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.”