomy to learn, he says, about the body. At divinity school in Philadelphia, he studied the ways of the soul. He learned something about the mind at the graduate school of Temple University through courses in mental hygiene.

By the time he was ordained in the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1945, he had concluded the three components of life were indivisible. His pastorate has been a search to link the three, for he says, no man of God in the world today can be a specialist. At pastorates in Wilmington, Delaware, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Atlanta, Georgia, he did not find the synthesis he sought, although he did score something of a personal triumph in Georgia by converting one of the town’s intellectuals, Ralph McGill, editor of The Atlanta Constitution. His belief in and emphasis upon the indivisibility of these three components, mind, body, and soul may well be studied by those among us who conceive the role of the church simply to minster to the spiritual aspects of the individual, without regard to the mental and physical conditions under which that individual lives.


The National Council of Churches of Christ will launch nationwide Thanksgiving services this week with an observance on Washington Cathedral in the nation’s capital.

The aim will be something more than merely giving thanks. The council points the services to the Share-Our-Surplus program of Protestant denominations through Church World Service. At least a half billion pounds of surplus foods are to be distributed free to needy persons in foreign lands through the three-year Share-Our-Surplus appeal.

The executive director-elect of Church World Service, the Rev. R. Norris Wilson, says this week’s services will show millions of Americans demonstrating brotherhood with all humanity by sharing the material abundance with which they have been endowed by Providence.


One more consideration regarding this season of Thanksgiving –

It is quite easy to develop a spirit of Thanksgiving for one day. Often, though, when our Thanksgiving is limited to one day or one short season, our thanks are for material things. The aim, however, is that we make the spirit of Thanksgiving a normal, practical attitude of our everyday living, being aware of its relation to development of character. This is both a task and an opportunity.

November 14, 1954

This is “Religion in the News,” a program of non-sectarian comment on items of religious significance that have appeared in the press during the past week.

Washington: Two-hundred Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish leaders this week brought President Eisenhower a report on the nation’s spiritual resources. Presentation of the report at a White House ceremony marked the high point in a three-day annual meeting of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. During the conference, ten lay leaders and clerics joined in issuing a Brotherhood Statement to be used as “a platform of American action to combat communism.” This platform asked Americans to rededicate themselves to fundamental spiritual values.


A United States Roman Catholic archbishop, Richard Cushing of Boston, is often mentioned as a possible candidate for a cardinal’s red hat. His name is increasingly being brought up now that five vacancies exist in the College of Cardinals. The number in this College dropped to sixty-five this week, with the death of Giuseppe Cardinal Brune, who had been Chamberlain of the College. Pope Pius XII is generally thought to be ready to call another consistory to elect new members. Most new Princes of the Church would probably be Italians, but it is not impossible that one of the places would go to an American, and if so, it would bring the United States’ total to five.


Archbishop Cushing is also in the news this week in another connection. He declared that organized labor and organized religion have many enemies in common. Speaking at the 16th Annual Convention of Massachusetts CIO, he said it is difficult to tell which is more sad and disgusting – to hear a professed churchman explain away tyranny’s attacks on organized religion or to hear a professed friend of the common man defend tyranny’s destruction of organized labor.


One observer with years of new experience in Russia, Associated Press correspondent Eddie Gilmore, says anti-religious workers have obviously gone too far. He points out that instead of leading the Russians away from the church, the workers, that is the party workers, are driving the people into it.

That this may be true can be seen by reading between the lines of a recent decree of the Communist Party chiefs in which Red propagandists are told to keep up their thumping for atheism. The same decree, however, also said they must quit being hard on the churches. This somewhat unexpected order follows a Soviet press campaign against religion. The campaign apparently got out of hand in some places where local Russian officials persecuted believers and clergy.

Reinforcing this impression is information contained in one of our national magazines, Newsweek, for November 15, just off the press. Under the title of “Technique of the Godless,” the magazine stresses that while Russia professes to be neutral toward religion and to permit freedom of worship, the facts are that the party seizes every effort it can to militate against religion, whether it be Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox. Communist Party members are forbidden to go to church. If an official youth group outing is held, it is sure to be on Sunday at exactly the time when the children would otherwise be going to church. If a government worker is to be discontinued or demoted, it is always the religious ones who suffer. Religion is fought in the schools. Pressure is put on priests and other church workers to conform to Party doctrine, or, at most, to refrain from saying or doing anything that would reflect disparagingly upon the Soviet government structure or policy. Everywhere people of religion in Russia report that they are constantly watched and any evidence of suspicious talking or acting on their part is communicated to the local Party officials. Despite this continuous campaign, Russian people are flocking into the churches more than at any time in recent decades.


American churches have shipped over millions of pounds of food, clothing, and medical supplies to the hungry and homeless people around the world during the first nine months of this year. This was reported this week by the director of Church World Service, the International Relief Wing of the National Council of Churches. Included in this amount were 8.5 million pounds of United States surplus commodities made available free by the government. While this amount by no means meets the need of hungry and suffering people, there can be little doubt that this American performance is everywhere contrasted with Russian promises that are almost never fulfilled. Hence, in the aggregate it should do much to build up good will between the recipients and the people of America, perhaps more in the long run than some heralded diplomatic triumphs.


The Baptists of Tennessee have just ended their state convention in Nashville with a declaration of emphasis to which all Christians can subscribe, namely that “Our youth needs intellectual attainment plus a Christian conception of life.” In this topsy-turvy world of today, a sane, workable philosophy of life that is both coherent and consistent is perhaps more important than ever before for personal and social well-being. Yet, one rarely hears an acquaintance express such a philosophy. The Baptist speaker was saying, in different words, what the writer of Proverbs 29:18 said long ago, that “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”


One of the most controversial figures in today’s world is that of Prime Minister Nehru of India. It may seem somewhat strange to include him in a broadcast relating to religion, but the sober fact is that what he thinks and does may do much to determine the conditions in which we find ourselves in the future. To many Americans, he is a hard-to-please man with communist leanings. This is hardly a correct picture. He has his prejudices and inconsistencies, and like all national leaders, he is primarily concerned with serving the interests of his own nation, as he sees those interests. But to condemn one of the world’s greatest statesmen because we think he is not suspicious enough of Russia and China is a foolish thing to do, and yet that is what many of us are doing. We need to look a little further than his statements of diplomacy to discover just what his attitudes are toward communism. He has definitively and vigorously opposed the growth of communism in India. He is a friend, and also a critic, of the United States, wanting us to avoid anything that smacks of imperialism. But, he is, or tries to be, likewise a friend and critic of China and Russia. As The New York Times put it recently, he wants “precise safeguards against communist subversion in South and Southeast Asia.” This is important to the Free World, and certainly to the welfare of religion, not only in that area but throughout the world, for religion has no freedom to flourish under communism. One question disturbingly emerges from this attitude toward Nehru: Have we reached the point in our climate of opinion here where we insist that anyone who offers criticism of us or who disagrees with us is both a scoundrel and a traitor to the free world? This is a question that we well might ponder, for democracy in the Free World, as everywhere else, flourishes in considerate appraisal of opposing views, and upon constructive criticism, constructively given. People of religion, most of all, should always distinguish between an accusation and evidence.


Delegates to the National Conference of the Evangelical United Brethren Church are balloting at their convention in Milwaukee for seven new bishops. Four bishops will be chosen from the United Brethren Church and three from the Former Evangelical Church. At least three of these bishops will be new.

This denomination, as its name implies, was brought about eight years ago by the Union of the former United Brethren Church and the Evangelical Church. Two retired bishops of the former United Brethren Church have credited the success of the union to the fact that the parties brought out their problems in advance and had most of the answers before they merged. At this convention, this church was reminded, as have been other denominations in recent months, of the growth of urban areas and the implications this growth has for existing and projected churches. The Rev. Marlo N. Berger of Dayton, Ohio, describes this city growth as coming on the American church as a great tidal wave. He went on to urge that home missions and church extension officials must be added in order to meet the spiritual obligations of the church to those newcomers in city areas.


Report of another attempt at united action comes to us this week. The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations has taken notice of what one of its officials terms “reawakened interest” in Jewish religious observance. So the three million member denomination of the Jewish faith will seek to organize 50 new United States congregations in the next two years. Orthodox Union Vice President Benjamin Mandelker of Lynbrook, New York, told of the necessary expansion at the Union’s convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey. One of the key objectives of the new inter-faith program is to put religious forces to work on human problems in the social and civil order. The aim of the movement, incorporating Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Jewish church bodies is to throw up a wall against communism. This program to strengthen the United States’ religious fabric was launched in Washington this week at a National Conference Party instigated by President Eisenhower. He says the new plan “can well take the Bible in one hand and the flag in the other and march ahead.”


In Italy this week, a Protestant sect won full rights to practice its religion without government interference. The Italian Council of State ruled that the Assembly of God churches in Italy are entitled to recognition under the law and their pastors may hold services. The Assembly of God sect has fought a six-year battle to gain a legal standing for its houses of worship. The step was hailed as possibly having beneficial results for other Protestant churches seeking recognition in Italy.


Our final item today deals with a question that is of tremendous importance, but one which many of us find it difficult to think objectively about. That is the apparently increasingly popular habit of regarding religious conformity as a touchstone of loyalty to democratic institutions. Perhaps this is part of the current climate of opinion to which I referred earlier. To those who think realistically about both their government and their religion, recognize that there is not necessarily pervading reason why one cannot be a good citizen without being also a believer in religion. The attempt to establish a 100 percent correlation between loyalty and religion is naturally offensive to patriotic believers. Often in the press or on the street one sees or hears implications that because a given individual does not affiliate with any religion, he is, because of that very fact, a person whose loyalty is to be questioned. Perhaps their logic, or lack of it, goes like this, “Communists are opposed to Christianity. This man is not a Christian. Hence, he must be a communist.”

The Master Himself recognized that there was not any necessary relation between good citizenship and religion. His adroit answer, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s,” in no sense implies that because a person does not formally render to one he cannot render to the other. It is conceivable that one can be a good citizen without being religious; it is hardly conceivable that one could be religious and not be a good citizen. Therein lies the difference. The fact is that we cannot have freedom of religion unless there is always possible freedom from religion, and any imputation that non-believers, per se, are not good citizens is to relate two things that do not have any absolutely necessary relationship.


November 7, 1954

This is “Religion in the News,” a program of non-sectarian comment on items of religious significance that have appeared in the press during the past week.

The welfare of the rural church has been a matter of concern to many people for a long time. This week the Town and Country Department of the National Council of Churches issued an estimate that 20,000 country churches have closed during the past 25 years, an average of almost 1,000 a year. To find why this is true and what can be done about it, 1,000 ministers and laymen from 250 communities in 30 states met recently in Salina, Kansas. These delegates, representing 20 Protestant denominations, agreed there are four major reasons for decline of the country church.  These are:

  1. Shortage of ministers. Only about half the rural churches have full-time pastors.
  2. Uneven distribution of funds and leadership. Rural people are less able to support churches than are urban people.
  3. Wasteful competition among denominations. Many rural communities have from two to a half-dozen churches when the community is able to support only one.
  4. Steady migration of rural people to the city.

As for remedies for this situation, some reported programs to pep up their ministry to get them interested in revitalizing the country church; others suggested a single community church to be attended by all denominations on an equal basis; still others reported that two or more churches of the same denomination were consolidating.

The number one conclusion of the Salina conference was that rural churches should get rid of their “excessive denominationalism.” In the words of one congregationalist, “In the country, denominationalism is an anachronism. The whole community is the important thing to think about.” It might be well for all of us to think about this too.


From Germany comes announcement of a plea that Protestants and Catholics pray for and work toward overcoming the division in Christianity. At a church congress in Berlin, 150 Protestants and Catholics agreed that, in their words, “Human sin has been responsible for the split among Christians…. We have sinned in not following Christ’s command for unity…” This congress came about as part of the activities of the Una Sancta movement, started in 1916 to bring both groups together for joint talks to promote better understanding. At this congress, Professor Lortz, of Mainz, said that what we have in common is more important than what separates us. We could all do well to remember this when we find ourselves putting undue emphasis upon denominationalism.

Many Protestant churches are still observing the 1954 Festival of the Reformation. It began last Sunday, October 31. On this same day 437 years ago Martin Luther posted his famous 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. That action began the Protestant Reformation. An official of the National Council Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. notes that the number of Reformation observances this year is some 100 over the figure for 1953. This official, the Rev. Barlyn Farris, adds that this indicates increased consciousness among Protestants of their heritage and tradition.


The Synagogue Council of America will mark the 300th anniversary of Jewish settlements in America with a four-day general assembly in New York City beginning next Friday. This Council is the central national Jewish organization representing the Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Rabbinical and lay movements in the U.S. today. The oldest Jewish synagogue will mark its own 300th anniversary. This is the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, in New York City.


Beginning today, November 7, and lasting through November 13, is American Education Week, a period set aside annually to appraise the work of the public schools of this nation. Hence, our final and feature item today is devoted to a consideration of the very important relationship between public education and religion, a relationship not always understood and appreciated by all of us. Two basic principles have given rise to the American public school as it is today:

  1. The assumption that each child, irrespective of his background or origin should have an opportunity for a free education.
  2. That church and state should be separate.

This last does not mean that government is either indifferent or hostile to religion; it merely means that the maintenance and promotion of religion and religious institutions shall be free from governmental authority. In other words, “Government shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

This is a principle that has served us well throughout our history. Yet, during recent years, public education has come under severe attack from individuals and groups who would transform this traditional character so as to divert public funds into church schools and who would use public school classrooms for purpose of instruction in religious doctrine. While these attacks have doubtless come from well-meaning people, in their zeal to promote their religion they have resorted to accusations that our public schools are “irreligious,” implying that these schools are not concerned about religions. That is incorrect.

This reporter is not entirely unacquainted with both the nature of these attacks and of the practices of the public schools. In none of the attacks is any evidence given to support the charges, however, there is plenty of evidence that the schools are concerned about religious and moral values. Let us look at some of that evidence.

Textbooks are perhaps the best indication of what is taught in the schools. “Civics” is commonly taught in the ninth grade, and in one of the most widely-used texts in this field, a very extensive chapter is devoted to the church as an important part of community life. “World History” is usually taught in 10th grade, and, again, in one of the most popular texts, a large unit entitled “Religion Takes Leadership,” indicates the emphasis there. “American History” is taught at both elementary and high school levels, and every text in this field acquaints the student with the important role that religion has played throughout our history as a nation. “Problems of Democracy” is frequently taught, and here too religion is one of the major elements of the course. In no textbooks in our public schools has there been found evidence of prejudice against religion; much evidence is found in all of them as to the importance of religion.

Next to textbooks, “Courses of Study” outlines are perhaps the best place to look for attitudes of teachers and contents of teaching. I have examined many such courses as well as worked with many teachers in several states on them. From neither teacher nor course of study has there been any evidence of an anti-religious bias. Much prejudice has been found in favor of religion. Moreover, many teachers themselves are members of the church and take an active part in its work. This inevitably affects their attitude toward religious values in their teaching.

Again, critics say that public school leaders are guided by purely materialistic philosophy in which there is no room for religion. Now teachers are about as individualistic a group as can be found in any occupation, and to say that they are all motivated by the same philosophy is nonsense, as much so as saying that all farmers think alike. Teachers vary in their views on education, economics, politics, religion, just as do any other group. The nearest consensus as to what teachers think was stated in a recent report by the Educational Policies Commission, made up of people with the widest possible differences of viewpoints. This report, entitled “Moral and Spiritual Values in the Public Schools” agreed that “to omit from the classroom all references to religion and the institutions of religion is to neglect an important part of American life.” The rules and regulations of the Tennessee State Board of Education emphasize that one of the educational needs to be met by the schools of this state is the “acquisition of spiritual, moral, and ethical values that will provide sound guides for personal living.”

These are some of the evidence that religious and moral values are being taught in our public schools. These schools believe that they have responsibility of teaching pupils about religion, but that it is dangerous to both religion and the state to violate the principle of separation and teach religious doctrines as such.

These schools must meet their educational obligations to all the children, and many religions are represented in a single class. To illustrate, yesterday I took a poll of a class of 36 college students. Among them I found nine who were of the Baptist persuasion, three belonging to the Christian Church, two of the Church of Christ, two to the Church of God, six who were Presbyterians, one was a Catholic, five Methodists, two belonging to non-denominational churches, some who belonged to one church and attended another, and so on. Probably the same, or greater diversity is to be found in any comparable class. The schools have an obligation to acquaint the students with the facts of religion as occasion arises in history, literature, music, art, the natural and social sciences, etc. They have no right to help determine for the student the faith he is to make his own. As different and contrasting points of view among religions become evident, young people will doubtless appreciate and respect the position of the teacher who makes clear that in matters controversial, the school is the representative of society as a whole, not an advocate of a particular segment of that society.

The public school seeks to discover and make clear to the student those values and principles of morality that all good men hold in common, morality that is grounded in something more important and fundamental to society at large than the doctrines of any one creed or creeds that divine men into warring schools. No definition of religion can be adequate for all purposes and people, but that by Justice Field seems more nearly so when he said that “Religion has reference to one’s views of his relation to his creator, and to the obligations they impost of reverence for his being and character, and of obedience to his word.” The schools recognize that this concept of religion is implicit in all the denominations represented in the classroom, and they respect them all, recognizing that they rest upon basic and common moral and ethical values. The school is uniquely qualified to do this and to promote these values, precisely because of its public and secular nature.

Consequently, were we to yield to the temptation to ground these common moral principles in religious orientation, whether this orientation be a narrow denominational one or as vague and general as the Judaeo-Christian affirmation, we would succeed only in warping the character of these principles and limiting their range of application. As stated by the commission cited before, the role of the school with respect to religion is:

  1. To display a friendly attitude toward all religious beliefs and practices of students;
  2. To promote religious tolerance. Get across if possible to all students that one can have a preference for his own religion without at the same time developing a prejudice against religions other than his own;
  3. To teach as fully as time and circumstances permit and require all the accepted facts about all religions as important parts of our culture.

To venture beyond the solid ground of general acceptance is to run the risk, almost certainly, of becoming mired in the quicksands of religious strife and controversy. This would not only be a departure from our past tradition and principle, it would be suicide for both education and religion as we know them today in America.


October 31, 1954

All the way from South Africa comes the report that at least two church groups have taken stands on one of the most persistent and difficult problems that nation of the British Commonwealth faces, namely, racial discrimination. There, a white population of some 2.5 million owns much of the country and controls all of it, including about 10 million colored people that make up the rest of the population. About a million whites are members of various Dutch churches, about a third as many are members of the Church of England, some one hundred thousand are Jews and a slightly smaller number are Roman Catholics. Strangely enough, it is these church members who have been the strongest advocates of white supremacy an of racial discrimination, quoting selected portions of the Bible to bolster their position.


At its meeting this fall in Evanston, Illinois, mention of which was made on this program a short time ago, the World Council of Churches took a strong stand on this question of discrimination, and enjoined Christians in all lands to protest such discrimination as, in its words, “an unutterable offense against God.”

During the past week, two Christian groups began obeying the council’s injunction. At the Annual Conference of South Africa’s Methodist Church, Bishop Webb attacked those who try to bolster discriminatory laws through the use of government.

The Anglican Church joined in with an even stronger attack on two racialist bills then under consideration, one of which would prevent Christian missions from teaching colored children; the other would cancel leases on churches where pastors do not adhere to the government’s discrimination line. Anglican Bishop Reeves said that “We have no alternative but to declare the truth as God has given us to see the truth, even though our churches may be closed by the state.” One may well wonder how it is possible to recognize that all men are the children of the same divine power, but that some of them, solely because of the accident of race, are more entitled to Christian privileges than are others.

While on the subject of racial discrimination, it may be well to observe that the facts are pretty well in as to just what happened in certain trouble spots in our own efforts to bring about integration of our school systems in line with the recent Supreme Court decision. As you are well aware, Washington, D.C., Delaware, Maryland, and West Virginia have not had smooth sailing in their efforts to end segregation in the schools. Now that the schools are under way again and the trouble has lessened, three major facts stand out as to the crux of the trouble, and they are facts that have direct significance for those who believe in putting their religion into practical action:

  1. Disturbances were generated by adults, not the students themselves, which raises the question of whether we adults wish to see our own prejudices perpetuated in our children.
  2. Non-local elements were the chief instigators of the trouble; in some cases, professional agitators.
  3. Where local authorities stepped in promptly and firmly, trouble stopped.

Integration of the two races into a single school system is admittedly a difficult problem, but it is one that can be solved only by tolerance, understanding, and perseverance on the part of both races. Also it is a problem that, in most cases, the American people will solve and will take in their stride; not only does our constitutional system require that it be solved gradually and peacefully, but our religious principles place upon us an ethical and moral obligation to do so, that is, if we regard our religion as a principle practice and not merely a precept to preach.


A U.P. Dispatch with a Union City, New Jersey, dateline informs us that Protestantism has received some Roman Catholic compliments, and it has also been told that it should do some looking toward Judaism.

A national Roman Catholic magazine, The Sign, has praised actions by Protestant church bodies to find Christian solutions to social problems. The publication has specifically applauded statements by the recent Protestant World Council of Churches meeting at Evanston, Illinois. It has also praised a declaration by the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., which lists 13 norms to guide Christians in social and economic life. The Catholic magazine describes the national council statement as an admirable summary of the factors involved in Christian social policy, and it terms the council’s leaders in the social field “earnest, dedicated men, gifted with a high sense of responsibility.”

Dr. George MacLeod, a Glasgow, Scotland, theologian, now at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, has urged Christians to put more of the Hebrew strain into their faith. He has urged Christianity to recover some of its earlier emphasis to make the ideals of the faith effective in all phases of life and society. For the Hebrew, he says, “Now is the day of salvation.”


And in connection with Judaism, we might observe that the mother church of Reform Judaism is celebrating an anniversary this year. The temple in Cincinnati is marking the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Rabbi Isaac Wise in the southwestern Ohio city from Albany, New York. The temple, itself 100 years old, now bears Wise’s name. Wise was one of the Jews who wanted to cast off the shackles of the past and build an American Judaism. He wanted it wedded to the tradition of prophets, but integrated with the culture of America. Reform Judaism was the result. This is the liberal branch of the Hebrew faith, the other two being referred to as Conservative and Orthodox.


Speaking at the 152nd Annual Massachusetts Baptist Convention in Framingham, Massachusetts, the Rev. V. Carney Hargroves, of Germantown, Pennsylvania, and president of the convention, says that there are more than two million Baptists behind the Iron Curtain.


In another connection, the Most Rev. Fulton J. Sheen has urged American Catholics to pray for Russia’s “conversion to Christianity.” Speaking at a “Marian Year Rally” at the Washington Monument grounds this week he said, “As Christians, we do not wish the extermination of the Soviet people; we want their conversion to Christianity.”

This “Marian Year Rally” is part of the National Eucharistic Marian Congress of Oriental Rites of the Catholic Church, and has ended its observance with an apostolic benediction from Pope Pius XII. Three days of solemn devotion to prayers were participated in by some 20,000 members, during which time they prayed for conversion of Russia to Christianity and for world peace.


Our next item is new only in the sense that each week brings new evidence indicating the continued existence of an old problem, and it continues to be a problem mainly because we do less than we talk about it. This problem is that of the condition of the public school system of our country. The present struggle between democracy and totalitarianism has been properly characterized as a “battle for the minds of men,” and in this battle, people who value religion have greater stake than anyone else. Neither religious nor any other freedom as we know it exists behind the Iron Curtain. Our young people can win this battle for the mind only if their minds are fully developed in preparation for the struggle, which means education of all the children in the broadest meaning of the term.

But how well are we accomplishing this task? Statistics can easily become boresome, but a few of them are necessary in order to get even an elementary understanding of the problem. Right now new classrooms are needed for eleven million students. At present costs, these would amount to about $12 billion, less than we spend for tobacco, chewing gum, and sweets.

Some 10 million students are now housed in obsolete or overcrowded buildings; 20 percent of all school buildings are firetraps; 10 percent of elementary school buildings are more than 50 years old.

Our elementary and high schools needed 215,000 new teachers this year; only 85,000 were available, and probably 30,000 trained were not teaching or interested in teaching because of low pay, overloads, community pressures that operate to regiment the teacher as is done those in no other occupation, unless it be the ministry.

And in the years ahead, more buildings will be needed to house still more students, and more money will be needed to support the system, including teacher salary increases. The National Issues Committee estimates that at least as much is needed during the next ten years as President Eisenhower recently recommended be spent during the same period on highway building – $50 billion.

Granting the need for improved highways, we still legitimately raise the question: Have we reached the point where highways take precedence over our children? The president recommended $1.25 million to finance a series of state conferences on education during the next year, the stated purpose being to learn facts on educational needs. Congress responded with a grant of nearly $1 million. The fact is that these needs are known and while we go on gathering additional information, our children continue to go to school in overcrowded buildings staffed by inadequately prepared and underpaid teachers. The U.S. Office of Education has gathered these facts at a cost of some $3 million and has recently published them in a series of studies.

On the basis of these studies, Sen. Cooper of Kentucky introduced a bill in the Congress that would help states meet construction costs by providing $500 million over a two-year period. Secretary Hobby of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare opposed the bill. Despite that, it reached the Senate floor, only to be killed by the Senate minority leader, Mr. Johnson of Texas. The bill lost out in the House Committee, and never reached the floor of that body.

Most states are making a sincere effort, as they see it, to provide a constantly improving school system, but the abilities of the states vary greatly. Proponents of federal aid argue that education is a national problem, and that educational opportunities should be equalized through provisions granting funds to assure all states a minimum school program. And while the argument goes on, the children are forced to accept whatever is offered them in the way of school opportunities.

We Americans have been fond of repeating the phrase that our children are our most precious possession. It is heard from every political platform, pulpit, and commencement stage. We cannot help but wonder, as we listen to the words and look at conditions. It would seem to be about time that we either buckled down to the job of providing the children of this country with the kind of educational opportunity they have a right to expect from the richest nation in the world, or to revise our phrases so that they square with our performance. In a democracy, loyalty comes from understanding, and understanding rests upon our education. It is imperative that this generation understands fully, perhaps as no other generation has done, the basic elements that under-gird our democratic system. If they do not, it is hardly to be hoped that political freedom can survive, and if that freedom does not survive, religious freedom will perish also.

October 24, 1954

This is “Religion in the News,” a program of non-sectarian comment on items of religious significance that have appeared in the press during the past week.

This has been National Bible Week. Begun in 1941 by the Layman’s National Committee, a non-sectarian organization, the purpose of this annual observance is to encourage people to read the Bible and other books which adhere to the “proposition that America was founded on Man’s consciousness of God.”

The Bible for years has consistently been the world’s best seller. There are 184 complete translations of it, and some 1,100 translation of parts of it. Almost anyone in any part of the world can find at least part of the Bible translated into his own language. If one interprets sales volume to indicate interest, then the Bible is preferred by mankind to any other single book.

There is, however, a remarkable lack of accurate information about how our Bible came to be the book that it is. Perhaps there is even a lack of curiosity on the part of many about this. And yet, one’s respect for the Bible cannot but increase with the increase of his understanding of how it came to be.

The word “Bible” comes from the Greek, and in that language it means “The Books.” Since the Middle Ages, our translation of it has been merely the singular, i.e., “the Book.” This book contains the sacred writings of Judaism and Christianity. These comprise 73 books for Catholics and some Protestants, 66 books for other Protestants, and 39 for Jews. While these books were written by man different peoples at many different times in history, there is a singleness of purpose running throughout them: The revelation of God to man.

Originally, these writings were entirely in the Hebrew language, except some minor portions in Aramaic. As the Jewish people spread throughout the countries bordering on the Mediterranean, the Old Testament came to be translated into many other languages, chiefly the Greek.

Since the New Testament books were all written originally in Greek, the early church had a completely Greek Bible. So many translations and variations within the same translation occurred, however, that Pope Damascus requested the noted scholar Jerome to revise the Latin versions, and the result was the Vulgate edition, which was completed in 406 A.D. This edition is still the preferred version for many Roman Catholics, and it is widely used in their churches.

With the spread of Christianity during the Middle Ages and later, new versions appeared which, as a rule, were based primarily on the Vulgate edition. Many of these were made by people who were not careful scholars, and wide variations occurred.

It remained for Martin Luther, during the period of the Reformation, to bring forth a new translation, which he did of the New Testament in 1522, and he completed his version of the Old Testament 12 years later. As the Reformation spread, a new movement for more translations began, but Luther’s work remains the most poplar still among most of the German churches. The major significance of his work lies in the fact that he went back to original languages, thereby restoring much of the purity of the text. Moreover, he was master of the German language, and he created a version that was by both vocabulary and style popular and dignified, reproducing the beauty of the original poetic portions.

Following in the wake of Luther came many other translations too numerous even to enumerate them all here. But when the Reformation spread to England, it was largely the Greek text that was used at first. Several translations into English were made, that of Wycliffe in 1382 and Tyndale’s translation in 1525. Many modern English versions are based on the work of Tyndale. Significantly enough, there was so much hostility among the bishops to a new Bible, that of Tyndale, that he had to have it printed in Europe. Someone has remarked that his first edition was “legally bought, read by the people, and solemnly burnt by church authorities.”

As it had happened before in other places, it had now developed that in England there were so many versions, editions and translations, that a better account was needed. In the early 1600s, King James I established a commission of bishops to consult all these versions and to consolidate the best of them all into a single translation. Their work culminated in the issuance of authorization of the king, the so-called King James or Authorized Version of 1611. It is this version that has ad perhaps the longest and widest influence upon American Protestantism. Interestingly enough, it was this version that appeared just four years after the first settlement by the English in America at Jamestown, Virginia in 1607.

The King James Version was revised in 1881, and additional suggestions of the American committee of advisers were incorporated in 1901. Moreover, more than 50 translations or revisions into English of the Old Testament and more than 100 of the New Testament had been made after the King James version of 1948.

As had happened so many times before in the history of the Bible, many people had come to recognize the need for a version that would incorporate the best knowledge of scholars as to language and additional materials that had come to light in the time since the times of King James. Moreover, much of the phraseology in the earlier texts no longer had their original meaning in today’s language, because usage of words changes from generation to generation. The result has been the issuance of what has come to be known as the “Revised Standard Version of the Bible.”

This version began when in 1929 the International Council of Religious Education, representing 40 denominations in the United States and Canada, appointed a committee of scholars headed by the dean of the Yale University Divinity School to explore the need for a new version, and if such need were found, what kind of version was needed? After two years of study, this committee recommended a new version that would follow the King James Version except where scholarship indicated that that version was inaccurate in its translations. Incidentally, scholars had uncovered nearly 6,000 errors in translation in the New Testament alone.

The revisers began their work at Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1937, checking each others’ work verse-by-verse in the light of the ancient texts, and where a point was in dispute, it was settled by a two-thirds vote, or the original wording stood. Various suggestions were received and considered by the committee. After nine years of work, the New Testament was published in 1946. One million copies were sold the first year. Six years later, the Old Testament revision was published.

Like all versions in the past, this new version has been received with varying degrees of acceptance or rejection. Some denominations have adopted it as preferable to earlier texts; others have banned the use of it by their members. And there has been threatened if not outright burning of the work of the committee. Apparently, new versions are viewed with skepticism by many who have a natural preference for the old, but after a generation of the new, little if any objection is raised, and after a few generations there is opposition to changing again what the newer adherents have become accustomed to. Dean Weigle sums up the view of the committee by saying, “We haven’t been changing the Bible. With the aid of the oldest manuscripts yet known and with new knowledge of Greek and Hebrew vocabularies, we have really been recovering it. In that sense, this new Bible is actually the oldest.”

Whatever version, translation, or edition one prefers, he doubtless can appreciate his own preference more, and certainly the influence of the Jewish Bible or Western Civilization more, if he understands something of how our Bible came to be. And it is in the hope of furthering that understanding that “Religion in the News” devotes so much time to the subject today.


By coincidence, our next item is concerned with national observance of another week, now in progress – United Nations Week. Today marks the ninth anniversary of the United Nations, and in observance of this, community programs throughout the nation will be held, or have already been, to demonstrate interest or faith in this international organization.

In recent months, the voices attacking the United Nations have grown more articulate and vociferous. Men high in public life have advocated that the United States withdraw from membership. These are curious and unrealistic doctrines in the light of our experience with two World Wars in a single generation. The United Nations is not a perfect organization, few of its advocates suggest that it is; but, and this is important, it is as nearly perfect as imperfect men in an imperfect world were willing to make it, and it is difficult to see the logic, or even the good common sense, of those who prefer nothing to an organization that has accomplished considerable, imperfect though it admittedly is. One of the things that makes less effective than it could be is that the nations of the world do not use it as fully as they could and should. Every day we hear talk of the Big Three or the Big Four, or the Big something else getting together and settling world problems. Certainly no one interested in peace would discourage any conference of any kind sincerely directed toward peace, but as General Carlos Romulo recently pointed out, the United Nations will be effective only so long and insofar as the member nations are willing to use its machinery to settle their problems.

Whether one likes or dislikes the United Nations, it is difficult to see how anyone could object to its goal, i.e., peace. As our governor pointed out in proclaiming this United Nations Week, “Sixty nations have joined together … to try to eliminate the causes of war that lie in economic, political, religious, and cultural backgrounds.” The governor-appointed chairman for the state has written mayors and other local officials asking them to participate in observance of United Nations Week. In doing so, he said, “I especially urge all religious faiths, schools, civic organizations, and patriotic groups to lend their help…. We must take a positive stand and demonstrate our own support of the United Nations if it is to achieve the goals of peace we all expect of it.”

Men of good will of all religious faiths subscribe to peace. It is up to all of us as individuals and collectively as nations to insist that peace take precedence over everything else in the minds and efforts of our government, for our very survival itself depends upon avoidance of war. We must see that politicians and statesmen, all of whom give lip service to United Nations ideals, make the organization work instead of spending their time pointing out wherein it is less than perfect.


A final item today is one in which all citizens have a stake and should be interested, for it goes to the heart of our civic and moral life, and certainly religious people should be concerned about both. We are in the midst of a political campaign in which the opponents on both sides are striving to win your and my support. That is as it should be, for our national life has flourished on a party system in which there are at least two opposing sides, presenting two or more choices to us when we enter the polls to cast our ballot. But in their eagerness to win, some candidates in both parties at federal, state and even local levels have descended to smear and counter-smear, to unsupported charges ranging all the way from petty deviation from elementary ethical principles to conspiracy to sell our country out to the communists. Some in their extreme fear of defeat have resurrected charges of wrongdoing that were made and disproved as long as twenty years ago. Suspicion has been leveled at people without any offer of evidence to support that suspicion. Insinuations, innuendoes have been flying thick and fast, to win your and my support by prejudicing us into thinking that calamity will result if we support their opponents.

It is high time that just and sincere men of all religions, indeed whether they have any religion at all, rise in our individual and collective protest against this outrageous and immoral practice. There is such a thing as simple, elementary decency and honesty in politics. Profound issues are at stake, yes; but to construe mere differences of opinion as treason and disloyalty is to ignore the very essence of our democratic system, namely that all possible solutions to public problems should be presented to the voters for their consideration, and certainly honest and sincere men will differ in their convictions. These differences are healthy, and to accuse an opponent of subversion because of such difference is itself subversive of the spirit or fair play in American life. It is time we got back to the good old American principle of fair play: to assume that a person is innocent until he is proved (not merely charged with being) guilty. Moral men of all religious faiths will recoil from underhanded, unsupported, unfair tactics, regardless of what party those who indulge in them come. It is the essence of the best civic and moral principles we do so, for our moral strength as a nation depends upon what you and I do individually in our capacities as citizens. It is a heavy responsibility, and one that we cannot evade, one we dare not evade.

October 17, 1954

A rather impressive picture can be gleaned from between the lines of a brief and somewhat matter-of-fact report of the missionary reports and accomplishments of the women’s organizations of two major Protestant denominations in this country. Some half-million members of the National Council of Presbyterian Women have raised $11 million for missionary work in the four years since the last council meeting. The report goes on to reveal that 1.7 million members of the Methodist Women’s Society for Christian Service have pledged $7 million for the coming year alone.

In the report, these are simply cold and abstract statistics, but when the activities these sums support are translated into human terms, the results become warm, vibrant, and suffused with the highest ideals of Christian service. Quite naturally, the primary emphasis in expenditure of these funds is support of missionaries and evangelists who spread the gospel of Christianity to many peoples everywhere. But, in addition to this, these funds are used to support teachers who take literacy and better understanding to peoples less fortunate than we; to send or subsidize doctors who respond to physical and community needs for better health and sanitation practices; to pay carpenters and others who erect houses of worship; to build hospitals; to conduct Sunday schools, pay nurses, and other Christian workers who, each in his own way, contribute much to the improvement of levels of living, spiritual, mental and physical of peoples sadly in need of such aid.

All of this is in the finest traditions and teachings of Christianity in healing the sick, comforting the afflicted. And it is literal compliance with the injunction of Him, who said, “Go ye, therefore, into all the world ….” That is exactly what the persons supported by these women’s organizations are doing.


While we are thinking in world terms in connection with missions, it seems appropriate here to pause and consider the important role that the United States has played this summer as host to international meetings of many religious groups, groups that represent perhaps the widest cross-section of Christianity that ever visited any country in a like period of time. During the month of August alone, no fewer than four major Protestant groups held meetings of international importance within this country.

First, in order of time, was the Conference of World Presbyterian Alliance at Princeton, New Jersey, July 24 – August 5. Sixty-six member groups from 46 countries were represented. This conference took strong positions in favor of an “open door” membership policy regardless of race, nationality, class, or color, and it urged its member churches to intensify their efforts to effect a closer fellowship and unity among its various units.

The International Council of Christian Churches met near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from August 3 – August 12. This gathering comprised some 54 fundamentalist denominations in 30 nations. It took positions opposed to the apparent ecumenical trend in religious groups, and emphasized its belief in separate councils, especially in the matter of missions.

A third group, the Third Anglican Congress, met in Minneapolis, August 4 – 13. Fourteen national member churches were represented, the American member being the Protestant Episcopal Church. This congress adopted strong anti-communist resolutions, calling upon its member groups to oppose the challenge of Marxian theory. It urged them also to be fearless witnesses against economic, social, and political injustice wherever such may exist or be found. It expressed its willingness to accept people of any race at its services, but relaxed the effectiveness, perhaps, of this stand by emphasizing that this policy of pan-radical acceptance was not necessarily binding upon individual units of the organization.

The fourth of these meetings, and from the standpoint of peoples represented, the largest, was the Assembly of the World Council of Churches, which convened in Evanston, Illinois, August 15 – August 31. The tasks facing such an ambitious undertaking were vast, and in the light of these, its accomplishments certainly were not inconsiderable. Some have praised highly these accomplishments; others have been highly critical of them. Whatever one’s attitude toward the assembly itself, it is difficult to see how religious people of any Christian faith can take exception to at least one of its pronouncements, that which appeals “to all members of all churches to unite in a common reconciliation in proclaiming Christ as the hope of the world, in intercession for one another, and in mutual service.” The council went on to call upon “Christians everywhere to join in prayer…. That [God] will guide the governments and the peoples in the ways of Justice and Peace.” Another action of this assembly was to adopt a resolution that condemned the use of atomic and hydrogen bombs and opposed aggression by any nation at any time.


This is National Nurse Week, the first time in our history that this week has been observed throughout the nation by proclamation of the president and the Congress. It is an especially appropriate “first” for 1954, since this is the centenary of the work of Florence Nightingale in Crimea, regarded as the founder of modern methods of nursing, she embarked in a pioneer movement to bring high standards of nursing to the sick and wounded of the British army, the first time that women served in a military hospital. Due to her efforts, the death rate from wounded in that war was reduced from an alarming high to less than two percent. Her work thus set high standards for nursing, and the profession has honored her ever since. So it is particularly fitting that this week we celebrate a century of amazing progress in professional nursing.

No nurse enters her profession under the delusion that by so doing she assures herself of making a fortune. Relatively speaking, in this country, compensation for nursing service ranks relatively high, but over and beyond this financial consideration, in the career of any successful nurse is the ideal and desire to minister to the needs of people in distress, and there can be no higher aspiration than this.

All of these things regarding the nurse we take for granted in our country, but perhaps we do not often stop to think and to inform ourselves of the crying need throughout the world for these services which we regard as commonplace. Something of the disparity between our own high standards of medical care and nursing can be seen in the experience of one public health nurse who has just returned from the kingdom of Jordan, an area of the earth that has articular significance to the Christian religion. An Associated Press dispatch recounts that this nurse was sent to that country two years ago on a loan assignment by our own federal security agency. Ostensibly, her duties were to work with other public health nurses there in expending nursing services, especially in rural areas. But when she arrived, she found that there were practically no nurses at all in the American sense of the word. So, she proceeded to set up a school of nursing. Many of the better parents of Jordania refused to let their daughters attend this school, for nursing as an occupation is not held in very high esteem in that country. Moreover, hospitals were either inadequate or nonexistent, and if one wanted hot water, even in a hospital, the only way to get it was to boil it. Even such trained nurses as there were received a beginning salary of only about $15 a month, while the best an expert supervisor could top to reach was an income of $65. Infant mortality rates were and are appallingly high, and nobody seems alarmed about them. Female babies are considered of practically no value at all.

These are merely a few glimpses of the situation in only one country, and unfortunately there are many other areas of the world where just such conditions are the rule rather than the exception. It is easy to be pessimistic and difficult to be patient in considering problems such as this. We look at the millions of people throughout the world so badly in need of the most elementary knowledge and services to improve their conditions of existence, and then we look at the diplomats quibbling over such things as niceties of protocol, procedure, and legal technicalities that may have some importance, but in themselves do little to alleviate the condition of sick and hungry people. And sometimes this quibbling deteriorates into war and the lives of millions of people are lost, and all the time there are mirrored before us such pictures of stark human ignorance, suffering, and squalor as exist in Jordania.

This ignorance and poverty present a challenge to men of good will of all religions everywhere. It is a world problem and must be attacked by a worldwide program. It is a responsibility of nations, churches, and individuals. Perhaps it is the teachers, the doctors, the nurses, and other technicians who are doing more to solve the problem of human improvement than the diplomats. Nurses rarely make the headlines, but as individuals they go unobtrusively about their work attacking these evils that beset mankind. Hence, it is a pleasure for “Religion in the News” to salute these women of courage and devotion to the betterment of human living.


Out of the Middle East comes our next item, and it is a rather unusual story of a pilgrimage of one man, a pilgrimage both geographical and spiritual, an obviously earnest quest for a satisfactory answer to the eternal question of the spiritual meaning of life. It begins in Europe with one Leopold Weiss, a German Jew, son of a well-to-do family. He had studied art and philosophy. After World War I, he traveled throughout Europe, turning at various times to the writing of newspaper materials and movie scripts.

But throughout it all there was the search for inner, spiritual satisfaction which he had not found. He journeyed to Jerusalem, where he talked long and earnestly with the great Zionist pioneer, Chaim Weizmann. Not being satisfied with Judaism, he next considered Christianity, which he believed was superior to his Jewish faith because it did not restrict God’s concern to any one group of people. But Christianity to him lacked one important essential: It’s program of action in practical affairs did not square with its professions in the world of faith. Nor could he subscribe to the idea of original sin, which is a tenet of some Christian faiths. He believed, instead, that man was created pure in the image of the deity, and that sin is a lapse from this perfect, innate, positive quality.

He next studied the Moslem faith, and finally embraced it, seeing in it, in his own words, that “the absence of all priesthood, clergy, and even of an organized church makes every Moslem feel that he is truly sharing in, and not merely attending, a common act of worship.” So today, Leopold Weiss has become Muhammad Asad, a Pakistani Moslem among the 315 million Mohammedans that make up the membership of that faith.

Now perhaps we of the Western and Christian world may think this item of little importance, and within itself, it admittedly is. Perhaps also we 787 million of the Christian world rarely think of the Moslems who follow Muhammad and at the same time revere Jesus as a great spiritual leader. But we need to know about them, for what they think and do in the years ahead will doubtless make a lot of difference to us here in the West. Rarely does a day pass that the newspapers do not carry some news of trouble in the East, that portion of the world where the center of the Moslem faith is located, and not infrequently, this trouble is in fused with religious differences that must be reconciled if peace is to prevail. Asad interprets much of this Islamic religion in his autobiography entitled The Road to Mecca, which doubtless is or can be made available through your own bookstore or at your library.


The Ninth General Assembly of the United Nations is now in session in New York. Regardless of individual or organizational point-of-view toward the United Nations, this assembly is considering and possibly may take actions on matters of human import that are significant to peoples of all the world, and regardless of religious or non-religious affiliation. Among the many topics that will be considered is the fact that during this era of political tensions, the ranks of the homeless and dispossessed are continuously swelled by a never-ending stream of victims. A report from the High Commissioner for Refugees will be presented, with special reference to the Palestine refugee program and the problem of rehabilitation of devastated Korea.

In two areas alone, Europe and the Middle East, there is an estimated number of 800,000 persons who are literally without a country. What to do with them is a question involving human values of the highest order.

Again, coming before the Assembly this year is the report of the Commission on Human Rights, dealing with such problems as freedom of information, forced labor, and racial policies of the Union of South Africa.

There is time for merest mention of only one other major topic of consideration this morning, namely the problem of dependent peoples, those areas all over the world where peoples are living under governments not of their own free choice. We know how restive were the Jews under the Romans at the time of Christ, and how persecutions were the order of the day. In many cases, especially behind the Iron Curtain, they are still the order of the day, and it is a problem about which religious people of all faiths should be informed and concerned.


A final item this morning is one whose importance cannot be over stressed at this time. On November 2, citizens of this country will have an opportunity to go out and cast ballots for candidates of their choice. This is not only an opportunity; it is also an obligation. Religious people more than any other have an especial obligation in this respect, for they have more to gain by maintaining their freedom through good government, and our government will remain good and free only so long as those who want it exercise their privilege of the ballot wisely and seriously.

Last week thousands of the members of the Church of Latter Day Saints met at Salt Lake City for the 125th Semi-Annual Conference of the Mormon Church. Our Secretary of Agriculture, Ezra Taft Benson, himself a member of that church’s governing body, enjoined his hearers with words that cannot be improved upon on this subject when he said: “Regardless of the party you are affiliated with, you remember the standard the God of Heaven has given and use your influence to help safeguard the country and see that honest, good and wise men are elected to public office.”