December 18, 1955

In the state of California, the constitution has been amended and legislation enacted that requires churches, in order to be tax- exempt, to take a loyalty oath. Presumably the taking of this oath implies a presumption that the whole membership is presumed to be guilty until the oath of innocence has been registered. It also implies that refusal to sign such an oath is subversive. But the matter of loyalty goes deeper than any oath can do. Nor does the signing of an oath prove loyalty. Churches must be free in their right to make moral and ethical judgments, even though such judgments may at times be critical of the status quo.

The churches have not all taken this matter lying down; some have paid taxes in full under protest and have gone to court to test the validity of this intrusion into religious matters by the state. Unitarians, Methodists, Quakers, and other religious bodies have taken an unequivocal stand against this invasion of religious freedom. And there have already been results. A Southern California court has ruled that the law is discriminatory and unconstitutional. In another case a court has upheld the law. In a San Leandro case involving the Methodist Church, the decision was that the law violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Other cases are pending, and some of the suits entered will doubtless be taken to the highest state court, and if the issue is not resolved satisfactorily there, perhaps ultimately to the U.S. Supreme Court. A fund for religious freedom is being solicited by the Pacific Coast Unitarian Council, with a view of giving the matter a full test in the courts. This would seem to be a case requiring continual if not eternal vigilance.


Considerable concern has existed for many months over the practice of the Post Office Department arbitrarily to withhold what it terms “foreign propaganda” from distribution through the mails to the general public, though individuals in that public have personally subscribed to and paid for such materials. Under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, the department is now delivering such so-called propaganda materials from abroad to newspapers, universities, and certain special individuals. Protests have [arisen], quite rightly it would seem, over the assumption of authority on the part of the department to make distinction between special individuals, institutions, and the general public. Once the government assumes control over the reading material of its citizens, it has taken a long step down the road to totalitarianism. In recent months the department has held back, banned, and even burned material from overseas that it broadly defines as “communist propaganda.” Last March in Boston, for example, authorities destroyed a shipment of pacifist pamphlets published in England and addressed to the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker affiliate. Well now, the Quakers have been noted for their pacifism since the days of William Penn, but this is the first time, insofar as this reporter knows, that it has been inferred that they deal in subversive literature. Even the conservative but well-known columnist George Sokolsky, who prefers what he calls “nineteenth century freedom” to what he terms “twentieth century liberalism” last spring public protested the post office’s long refusal to deliver to him periodicals from the Soviet Union which he had subscribed to and paid for. All this is a considerable departure from the conviction of Jefferson that we should have no fear of error as long as reason is free to combat it.


This being the holiday season, perhaps you listeners expect some recognition of it on just about every program these days. Well, at the risk of leaving myself open to criticism, I should like to pass along part of what one of my students had to say about our high-pressure commercialization of Christmas, especially the fact that each year, it would seem, the public is subjected to longer and more persistent pressure. Lea Lawrence, writing in the December 9 issue of the [East Tennessee] State College Collegian has this to say, in part:

“I am getting a grudge against the Christmas season, just like I’m getting a grudge against some of the other holidays, and if you want to look aghast and think you’re face-to-face with a reincarnation of Ebenezer Scrooge, just go right ahead.… The once-pleasing carols are now revised and feature advertising jingles, and department store Santas no longer wait for junior’s lists. Instead they come calling door-to-door.… Every medium of communication is busily employed saturating the masses with “musts” for the shopping lists. No sooner than Gene Autry moans to a halt with ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,’ a voice crackling with enthusiasm bursts forth with the old pitch, ‘Having trouble with your shopping list? Well, here’s something the kiddies will really get a kick out of, it looks and feels like a genuine BB pistol, but shoots dum-dum bullets! And it’s yours for only…blah, blah, blah.’

While the kids turn flips in anticipation, parents have little to look forward to nowadays. The fuzzy aftermath of Christmas Eve will be met bright and early with helmeted and goggled junior spacemen skittering here and there through the house, dousing every passing object with alpha, beta and gamma rays. And topping off the entire head-splitting event will be the parade of little heads swathed in coonskin caps marching by, presenting a living reflection of an indistinct nogging complete with large hairy tongue in the form of a coon’s tail.

To attempt to perpetuate the pleasant legend of Santa Claus is a ridiculous task. Small children may not be able to count, but when they see no less than two-dozen Santas in one shopping tour, all of various sizes, shapes and vocal qualities, they figure pretty well. Two in one trip used to shake me up rather badly….

Another thing that bothers me is to awake one fine June morning to the clatter of sleigh bells as background effect to the ‘lay-away early for Christmas’ tune given by a jovial announcer who mentions at the same time that there are less than 190 shopping days until Christmas. I have a sneaking hunch that these reminders are edging back yearly. April may be the mark for next year. Christmas is all right … but it’s beginning to mess up my Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving. And if the mania spreads to any of the other holidays, we may be seeing Easter bunnies in October, turkeys somewhere around May Day. I’m so used to the regular dates that it’s difficult to change.”

Ever since I read the above, I’ve tried to determine whether he was simply being facetious, or was he serious? Obviously, there is something to what he says. In looking at the loads of packages and deluge of cards in our small post office, one can hardly help but conclude that Christmas is becoming more of a time when we exchange merchandise than a time of observing in heartfelt manner its spiritual significance.


My comments on education last week caused some comment. Here is another charge and reflection that we who try to teach are much concerned about but, like in many other situations, do not know the answer or are not in a position to use it if we think we know. Two vice presidents of the American Federation of Teachers have made the charge that our public schools are neglecting the gifted students and are “educating” for mediocrity. They go on to assert that overcrowded classrooms which produce too great a teacher load, at times disinterested administrators, and poorly trained teachers are among the reasons for our catering to the mediocre.

Most teachers and administrators have long recognized that under our system such a danger exists. The easiest, sometimes about the only, thing to do under the circumstances is to pitch the level of instruction toward those of average or median ability. While at the other end of the scale the below-average student may find the pace too fast for his limited ability. As a result, both students, the brilliant and the below average, may become disinterested and discouraged.

Various solutions have been offered and attempted, from permitting brilliant students to skip grades to special classes and tutoring for the below-average students. School systems, individual schools, and individual teachers have struggled with the problem. In some schools classes are divided into sections on the basis of learning ability, thus permitting better students to advance more rapidly, maintaining a normal pace for average students, and enabling the below-average to proceed at the pace dictated by their abilities.

The problem can be solved, but not until the American public recognizes and provides the facilities required: more and better-trained teachers and more and better-equipped classrooms with a consequent reduction of the teacher load. Opportunity for an education commensurate with one’s ability is a birthright of all boys and girls, but so far there has been forthcoming no blueprint to provide such, despite the fanfare of the White House Conference on Education.

December 11, 1955

Last week I gave a brief report on the incident in Erath, Louisiana, over the fact that teachers of Catholic catechism had been teaching white and Negro children in the same classes. More nearly complete information on the matter is now available. Erath is a small town of 2,500, some 125 miles west of New Orleans. One morning one of the teachers started to the church and when she got there she found a group waiting. Three women began striking at her with their fists and shoe heels. The teacher filed assault-and-battery charges against the attackers. Even the priest, Father Labbe, found that he was being followed, and he asked a friend to accompany him as a bodyguard.

Shortly thereafter, Bishop Jules Jeannard returned from a church meeting in Washington and took prompt action. He issued a letter of excommunication to be read at all Sunday Masses at the church in question. He named no names, but referred to the culprits as those who had caused a “scandal to the church and to the community.” He denied to them the sacraments, participation in prayers of the church, and Christian burial, until they repented. His action brought results rapidly. Soon it was announced that those guilty had made reparation. Classes were resumed but the priest has disclaimed any plans for integrating the races beyond the classroom, and has not expressed any assurance over a hope for the future, saying somewhat philosophically, “We shall have to wait and see what the future brings.” At any rate, it would appear that race will not be a dividing factor among the students as they seek to learn church catechism, and it is difficult to see why it should.


For several days, some 1,800 delegates from all the states and territories conferred in Washington at the White House Conference on Education, trying to determine what should be done to meet the crisis in education that is daily growing worse. So far, nothing concrete and specific has been released to the public as to what the conference consensus will be. From what has been printed, it is pretty obvious that the conferees have ranged pretty much all over the educational spectrum in their deliberations. In a way, however, this conference seems to be pretty much an ex-post-facto affair. School people already knew that the nation needs some 200,000 classrooms now and will need almost that many more in another five years. Two-hundred-thousand teachers are needed to staff those classrooms. Fewer and fewer college students are taking teacher-training courses and fewer still are going into teaching.

Money may not be the most important element in the problem, but it is an indispensable one. Many states and local divisions have pretty well taken themselves up to the legal or economic limit for school purposes. The president warns that “Responsibility for educating our young is primarily local.” But simply saying that a school district is responsible does not bring about better schools if that district is unable adequately to discharge its responsibility.

And in the matter of teachers, it is difficult to see how the shortage is to be met until or unless teaching is made as attractive as other types of work requiring comparable training and skill. Young college people of today look rather realistically at the job world, and since most of them will have to work for a living, they evaluate objectively, not cynically, the comparative opportunities from a financial point of view of the possible career areas. While recognizing the opportunity for giving service in teaching, they recognize as fully that unless rewards for that service are commensurate with what they can command in other fields, they cannot afford to teach.

Several things are necessary to attract capable young people. First, working conditions should be greatly improved. Teachers quite naturally dislike being looked upon as a public servant on call any time of the day or night for the performance of any chore needing done in the community. They resent also intrusion into their private and personal affairs, while at the same time recognizing their special obligation to the community because of their position in it.

Second, teacher salaries must be made commensurate with salaries in other fields. Community gratitude, if any, is very satisfying to the teacher, but it is not something that he can spend in the stores for life necessities.

Third, once equipped by training, and having demonstrated his fitness for teaching, teachers want and have a right to demand security in their position. The teacher who is continually forced to wonder how long his position will continue is not going to be free to concentrate his time and thoughts on his work as he should, and he is not going to be able to plan his future with any degree of certainty. And this is an age and a social order that make the teacher, like all other workers, conscious of the imperative nature of job security.

Other conditions could be enumerated, but certainly the above are fundamental ones. The White House conference can debate, argue, and extemporize, but for the welfare of the millions of young children in this country needing an education, shibboleths and slogans about local responsibility, about educational philosophy, about political philosophy, will not build the needed schoolhouses nor will it attract capable teachers to fill them. An opportunity for an education is a birthright of every boy and girl in this country, and that opportunity should be approximately the same whether he lives in Maine or California, Tennessee or Idaho. This nation is able to provide such opportunity, and if the White House conference fails to meet the challenge, it will be failing to discharge its responsibility to the nation’s children. No amount of debate over federal, state, or local respective responsibility can change that fact.


The last item is largely personal, but it is embedded in a fundamental and provocative question by Alan Beck entitled “What is a Boy?” and his answer to that question for the sake of time I shall have to abbreviate it. He says,

“Boys come in assorted sizes, weights and colors. They are found everywhere – on top of, underneath, inside of, climbing on, swinging around or jumping to…. A boy is a truth with dirt on his face, wisdom with bubble gum in his hair, and the hope of the future with a frog in his pocket.

A boy has the appetite of a horse, the digestion of a sword-swallower, the energy of a pocket-size atomic bomb, the curiosity of a cat, the lungs of a dictator, the imagination of Paul Bunyan, the shyness of a violet, the audacity of a steel trap, the enthusiasm of a firecracker, and when he makes something he has five thumbs on each hand.

He likes ice cream, knives, saws, Christmas, comic books, the boy across the street, woods, water (in its natural habitat), large animals, Dad, trains, Saturday mornings, and fire engines. He is not much for company, Sunday School, books without pictures, music lessons, neckties, barbers, girls, overcoats, adults, or bedtime.

Nobody else is so early to rise or so late to supper. Nobody else can cram into one pocket a rusty knife, a half-eaten apple, three feet of string, two gumdrops, 6 cents, a slingshot, a chunk of unknown substance, and a genuine supersonic code ring with a secret compartment.

A boy is a magical creature – you can lock him out of your workshop, but you can’t lock him out of your heart. You can get him out of your study, but you can’t get him out of your mind. Might as well give up – he is your captor, your jailer, your boss and master – a freckle-faced, pint-sized bundle of noise. But when you come home at night with only the shattered pieces of your hopes and dreams, he can mend them with two magic words, ‘Hi Dad!”

Well, those lines were written about boys in general, and during periods of the average boy’s life he probably engages in and is all of these things. Some of them apply aptly to the boy I have in mind, some do not. But for that particular boy, who is today celebrating his 13th birthday, I want to wish for him, with all my heart, that every birthday he has will be better than the previous one. So “Happy Birthday, Thomas. You’re a swell guy.”




December 4, 1955

I should like to call your attention to the cover page and a featured article in this week’s December 5 issue of Time magazine. This article traces, as well as a magazine of this type can do, some 20 centuries of baptismal belief, from Rome in 100 A.D. to Richmond, Virginia, in 1955. It is a well-done article dealing mainly with the rise of the Baptist denomination, together with something of the recent changes that have come about in Baptist beliefs and practices. Instead of trying to give you a thumbnail summary of it on this program, I am calling it to your attention, for time available here cannot do justice to this well-deserved tribute to a great denomination.


A significant comment by John B. Hollister, director of the International Cooperation Administration (formerly FOA), upon his return from a month’s trip to the Far East and Southeast Asia came in these words that the Free World “is not holding its own” in competition with the communists. This points up the curious timing in announcements from Washington that foreign aid officials are hopeful that further cuts in the U.S. overseas aid program can be made. It is curious because it comes at a time when the Soviet Union is mounting its coexistence offensive around the world. Probably something could be trimmed from the foreign aid program of some $2.7 billion, but the bulk of this (over 2 billion) goes for military assistance and defense, while less than a half-million goes for technical and economic assistance. In the meantime, Russia is intensifying her competition in India and elsewhere. Recently the premier of Burma praised Russia for buying the rice surplus of his country and thus averting an economic crisis there. Wherever Khrushchev and Bulganin have gone recently they have held out promise, and made a start carrying out their promise of assistance. In India, for example, where our assistance programs amount to some $70 million, Soviet technicians are planning a steel mill to be rebuilt with Soviet funds in central India to cost $100 million. Thus, at a time when our own diplomats admit that we are barely holding our own in the competitive fight against communism in the economic realm, Washington politicians suggest cutting back on our program. This may well prompt the question so often heard these days: Do they really want to fight communism, or don’t they? Budget cutting is always a good line to take prior to an election year, but it may well be a high price to pay if by so doing, in this case, we fail to hold our own among people who are now our friends but who desperately need help which our foreign aid program can provide.


One of the tragedies coming out of the so-called Conference at the Summit at Geneva in July, the 11th Annual Meeting of the United Nations in New York, another meeting of the United Nations in New York, and another meeting of the foreign ministers at Geneva is that hundreds of millions of common people all over the world were led to believe that these meetings were all in good faith and, consequently, expected something constructive for global peace; a result that in the very nature of things was most improbable if not impossible. All those attending the meetings knew beforehand that they would not result in the unification of Germany, the security of Europe, the tranquilizing of Asia, the pacification of Africa, nor disarmament, upon all of which world peace really depends.

The fact is that neither the powers that be in the so-called free democracies of the West nor the powers that be in the so-called people democracies of the East want world peace on the basis of complete disarmament. Both Eisenhower and Bulganin, spokesmen for the West and East, respectively, made that clear. It is equally clear that the alternating softness and toughness of Soviet leadership is only a tactic in an overall strategy to soften and divide the Free World. It would seem about time that we recognized that, and that we not try to soothe our own people and those of our friendly allies by misrepresenting the total results of such conferences.


Down in Rock Hill, South Carolina, a state not noted for progressive race relations, something has been happening during the past two years that represents a constructive approach to a tough problem, and gains have been made at the community level that other communities well could imitate; in fact, it is being imitated elsewhere. One winter night about two years ago a mayor, a priest, and a business man of this city discussed the possible effects of the forthcoming court decision regarding segregation, and the larger problem of human relations in the South, namely how to open up channels of better communication between Negroes and whites. With them was an expert in the field, Dr. George S. Mitchell, executive director of the Southern Regional Council. As a result of this meeting, there was initiated a council on human relations consisting of 21 persons, including five Negroes, appointed by the city council.

Since that time, a Negro has been appointed to the City Recreation Commission; a study of hospital space and needs has been undertaken, and various projects to improve Negro recreational facilities in the community are about completed. This human relations group is making detailed studies of local education, welfare, health, and safety and is reporting its findings to the city council. The city has been host to a state council on human relations, a meeting at which college presidents, ministers, teachers, and others discussed such subjects as “offering job opportunities for all,” ways and means of working toward rapid compliance with the court decision, and other similar topics. Europeans on tours sponsored by the U.S. Information Agency have visited Rock Hill to see how one Southern community is facing up to its problems brought about by the court order.

Now there is a human relations council in every Southern state, though not many in some. In at least one instance, the formation of a council was precipitated by a flare-up of racial tensions. Late in June of this year a bi-racial church conference at Southern Union College, a Congregational Christian church college at Wadley, Alabama, was broken up by a threatening white group. Four days later the council was formed, with the mayor serving as chairman, and containing members of the city council, three ministers, businessmen (white and Negro) and Negro teachers. Governor Folsom condemned the action of the white group which broke up the meeting, and asked law enforcement officers to see that no further mob action takes place.

One day last summer Bryant Bowles, president of the National Association for the Advancement of White People flew to North Carolina and tried to stage a much-publicized rally in the stadium there. The local and state Councils on Human Relations urged “the decent and fair-minded people in our community to concern themselves with this problem (i.e., desegregation) and provide the necessary leadership for a sensible approach to it…” The rally was a flop. About 200 persons showed up in the large stadium and Bowles postponed his efforts to organize a local chapter of his organization, and bitterly denounced local newspapers and organizations, including that of the Council on Human Relations, which had, too fully for his purposes, informed the citizenry of his background and beliefs.

In commenting on what happened at Charlotte, the president of the Rock Hill Council said, “If we repulse the outsiders, then we must face our own problems ourselves,” and that, it would appear, its just what Rock Hill is doing. What is your community doing about its problems?


Just north of us, another state, Virginia, is attacking her problem posed by the court in an entirely different manner. A bill would direct the governor to call a statewide vote of the people on whether to have a constitutional convention that would amend the [state] constitution by striking out a section prohibiting the use of public money for private schooling. If such an amendment were to pass, it would enable the state, technically and temporarily, legally to subsidize education in private schools, thus eliminating the possibility of integration in the public schools. Well, one way to cure a headache is to chop off the head.


Lafayette, Louisiana: Bishop Jules Jeannard has lifted his excommunication decree against two Erath, Louisiana, women. They had been accused of beating a Roman Catholic teacher who had instructed Negro and white children in the same catechism classroom. The bishop said the women “have indicated to their pastor their repentance.”


Vatican City: An authoritative source says Pope Pius XII will recite a Mass over television for the first time on Christmas Eve. Never before in Catholic history has the traditional Mass been celebrated by a pope before TV cameras.


Milan, Italy: An Italian magazine has mentioned reports that Pope Pius has been credited with the miraculous cure of a blind child. Another Italian magazine recently was the first to report that the pope had had a vision of Christ. Vatican quarters say they know nothing about the new report.


New York: The American Bible Society’s Advisory Council and Board of Managers has approved a budged of $3,858,000. The money will be used for the 1956 intern denominational program of translating, publishing, and distributing the Bible and encouraging the reading of scriptures.


Milwaukee: A Lutheran congregation has voted against accepting the resignation of its pastor who was convicted by high church officials of heresy. The Rev. Victor Wrigley of Gethsemane Lutheran Church in suburban Brookfield had been found guilty of deviating from church doctrine.


Omaha: The president of the National Council of Churches will conduct religious services for members of the Armed Forces in foreign lands for the third successive year. Dr. Eugene Carson Blake of Philadelphia will spend the Christmas period visiting members of the Northeast [Air] Command, their families, and Air Force chaplains in Newfoundland, Labrador, and Greenland. He accepted an invitation to conduct the services from Donald Quarles, secretary of the Department of the Air Force.


A Roman Catholic layman and a Protestant minister have criticized adults for their part in the youth problem. Frank H. Sheed, Catholic author and publisher of London, England, says society is sick and most adults are “mixed up kids.” He further describes such adults as unable to provide examples and to teach moral standards to their children. His statements have been made at the National Conference of Catholic Youth Work, held in St. Louis this week. Sheed has urged the delegates to teach moral standards in their child guidance programs, stepping in where parents fail. And all of us who are honest will admit that we fail many times. Protestant minister Billy Graham also blames parents for the delinquency problem.


Some U.S priests of the Russian Orthodox Church say Soviet Archbishop Boris should be allowed to come to this country. The Americans, visiting in Moscow, have expressed opposition to the U.S. refusal to give the prelate an unrestricted visa. The protesting priests belong to a part of the U.S. Russian Orthodox Church still loyal to the Moscow patriarchy. The U.S. Department of State gave Boris a visa to the U.S., but limited his ministry to Soviet nationals only. The visa was revoked when the Soviet government declined such conditions. One of the Russian priests says it has been a tradition since 1794 for the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in North American to be appointed from Moscow. That clergyman, Father David Abramstov of Wolf Run, Ohio, thinks the practice should be continued.


The oldest active pulpit in the U.S. is to get a new minister. The Rev. Joseph Barth of the First Unitarian Church of Miami, Florida, will go to King’s Chapel in Boston on January 1. He will succeed the Rev. Dr. Palfrey Perkins as pastor of the 270-year-old church.


About 500 Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Jewish rabbis in the New York metropolitan area are discussing religion in the public schools in their Sabbath sermons this weekend. The rabbis are against what one of them terms blatant attempts by the New York City Board of Superintendence to introduce religion into the public school system. Rabbi Edward Klein has stated in his sermon that Catholics, Protestants, and Jews alike are agreed that the need of the hour is not less religion, but more. But he added, “Let us be Catholic, Protestant, and Jew in churches and synagogues and homes, but in the classrooms of America, let us be Americans all.”


November 27, 1955

A rather curious twist in the problem of religious freedom occurred recently in the state of Washington. For many years a small army of evangelists representing a dozen or so church groups had been visiting King Country Prison and holding services in the corridors outside the cells. Apparently the evangelists did not inquire as to whether the inmates wanted such services. Last summer a prisoner got a lawyer to file suit charging that the constitutional rights of the inmates to religious freedom were being denied; and that a prison rule was being broken, a rule that permitted religious services outside the cells in the prison chapel.

The case finally came to Seattle’s superior court. Witnesses, quite naturally appeared for both sides. Some insisted that they appreciated the services and that through them they, the prisoners, had been helped to find ways to a better life. Others complained that the evangelists competed loudly with each other, asked for contributions, and played loud music or talked in a loud voice if the prisoners themselves tried to converse with each other while the services were going on.

In handing down his decision, the judge avoided the constitutional issue of invasion of the right of religious freedom, but he refused to terminate the services. However, he also refused the evangelists the right to hold their services in corridors outside the cells, and holding the prison rule that services should be held in the chapel should be observed in the future.

Now it is easy for all of us to let our emotions enter here and be swayed in one direction or the other in such a controversy. Many of use would likely be inclined to conclude that services of this kind, whether wanted or not, would be a wholesome influence upon the inhabitants of the prison. However, once we admit the right of any religious group to a captive audience, we concede the power of the state to promote that religious faith. In this case, it was the prisoners in King’s County, Washington. If we make this concession, it is but a fairly short step to conceding the right of a religious group to proselyte in the schools, or in any other situation where individuals cannot easily avoid subjection to a doctrine or belief imposed upon them by a government. We cannot have freedom of religion without also having freedom from religion, and however much we may subscribe to a particular faith, we cannot escape this simple fact.


During the past year, much has been heard about the work of various philanthropic foundations. At least one congressional committee made the headlines for awhile by castigating the foundations for the work they were doing in the social sciences. What brought this up is a recent report on the work of the Ford Foundation, an organization which to date has made gifts totaling more than $350 million. During the past 12 months it has given or committed $134 million primarily for education and research. A total of $50 million will go to college and universities for improvement of teaching salaries; $20 million will be used by the Merit Scholarship Corporation to provide four-year scholarships to talented boys and girls who otherwise might not be able to afford a college education; and $15 million will support natural scientific and medical research on the problem of mental illness.

There is a point of unique interest about this foundation, namely, that the Ford family in establishing and maintaining it, were determined that it should become a public trust, and that it should be guided and controlled by a board of trustees drawn from all sections of the country and broadly experienced in education, business, finance, and the mass media. The present board is so composed, and in its judgment the most critical problems of this century “arise out of man’s relations to man, rather than relation to the physical world. People everywhere,” it goes on, “are confronted by the necessity of choosing between two methods for conducting their affairs: one is democratic, dedicated to the freedom and dignity of the individual; the other is authoritarian, subordinating human rights and truth to the state.” And one is likely to find few informed persons who would attempt successfully to challenge the wording of this dilemma, or to argue that the dilemma does not exist.

In carrying out its work, the Foundation is dedicated to five broad fields:

  1. Supporting efforts to increase international understanding and promote world peace;
  2. Strengthening democratic institutions and processes;
  3. Advancing economic well-being;
  4. Improving education;
  5. Encouraging the natural scientific study of human behavior.

Activity sponsored or aided by this foundation is going on almost everywhere except behind the Iron Curtain. It is going on in the explosive Middle East, in India, in Southeast Asia, the Far East, in Western Europe; in short, its overseas program forms a ring of democratic effort along the sensitive border of the Soviet Iron Curtain.

Well, there is a brief, thumbnail sketch of the ramifications of one of the foundations. Again, few informed persons would hardly challenge the desirability of its broad aims, even though there may be, and are, many differences of opinion as to whether a specific policy or program within these aims is desirable. It would seem a not unwarranted conclusion, on the whole that the organization will continue to perform its services to the benefit of mankind as the best judgment of the board of trustees defines that benefit.


One of the things that has puzzled this reporter many times, and it still does, is the neatness with which some people have divided all life into two parts: secular and religious. To them, it would appear that the secular is a nuisance, interfering with the religion. To some, the secular is even non-religious. Most of us agree that religion is natural, native, and intrinsic to man, not exterior to him. But a goodly number have difficulty, as I do, in keeping these worlds so neatly separate and apart. This number would insist that religion deals not only with man and a possible invisible world, but is greatly concerned about man as he exists on this planet. Perhaps some of you listeners out there can enlighten me on where the line can be drawn with certainty between secular and religious. I should appreciate it. Obviously there are areas which most of us would agree are secular, others about which there would be agreement with respect to religion, but what about the spaces in between? I merely ask; the answer I do not know.


During the last session of Congress, Senators Hennings of Missouri, O’Mahoney of Wyoming, and William Langer of North Dakota were appointed to a subcommittee to inquire into violations of civil rights and liberties. They sent out a questionnaire. They announced the committee would begin with violations of the First Amendment, which includes, among other things, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” When the evidence began to pile in the committee apparently realized it was opening up a great controversial field, and cancelled the hearings. It was deemed inexpedient to go ahead. Only obscure releases have appeared in the nation’s press. Maybe this is adding up two and two and getting three or five, but all of this item seems to point up the need, and the obligation, on the part of the subcommittee to do its part in getting to the people the facts about the often silent struggles going on in this country involving values of democracy – and thus religion.


Last Sunday I mentioned that a Catholic declaration by 208 members of the church hierarchy subscribed to the idea that private and parochial schools “exist by right in the United States. On that ground, discriminatory treatment of them is unfair.”  Such discrimination specifically includes the matter of sharing funds, public and/or private. Well, a largely Protestant organization, called Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State did not let the declaration go unnoticed. Glenn L. Archer, executive director of the organization, called it, among other things, “studied nonsense.” His organization is opposed to the use of public tax funds to aid students at religious schools. And as for this reporter, no further comment.


November 20, 1955

From the current issue of Time magazine comes an article on a subject touched upon occasionally on this program, namely, the resurgence of interest in things religious by the present generation. Since it deals with the subject as related to college campuses, it was of particular interest to this reporter, and I should like to pass on to you some of the basic elements in the article.

Four Cornell sociologists made a survey of 7,000 students at 12 colleges and universities and came up with the results that 80 percent of those questioned said they felt a need for a religious faith. Significantly enough, only one percent confessed themselves to be atheists. The tendency, apparently, is not toward any particular creed, but a search for a religious system based on the deity as a supreme being.

This renewed interest in religion is reflected in an increase in number of courses devoted to the subject and the numbers of pupils attending such courses. For example, in 1933, Yale offered only three undergraduate courses in religion and had only four students; today it offers 12 courses and in one course alone there are 400 students. Much the same is true of Harvard, Princeton, and other similar institutions. The University of Chicago had only one chaplain in 1928; it now has 11 full time chaplains and 13 part-time workers. Students of this trend are by no means agreed upon its exact meaning. The professor of Christian morals at Harvard says, “The cycle has come full turn. Once we doubted our faith. Now we have to come to doubt our doubts.”

While the assistant professor of religion at Bowdoin College says, “The resurgence of religion is largely due to the shock administered … by two world wars, a depression, and the painful knowledge that the great powers possess the awesome tools of genocide. Religion is seen as an essential tool in the hard work of sheer survival, not as a matter of icing on the cake.” Still another, emeritus professor of Christian methods at Yale comments that “It is a wistful generation, tired of living on snap judgments and seeking enduring foundations.… This does not mean a return to religion or a revival of religion. Rather it means that these students are seeking to come to grips with the basic problems on faith and living. They are asking not superficial but ultimate questions, and they will not be satisfied with easy answers. They want to find solid grounds for ultimate loyalties.” And that, of course, is something that all of us would like to keep on finding.


The much-criticized religious group, Moral Rearmament, Inc., was permitted to use military aircraft and personnel to transport 192 MRA leaders to chief points on an extensive world proselyting tour at little or no cost to the organization. This occurred shortly before Air Force Secretary Harold Talbott resigned. Moral Rearmament describes itself as “an inspired ideology for democracy that would remake the world on the basis of moral standards and the guidance of God.”

Objection was raised to this use of government equipment and personnel by interested organizations, raising the question as to the constitutionality of Talbott’s action, and pointing out that in a previous case the Supreme Court had ruled that “Governments may not furnish support to any religions or all religions.”

In replying to the objection raised, the secretary sidestepped the constitutional question of separation of church and state, but replied that MRA would reimburse the government for all expenditures attributable to the trip, thus presumably preventing the use of taxpayers’ money in support of the objectives of this religious organization.


All of us, I take it, wish to have as much freedom of local and individual action as possible. That is our traditional way. But we hear a great deal of concern being expressed these past two or three years about the shifting of power from the states to the federal government – about states’ rights regarding schools, off-shore oil, and other matters. In this connection a rather thought-provoking paragraph comes to hand from the President’s Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. It reads like this:

“If states do not give cities their rightful allocation of seats in the legislature, the tendency will be toward direct federal-municipal dealings. These began in earnest in the early days of the Depression. There is only one way to avoid this in the future. It is for the states to take an interest in urban problems, in metropolitan government, in city needs. If they do not do this, the cities will find a path to Washington as they did before, and this time it may be permanent, with the ultimate result that there may be a new government that will break down the constitutional pattern which has worked so well up to now.”

It would be both interesting and illuminating to know just how much the federal government has grown in power throughout our history, grown at the expense of the states, because the latter themselves did not live up to their obligations. Certainly, as some problems have arisen, e.g., schools, the ability of all the states to provide needed services equally has been revealed. Nobody wishes federal bureaucracy less than this reporter, but he fails to subscribe to the theory that any expansion of federal power in any direction is undesirable, especially if it involves the rights of boys and girls to an education adequate to meet their needs.


There is a great deal in the news these days about the plight of the farmer. Perhaps most of us have constantly asked ourselves this question: “Why do we have to subsidize the farmer?” Well, there is no simple and easy answer to this, and certainly not enough time on this program to do more than point to some fundamental factors in the matter. The farmer occupies a unique position in our economic system. He has no control over the market in which he sells or that in which he buys. Moreover, his individual output of products is influenced not only by his own decisions but by the elements and by the force of life itself, for all that comes from the farm is a living thing at some point.

On the other hand, industry and business have learned to gain a measure of control over their markets by banding together, while the farmer cannot control his market. Realizing their hazardous position in our economic structure, farmers have tried to compensate for it through the years in various ways. Schemes for easy money, like free silver and greenback; laws regulating railroad rates; and many other devices have been sought to give the farmer a better position in the system. But all this was not enough. Back in the Hoover days, cooperatives were encouraged and indulged in, but many of them failed, primarily because the cooperators lacked control over volume of production. The next step was government support for cooperatives, which was achieved by the Hoover Farm Board, but this failed too, again mainly because of lack of production control.

The final step, of course, was direct government support of farmers through price support loans in exchange for controls over production. The system has not worked entirely successfully, but it has worked to keep the farmer from bankruptcy. Perhaps one of its greatest weaknesses has been the failure of the administrator to act decisively and swiftly enough to avert breakdowns. At least it has, for the first time, given farmers some measure of control over their markets. The people of the nation have paid for this. The public pays for all such market controls. In non-agricultural businesses, the cost is hidden in the price of the product, but in agriculture, it is open for all of us to see, and we do see and often complain about it.

All this does not mean that the present system is the best that can be devised. One of the problems growing out of the system is to learn how to dispose of what the farmer is able to produce. We have done a pretty good job in teaching our farmers how to grow two stalks of wheat where one grew before, but we have failed to learn how to use the extra wheat. Food is an essential of life, and in a complex economy we cannot afford to let those who produce it fall into a level of income that will not support them. A collapse in the agricultural segment of our economy well could bring the house down in all the other segments.


New York: Negotiations are continuing for a merger of the major Eastern Orthodox churches in America. Archbishop Leonty, Russian Orthodox Metropolitan of North America, says his church is taking the lead in projecting a united Eastern Orthodox Church, embracing all national churches on the continent. The other principal church in the negotiations is the Greek Orthodox Church. Half a dozen other churches, such as the Serbian and Rumanian Orthodox Churches, also are involved. In all, the Orthodox Churches have a total membership of 6 million from Alaska through South America.


Washington: The Catholic hierarchy of the United States has defended church and private schools as an integral part of the nation’s educational system. It claims for them equal rights to grants or aids extended to public schools. This position was made clear in a 2,500-word statement issued at the end of a three-day conference by 208 cardinals, archbishops, and bishops. Now most of us appreciate fully the splendid work being done in church and private schools, and we recognize them as valuable parts of our system of education, but when it comes to granting them aids from public moneys, that is another matter. Again, most of us are committed rather strongly to the idea of separation of church and state, and we are not likely to depart from this commitment in the near future.


In Durant, Mississippi, the elders of the Presbyterian Church have called for the dismissal of their minister. He had defended two men accused of advocating racial integration. The Rev. Marsh Calloway defended Dr. D.R. Minter and A.E. Cox at a mass meeting last September. Minter and Cox were called before the meeting and told to leave the country. They were accused of racial integration by permitting mixed swimming on their farm. The Rev. Calloway told the mass meeting the action was “undemocratic and un-American.” The board of elders demanded his resignation. Church members will vote today.


London: Prime Minister Anthony Eden has refused to consider a demand for separation of church and state. He turned down a Laborite challenge to investigate lines between the Church of England and the government. The tie-up has been [going on] since Princess Margaret renounced her love for Peter Townsend because of church rules.


The head of the United Synagogue of America says the recent upswing in church membership poses a major challenge to every U.S church and synagogue. Charles Rosengarten [president of the World Council] of Waterbury, Connecticut, adds joining a church has become fashionable. But he asserts these people will not remain long if the emphasis on religion is on the social aspects of culture. He asserts they will not remain, and more will come, only if the churches help them find their place in the world in terms of their religious tradition. Rosengarten’s statements have been made at the United Synagogue’s Biennial Convention, at Kiamesha Lake, New York. He says U.S. church and synagogue membership has risen from 20 percent of the population 100 years ago to 60 percent today. The United Synagogue represents one million members of 585 congregations of Conservative Judaism in the U.S. and Canada.


Two Presbyterians in Tucson, Arizona, have given a 21,000-acre ranch to their national church. The $250,000 property north of Santa Fe, New Mexico, will be used by the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., for religious retreats, conferences, and similar programs. The donors are Mr. and Mrs. Arthur N. Pack. He is a retired ranch resort operator and active in Presbyterian and community programs in Tucson.


Two of the largest of the 16 Lutheran bodies in North America will soon begin to explore the possibility of organic union of all the groups. Representatives of the United Lutherans and the Augustana Lutherans will meet in Chicago, December 16 to issue invitations to merger talks early in 1956.


November 13, 1955

A few days after the Supreme Court ruled racial segregation in the schools invalid, two Presbyterian ministers met for lunch at a Washington, D.C., restaurant. Their conversation soon turned to the court decision. One of them said, “It is a great challenge for us. The church must prepare the people to accept integrated schools in a Christian spirit.” After a few moments of silence his companion answered, “I wonder if there is anything convincing we can say about brotherly love and racial understanding when the church itself is the most segregated institution in America.”

Here is perhaps one of the sorest spots in America’s Christian conscience. Many frontier thinkers on the subject believe that the churches are bringing up the rear in a battle that they should have led. Racial barriers have been disappearing in sports, theaters, trade unions, schools, and military service, but in the worship of the deity, in almost every community, it is almost entirely on a Jim Crow basis.

However, there are some bright spots, too. In 1946, a survey of racial practices of 17,900 churches of six Protestant denominations found only 860 racially mixed congregations. That the doors are opening in almost every part of the country is shown by a later survey by the National Council of Churches which checked 13,597 churches in three denominations and found 1,331, or nearly 10 percent with mixed congregations. This same survey revealed that the Presbyterians alone now have as many open door churches as the 1946 survey found in six denominations.

The Negro theologian, Dr. Frank T. Wilson of Howard University School of Religion pointed out the complexity of the problem when he said, “The churches will take longer to achieve integration because they are undertaking a much greater accomplishment. Worshiping together is a more personal thing than riding trains or attending movies together. Tolerance is not enough here; it must be real brotherhood or nothing.” And that is something about which we would all do well to ponder.


Among the materials that came across my desk was this item that struck me as having special significance for all of us who love children. It is a proposed 11th Commandment, and it reads like this:

“And this commandment I give unto you: honor they children, that their days may be long and happy ones. For where thou hast walked in ignorance, they shall tread the paths of wisdom. Where thou hast sown weeds of hatred, they shall cultivate the fruits of love. For they are a mirror reflecting the goodness and the iniquities of their elders. Live well and honor them.”

I am sure that many of us who have failed, consciously or unconsciously, to live up to this regret such failure. Children are the most wonderful people in the world, and if grown ups could have the souls and wisdom of children, there would be little of wars, strife, and other similar undesirable problems with which this world is at present beset.


Historian Arnold J. Toynbee has told Manhattan’s Union Theological Seminary something that is thought-provoking, albeit to some, highly controversial. Christianity, he says, must purge itself of accidental Western accessories and of its feeling of uniqueness if it is to be accepted in the future. Quoting his words, “We treat Christianity as if its virtues were not derived from being Christian, but from being Western.… One can believe that one has received exclusive revelation. Exclusive mindedness is one of the most fatal sins … the sing of pride … I suggest that we recognize all higher religions as revelation of what is good and right.”


And the somewhat perennial bogey regarding Catholicism crops up again in Mobile, Alabama, where Dr. Frederick H. Olert, pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia, roused a religious storm by telling a Reformation Day gathering that “The Roman Catholic Church is not at home in America. It wants to make this country predominantly a Roman Catholic country. It can and will win America unless Protestants heal their divisions and get together.” The Very Rev. Andrew C. Smith, Jesuit President of Alabama’s Spring Hill College, replied by saying that “If ever there was a time when all Christians ought to stand together, regardless of recognized differences, this seems to be the hour….” And to that, there is not anything much than can be said realistically to refute.


And another item that cropped up in the week’s news regarding Catholics is somewhat off the general trend. The church in general has taken a forthright stand on the segregation issue, both in its schools and churches in many places. From Jesuit Bend, Louisiana, we learn that a petition is being circulated by a group of Catholic laymen who are forming a citizens’ council to protest against assignment of Negro priests. Back of this move is a train of events that started when Jesuit Bend parishioners refused to let a Negro priest say Mass. Whereupon, Archbishop Joseph Francis Rummel suspended services in the parish. This action was praised by the Vatican newspaper. Thus far, Catholic schools are segregated in the New Orleans Diocese, but Negroes regularly attend most churches without regard to special seating arrangements. By custom, however, they usually take the back pews. Thus we have the issued drawn between church authorities and the laity. The latter says that integration is contrary to church teaching and that assignment of Negro priests is a step toward breaking down segregation barriers; while the reply of the former is that there shall be no discrimination in the matter of priest assignment. Certainly this reporter would not be so rash as to hazard a guess on the outcome, but he along with many others will be watching with keen interest this test of a principle.


A few weeks ago I mentioned the matter of restrictions upon the right to enter or leave the country, and reported that court decisions had made some headway in clearing this logjam. It now appears that the State Department’s passport policy is essentially unchanged in spite of the recent decisions to which I referred. Passports are still being denied for political reasons despite the ruling in the Shachtman Case that travel is a “natural right.” Further, the department persists in its refusal to confront the passport applicant with the witnesses against him. And it persists in its demand, made on a selective basis, that the applicant take a test oath. A case in point is that of Jane Foster Zlatovski, an American painter resident in Paris for nine years. She returned to the U.S. in November 1954 because of illness in her family. Her passport was seized four days after her arrival, thus separating her from her husband, home, and friends in France. For eight months the department refused to return the passport, and a court suit was instituted against the passport office. A few days later the department issued a temporary passport, and she returned to Paris. At the same time there has been set up within the department more complex administrative procedures for review of cases for fear of litigation. It now has a passport legal division, and adverse decisions are not made by the passport office itself until after clearance with the office of the legal advisor to the Secretary of State and Scott McLeod’s security office. Whether this further extension of bureaucracy will result in reliance upon law rather than administrative discretion and whims remains to be seen. It would appear that the precautions being taken by the department show that it is at least aware of the concern being shown over arbitrary denials of what the court has called a “natural right.”


Two important Jewish groups have listed four major areas in which they say religious freedom and the principle of separation of church and state have been infringed. The Synagogue Council of American and the National Community Relations Advisory Council name the areas as involvement of the public school in religious instruction, the use of tax funds for religious education and use of government property for religious purposes, compulsory Sunday laws, and curbs on building houses of worship in new residential communities. The two councils have written the Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights about their opinions. That followed the suggestion of the Senate group after cancellation of hearings on the Freedom of Religion Clause in the First Amendment.


The third heresy trial in the history of a United Lutheran Church Synod has found the accused minister guilty on five of six counts of doctrinal deviation. The U.C.L.’s Northwest Synod recommended then that the Rev. Victor K. Wrigley be suspended from his pulpit as pastor of Gethsemane Church in Brookfield, near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The minister was not present at the trial of earlier hearings, on the advice of his church council. He has served notice he will not be forced out as pastor.


A series of statutes about church government has been adopted by the Ninth All-American Convention of the Russian Orthodox Church in America. A statement says the step looks toward eventual merger into a United Eastern Orthodox Church of all such national groups in North America. But the statement also cites the reason for the action as political conditions in Russia that brought control of the church under a communist atheistic regime. One top official of the Russian Orthodox Church in America says no contact whatever exists with the church in the Soviet Union.


American Catholics can now read the seven so-called “Wisdom Books,” of the Old Testament in a modern English translation. They are included in a 72- page volume published Friday of this week under the sponsorship of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, an official adjunct of the U.S. Catholic hierarchy. It is the second volume to come off the press in the 11-year-old project of replacing the centuries-old Douay Version of the Bible with a complete new translation in up-to-date easily understood English. A previous volume containing the first eight books of the Old Testament appeared in 1952. Two more Old Testament volumes and one containing the books of the New Testament will be issued before the project is completed, probably in 1960.


The National Conference of Christians and Jews held its 27th Annual Meeting in New York this week. Highlight was the dedication of its new $1 million “Building for Brotherhood” [43 W. 57th St.]. The structure was built with funds donated by the Ford Motor Company Fund. President Eisenhower wrote from Denver in late October that “All of us must continue our efforts to promote a belief in brotherhood among people of varied backgrounds … to uphold the right to freedom of worship … to foster the individual citizen’s understanding and tolerance of his neighbor’s spiritual convictions.” The new building is to be the headquarters of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.


In Cleveland, Ohio, the Seventh National Assembly of United Church Women has heard a statement that a large part of the U.S. public has been deprived of an adequate ministry because of competition among Protestant churches. Dr. Stanley North of the Congregational Christian Church has also said denominational conduct has too often been like that of competing chain stores and gasoline stations.


A Methodist church official says his denomination’s Sunday classes’ enrollment is now at 6.5 million. The Rev. Walter Towner of the Methodist board of education has also told a Methodist Christian education conference in Cincinnati that this is a gain of almost .25 million this year.


November 6, 1955

The current issue of Time magazine reports something of an unusual development in faraway Western India. There some 100 Jain temples containing around 600 priests. The regimen of these priests consists in ritual prayers, guarding temple treasures, and abstaining from smoking and drinking. They eat before sundown because lamps would lure moths to destruction. They even wear white cloth pads over their noses and mouths to prevent their breathing from destroying gnats and germs. But even within these cloisters the secular age is penetrating. Recently some priests have been seen in public without their masks, have eaten in restaurants, and use lamps without thought for the safety of moths, etc. Recently these priests went even farther, for some 100 of them met and announced that their work in interceding with the gods is something like industrial employment, and they formed themselves into a union demanding a raise from $5 to $8 a month. They even want seven days of paid sick leave during the year, three week’s paid vacation, and retirement. Somewhat naturally, the rich Jains composing the temple committees objected, complaining “How can priests be dedicated to poverty if they go about forming unions and making wage demands?”


When the Nazis rounded up the Jews in Amsterdam, two-and-a-half-year-old Anna Beekman was slipped into the underground just in time. Her parents were gassed to death by the Germans. Eventually Anna was placed in the hands of five maiden sisters who were Catholic. Throughout the war Anna was safe. However, Dutch Jewish organizations, after the war, applied for her transfer to a Jewish foster family so she could be reared in the faith of her parents. The maiden sisters objected. Publicity ensued, and when a social worker went to the house to get Anna, she had disappeared. In March 1954 police raided a Belgian convent school and missed her by only a few minutes, but they had enough evidence to make again a wave of bitterness sweep over the Netherlands. The maiden sisters were arrested for hiding the girl, who had by now been baptized in the Catholic faith. The sisters were sentenced recently, but Anna is still missing. Commented the leaders of Amsterdam’s Jewish congregation, “Though only a single child is concerned, this case is a measuring rod for civilization and freedom.”


Several of you have wondered why so much of the time on this program has been devoted to the subject of American liberties. I had thought, rather hoped, that the reason was fairly obvious, though at times I have taken pains to make the application more direct and clear. To explain further my reason for emphasis on this subject, I should like to treat it somewhat more in detail.

When the settlers of America came here, doubtless they wanted to better their economic condition. But there were also great moral and political principles actuating them. These principles came to a focus with the drafting of the Constitution and its Bill of Rights. These documents together form the greatest pronouncements for freedom ever designed by man.

The rights and liberties set forth in the Constitution and Bill of Rights reflect the disabilities under which the people in the Old Countries lived. The new Constitution tried to make impossible in the new republic that long train of abuses with which the colonists were familiar. It is a document that gives effect to the principle of the worth of the humblest citizen, and seeks to protect the weak and unwise from the exploitation and abuse of the strong and ruthless. Insofar as a political document can do so, it seeks equality of privilege, justice, and opportunity. It seeks to prevent any discrimination because of religion, race, or previous condition of servitude. It protects citizens and aliens against the tyranny of a majority political or religious group. Its protection of property was meant to make the humblest citizen secure in his few possessions.

The dream, then, of our Founding Fathers was to bring forth on this continent a government of, for, and by the people; to protect freedom of conscience in religion; and to guarantee fullest expression of political views. It is the only constitution in existence that states as one of its purposes “to promote the general welfare” (and we become concerned about the possibility of developing into a welfare state).

Here in the U.S., we take for granted our American principles. In back of the provisions for civil rights were centuries of human misery. The framers of these documents well knew that. They erected a wall of law around the weak and helpless. Looking at the past each outrage on human dignity they asked, “How can this be prevented?”

This Constitution provides for separation of church and state and protects man in his holiest aspirations. It guarantees fundamentals of democracy and human dignity: the right to think, write, speak without coercion, to assemble peaceably, to petition, to educate, to propagandize, to influence minds and the course of events by human reason and persuasion. Under the provisions of these documents man became a man and entered into his birthright as a human being of worth, possessed of the right and privilege of making his contribution to the common welfare, the organization of that society of which he was a constituent part.

He was to be secure in his house, person, papers, against searches and seizures except on warrant for probable cause. He must not twice be put in jeopardy for the same cause. He must not be compelled to be a witness against himself. He must not be deprived of liberty or property without due process. These provisions corrected Old Country abuses.

Our history in action has not always lived up to either the letter or the spirit of these ideals. After World War I, e.g., there was a reign of terror under the notorious Attorney General Palmer who, it was claimed, expected to be made president by a grateful electorate. There was a familiar pattern: arrests without warrant, detention without charges preferred, trial by administrative agencies, excessive bail, deportation of aliens without court actions, anti-Semitism, racism, the Ku Klux Klan, and so on. The press apparently approved in many, perhaps most, instances.

There were attempts to suppress or hamper labor unions: spies, agents, provocateurs, police brutality, strikes broken, unions busted.

Fortunately tyrants are not immortal, and their places are taken by people who, sooner or later, slowly and painfully build back that which was destroyed.

Today is another era of reaction that at times runs counter to the principles enunciated in our basic documents. I suppose as the years pass and the history of this time is carefully studied and written, the verdict will be that this decade was one in which the powerful and wicked sometimes deliberately confused the public to make it hate what it loved and love what it hated. Certainly during this decade, many principles of Americanism have gone into eclipse and historic rights and liberties lost or infringed upon. In this topsy-turvy world, he who defends the Constitution and insists on constitutional rights is likely to be called a traitor, and we have seen communists-turned-spy wined, dined, and paid with taxpayer’s money.

But, again, it is some consolation to reflect that change is constant; that the hysteria through which we have been going seems to be subsiding. And it certainly is true that without adherence to the foregoing principles of government set forth in our basic documents, our freedoms of religion, speech, press, and all the others would be gone. It is for this reason that this program has more or less continually emphasized the importance of the political aspects of our society, for religion is concerned with all those elements of society that affect the well being of people, and without our constitutional safeguards, our well-being in every area of living would be restricted or destroyed.


Memphis: Delegates from more than 2,500 churches will attend the Tennessee Baptist Convention at Memphis. The three-day meeting opens Tuesday at First Baptist Church. Dr. Fred Kendall of Jackson is convention president.


A new diocese of the Greek Orthodox Church in the U.S. has its first bishop. The Very Rev. Polyefktos Finfinis will head the new See, the sixth of his church in the U.S. In it are Eastern Ohio, Northern West Virginia, and Western Pennsylvania. The prelate was installed this week as bishop of Pittsburgh by Archbishop Michael of New York, the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in North and South America. Bishop Finfinis was born in Istanbul, Turkey, and has been pastor of San Francisco’s Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church.


Agreement has been reached between the U.S. and Russia for an exchange of churchmen of the two nations. A U.S. Roman Catholic priest may now minister to the spiritual needs of U.S. Catholics in the Soviet Union, and a Russian church leader may do the same for Soviet Union nationals in the U.S. who belong to the Russian Orthodox Church. The Rev. Father Louis F. Dion of Worcester, Massachusetts, is expected to leave for Russia about December 1. To the U.S. will come the Russian Orthodox Archbishop Boris.

This ends a stalemate that began about six months ago. First, the U.S. refused to extend a visitor’s visa held by the archbishop, on the grounds the Russian Church serves political aims. Then Russia expelled the Rev. Father Georges Bissonette, like Father Dion, a member of the Assumptionist Order. Washington’s complaint that the two cases were not similar got no response. The State Department also argued the ouster of Father Bissonette violated the 1933 agreements under which the U.S. formally recognized the Soviet communist regime. The U.S. also stated Father Bissonette had to carry out his duties within his small Moscow apartment. But Archbishop Boris was free to travel in the U.S. and hold services in several churches. The new agreement avoids such disparity. But it sets up new curbs. Each churchman may minister only to nationals of his own country. The archbishop will have at most 400 parishioners (if all the Russian citizens in the U.S. go to his church). About half are in Washington and half in New York City. Father Dion will have the spiritual care of about 150 U.S. Catholics in the Soviet Union. Boris will not be permitted, now, to deal with Americans who follow Russian Orthodox teachings. But Father Dion will apparently not be permitted to minister to Roman Catholics of nations other than the U.S. and Russia who are in the Soviet Union.


The American Jewish Committee has challenged Russia to prove its “new look” is genuine. The committee says thousands of Jews are still in Russian jails or slave labor camps for no other reason than their religion. The committee has proposed a six-point test for the U.S. State Department to learn if the Russians have had a genuine change of heart. These include release of all persons in jail or slave labor camps on charges related to race, religion, or national origin … restoration to Russian Jews of true freedom of worship … and establishment of full freedom of movement for Eastern Europeans.

The committee notes communist countries recently made a few departures from Stalinist anti-Semitic policies. Among them are the small number of Romanian Zionist leaders released from prison … and a Russian magazine warning against anti-Semitism.


From Cleveland, Ohio: This week, the nation’s churches were urged to extend their social welfare services quickly and widely. The appeal from a body of the National Council of Churches stated such expansion is needed to cope with forces changing and enlarging the needs of U.S. citizens. The plea from the Protestant council’s Conference on Churches and Social Welfare asked church members to extend personal deeds of kindness into a highly organized system of social and health services. The meeting’s message to the churches also declared “immense social and economic forces are at work in our time changing American culture” and its very setting. Thus the increased social services are called for, to meet what the gathering termed “this panorama of need.”


October 30, 1955

A time or two before, I have dealt on this program with the matter of church membership growth. It is true that such membership in the U.S. is booming, but the statistics we have as to how big the boom is are often (perhaps always) inaccurate. Compilation of church statistics is the main source of information, i.e., the Yearbook of American [& Canadian] Churches, represents nothing more than the results gained from mailing blanks to statisticians of various religious bodies, who, in turn, have to rely upon unchecked estimates of local pastors. As for the matter of church attendance, there are few if any real statistics at all. It is interesting, however, to note that while population increase for 1954 was 1.7 percent, Protestant increase was 2.3 percent as to membership, while Catholic was 2.9 percent, a slight edge in favor of the Catholics. You might be interested in knowing, also, that the figures for last year, in round numbers, were: Protestant, 570,000,000; Roman Catholic, 32,000,000; Jewish, 5,000,000; and Eastern Orthodox, 2,000,000.


One of the things that many of us, especially teachers, are watching is the forthcoming White House Conference on Education. Back in January 1954, the president in a message to Congress requested a nationwide study be made to determine by investigation in every state of the union if the United States faced a crisis in education. Now none of us would deny the good of such a program, but for the fact that we had long known there was already such a crisis. As pointed out on this program some months ago, approximately a million dollars had been spent by the various appropriate agencies of government collecting and maintaining facts about this same crisis. Educators everywhere had pointed out the critical areas and pleaded for immediate relief. To their grave disappointment, instead of action, they got only words. For almost two years now, the preliminary work has come on. Upward of some 100,000 persons have taken part in the deliberations, and now the answers are to be given at the White House Conference? Just what will these answers be? Will they present a true picture? Will they be in the form of concrete recommendations? Will they set forth specific remedies?

Many of us who are more interested in the educational welfare of the oncoming generation have been disappointed at the delay, for we recognize that the growth of boys and girls needing educational facilities will not wait while politicians quibble over theories and formulas. Hence it is that we are waiting anxiously for what the answers will be, hoping that at last they will be more than additional conferences dealing in glittering generalities while the youth of the land continue to suffer from lack of those facilities which we are able to provide so generously.


This month the Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights of the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin hearings that could do much to inspire a rebirth of freedom. The enlightened acts of a few courageous jurists and national leaders, inspiring as they have been, can reveal only the pitfalls of certain measures and protect the rights of particular individuals. But the hearings of the subcommittee headed by Senator Hennings can expose the underlying fallacy in the security mania and its attendant witch-hunt. Just as the La Follette Civil Liberties Committee of the Senate helped establish the rights of organized labor in New Deal days, the Hennnings subcommittee conceivably can help restore the rights of all. This mania has cut across religious freedom, at times separation of church and state, has attacked the press and freedom of speech, as well as the right peaceably to assemble. Bishop Oxnam, e.g., was harassed by the House Un-American Activities Committee. So was the Jewish Culture Center of Pittsburgh when its assets were seized by a local court at the instigation of an outfit of self-appointed censors of the public mind and behavior.

Of course we have had other manias before. The Know Nothing outrages of 1800 – 1860 were directed primarily at Catholics, but also, perhaps mainly at all recent immigrants. Also, we dare not forget that the Ku Klux Klan terrorized Negroes, Jews, and Catholics.

We live today in a worldwide competition for ideas, and to assume that we must give up time-honored traditions of democracy to save that democracy does not make sense. It is hoped that the Hennings subcommittee will point that out.


All of you are aware that hardly an issue of your daily newspaper comes out but what some mention at least is made of the poor condition of our schools. Radio programs are devoted to it, and magazines carry articles pro and con as to the quality of our schools, and what can be done to improve that quality. For example, an article in September Harper’s insists that “Public Schools Are Better Than You Think,” by Sloan Wilson. This is the pro side.

Now, just how good schools are is difficult to measure. The sociologist estimates it in terms of culture: birth rate and death rate, auto accidents, water usage and sewage disposal, police and fie protection, divorce rate, consumption of liquor and patent medicines, truancy, dependency, delinquency, crime, health, including mental health, adequacy of agencies combating social pathology, religious instruction, racism, and so on almost indefinitely. On any sociological scale many of our schools would rate rather low…. But most of us in the field assert that the school system is basic to culture and its perpetuation.

The argument that school financing may safely be left to state and local districts is not impressive when the state of the nation’s schools is examined. That is what has been done and the school systems have not done the tremendous job assigned them. With the cry for lower taxes handed out to many of the people in many of the states, the outlook for more far-sighted spending for education is not bright. Federal taxation takes from all who can afford to pay and gives it back in education to those who cannot pay. Isn’t that democratic? Is that un-American? This reporter cannot see that, properly safeguarded, federal aid to schools is any more dangerous than federal aid to agriculture. Are corn, wheat, cattle, more important than our children? In my own case there is nothing more important than children generally, and my own in particular.


My mail contains, often, materials from many organizations; materials from some making sense; those from others seem rather far-fetched, naive, or what have you. I have one of the latter types before me now. Some of its contents are praiseworthy, if somewhat visionary at the present stage. They insist that we can produce enough food to feed all the world’s peoples; that we can provide medicine to conquer the dread diseases and ease the pain of the financial burden of common ailments (which may be true); and housing within the reach of all. Admitting that in theory all these are possible, it still remains to consider how practically it can be brought about within the next decade. But, the pamphlet goes on to laud the Summit Conference in July, describing it as “breaking the ten-year pattern of the Cold War” and ushering in “a new spirit of conciliation in international relations.” Well, within the past few days, since the foreign ministers’ conference has been meeting, we see, as of this moment, that the smiles of Geneva at the summit did not mean any essential compromise of points of view on the part of either the Russians or the West.

It lauds the Austrian peace treaty as a great demonstration of concession by the Russians, and calls it one of the main ‘deeds not words’ actions which Eisenhower called upon Russia to show some months ago. Well, the sincerity and good faith of the Austrian treaty can be determined only by time and future events. It is not too pessimistic, however, to speculate that Austria may well be the focal point of future maneuvers that may bring the whole of the country behind the Iron Curtain.

The pamphlet, as a whole, savors of either unrealism or a more subtle motive of deliberately displaying things as they are not. As I pointed out some weeks ago, the struggle between the East and West is a fundamental one: one in which both sides must make at least the minimum concessions here and there in order to permit two systems to coexist. But we would do well to read between the lines of propaganda sheets designed to lull us into believing the unreal.


The Catholic Church apparently has established a firm foothold in the South, long a center of hostility to Catholicism. Catholic dioceses in 17 Southern and border states had a membership of 4,157,000 at the beginning of this year, a gain of more than 40 percent over 1945. The Catholic population in North Carolina has nearly tripled in 10 years. It has approximately doubled in South Carolina, Virginia, and Florida. Despite these gains, only about 20 percent of the population in the South is Catholic.


Atlantic City: The president of the New Jersey Congress of Parents and Teachers has opposed proposals for excusing children from public schools for religious training. Mrs. A.G. Link told the group’s convention that the similarities among school children should be emphasized, rather than their differences.


A leading Catholic organization says the nation would be better off if government officials spent less time talking about God and more time serving him. The National Council of Catholic Men said, “Many people, including senators, congressmen, and others high up” seem to have discovered that “pious expressions are good public relations.” An editorial in the organization’s publication said these gestures would be fine “if we could see more evidence that our public leaders really” carry their expressions out in practice.


Pope Pius XII warned teachers that no education method will be successful if it spurns Christian principles. He spoke to members of an Italian education association. And from Washington comes news that Pope Pius has appointed the Most Rev. Joseph McCracken as coadjutor bishop with the right of succession to the Most Rev. Robert Armstrong, bishop of Sacramento, California. McCracken was formerly auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles.


From Vatican City comes news that the Vatican newspaper has denounced the race segregation politics of the South African government. In a bitter editorial, it has called them “unjust and immoral.”


Russia is still stalling on the admission of an American priest seven months after he asked permission to go to Moscow. The Rev. Louis Dion, of the Order of Assumptionists, of Worcester, Massachusetts, applied for entry last March. So far he has received no word of whether Russia will admit him.


Services throughout the U.S. today by individual churches and in community worship will mark the 438th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. In them, Luther argued against indulgences and for a new understanding of repentance. Other breaks with the church had been made before, and still more came later, even with the new movement. But Luther’s stand was the first to expand fast. The Lutherans have commemorated the day, October 31, 1517. Other Protestant churches have also marked it. But the interdenominational services have been a long time arriving. Some 300 communities will see united worship for this year’s Reformation Sunday. In 1950, only about 50 communities had such inter-church services. In many churches and community services today, the concluding hymn will be Luther’s famous “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”


The 153rd Annual Massachusetts Baptist Convention has heard from the church’s national president that “The church needs to adopt a more vigorous approach to bring more men into the fold.” The statement is from Frank A. Nelson of Racine, Wisconsin, a layman. The Baptist meetings at Haverhill, Massachusetts, also have been told by him that the church has certainly been too reticent for a courageous active faith on the part of its men.


Jewish-sponsored Brandeis University, at Waltham, Massachusetts, is breaking with a long-time U.S. collegiate tradition. It has three separate chapels on its campus for worship by Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant students. Almost every other U.S. college or university has but one chapel built for one form of worship, but usually open to all. Dedication services for the three chapels will be delivered today by Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan. The scene will be the common ground adjacent to the chapels.




October 23, 1955

For the past two or three weeks, references have been made briefly to the debt that Christianity has to Judaism. Yet, it is a safe guess that few of us know, or take the trouble to find out, what Judaism itself is like. Christians have at times crusaded to convert Jews as if they were engaging in a rescue. On the other hand, Jews themselves show no missionary zeal. In the main, Judaism has been the religion of one people, trying to keep their covenant with God. The Jewish tradition holds that some day this covenant will include all humanity.

In recent years the question [has arisen] of whether modern Judaism should abandon its somewhat neutral position and assume a missionary role. Again, it is … a safe guess that it is unlikely to do so in the near future.

Unlike some other religions, Judaism has never held to the idea that there is no salvation outside that particular faith. Instead, it recognizes all righteous men as sharing in the world to come. Non-Jews need only obey the Seven Laws of Noah – the covenant God made with all mankind, instead of the 365 negative and 248 positive injunctions of the Jewish law.

Those among the Jews who seem most sympathetic to the establishment of Jewish missions are the liberal group, officially known as Reform Jews; and yet it is those who have the least to offer, for it is they who live least like the Orthodox Jews of the Old Testament days and most like the non-Jewish Christians around them. The liberal, indeed any other, Jew would hardly lay claim to personal salvation of the individual. But the Jews do believe that the plans for God’s kingdom on earth have been delivered into their keeping: that Judaism, as the religion with the most positive approach to all aspects of human life, holds the best promise for enrichment of the earthly life of mankind as a whole. As a good friend of mine, ex-Rabbi Franzblau once remarked, “We’d rather work to make good Catholics better, good Protestants better, than to work to make either one of them a poor member of the Jewish faith.” And that about sums up the traditional attitude of Judaism toward missions, and that tradition is likely to continue for some time to come.


Five witnesses were announced this week in the first interdenominational competition in social welfare conducted by the National Council of Churches. Dr. Robert Thomas of Sevierville, Tennessee, was recognized for “Outstanding Achievement in Church-related Social Work.” He has been called the “Albert Schweitzer of the Smokies.” The Church of All Nations in Los Angeles will be cited also for outstanding social welfare in its community. Dr. Leonard Mayo of New York, executive director of the Association for the Aid of Crippled Children will be cited for contributions to the social welfare of the nation. Similar honors will go to Chaplain Russell Dicks of Duke University and professor John C. Bennett of Union Theological Seminary in New York City. All five will receive their citations in Cleveland during the first national Conference on Churches and Social Welfare, November 1 – 4.


A Minneapolis man who describes himself as an atheist has started action to prevent the government from paying chaplains in the Armed Forces. He says his right to religious freedom is being violated. The action was taken by 73-year-old Frank Hughes.


Francis Cardinal Spellman, the archbishop of New York, says he hopes this year’s national Catholic Youth Week “will help strengthen America’s family ties.” The observance will be held October 30 – November 6.


Protestant groups in Highland, Indiana, are preparing to go to court to demand that a 20-foot crucifix be removed from a public park. The cross was dedicated this week in ceremonies attended by 4500 persons. It was built by the Knights of Columbus, a Roman Catholic organization, as a monument to veterans of all wars. Protestants say the crucifix is a “symbol of the Roman Catholic Church.”


Washington: The American Federation of Labor President George Meany has been given the highest award that can be presented to a Catholic layman in the U.S., the Laetare (lay-tah’-ray) Medal. In making the presentation the Most Rev. Patrick O’Boyle, Archbishop of Washington, called the 61-year-old former plumber “the number one labor leader in the free world.”


Milwaukee: The Rev. Victor Wrigley, pastor of a Lutheran church in Brookfield, has been formally charged with six acts of heresy, including a denial of the virgin birth and the resurrection. He is the third Lutheran minister in the Milwaukee area to be charged with heresy in recent months.


Understanding ears seem not only to have heard the prayers of a young Korean orphan who wants to be the Billy Graham of his country, but the possessor of those ears did something about it. President William F. Foster of the Merit Clothing Company in Mayfield, Kentucky, says he has wired authorities that he is willing to sponsor the 19-year-old youth’s studies in the U.S. The lad’s desire to be a minister is traced by a U.S. army chaplain to the time he heard Billy Graham preach in Korea. The chaplain taught the boy to read and write English from hymnbooks and the Bible. Another friend says he preached the finest sermon of his life when the youth was his interpreter in Korea. The boy, Park Bon Il, has won a sponsorship that may enable him to accept a scholarship at Campbellsville, Kentucky, at a Baptist junior college. Park, or “Mike,” as he was known after he “joined” the U.S. Army, lived with Dr. and Mrs. John A. Abernathy of the Southern Baptist mission in Korea awhile. They are leaving soon and Mike has written his old chaplain friend that he wants to go to college in America, and then return to Korea as a preacher.


British historian Arnold Toynbee says man’s work must be vitally related to religion if the work is to be healthy and beneficent. He has also told the Church and Work Congress of the Protestant Episcopal Diocese of Albany, New York that the price of salvation is the same as the price of liberty: eternal vigilance. Toynbee adds the exercise of this vigilance cannot be delegated to the public authorities. The historian says each of us must keep watch over himself, in the hope and with the help of God’s grace.

New York’s Governor Averell Harriman was also a speaker to the Episcopal gathering. He declared that unless the Free World sets as its goal the elimination of misery and hunger from the earth, out great production and productive capacity may crush us.


Roman Catholic Archbishop Patrick O’Boyle of Washington says the Catholic Church believes that labor unions are desirable. He has termed them necessary to protect workers’ interests and develop a sound social order.


Two Argentine Roman Catholic Church officials have left New York City for their homes and the posts they were deported from last June. Former dictator Juan Peron had exiled the Rev. Manuel Tato, auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires, and Monsignor Ramon Novoa, his vicar, during the revolt against Peron. Now the prelates have been invited to return by Argentina’s provisional president Eduardo Lonardi. The provisional government has annulled the law that Peron’s regime used to gag or jail critics for expressing disrespect for the president and his top aides. Under that law, scores of Catholic priests were arrested and jailed, many on charges of voicing disrespect form the pulpit.


One of the ironies in the news recently is the refusal of the city of Providence, Rhode Island, to accept a statue of Thomas Paine because the hero of the American Revolution “was and remains a controversial figure.” In reply it should be emphasized that the struggle for American freedom, to which Paine’s writings contributed greatly, was a struggle to establish the rights of all men to speak their minds freely, without fear of penalty or repression by government. Exchange of opinions, however controversial they may be, is a hallmark of the kind of democracy that we have built into our history as a nation, and it represents the free exercise of the liberties epitomized in our own Bill of Rights. If such an outstanding historic figure as Thomas Paine can now be denied a place in Rhode Island, a state noted during its colonial days for liberal thought in speech, religion, and about all the other freedoms, one cannot help but wonder what this world of ours here in the United States is coming to. Are such people as Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and others of our great men, one by one, to be pilloried, figuratively speaking, years after their great contribution to the American way of life has become much a part of that way that we ofttimes fail to remember who contributed what?


In the fight to put into practice the decree of the Supreme Court regarding segregation in the public schools, Time magazine a short time ago ran a story, featuring Thurgood Marshall, but also containing something of a report card on the states as to how well or how unwell they were moving toward what the Court declared unanimously and unequivocally to be the law of the land. This report card runs something like this:

Those states receiving a grade of “F” were the following: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. The states receiving a grade of “D” were Florida and Virginia. Arkansas got a “C+” while North Carolina racked up a “C-“. The “C” states were Delaware, Tennessee, and Texas, while those states receiving an “A” were Missouri and West Virginia. It is doubtful if the rating of Tennessee would be changed much by the recent Memphis court decree approving the admission of Negroes to graduate schools this year, senior college next year, and presumably eligibility for enrollment in first grade by 1972.


During the coming week there will be observed United Nations Day, a day set aside to pay tribute to our only organized hope for one world, slim and despairing as that hope seems to be at times. Some of the voices opposing the United Nations today are indeed strange ones, and the arguments they give sound unappealing. Some of us can remember, either from personal experience or from our reading of history, the great vision of Woodrow Wilson who envisioned a league devoted to keeping peace among nations. Our experience with that League [of Nations] throughout the 1920s and 1930s showed how very unrealistic were some of the things we expected of it in the light of the lack of willingness on our part to clothe it with real powers to act. This unwillingness to grant more than a semblance rather than a substance of power caused the gradual collapse of this effort at collective security. And when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 there was nothing for the league to do but go into eclipse.

Many of use were sadly disappointed that in the formation of the United Nations the powers that be showed a willingness to concede little more than they had done in 1919 in connection with the league. Yet, despite the weaknesses in the United Nations, it is the only continuing agency we have in which to promote world public opinion through the forum process.

So it is that this week, Christians and Jews will be among those marking the 10th United Nations anniversary this weekend. At New York’s Protestant Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine, President Eisenhower’s special assistant Harold E. Stassen will speak this afternoon. Yesterday, Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Rabbis in Jewish congregations all over the country offered a prayer that read, in part, “We pray earnestly for the United Nations and for the nations united, that they may find the way to goodness transformed into life, to justice revealed in the processes of living, and to peace discovered through the abandonment of bloodshed and wars.”

At 4:00 tomorrow afternoon, a U.N. anniversary program on WJHL-TV will be given with Mrs. Betsy Harrel acting as coordinator. A representative from Korea and another from Lebanon will discuss “what the United Nations means to our country, and why we came to America to study.” This discussion will be largely of the interview type with the coordinator. After this, Dr. James E. Sutton, assistant professor of history at East Tennessee State College will be on hand to answer questions regarding the United Nations. And knowing Dr. Sutton pretty well, I can assure you that his answers will be reliable and well worth knowing. Watch your radio and TV page and newspapers for more materials regarding observation of this important day.


This last item is something of an innovation, but one of the three people who are the most important persons in my scheme of things is observing her birthday anniversary today, and I wish to take this occasion to wish her sincerely a happy and successful one.



October 16, 1955

We hear a great deal these days of guilt by association. Why not innocence by association? It is susceptible to the same logic. If writing for a radical magazine makes a man radical does not an article in a conservative periodical establish the author as a conservative? I wonder sometimes if … government snoopers have heard of the philosophy called logic. Pick any of their victims and you would find that he has likely associated with more conservative papers than radical ones, listens to more conservative sermons that radical ones, hears more reactionary ideas over the radio and TV than radical ones. Is it only radical ideas that are catching? It is … highly doubtful that any of us have found it to be so. Yet the implications in all the smear campaigns have been that only radical ideas … identify the ideology of the individual: that only radical articles signify the viewpoint of the author.


And an educational quote comes to the reporter at this point which seem seems worth passing on to you. It goes like this: “John Ruskin said that education does not mean teaching people what they do not know. It means teaching them to behave as they do not behave.” It is a painful and difficult work to be done by kindness, by watching, by warning, … and by praise, but above all, by example.


A lot of nonsense is being talked about regarding a return to the primitive church as a condition to one big union of Christian bodies. The assumption seems to be that there was a unity of belief and practice in the primitive church. I have seen no proof of that; instead, there is almost always found the opposite. There never appears to have been delivered one faith once and for all time to the saints. The Christian church was born in controversy, and it has been in controversy throughout history. An evolving culture discovers new religious needs and demands new answers. New ideas conflict with the old; hence conflict and controversy. It is all a part of the glorious struggle for truth, which is one definition of the practice of religion.


The Secretary of Defense Advisory Commission on Prisoners of War reports that many POWs informed on their prison mates with dire consequences for the victims. How are you going to cut down on ratting when a whole generation in this country is being brought on to believe that informing is an obligation? A generation that sees teachers punished and discharged for refusing to inform cannot help but gather that the smart guy talks and save his skin in the process.


This brings up with cogency what teachers themselves think as they survey the scene, their position in it, and the jobs they have to do. The current issue of the American Educator points up with concise clarity the major wishes of teachers in connection with their jobs.

First, is the matter of higher salaries. An average salary for classroom teachers nationwide is about $3,750. This is somewhat more than $70 a week; … stenographers and unskilled factory workers get more than that. At a recent meeting of state university professors, it was reported that professors frequently make less than electricians working on new dormitories on the college campus. Certainly higher salaries would do much to restore morale and promote good will among teachers. The present teacher shortage will get progressively worse unless salaries are raised high enough to induce superior men and women to go into classroom teaching.

Second, teachers want better working conditions. Increased enrollments and higher operating costs of class size have increased in school systems throughout the land. Teachers contend rightly that increase in class size or class load decreases their ability to do their job adequately. It is not possible to give the right kind of guidance and individual attention to a class of 45 students, and reports indicate from all over that this is not an unusual size. But this is only one phase of the program. Teachers feel that they are overburdened with paperwork, extracurricular activities, etc., that should not be part of the teacher program. Why make a second-rate clerk out of a first-class teacher? … Much of the teacher’s time is devoted to … serving as hall monitor, supervising children in the classroom, etc. More time should be available for classroom work and less to other teaching duties.

Third, teachers want community status. They want recognition that comes with any respectable profession yet they complain that they rarely get even a modicum of community status. While the person of intelligence is sought by government and industry, that same type of person often is looked down upon in the teaching profession. The term “egghead” derisively is one indication of the community attitude. One reason community status is low is that many members of society measure status in terms of wealth, and teachers are near the bottom of the ladder in this respect.

Fourth, teachers desire more democracy within the school system. For the most part, the American public school system does not call upon the teacher to make school policy. This is the job of the administrator: president, superintendent, principal; but the teachers object to an autocratic attitude on the part of those in administrative position. They want to have more freedom in the classroom, to teach without fear of the principal walking into the room and ordering them around. As Benjamin Fine, editor of an educational magazine puts it, “Teachers should have a say in what goes on in school. How can we enjoy our work if we were treated like so many puppets.”

Incidentally, I came across another item in my reading this week about the relative shifting of salaries of teachers. It points out that the average salary increase of factory production workers far outstripped the rise in urban teachers’ pay during the years 1941 to 1953. Teacher salaries rose by about 93 percent while the hourly earnings of factory workers increased by some 155 percent. This comes from a U.S. Department of Labor bulletin on statistics entitled Changes in City Public School Salaries.


A publication just out that has commanded thoughtful reading and stimulated much soul searching is a volume entitled Speak Truth to Power: A Quaker Search for an Alternative to Violence. Those who saw it in proof, men like Robert M. Hutchins, Lewis Mumford, Erich Fromm, and others of like stature, pleaded at once for the widest possible discussion and debate of the study, however much some disagreed with part or all of the Quaker alternative to present American foreign policy. This reporter has not had a chance to read the entire book, but he has had a chance to read something about this somewhat revolutionary approach in the search for peace. Its main theme is not strictly pacifist. It tries not to preach religious truth, but to show how it is possible and why it is reasonable to give practical expression to it in the great conflict that now divides the world.


Another volume worthy of note is entitled Nine Men, by Fred Rodell, professor of law at Yale University. In this volume, which is not a debunking one at all, he tears aside the robes and ritual, the ceremony and secrecy, and re-evaluates the justices of the Supreme Court not as gods from Olympus, but as men not above politics and personal motivations. Fascinating behind-the-scenes stories about John Marshall, Rover B. Taney, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Charles Evans Hughes, Louis Brandeis, Benjanim N. Cordozo, and many other famous jurists, past and present.

October 9, 1955

One of the things we need to remind ourselves with respect to religion is that the central figure of Christianity, Jesus, probably did not mean to found a new religion. Christianity began as a Jewish sect. Jesus lived and died in the Jewish faith. Probably he was an ethical teacher of the order of prophets like Amos, Micah, and others. We can appreciate the contribution that Judaism made to Christianity and the philosophy of religion in general when we consider the historical and philosophical framework out of which Christianity arose. Our debt to Judaism is great, and we should not forget its significance.


One of the interesting, if necessarily unfortunate, comments, about our newspapers is the avidity with which they assisted Joe McCarthy smear people who had not been convicted of disloyalty to the country. Newspapers brought him to cities, feted him, and made something of a hero out of his professed efforts to save the country. Now that he is in the doghouse, those same papers join in lambasting him. Perhaps this is one of the ironies of human nature. The biographies of the great and good show how seldom they go to the defense of the unpopular – Ingersoll, Atgeld, Darrow, and Debs are some examples that come to mind.


Turning from these liberals to the question of liberalism itself, it might be pertinent to point out that the heart of liberalism is revolt against finality. The heart of scholarship is critical analysis…. Some soft heads call this tearing down religion, the social order, or whatever it is that is being criticized at the moment. Not only should we scrutinize the religious claims of the past and of current propositions, propositions put out to win friends and influence people, but we should also contentiously reexamine the parts and points of our own religion in the light of more information and further contemplation. I am well aware that historically this has been called heresy. But a heretic is not necessarily an unreligious or an irreligious person; he may be merely a skeptic seeking light, the light of truth.

In religion, liberals hold that all relations between men should be ideally based on free consent, not coercion. With whatever intelligence they have, men should in loving concern join freely with others in searching for the truth, more effectively to meet the problems of everyday life and to make their positive contribution to the common good. To do this is not always easy. Sometimes it is indeed very hard to stand up for what one is convinced to be right – to take the course of action one knows he ought to pursue, especially when it runs counter to the mood of the crowd.

Being a Methodist myself, I may be excused for insisting that the church should be a democratic institution – of, by, though not entirely for, the congregation. The congregation consists of those who, as legal members may cast their votes in matters pertaining to the church. In order to participate, then, in the corporate thinking and action of the church, those seeking membership pledge themselves to the code and creed of that church, and through doing so should increase their personal satisfaction and greater usefulness to themselves and to the community.

In essence, then, liberalism is not that “God’s in this heaven and all’s right with the world,” nor that “It doesn’t matter what one thinks,” or that “Everyone is right.” Such attitudes reveal flabby thinking and feeling. However, the essence of liberalism is, in a sense a revolt, a revolt against the unfairnesses and social injustices of the time, or whatever time. It is a passion for truth and justice.


Something that is unique is happening up in Massachusetts. There controversy over a so-called crime commission has been moving forward for sometime. This controversy has so aroused public interest that it would appear it is going to be established with adequate funds to support its activities. However, it is reported that the underworld has on deposit in a Boston bank $200 million to battle any probe the commission may start. If these alleged facts are true, they illustrate well how easy it is to secure funds from entrenched interests, interests that are inimical to the welfare of the public.


The following is admittedly abstracted from an editorial appearing in The Spectator, a prominent newspaper in London. It sets forth succinctly some aspects of the world picture that are sober and thought-provoking. It says, “A sober man might be forgiven for letting the peals of boyish laughter from Marshal Bulganin’s diplomatic parties go in one ear and out the other. Not that there is any reason to grudge the Russians their newfound affability … but it would be a thousand pities if people here in America mistook manner for matter and began to believe that our troubles are over.… The situation today is precisely as it was before Geneva. Russia has given away nothing but a few merry parties and appropriately jolly words. Nor is there any sign that Russia will be likely to make any concessions when the hard bargaining begins at the foreign ministers’ conference. This is the point at which, before we sun ourselves into forgetfulness, we should recall that the entire system in which Eastern Europe lies frozen is contrary both to the general principles which must inform the policies of the West and to the Yalta and Potsdam agreements and the various peace treaties. The democratic parties are suppressed. Their leaders are in exile, in prison, or dead. Anybody suspected of sympathy with their forbidden ideals does not long remain at liberty.”

And, The Spectator concludes, “The aim of the West is to see Russia back behind the frontiers of 1939, and the peoples of Eastern Europe freed from the yoke that presses so tyrannically down upon them. The aim of Russia is to radiate peace ever more intensely while not budging an inch, yielding nothing, making no concessions. That is what the new diplomacy is about, and the West is in for a nasty shock if it permits itself to imagine that there will be anything easy or friendly about the coming negotiations.”

Well there it is. What do you think of the editor’s summation of the situation?


This next item is one which, as you might suspect, I view with some perturbation, for if it should work out, teachers might be replaced by that process we might call automation, though that is hardly the word – TV is the one.

It points out that researchers at Pennsylvania State University report that television can be a cheap and practical means of overcoming teacher shortages in colleges and universities. They found that students, when measured by objective achievement tests, measured up to scores made by students actually in the classroom. Dr. C.R. Carpenter, who directed the project under the sponsorship of The Fund for Advancement of Education, says, “The system has great promise as one means of meeting the critical problem of rapidly expanding college enrollments.” This feature of expense received primary consideration from Dr. Carpenter and his assistants. If television proved costly, its usefulness as an educational medium would be harmed.

In actual practice, lectures were given to more than 360 students in general chemistry, general psychology, and psychology of marriage. Laboratory work and recitations were conducted in the usual manner. Reported comparison of results showed no differences in informational learning between students taking the TV courses and those taking the standard courses.

Understandably enough, while the students generally approved of televised lectures, faculty members were not so quick to accept it, demanding more proof of the feasibility of the project. In summing up faculty reaction, Dr. Carpenter said, “Faculty personnel, as a whole, have yet to be convinced of the effectiveness and acceptability of the plan.” To which this reporter can only comment, “Humph!”

September 25, 1955

A penetrating investigation of the American religious scene is contained in a book just off the press entitled Protestant, Catholic and Jew, by Jewish author Will Herberg. Among many other things, it reveals that Americans are very inconsistent in some respects regarding religion. It reports that a recent survey reveals that over 80 percent of Americans say they believe the Bible to be the “revealed word of God.” But another, apparently equally valid survey reveals that 53 percent of those same Americans were unable to name even one of the four Gospels. (This would appear to be something like the citizen who said that he believed in and would die for the Monroe Doctrine, but that he did not know what it was.) But back to the Herberg volume: it cites a panel of 28 prominent Americans who, when asked to rate the 100 most significant happenings in history, rated the crucifixion fourth, making it a tie with the flight of the Wright brothers and the discovery of x-rays.

The author goes on to point out that “While the Jewish-Christian law of love is formally acknowledged, the truly operative factor is the value system embodied in the American way of life. Where the American way … approves of love of one’s fellowmen, most Americans … assert that they practice such love; where the American way … disapproves, the great mass of Americans do not hesitate to confess they do not practice it, and apparently feel very little guilt for their failure.”

Which of course, from a theological standpoint does not make sense. In such circumstances, religion becomes merely a support of or bolster to secular ways of living, leaving little opportunity for it to determine those ways. It would appear that a new kind of secularism is flourishing that uses and supports religion, but fails to let it be a primarily determining factor in the way of life of the people.

The author summarizes something of his convictions in this connection by saying that “The familiar distinction between religion and secularism appears to be losing much of its meaning under present day conditions. Both the religionists and the secularists cherish the same basic values and organize their lives on the same fundamental assumptions.” And just what that leads us to spiritually and theologically, this reporter will not even hazard a guess.


Much satisfaction and relief have been felt, at least temporarily, by the common man throughout the world as a result of the seemingly more peaceful atmosphere in world affairs following the Geneva meeting. Something the president said there is of basic importance in trying to find a solution to basic international problems, and one cannot help but wonder if he knew the full significance of what he was saying. His words were these: “There can be no true peace which involves acceptance of a status quo in which we find injustice to many nations, repressions of human beings on a gigantic scale, and with constructive effort paralyzed in many areas by fear.” And, one could add, with equal pertinence, this applies within countries as well as between them, even within our own. Change is an order of life, and here in the U.S. we have generally found a way of accommodating that change by law. But there are some powerful segments in the American public that find it difficult to accept orderly change. To many of them, their slogan is “Let’s march ahead to yesterday.”

In this country great economic progress has been obtained by labor division and by capital saving and concentration. But with the increase in the size of units of production, with the relatively less significant part the individual worker plays in the whole productive process, workers have, quite naturally, turned to organization and collective bargaining in order to make their voices felt in the marketplace. There are those who would stamp out these organizations through pressure group tactics upon legislative bodies and through propaganda to the public. Slogans like the “right to work” are paraded under the guise of sign points to democracy, when actually their ultimate effect, if successful, would be to kill off labor unions as effectively as did the Stalins, the Hitlers, and other tyrants. Admittedly there have been excesses by labor organizations. Some of them have come under the control of undemocratic cliques, but the same could be said for many other types of organizations, even churches. And a wrong committed by a labor union is just as wrong, and no more, as the same wrong done by the National Association of Manufacturers. The point is that much of the material betterment of the workingman has come about through the functioning of his labor organizations. This material betterment has meant improved shelter for his family, better medical care, education, vacations, more of a feeling of independence and self-respect, and more of a recognition that he has a stake in the functioning of American democracy. Those interested in the promotion of human welfare and social justice could hardly be expected to be misled by the slogans and propaganda of self-seeking and selfish pressure groups whose campaigns are garnished with sweet sounding words, but whose ultimate objectives are in reality gall and wormwood insofar as the masses of the workers are concerned.


The next item is passed along to you for whatever it may be worth and without comment by this reporter. In fact, it needs no comment, for it speaks for itself. It bears a New York dateline with an INS signature, with a byline of the well-known newspaperman, Bob Considine. He points out that the Rev. Carroll R. Stegall, Jr., pastor of the Pryor Street Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, is carrying on something of a one-man crusade against so-called faith healers on television. Preacher Stegall “bows to no man in his respect for the power of prayer,” but he believes that “when it is used as a gimmick at a televised revival at which the hat is passed,” it is time for righteous indignation. He is quoted as writing in The Presbyterian Outlook that “The modern Pentecostal claim that they (the healers) have recovered the apostolic gift of miraculous healing is a fraud.” He believes that they have manufactured a new cult using age-old tricks of suggestion and psychological cant. So far from glorifying God with this, they cause his name to be blasphemed among the worldly by their excesses. So far from curing, they often kill.

The Rev. Stegall did his research on this subject the hard way, being arrested once at least by Atlanta police for disturbing public worship when in fact he was taking notes, interviewing the lame and blind at one of the healing orgies. His findings about what happens to those that are really ill, lame, etc., is rather shocking. He writes: “No healer will come near any really crippled or disabled person at all if he can possibly avoid it. I have seen many desperate cases at every meeting I have attended…. Night after night they are avoided like the plague. When pressed for an explanation, the healers profess to be able to discern those who have faith – which is never found among those really sick, it seems.

“If one of these does by mischance get into the line, the healer will say, ‘Get up here on the platform with me and wait until the line is over, and then I will give you special attention’…. Needless to say these promises are never kept.”

Well, there are the findings of one person who has apparently done painstaking research in the matter and whose faith in matters religious and spiritual is unquestioned.


A Lutheran church council committee investigating heresy accusations against a pastor has asked him to appear before it in October. The Wisconsin Conference of the United Lutheran Church told the Rev. Victor Wrigley to appear before the committee Tuesday of last week. Layman Ralph Ward of the congregation appeared instead. He discussed the congregation’s objection to the appearance for nearly three hours. Dr. Paul Bishop of Minneapolis, president of the Northwest Synod of the Church and head of the committee, abandoned the hearing until October 7. But he said Wrigley is expected to appear along with members of the congregation.


Over the next three years the World Council of Churches will make an international study and appraisal of Christian responsibility in areas of rapid social change. This applies particularly to the countries of Asia and Africa. The study has been made possible by a $260,000 gift of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. It will be directed by Dr. Robert Bilheimer of New York who last year was executive for the 2nd Assembly of the World Council. He is now an associate general secretary of that organization. The assembly set up the division of studies which says its task is for arousing Christian thinking and acting in regard to issues of world import, and about which there is not sufficient clarity or unity of thought.


Enrollment in the nation’s Sunday schools which is expected to reach record proportions this year, [?] will mark the official opening on Rally Sunday of Christian Education Week which is to be observed by most Protestant churches today through October 2. The 1955 theme is “Go make disciples of all.” Churches throughout the country will carry out programs of home visitation to enlist interest of parents as well as children in Christian education. For the first time, many churches will invite parents to attend the year’s first Sunday school classes for children.


Washington’s 139-year-old history-laden St. John’s Episcopal Church has been found to be so near collapse that it will cost $350,000 to put it into good shape. But the chairman of the building committee, Miles Colean, is not sure where the money is coming from for the permanent repairs. Despite the history which makes it a stop for countless tourists, St. John’s is not a wealthy church.

Known as the “Church of the Presidents” because every president since James Madison has at least visited it, the structure is in appalling condition. The rector, the Rev. Dr. C. Leslie Glenn, commented, “I don’t know what was holding it up, if it wasn’t the grace of God.” (Which this reporter might comment upon by saying, without any sacrilege, that this is laying a great deal of material stress upon an intangible concept.) However, the first sign of trouble came when workmen trying to do a minor plaster repair of the dome, found laths sprung loose and so eaten by termites that most of the plaster was in danger of falling. An engineering survey gave the true picture of how badly a nearly complete overhaul is needed.


Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, starts this evening as a climax to the 10-day period of prayer and penitence marking the start of the New Year for world Jewry. During the 24 hours until sunset Monday, religious Jews will fast and pray. It is in that Day of Atonement that they believe that Jehovah writes the Book of Life in which each man hopes to be inscribed for a good year.

September 18, 1955

If, one year ago, anyone in public office had suggested that the heads of the so-called Big Four would sit down together and try to find approaches to settlement of the issues of the Cold War, he would have been branded as an appeaser, a crackpot, or downright subversive. As late as April of this year there were headlines warning of shooting hostilities off the China coast, hostilities that many serious students feared might trigger the whole world into a nuclear struggle.

Since the Geneva meeting of the heads of state, millions of words have been written and spoken, in an effort to evaluate the meaning of the rapid and, on the surface at least, cheerful developments that took place there. Commentaries as to the meaning of what took place range from the sentimentality of those who would have us see it all as a blissful revival of the Soviet-American honeymoon of World War II to the total and apparently cheerful rejection of everything that took place by those who, like McCarthy, see a personal stake in disaster and flourish only in periods of hysteria and despair and frustration.

Certainly this reporter has no inside information as to what it all means, and he shares with probably the most of you the understandable caution against accepting at face value whatever the communists say or do. Doubtless at Geneva there were real fears on both sides; perhaps the greatest real accomplishment may well have been the admission, by their presence at Geneva, on the part of the all the Big Four that they recognized the necessity of peace. Let us hope also that another accomplishment may have been clearing away at least some of the corrosive fears and suspicions so that real negotiation of specific issues could become possible. To suggest that we are on the threshold of an era when the tough and persistent problems of our times will vanish into the mists is wishful thinking or visionary foolishness. The tasks ahead require a blend of caution coupled with daring imagination and boldness, if anything like a peaceful world is to be achieved. The Soviets on their part will have to abandon at least some of the harsh inflexibility that has marked their behavior at many conferences during the past decade. The United States too may have to climb down from its high horse on many critical questions.

Take the question of Germany, for instance. Both sides recognize it as a crucial one. The Soviets may have to consent to really free elections, which doubtless would mean the complete loss of Germany for many Russians. But we may have to agree to the withdrawal of Germany from NATO and the demilitarization of the country under ironclad supervision by the United Nations. Neither we nor the Russians would lose face under such an arrangement, and the reunification of Germany would be accomplished without bloodshed – and such reunification is the key to peace in Europe. Why? Because the Russians have a natural and a mortal fear of a militarized Germany because within the lifetime of many Russians their country has been invaded and their population decimated by German aggressors. Moreover, Germany’s potential for industrial production and scientific achievements – in short, her capacity for making war – is so great that both the Soviets and the West would consider it a major catastrophe if a united, militarized Germany became a partner of the other.

Moreover, in another trouble spot in the world, China, it may be necessary for give and take on both sides, without appeasement and without compromise of principles. Both the United States and Red China are quibbling over Formosa. As it stands at present, China sees the situation as one where we insist on using Formosa as a base from which to destroy the Chinese government and oust the communist regime. Maybe in this case there is no easy road out. But, as was pointed out on this program months ago, Formosa belongs to China about as much as the United States belongs to England. There are ethnic and cultural ties, but that is about all. Solving the present situation may mean U.N. trusteeship for the island, minus Chiang Kai-shek (for whom some Americans seem to have an over-fondness) with a provision that after a reasonable period, say ten years, the Formosans may decide in free elections whether they wish to become part of China or go their own way as a free and independent country. Acceptance of such a plan on the part of the Chinese regime might help to establish Her pretensions to being a peace-loving nation and pave the way for diplomatic recognition by the United States and admission to the United Nations.

As indicated at the outset, there are no easy solutions to these problems. The ones suggested seem a not unreasonable approach to difficulties that are not, by any stretch of the imagination important enough to embroil the world in a war, but which, left unsolved, very well might do so. Peoples of the world want peace, not war, but unless their spokesmen at the tables of diplomacy exhibit on both sides a willingness to find and use areas of agreement, war may come. At any rate, the climate of public opinion here and elsewhere during the last six months has been encouraging us to hope that such peaceful avenues may be found and utilized.

The extent to which this question has been dealt with here today should need no explanation on a program of this kind. The present day situation of humanity is characterized by the slogan of the U.N., “One world or none.” In other words, the time is over when men and nations can be considered disconnected entities. In the mental sphere, this means full acknowledgement of the essential equality of men and the fact that neither insufficient endowment, nor unfavorable circumstances, nor peculiarities of race, class, or nation can deprive man of humanity. Technically, it means that the material base of our life today constitutes the interdependence of all human problems, which in turn implies a joint responsibility for the happiness and prosperity of the whole of mankind. The paradox of the present phase, however, is that the realization of the dignity and worth of man in the mental sphere has been made both actually possible and highly doubtful by the dynamics of the technical world. Modern technique aggravates the consequences of human conduct, which has lagged behind technical progress. This is the reason why mankind is menaced by rivalry, destruction, and poverty. But unless man succeeds in eliminating the threat of world war and solving the problems of material want and population, there will be no world in which mental freedom is balanced by social justice, and social justice should be the key concern of all religions, regardless of their nature.

September 11, 1955

An unexpected exchange between Catholics and Protestants disturbed the 58th Annual Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church being held in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Rt. Rev. Egmont Krischke, Episcopal bishop of the Church’s missionary district of Southwest Brazil, started the dispute. He said Catholicism in Latin America is losing members to communism. In his words, “Latin people have been nurtured in an extremely debased form of Christianity.… The Roman Catholic Church exploits their illiteracy and credulity in a most sordid way.… In all our growing towns and cities, we have multitudes of well-educated people who, under the impact of scientific knowledge, are giving up what they supposed to be the Christian faith, but which is actually only a medieval version of it. Large numbers of them have resorted to communism, to spiritualism, and, strange as it may seem, to some modern forms of Indian and African magic rituals with superstitions of the Roman Church.”

In Honolulu, Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop John J. Scanlan took exception to the remarks. He called the speech “regrettable,” adding that “It certainly seems in bad taste that delegates should choose this occasion to offend the largest religious group of these islands while they are guests of the Hawaiian people.”

In an effort to soothe irate Catholics in the islands, the Episcopal bishop of Honolulu, Harry Kennedy, called the relationship between the two churches there “most friendly,” and added, “The general convention is a democratic body. Individuals may speak and not in any sense be the spokesman for the Episcopal Church nor express the feelings and attitude of the church.”

Other highlights of the Episcopal convention include the following:

The Episcopal bishop of Chicago, the Rt. Rev. Gerald Burrell, strongly criticized the church for what he said was its neglect of big city congregations in the United States.

Bishop Horace Donegan of New York said too many clergymen treat women church workers like what he called “second or third class citizens.”

The House of Bishops voted down a controversial proposal which would have changed present church canons concerning the remarriage of divorced persons.


Berne, Switzerland: David O. McKay, lifetime president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, celebrated his 82nd birthday Thursday. He paid his first visit to Europe’s first Mormon temple, being built in Switzerland’s Capitol of Berne.


And another note comes from Wiesbaden, Germany, where the Salt Lake City Tabernacle Choir sang Thursday in its tour of Europe. During the week it also sang in Berlin. Its audiences continue to be large and enthusiastic.


A man with a mission is Rabbi Harold A. Friedman of North Carolina. His mission is the spiritual care of the 1,000 Jews scattered over the Old North State in groups too small to support a synagogue or a rabbi. North Carolina’s 6,000 other Jews help support Rabbi Friedman in his work. He uses an air-conditioned bus, fixed into a place of formal worship for circuit-riding his 25,000 square-mile rural parish.

Since last March, Rabbi Friedman has been driving his bus more than 600 miles a week. He organizes study groups, brings spiritual guidance and holds services – and in some towns his have been the first Jewish services in as much as 40 years. The bus synagogue idea is a project of the North Carolina Association of Jewish Men.


Roman Catholic Archbishop Richard J. Cushing has praised Jewish-endowed Brandeis University for making religious instruction and devotions available to its students. The Boston prelate made his remarks at dedication of a Catholic chapel at the university Friday of this week. In his special Mass, Archbishop Cushing noted three separate units are being built at Brandeis so Jews, Protestants, and Catholics may not forget their religious obligations. However, a dissident Catholic group caused some short-lived trouble about the Catholic chapel at Brandeis. Earlier in the week a handful of followers of the excommunicated priest, Leonard Feeney, tried to distribute derogatory handbills in downtown Boston. The handbills were critical of Jews and opposed construction of the chapel. Some fistfights ended the effort.


Argentina will not vote until next mid-May on the touchy question of separation of the state and the Roman Catholic Church. A bill to this effect has just become law, replacing the bill that originally set the balloting for late this year. Meanwhile, President Juan Peron has sent the church the state referendum. The measures are designed to assure minority parties at least one-third of the seats in the Argentine House of Deputies.


Going back to the Episcopal convention in Honolulu, the House of Deputies has defeated a proposal to drop the word “Protestant” from the church name. Charles P. Taft, a brother of the late Senator Robert Taft, led the fight against the change. As a lay delegate, he told the meeting, “We are in fact a part of the Protestant community.” Taft also stated the major Protestant communions would not understand the move, and the Episcopalians’ relations in their communities would be seriously affected. Lay delegate Walter L. Cooper, of Cranford, New Jersey, had introduced the resolution to delete the word “Protestant.” He commented that dropping it would not affect any separate church ritual.

This 12-day convention, which began last Sunday, has already accomplished several things. The House of Bishops has defeated a proposal for a bishop of the U.S. Armed Forces. The House of Deputies has refused to allow women a vote in the convention. Both issues are expected to be brought before the convention again. And both houses have ordered a tighter rein on music played in the church. The clergyman will have final authority to ban from all services music that he considers “light and unseemly.”


And the question of whether churches can be required to subscribe to loyalty oaths in order to retain their tax-free status is to be pondered by a Senate sub-committee. Closely allied to it is the right to deny a would-be lawyer admission to the bar if he declines to make a loyalty oath. These are not simply academic. As for the loyalty oath for lawyers, the Illinois law requires it, and a young man who refused to take the oath has been denied admission to the bar, and will testify shortly before the subcommittee.

As for the loyalty oath and tax-free status for churches, 13 churches in California have protested that the no oath no tax exemption law is a denial of their constitutional rights.

Counsel for the subcommittee, Marshall MacDuffie, said testimony will be received from representatives of these 13 churches. He went on to comment that those problems will be considered in the light of provisions of the Bill of Rights. Does either the California law or the Illinois law violate the constitutional ban against interference with freedom of religion and of speech, which supposedly includes the right to think as one pleases, as well as the right not to speak? Commenting further, Mr. MacDuffiie said, “The Senate established this committee for the very reason that such a dilemma does exist today. Every loyal American wants the nation to be secure. But it is beginning to be widely recognized that our form of government itself is endangered if we permit the Constitution to be violated in the name of protection against disloyalty.

The subcommittee plans seven weeks of public hearings starting October 3. Witnesses will include conscientious objectors, publishers who will discuss the Defense Department’s new policy in the light of the freedom of the press clause, scientists and others who will disclose their experience in guilt-by-association rulings of government agencies, prominent individuals who have been unable to keep speaking engagements overseas because of State Department refusal to issue them passports. It is expected that there will also be heard cases of young men who have been denied Armed Forces commissions because of alleged guilt-by-association, such as the case of young Eugene Landry who was indiscreet enough to associate with his mother, who was a member of the Communist Party for 10 years prior to 1947, and who says that she left the party at the request of young Landry himself.


Recent figures released by the National Council of Churches reveal that some six out of 10 Americans are now affiliated with some church. Just what this means is uncertain. Some interpret it as a turning away from materialism and toward things that are of the spirit. And it is hoped by most of us at least that this is true. However, there are others who are skeptical of the real meaning of this increase. Maybe it has become something of a fashion to belong to a church, perhaps some people affiliate with them pretty much as they do secular clubs. Doubtless part of it may well be due to the confusion and uncertainty of the times, and that many of the increased number are seeking some anchor of certainty in a pretty confused world.

One of the things, however, that the critical-minded person dislikes much is what I have referred to heretofore as the “cult of religiosity,” that is, the wearing of a cloak of religion as a sort of insulation against any and all criticisms. We have had a few people high in public office in this country who in recent months have both implied and said that good citizenship is synonymous with Christianity. While there may be a relationship there, to insist that it always holds true is not only nonsense; it is stupid. Outgrowths of this cult have been seen in legislative action by the Congress to insert in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag the words, “this nation under God,” and to place on postage stamps, currency, and other official insignia the words “In God We Trust.” All of this smacks of the pharisee who went about with a drawn face to impress the people he met that he was devout through his practice of fasting. How much the increased membership may be pharisaical in this sense, nobody can tell, but some of us are reminded in this connection of a Shakespearean quote that said “methinks thou dost protest too much.”

Incidentally, the Town Meeting of the Air will discuss this very question in its weekly program tonight over ABC, and will be carried by this station. If you are interested in this subject, be listening to that program this evening when the speakers will present all sides of it.


Something of what seems to be a perennial, and a very controversial, issue in local areas is coming to a focus on September 20, 1955, in a neighboring Knox County: the question of retention of its present so-called prohibition or the adoption of legal control measures over the whiskey traffic. Doubtless most of the protagonists and antagonists are sincere in believing that their proposal is the preferred one. Doubtless, too, is the question of how realistic one wishes to or can be about a very troublesome but persisting problem. I take it that most of us would prefer prohibition if it really prohibited. A goodly portion of us, seeing that it does not, believe that the honest, the logical, and preferable course is to recognize the existence of the traffic and to advocate strict governmental regulation of what is at best an undesirable situation. A really blunt but effective approach is to have state and local units of government take over all dispensing of whiskey, thus taking it out of the realm of private profit. Next is to devise laws and regulations relating to conditions and time under which sales can be made, persons to whom such sales can be made, and penalties, rigidly enforced, for violation of the law. Thus, whatever profit is derived from the traffic accrues to the public treasury. Bootlegging and similar evasions of the law disappear because there is no reason for their existence. Furthermore, it is hypocritical, whether we mean it to be or not, to go on insisting that the present prohibition situation in this area promotes sobriety, when anyone viewing the city streets of almost any town can see visible signs that not all are sober. There is such a thing as being honest with oneself, though it is an excruciating experience at times.


September 4, 1955

A concise but significant statement of Arnold J. Toynbee, the historian, points up the crucial problem facing the world of today with respect to the matter of human relations and the possibility of future existence of civilization. He says:

“We are all now in the same boat, on board this small atom-bomb-haunted planet. Here is a common human plight that is more serious even than the possession of atomic weapons, because it is our moral plight that makes our physical weapons dangerous. Here is a ground for a humility that lies deeper than the various superstructures of mankind’s religions and ideologies. Here is a problem that is common to all human beings as such. Cannot we cooperate to cope with it without prejudice…?”

Obviously it is only when people of moral strength of all nations become vocal and without prejudice come to demand that the destructiveness possible in our physical weapons be turned to constructiveness for the improvement of mankind. “Without prejudice” is a challenge, but with prejudice there is little likelihood of avoiding catastrophe.


I reported some weeks ago on the outcome of the first heresy trial in the history of the Northwest Synod of the Lutheran Church, an outcome that found the Rev. George P. Crist guilty of nine of 14 counts. Reported also was the fact that his counsel in that trial, the Rev. John Gerberding, pastor of Holy Cross Church at Menominee Falls, Wisconsin, was forthwith charged on eight counts of deviating from accepted and acceptable opinions and doctrines of the church. This week the trial of the Rev. Gerberding was held by a board of seven pastors. They were unanimous in finding him innocent of seven of the charges and the eighth charge was set aside. Specifically what those charges were has never reached the press, and his trial was in secret. Penalty, if convicted, could have ranged from a rebuke to defrocking. In the case of the Rev. Crist, he was suspended from his charge.


And from Washington, D.C., the first city to desegregate, comes other information with respect to the matter of racial integration. A white [spokesman] and a colored spokesman for the schools there point out some of the problems that occur when pupils of the two races are taught together. They list them as follows:

1. Withdrawal of pupils from group participation in activities involving members of the other race;

2. Decline in scholastic performance;

3. Organized and unorganized display of hostility toward person of the other race;

4. Overt conflict between Negro and white pupils;

5. An increase in classroom behavior problems.

Now none of these problems is desirable. On the other hand it would be surprising if they did not occur. This reporter happened to be teaching during World War II where everyday migrants, mostly from the South, and of all races, were pouring into our school. The same problems of adjustment were discerned there as are reported by spokesmen for the Washington, D.C., schools. And those problems were not at all peculiar to Negro pupils. White students from the lower income strata of the South, and with meager educational background, had essentially the same difficulties in achieving satisfactory adjustment to the new school medium. The Negro of course had a further handicap because of his color, but then color there was not a matter for overt expression of hostility. It was interesting to study these students as they remained for one, two, and three years in the new school environment. Many of them, both white and colored, by the end of their school program, were no longer distinguishable from native students insofar as behavior, scholastic performance, and other characteristics were concerned.


In Bowling Green, Kentucky, a federal court this week received the first suit to force desegregation in the public schools. In the suit, the court was asked to end segregation of white and Negro students at Columbia, in Adair County. The suit grew out of a petition filed in the name of the Kentucky branch of the NAACP.

This past Tuesday the Adair County Board of Education refused to admit 23 Negro high school students and from 35-60 (the exact number is not reported) elementary students after they had been registered at Columbia schools the previous day. Attorney for the plaintiffs interpreted refusal to admit the students a clear violation of the Supreme Court order of May 31 for a prompt and reasonable start toward full desegregation. Aiding the local attorney will be Thurgood Marshall, New York attorney, who pleaded the case for desegregation before the Supreme Court.


And a final note in this week’s news regarding the racial problem in the schools. In Houston, Texas, about 50 Negro groups have united to ask the United States Department of Justice to investigate the organization known as Texas Citizens Councils, formed to preserve racial segregation. These groups charge the councils with being un-American and undemocratic, and characterize their methods as constituting outright conspiracy to deprive American citizens of their civil and economic rights.

This reporter has referred to such councils before, though not to the Texas groups. Apparently they are voluntary organizations dedicated to prevention of school integration of the races, and willing to use whatever means seems appropriate, but it must be admitted, within the letter if not the spirit of the law, to accomplish their ends. Economic pressure would seem to be their greatest and most often used weapon. A Negro or white person known to favor desegregation finds that the bank refuses him a loan or renewal of an old one. Credit is denied him at stores where formerly he was accepted without question. He finds that real estate agencies refuse to rent or sell him houses. Places formerly hiring people like him go on hiring others but refuse to give him a job. And employers find excuses, other than the real one, to dismiss him from employment. Hence, without access to credit, a job, a home, the individual finds himself in a precarious situation within the community. In addition to the economic pressure is that of social discrimination. Old friends shun him, he no longer receives invitations into their homes and they no longer accept invitations into his.

It would appear that here the organization has a tremendous weapon, and what the Justice Department finds and decides about such councils should be significant. It is difficult to see how even the weight of the federal government could be used to force a bank to grant a loan it did not wish to, or a real estate agency to rent someone a house unless it saw fit to do so.

It is equally obvious that, if these tactics are true, the councils are an organization dedicated to defeating what the Supreme Court has declared to be the constitutional law of the land. Yet nobody, least of all the justices of the court, expected that achieving the goal set by their decision would be an easy matter. It recognized that such achievement could not come about overnight, for it set no deadline. Neither did it deny to colored citizens the equal privileges due them, nor refuse them the equal protection of the law, to which they were entitled. It merely said that states and local units of government should evidence an honest effort to comply with its decision and left it up to local federal courts to review local conditions and decide when such an effort was being made.

Obviously much remains to be done – and it will take a long time – to overcome prejudices, misunderstandings, and practices of generations. It is heartening, though, that substantial progress is being made in various places even this first year, and doubtless each year will see additional achievements toward the goal of democracy in education.

August 28, 1955

From a tiny French village, Oizon, comes a story of human dedication that is unique, and to us Protestants, an undertaking lacking the significance it does to a Catholic. In this little village the Marquis and Marquise de Vogue are almost legendary figures, having one of the oldest titles and biggest fortunes in France. This couple has traveled over the world, entertained lavishly, dressed in the most modish fashion. He is now 63 and she is 58. Last week they parted, never to see each other again. He will take on the rough cowl of a Benedictine monk and she will assume the simple habit of the Little Sisters of the Ascension. He will cultivate the soil with his brother monks in central France and eat the simplest of foods. She will nurse the sick and aid the poor in parts of Paris where formerly her limousine never took her.

The unusual couple has been married 35 years, but they made their decision long ago that when the last of their five children settled down they would devote the rest of their lives to religious work in this fashion. Their youngest son married a couple of weeks ago. The Marquis’ parting words were that “I shall miss my hunting rifle most of all.”

As I pointed out, we Protestants have no counterpart to the monastic seclusion characteristic of the Catholic faith, and it is hard for us to understand why their last years’ devotion need be in this way, but even while failing to understand, most of us can only admire the sacrifice, the devotion, and the determination to devote themselves to what they believe best for themselves and mankind. So we say to them both, “Bon voyage.”


A judge in Charleston, South Carolina, thinks that both the Ku Klux Klan and the NAACP must, as he put it, be “wholly eliminated from the picture in South Carolina” before an amicable solution can be found for the problem of desegregation of the schools. Judge Williams made this statement during the week in connection with a suit seeking an end of segregation on a beach in a state park near Charleston.

The judge would do well to consider two things:

First, that the KKK has from almost the first, been an intolerant, often secret, organization basing its activities on three main tenets of superiority, namely native-born, white, and Protestant. It has used force to carry out its own whims as to what was and was not moral, American, religious, or what have you. In our system of things, only the State has a right to use force to compel obedience to its commands, and then only after it has observed due process, and nobody has ever accused the KKK of scrupulously observing the letter or the spirit of the Constitution.

Second, the NAACP is a voluntary organization whose aim is to promote the welfare of Negroes and their progress toward equality of opportunity under the law. It is made up of members of all races. It has no record of using any force other than to seek the assistance of the courts whenever necessary to maintain or obtain the elementary rights of colored citizens. Since when has it become necessary to, in the word of the judge, “eliminate” an organization that uses constitutional processes to secure legal rights of citizens? Doubtless, at times chapters of the NAACP have been overzealous, maybe even with chips on their shoulders. Perhaps they have striven to make progress too rapidly from a sociological point of view, but as to eliminating such an organization because of its lawful activity, it is not only impossible; it is nonsense, and the judge should know better. The right peaceably to assemble and petition for redress of grievance is written into the First Amendment, and the judge is sworn to uphold that amendment.


Reference was made a couple of weeks ago on this program to the Landry case, Mr. Landry being the young man graduating from the Merchant Marine Academy with honors but denied his commission because, for a short while prior to 1947, his mother had been a member of the Communist Party, and it was proved that he had associated with his mother. The master cartoonist, Herblock, has been following upon this and other cases of similar nature, as you may have seen, the latest one being the Gaston case. This week, Herblock outdid himself in an exceptionally able presentation of the issue. And I wish at the moment we were on television so you could see what I am referring to.

Seated at the top of the cartoon are four members of a security board, each with his own personal enigmatic – sometimes blank – look. Down in front of this august collection of supposed wisdom and telepathic insight, in a witness chair sits the young officer candidate, pleading his case. He is making what obviously is considered by him to be a major point in the case by stressing, as a caption of the cartoon, “And if I may say so, I’ve never been good to my mother.”

It is difficult for this reporter to inhibit excess secretion of glandular juices when contemplating such a situation. It smacks of the reputed tactics of the German Nazis and Russian communists training children to snoop on their parents and friends and report to the party any deviation at all from strict party doctrine, which of course means unswerving and unquestioning loyalty to, and acceptance of, what the clique of rulers, including the dictator, wants the people to believe.

Much of this hubbub about security cases has bordered on the outright ridiculous. Psychologically it exhibits that as a nation we are political adolescents. This immaturity has been seized upon by demagogues who were not unwilling to make political capital out of the confusion, even to the point of whipping the lunatic fringe into hysteria to gain adherents. But we have come a long way in one short year. We have not come far enough however, as long as so-called security boards or other quasi-judicial agencies use such flimsy excuses as child-parent association to draw inferences of risk. The publicity given such cases is heartening, for once enough people are aroused, they will rise and eventually bring pressure on a somnolent administration to live up to the fine speeches its spokesmen have been making these past two or three years.


August 21, 1955

Quite often the question and problem of desegregation have been commented upon here. Another aspect of the problem has been brewing in Georgia the past few weeks, the outcome of which at this time is not certain. Specifically, it revolves around the action of the Georgia State Board of Education to revoke “forever” the license to teach of any teacher, white or colored, who maintained membership in the NAACP after September 15 of this year. The association is a national organization devoted to advancement of the welfare of Negroes, and it has among its membership white as well as colored people, some of them white teachers in the state of Georgia. The action of the board goes further and will require all teachers to take an oath that he will not join that “or any allied organization” after September 15.

It requires no comment from this reporter to make clear the injustice perpetrated by this action of the board. It is not only a denial of the right of free speech and free association, but it would seek to impose a form of thought control that is anathema to any decent concept of democracy.

Just what action the association and its members may take in defense against this ruling of the board has not come to light yet, but this ruling strikes at the heart of democratic rights as well as, if carried out, depriving qualified teachers from earning their living at an occupation for which they have spent years of preparation. Schoolteachers, individually and as an occupational group, are in an almost totally defenseless position within our social structure. Only by appeals to reason, to common sense, of fairness and justice, can, apparently, the teachers at the present stage hope to maintain rightful position and rights as public servants. And yet, the public should recognize that its own self-interest, anything that militates against the free functioning of schoolteachers as ordinary citizens with special responsibilities to the community, is in fact and in the long run a threat to society itself.

There are at least five basic rights which the teacher should enjoy, not because of any special immunity or preferred position, but that he should enjoy in the interest of society itself. These are:

  1. He should be free to teach the truth and have personal freedom to lead his life like any other citizen of the United States;
  2. He should have freedom to join organizations of his own choosing and not be compelled to join any organization against his will;
  3. He should know the status of his position with respect to how he is classified, compensated, his grievances heard and dealt with;
  4. He should have a salary commensurate with his costly training and his service to the community and the nation;
  5. He should be able to live and work in an atmosphere of democracy.

Anything less than these is a denial of his opportunity to be a full-fledged citizen who plays a vital role in furthering community life.


Last week I dealt briefly with various pronouncements, including that of the Kefauver Committee, regarding the vital role the home plays in preventing or failing to prevent juvenile delinquency. It seems justifiable at this point to expand a little more on the subject, for the family is the most important part of our social organizations. Like other organizations, its functions are changing, some becoming less, some more important. But no substitute has been found for a good family and home. Mass homes for orphans, the aged, bachelor women and men, clubs for the homeless – none of these fills the bill. In most of these the atmosphere of poverty gets one down; not only financially poverty but that which springs from a lack of rewarding and satisfying companionship, which is the essence, or should be, of a home.

In the development of such a home, honest and consistent efforts of all are needed, but if both or all desire a home, it is really no effort, for the things that must be done to satisfy this requirement are those things that both or all want. Cultural equality and similarity of tastes are more important than mere intellectual agreement. Surprisingly enough, results of expert research show that finances are not nearly so important to the continuance of marriage as they were once thought to be. [Louis] Terman in his study of 15,000 successful marriages that the rank order of complaints of husbands was as follows:

  • Not affectionate; selfish and inconsiderate; complains too much; quick tempered; conceited.
  • Curiously enough, the five most-received complaints of the wives about their husbands were:
  • Selfish and inconsiderate; unfaithful; argumentative; complains too much; not affectionate.

There are many more on the list, but time excludes the possibility of dealing with them here. The point is that the above list on each side are personality traits that, both working together, sincerely wishing to succeed, could quickly eliminate, and it is a rather safe assumption that if these were abolished, the other complaints raised would be dissipated or reduced to immaterial proportions. Are any of these things worth the wrecking of marriage where the results are all too often reflected in parental independence, but, unfortunately, in juvenile delinquency simply because the parents of those juveniles were not willing to provide the kind of home heritage that every child deserves. These are things we should ask ourselves and for which we should search or own souls as we hold our hands in horror at some of the extremes to which juvenile delinquency goes as reported in the press these days. Selfish whims of parents are not important; the development of stable, emotionally secure young children is important.


A very unusual book is just off the press, written by the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. Entitled “Dear Charles,” it is a light but merciless expose of the rituals of tinkling cymbalism that go on in probably too many of our churches today. “Dear Charles” is a collection of some 26 fictional letters from a frustrated seminary professor to an ambitious young pastor. Comments on the book include the assertion that some U.S. churches are constantly now making Christ over in the image of Dale Carnegie. While the book is intended as a light satire, it could easily pass as the handbook of many a modern clergyman.

It begins with the minister’s appearance, and ranges from dieting to dandruff, to the choice of clothing, including underwear. It warns the young pastor to stop at the hotels where he will meet the “right” people. Far from suggesting that pastors should have convictions about spiritual and social matters, the professor merely admonishes that you “let your church officials know where you stand on the points they now cherish more highly than religious doctrines.” Sermons, he warns, should always be comforting, never political, and preferably critical only of those outside the fold. A pastor’s goal, he goes on, should be to outdo previous pastors, since, he says, there is no difference between selling insurance and selling religion. He advises that pastors acquire PhDs for these “will open more doors and make more impression than anything you could possibly do.” The author does not overlook birth control, which he condemns because, he says, it cuts down on the church’s membership in the long run. Neither should the minister discuss race problems or labor-management relations because they are too controversial. As a result of following the advice given in these letters, the Rev. Dear Charles is called to become pastor of the large, powerful first church in Mammonville. But almost before he can turn his charm on the new congregation, he is inconsiderately called to the Beyond, but the magnetic smile he has perfected across the years, now in death, is crinkled slightly about his full lips. Though his eyes were closed, he appeared any minute to be ready to raise himself from his new bondage and greet each mourner by name with a lusty handshake and a resounding slap on the back.

Well, that’s the satire, but is it satire? And what should be the role of the pastor and his church in a vastly complicated, perplexing, and often conflicting society? For a layman such as this reporter to answer that question is literally a fool rushing in, but it may not be impertinent to point out that the high points in religious progress are marked by men who rebelled against the status quo of their times: Mohamed, Christ, Luther, Wycliffe, and a long list of other illustrious personages who pioneered in the field of spiritual thought and left their mark upon the pages of religious history.

The layman would also seem justified in observing that for the churches to remake themselves in the world’s image is a reverse of the process that should be. When churches become merely reflectors of the world, with all its faults and virtues, they will have lost their reasons for existence. More and more people of today are beset by confusion, doubts, frustration, and insecurity. Churches could well function to relieve or disperse these feelings by offering leadership and stimulation of thought into the meaning of present day living, critical analysis of our problems and evaluation of the various elements of community living. By so doing, they well could become beacons of light in the stormy shoals of uncertainty. If they fail to do this, they will lapse into merely another institution, having little purpose than observance of tinkling cymbals that have a pleasant but fleeting sound that lulls the lazy into complacency and stagnation.

August 14, 1955


A Peabody College psychologist, Dr. Nicholas Hobbs, says much more money should be spent on research into human behavior. He pointed out that the nation spends huge sums operating prisons and mental hospitals but only a relative trifle in research to find out what actually sends people to the institutions. The amount we spend annually for research work in human behavior and mental health is less than the cost of a few bombers. Something would appear to be wrong with the scale of values of a nation that places such disproportionate emphasis on these two areas of expenditure.

And perhaps as something of a corollary of this disproportion is seen in the statement during the week of a University of Tennessee sociologist, Dr. W.B. Jones, who has concluded that many juvenile judges and parole officers do not have proper qualification and background for their work. Jones goes on to recommend the establishment of local youth guidance commissions – not connected with the schools – to coordinate work of different agencies dealing with youth.


In Nashville this week educators and others testifying at the closing session of the Kefauver Committee hearings appeared in agreement that recreation and perhaps part-time jobs – and making youth feel someone cares for them – are the best ways to fight juvenile delinquency. The afternoon session closed a three-day hearing of the Senate committee to get ideas and recommendations from educational and religious leaders.


The Russian Orthodox Church is on the receiving end of overtures by two other big Christian groups. About ten days ago Pope Pius made another in a long series of Vatican invitations for the Russian Orthodox Church to unite again with Roman Catholicism. Such a return would heal a breach now 1,001 years old.


But also this week the World Council of Churches moved toward bringing the Russian Orthodox Christians into its membership of Protestant, Anglican, and Orthodox churches. The Great Schism of 1054 A.D. between Eastern and Western churches came mainly from a clash about the authority between the Christian patriarchs of Rome and Constantinople. The pope this week declared the Russian Orthodox would lose absolutely nothing of the divinity and splendor of their own holy rites or of their sacred heritage, while the council on its part wrote the Orthodox Church it sincerely and ardently expresses the hope for full and free relations between the member churches of the World Council and the Orthodox Church of Russia. Barriers between the church and the council are contemporary rather than traditional, and the council already has many Orthodox churches in its memberships.

A spokesman for the Orthodox Church declared recently that unless the idea of the supremacy of the pope is revised, the differences between it and Catholicism are impossible to reconcile.

For that matter, the World Council and its Orthodox colleagues are not exactly of the same opinions. The council wants a closer unity of its 167 Protestant and Eastern Orthodox member churches. But extensive disagreement exists about the possibility of organic unity of the non-Roman Catholic Christian churches. However, the chairman of the World Council’s Central Committee has commented “Any discussion of the problems of Christian unity is a step in the right direction.”


A Canadian rabbi has been named community activities director of the United Synagogue. Rabbi David C. Kogen of Congregation Beth Israel of Vancouver, British Columbia, will take over the post on September 1. The United Synagogue is a national association representing some 500 conservative Jewish U.S. congregations. It is affiliated with the Jewish Theological Seminary in America and the Rabbinical Assembly.


The director of Boy’s Town, at Omaha, Monseigneur Nicholas Wegner, said broken homes are the cause of most juvenile delinquency and that children need “love and attention and a feeling that someone cares.” Father Wegner said also many young people are incapable of completing a high school course, not because they are inherently stupid but because they have not been taught to read properly in the first four grades of elementary schools.


This week another Lutheran pastor was ordered to stand a church trial on charges of heresy on eight counts. There has been no enumeration of the specific charges other than that he is accused by the Northwest Synod of his Church of “preaching and teaching doctrines and opinions” in conflict with the official doctrine. The trial will begin August 30. The man is Pastor John Gerberding, the father of three children. Gerberding recently acted as counsel for the Rev. George Crist, Jr., another Lutheran pastor brought to trial presumably on the same or about the same charges. In the Crist case, the accused was found guilty of denying the virgin birth of Christ, the physical resurrection, and the responsibility of Adam for man’s sinfulness. An additional feature in the charges against Gerberding is that he his accused of denying the divine authority of the Holy Scriptures contrary to the witness of the Scripture itself and contrary to Lutheran confession.


Mr. Herbert Hoover made a speech this week in which he emphasized that we should emphasize the good things in America rather than pointing out our own weaknesses. While the old fellow has seemed to learn little and forget little in the past 20 years, in this case he struck a note that it is well for everyone to keep in mind. Persons who view the news critically are prone, by the nature of the process, to see those things that are out of joint and to dwell upon them in their thinking, sometimes leaving the impression they see only the bad or the parts that work badly, which is not the case.

His words did start this reporter to thinking, however, that it might be well here to heed something of Mr. Hoover’s advice and enumerate a few of the many things that are right with America. Looking at ourselves today in a topsy-turvy world and peering back through historical perspective, it appears that we are about the only great nation in history that has passed through two great wars without having at the same time become imbued with aggressive, imperial ambitions, ambitions that have been one of the besetting sins of some great powers in the past – and also in the present. Not only have we refrained from imperialism, we have given and loaned billions of dollars to aid in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of devastated areas of the world and to feed, clothe, and house millions of the victims of war. Not all of this has been pure altruism of course, but it has not all been enlightened self interest either. There is no doubt that much of it has been motivated by sincere humanitarian feelings.


Again, civil liberties have flourished here despite our recent two wars and despite McCarthy-ism. As a matter of fact, civil liberties were less a casualty during the Second World War than it was in the First, and the end of the First War was followed by an era of official witch-hunting on the part of the Department of Justice that was not duplicated, at least by that department, after the Second World War. Perhaps our worst blunder during World War II was the mass evacuation of the Japanese from the West Coast, based upon the presumption that Japanese ancestry per se was sufficient evidence of untrustworthiness. However, the evacuees (most of them at least) have been permitted to return to their homes.

Generally in this country we have had at all times some race discrimination that has been bad, varying from time to time and as to object of such discrimination. Yet, genuine progress has been made here in plain human decency and regard for human rights. In the light of our history in this connection, the outstanding fact has not been the Bilbos, the Talmadges, and the things that they typify, but the growing opposition to them and our sense of shame when we contemplate their version of the master race.

We have not lived up to the Bill of Rights in our own Constitution, it is true, but then our failures would be construed as virtues compared with the many situations in large areas of the globe. We need fear no spies wherever friends meet and talk, and no police state can compel us to work under Siberian salt mines conditions.

Our history has its shameful passages of ruthlessness, it is true. Witnesses of this fact are the Indians, the slaves brought here against their will, the Mexicans who were victims of a brief imperialist war. In spite of these, however, we have proved on an immense scale the capacity of men of quarreling nationalities to live and work together. There is probably less caste feeling, less snobbery in human relations, here than in any other great nation.

If time permitted, this reporter could go on enumerating such things as the proportion of national income going into the pockets of the average wage earners, the broadest, if yet unequal, educational opportunities for all of any country in the world, and similar achievements which we take for granted. It is good, as Mr. Hoover suggests, to stop and look at the more optimistic aspects of our society occasionally. But to assume continuously a Pollyanna attitude that sees and hears no evil in our midst would be an unwarranted complacency that would blind us to our faults and lull us into stopping our efforts to correct them through constructive reform.


One of the apparently fundamental needs of human beings is the necessity of being loved. This makes the problem of acceptance/rejection so acute that it is a peril to individual conduct and has anti-social implications. The mental and emotional life of an intelligent human being in our culture is a complicated, delicate, and sensitive affair. More conscious than we are of the complicated functioning of the human body, we are aware of the fears, urges, repressions, and longings of our inner life. But man is also a surprising and curious animal. His evolution has been rapid – perhaps too much so. He is full of ambivalences, having the instincts of a beast, but also the aspirations of a saint. Frederick L. Schuman of Williams College reminds us that “Man is the most ferocious and destructive of the meat-eating animals. He is a beast of prey now equipped with uranium and plutonium weapons…. There is in man a vast capacity for hostility and aggression against his fellow creatures.”

Most of us would admit that this is true, but we also know that this strange behavior comes about through fear and frustration. As long as there are social and personal arrangements that engender frustration and fear there will be cruelty. Cruelty brings rejection of others, and a distaste for others is sometimes sublimated in group identification, as in patriotism or religion. While it is entirely possible that great souls are lonely because they have so few to share their dreams, it is also likely that small souls are lonely because they too dream dreams, perhaps lesser ones. But they dream of clean spaces, freedom, of loving and being loved. Many of us would like to dream of flying through clouds when we have to plod through the mud of ugly reality.

In our society one of the chief – perhaps the chief – ends of man is happiness spelled only in the accents of love. To be loved is a necessity. The tragedy is not to be loved. Love in personal relationships is the only thing that can transform the essential tragedy of being in a desert road, in a wilderness, into a mountain of peace and happiness. Rejection is not only a personal problem in our world of today. Whole peoples have felt its pain. The classic example of course, is the Jewish people. And to them we can add the non-whites in South Africa, Negroes and Mexicans in the U.S., and aliens all over the earth.

But I am thinking here more of the millions of individuals in our own culture who have a deep sense of rejection, and who are forced to seek emotional responses in channels other than the normal ones. Some find it in fraternal orders, others in extravagant super-patriotism. While it is said that “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel,” sometimes it can be the last defense of the unwanted. Perhaps such commonly talked-about problems as juvenile delinquency, the increase of certain diseases, the growing rate of illegitimacy, and others can well be traced to the simple cause that those involved may have become so simply because they were rejected by the very persons from whom they had a normal reason to except acceptance. This is something that religions and religious people could well be more concerned about with respect to individuals in their midst.

August 7, 1955

A young Lutheran minister, the Rev. Paul Mackensen of Baltimore is one of the 40 American civilians whom Ambassador Alexis Johnson is trying at Geneva to get the Chinese Reds to free. Pastor Mackensen has been in prison in Red China for three years on trumped up charges of spying. Himself the son of a Lutheran minister, he went to China in 1948 to study oriental languages at Peiping, later taking up duties at a mission of the Lutheran church elsewhere in the country.

Another note concerning Lutherans: The Lutheran world is watching the heresy case in Wisconsin. Last weekend the Rev. George Crist, Jr. was found guilty of heresy and removed from his post. Now Dr. Paul Bishop, head of the Northwest Synod of the Lutheran Church has ordered the Rev. John Gerberding, who defended Crist at his trial, to stand trial for heresy. The executive committee of the synod will decided further on the ultimate fate of Crist. Crist was convicted of denying the virgin birth and physical resurrection of Jesus and doubting such miracles as the transfiguration and ascension of Jesus. Also, he insisted that Adam was not responsible for man’s sinfulness.


The two Roman Catholic prelates recently expelled from Argentina, as reported on this program, have been granted asylum in Colombia, but a return to Argentina is hoped for soon. Both clergymen went to Vatican City in June when they were expelled at the end of an uprising against President Juan Peron. They then went to Rio de Janeiro, where they were honored at the 36th International Roman Catholic Eucharistic Congress.

In Argentina itself, the opposition radical party has begun a drive to roll back the recent government curbs on privileges of the Roman Catholic Church, which is the state religion. One radical party member of the Argentine Congress has introduced a bill to repeal a law authorizing a constitutional convention for consideration of church and state separation. Attacks on the Church have diminished since the mid-June revolt, but no indication has come that Peron wants the constitutional convention law repealed. On their part, leaders of the Peronista party are not likely to ignore the move. The Peronistas have a heavy congressional majority, but pro-church sentiment is strong and some 90 percent of all Argentines are Roman Catholics.


And in Rome, Pope Pius XII has appealed for the whole Eastern Orthodox Church to rejoin Roman Catholicism. The pontiff says the followers of the Eastern Rites would lose none of the divinity of splendor of their services nor of their sacred heritage. Instead, says the pope, they would gain much in protection. The pope’s appeal has been made in a letter to the abbot of an Eastern Rites monastery outside of Rome. Its branch of the Eastern Church recognizes the pope.


A young Jewish mother is believed to be the first woman ever named as cantor of a Jewish congregation. Mrs. Betty Robbins will assist the rabbi at the Oceanside, New York, Reform Judaism synagogue by chanting parts of the service. She will have her first service at Temple Avodah on September 15, the eve of the Jewish New Year. The congregation’s president says a search of Jewish law has revealed nothing to prohibit Mrs. Robbins’ being cantor. He has added that women have never been considered for the post of cantor in Orthodox or Conservative Jewish congregations, but reform temples are self-governing in such matters.


Laymen of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in the United States and Canada will hold a big conclave at Grand Ledge, Michigan, near Lansing, starting August 30. Attendance may reach 8,000. The World Wide Layman’s director of the Seventy Day Adventists, T.L. Oswald of Washington, will lead the convention.


The Knights of St. Peter Claver, a Catholic interracial organization, in its convention in Chicago, has called on all bishops to abolish racial segregation in Catholic parochial schools. The Knights got down to names. They called specifically on the bishops of New Orleans, Natchez, and of dioceses in Florida and Alabama to admit Negroes to parochial schools.


History is replete with examples of past civilizations that believed they were most moral and fell because of their immorality. Moreover, economic and political perfection which was believed to have been accomplished by earlier societies, was found by later societies to include much imperfection. Our world of today, more highly integrated than ever, is split by major ideological division. Both sides seem to think that what they believe and practice is superior, and while this division goes on, the need for greater integration of world peoples, or world governing, and of world economic systems increases.

It is not making a complicated problem too simple to suggest that in many, if not most, cases where civilizations failed, the difficulty was due to lack of understanding of their own advancement, lack of vision as to how this advancement could be continued, and lack of courage to face truth regarding new needs required for such continuing advancement.

Something new and quite fundamental happened in world civilization when the United States of America was founded. For the first time, government guaranteed freedom to its citizenry. Methods and systems for political and economic intercourse developed which raised the respect for, and the living standard of, the common man to levels far beyond the dreams of ancient philosophers and of our own Founding Fathers. But, as was brought into focus by the Civil War and later by the Depression, government may make men free, but it cannot entirely clear itself from all responsibility regarding the necessity of men to be able to find work to live. This was borne in upon us with tragic clarity in the early 1930s. Increasingly, it became clear that government should not only guarantee freedom, but within reasonable limits should do what it could to guarantee opportunity whenever and wherever our economic system failed to provide such for a substantial number of citizens.

This whole question of the relationship of government to economic enterprise is one in which Americans have deep feeling, whether they be advocates of increased government activity or those who would return nostalgically to the “good old days” of laissez-faire. There is no necessary conflict between promotion of free enterprise and governmental action to see that able-bodied men seeking and unable to find employment in the usual channels be given that opportunity through governmental action. This idea of government guarantee of opportunity is not only difficult to avoid, but it is morally sound.

Ofttimes, however, especially in recent years – say the last 20, those of us who speak out along such lines are often accused of being enemies of the private enterprise system. We are nothing of the kind. We merely place human values first, and insist that when our enterprise system produces slack to the detriment of the unemployed, government should temporarily take up that slack. Such action ultimately inures to the benefit of private enterprise, for it prevents it from complete collapse, and our ideological foes are wishfully hoping that our system will collapse from its own inherent weaknesses, as they see it, and they shall become receivers by default of a bankrupt system in which people have lost faith. We must not let that happen. On the other hand, instead of being blinded by labels that propagandists delight to use in order to arouse our prejudices, we have a responsibility to examine critically not only the status quo, but proposed changes in order objectively to evaluate their merits. Only by such alertness on the part of all can we wage successfully the ideological war now confronting us. A U.S. general recently put it concisely. When asked how he would bring about better understanding between us and the Russians, he replied, “I would teach the American child the truth about communism and the Russian child the truth about American capitalism.” It would indeed be difficult to find any way of improving upon that.


As those of you know who have been good enough to follow these broadcasts fairly regularly, I have continually pointed out instances of infringements upon civil rights and the dangers to us all of such infringements. Such rights are basic, whether they relate to speech, religion, or to any of the other fundamental areas. This week there comes to light the case of a young midshipman. He is Cadet Eugene Landry of Bradley Beach, New Jersey. He graduated this week with second highest honors from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He won three scholarships and was granted his degree, as did his other classmates. Such accomplishments ordinarily would have enabled him to receive a naval reserve commission, and it did to the others of his class. However, Cadet Landry was unfortunate enough to have chosen as his mother a woman who for some ten years prior to 1947 was a member of the Communist Party. No doubt has ever been raised as to the loyalty of the midshipman. One spokesman of the Academy called him “one of the brightest students we ever had.” However, he continued to visit and associate with his mother, and for this nefarious and un-American activity it was assumed somewhere by someone that he should be denied his rights under the law.

This is indeed strange doctrine and performance on the American scene. The framers of our Constitution wrote, not into the Bill of Rights, but in the original document, a provision that even in the case of treason, punishment could be visited only upon the traitor and that it could not work corruption of blood and be inflicted upon children or other relatives of the condemned person.

Now to put it into plain East Tennessee language, this reporter has no truck with the communist, but since when has it become American to violate not only the spirit but also the letter of the Constitution by denying to a capable young student his rights upon the sole assumption of guilt by association with a mother who has long since avowed any sympathy for communism? For that matter, one should have a right to visit his mother at any time he chooses, regardless of her ideological persuasion, without having it assumed that he, by virtue of such visits, embraced her political viewpoints. The whole thing is not only silly; it is, in my humble judgment, illegal. And I am certain that it is immoral. This is a case when organized protests from all over the country should flood the Navy Department and the offices of president and congressmen. The doctrine of “blood guilt” is certainly as un-American as any of the so-called “isms” of our time, whether they be fascism or communism, or what have you.


Well, it seems to be on-again, off-again with regard to our State Board of Education and desegregation in the state colleges. Several weeks ago, as I reported, the board had agreed to admit Negroes to the graduate divisions of the colleges this year, to the senior class of the undergraduate division next year, and so on until by 1972 there would, presumably, be full integration. In action at Nashville this week, the board changed its mind and decided to take no action at all pending outcome of a suit now on the court docket in Memphis over the applications of five Negro students seeking admission to Memphis State. The court will not make a ruling until sometime in October, so simply by taking no action, the board has averted a hurdle it has seemed to have little taste for, at least until after the fall term. And who knows, maybe before the end of that term a miracle may happen that will bring about still further delay?


July 31, 1955

The tensions and strains in the complicated situation in Argentina, in which the struggle between Peron and the Catholic Church has been ongoing, came to something of a focus this week by the outlining of the issues in controversy by the radical opposition party. The head of that party presented by a broadcast a 10-point list of demands for reform, the first broadcast of its kind that Peron has permitted since he took office in 1946.

Arturo Frondizi, radical leader, stated his party’s case over a 14-station network, demanding the rebirth of democracy in his country and calling for:

  1. An end to the state of emergency and internal war under which Peron has suspended constitutional guarantees for the past four years;
  2. Amnesty for all political prisoners, and an end to persecution of those whose views do not coincide with the dictator;
  3. An end to corruption of public officials (Seems like I remember hearing that in this country, at least every four years);
  4. Full freedom of thought, religion, assembly, press, and organization;
  5. Appointment of judges without regard to their political affiliation;
  6. Election reforms, including assurance of freedom in campaigning;
  7. An end to use of the schools for political propaganda purposes;
  8. Withdrawal of congressional consideration of a government contract to grant exclusive drilling rights over extensive areas of Argentina to the Standard Oil Company of California. (It fails to mention what the party’s attitude is toward offshore oil);
  9. Land reform;
  10. A consistent foreign policy instead of the current “zigzagging” one. (Mr. Dulles, please note).

The interesting thing is that Peron has permitted this broadcast. Furthermore, the president of Argentina’s lower legislative house, the Chamber of Deputies, has ordered debate on radical charges against the police, something which has heretofore not been permitted. Now nobody except the most naive would suspect that Peron has of his own volition suddenly become more open-minded about discussion of his policies. If this news is straight, and it comes to us with an AP dateline from Buenos Aires, those of us inclined to be cynical about such matters would suspect that Peron’s grip on the country may be considerably less secure than it has been in the past. On the other hand, few of us here would consider these demands radical or anything else except something of the minimum essentials of a free society.

In something of a footnote, it might be added that the communists, with their unfailing willingness to bathe in troubled waters, have clashed with the police in Rosario, the country’s largest city. They were writing slogans on walls and attempting to organize a demonstration. But since when has slogan-writing and peaceful demonstration become a crime against morality or even law and order? Moreover, the radicals charge that the police killed a Communist Party leader in Santa Fe province after he had been arrested, and the circumstances would indicate that he had been eliminated in the best (or worst) Nazi or communist style.

All these developments indicate certainly that there is more than a one-sided ferment going on in our most Southern neighboring country. Most of us can subscribe wholeheartedly to the program of the radical party there without feeling that we are any more radical than Thomas Jefferson or a Morris Plan bank.


Two items of interest on the same subject appear in the news this week. One comes from El Paso, Texas, in a decision by a federal judge that state laws upholding racial barriers in public schools have, in his words, become junked by Supreme Court decisions. The ruling was by Judge R. Ewing Thomason, former west Texas congressman who specifically ordered Texas Western College, a subsidiary of the University of Texas, to lift its ban on Negro students.

Following this decision, but insofar as the news reveals, not necessarily as a direct outcome of it, at Kilgore, Texas, a citizens’ council has promised to fight “by every lawful means against ending the centuries-old separation of whites and Negroes.” The new president of the chapter, an A.G. Morton, Jr., said, “We will fight desegregation by every lawful and legal means at our disposal whenever and wherever it threatens this community.” Well, the only comment there would seem to raise the question of how one can legally and lawfully fight against what has been decreed by the highest court in the land to be the constitutional law of that land.

Citizens’ councils made their first appearance in Mississippi and Georgia as an organized protest against desegregation. Their main aim is to preserve segregation through economic methods. The Negro or the white man who advocates desegregation finds his credit cut off at the store, his loan at the bank due immediately; he has difficulty in acquiring a place to live; his neighbors no longer neighbor with him. Economically and socially he becomes an outcast insofar as this Klan-like organization is concerned. And there have been reports, albeit somewhat suppressed ones, of veritable reigns of terror in some communities with heavy Negro populations.


The second news item on the subject comes over the A.P. with a Chattanooga dateline. The attorney general of the state of Georgia has forthrightly declared that “Tennessee’s position on the segregation problem has embarrassed Georgia to the point that Tennessee is no longer a friend.” Well, as a matter of fact, Tennessee’s position on the matter has also embarrassed some Tennesseans, but for another reason. However, the crux of the situation would appear to be that in Hamilton County, just across the line from Georgia, the Board of Education of Chattanooga has announced that it will bow to the law and bring desegregation forthwith in its schools. This apparently has roused the ire of Attorney General Cook in Georgia, for he recognizes the embarrassment into which his state will be thrown by the example of American obedience to law and order – and justice – just north of him. And we still send missionaries to the heathen in foreign lands.


Two weeks ago I reported a trial of a unique kind going on within the Lutheran Church, that of the Rev. George P. Crist, Jr., against whom charges of heresy have been lodged by his fellow churchmen. Well, the trial was held this week, and the results are known. Specifically the charges read that the Rev. Mr. Crist has adulterated the word of God and has mixed his own opinions and surmises with the scripture. In all, he has been accused of 14 counts of deviation from Lutheran doctrine.

Preparatory to his trial, the accused said he would deny some of the charges as not representing his views. The trial itself centered around 18 sermons delivered by him this year. He insisted that these sermons correctly reflected his views and added that he would not and could not with clear conscience recant any of his preachings. The charges include that he denied the virgin birth of Christ, the physical resurrection of Jesus, and the occurrence of some miracles, as well as casting doubts upon certain effects of prayer.

On its side, the church insists that it will not tolerate teachings in conflict with the faith it officially professes.

The verdict of the seven-pastor trial board found him guilty of nine counts of deviation and recommended that he be suspended immediately from his pulpit. In commenting upon the outcome of the case, Crist says that he is still convinced that he has committed no offense against the rules of the church; that he is saddened by the verdict; that he will continue his ministry, whether it be as a pastor in service or in some other capacity, perhaps, he says, as a teacher of philosophy at the college level. Well, he did not ask for any advice from me, but someone should inform him that nonconformists among teachers these days are looked upon with not much, if any, more respect than is true among members of the ministerial profession.

Obviously, any religious organization has the power, and perhaps the right, to determine what shall and shall not be taught in its name from the pulpit by its ordained ministry. There are, however, many of us who wonder just how much and how long it can retain a realistic hold in the imagination and loyalty of a broadening membership when it insists that all members conform without any deviation to long-standing dogmas that are just that – statements of belief that can neither be proved nor disproved, but about which honest and sincere people can faithfully disagree, while at the same time those same people can agree on all the really fundamental essentials that go to make up a practicable religious faith in today’s world.


How many of you can remember when a certain senator from Wisconsin was daily catching the headlines in newspapers and on the radio from coast to coast – just one short year ago? Well, an item in the news this week that did not make the headline, but certainly contains more substance than most of the rubbish that did find its way to inclusion in headlines a year ago, came from the court of Judge Edward Weinfeld of New York. Back in 1953, three men, among them Corliss Lamont, refused to answer questions before McCarthy’s subcommittee. Lamont had contended that the subcommittee never was legally authorized by the Senate to conduct its investigations. In refusing to answer some 22 questions put to him by the subcommittee, which then meant only Joe himself, Lamont [cited] the First Amendment with its guarantee of free speech. Without ruling on the validity or scope of McCarthy’s authority, Judge Weinfeld said, “The indictment is barren of any allegation or fact from which the authority of the permanent subcommittee can be ascertained.” Hence, the contempt citation was thrown out. This is another heartening pronouncement indicating the distance we have traveled in one year from craven subjection to the reckless swaggering of one self-appointed keeper of the nation’s conscience.


Now this reporter has no desire to keep kicking a dead body around longer than necessary, but another incident in the week’s happenings seems too good, and too indicative of our more wholesome atmosphere today, that he cannot refrain from passing it on. Like the item just mentioned, it deals with the boy in the basement.

This week in the Senate, McCarthy made a speech in which he insisted that any possible forthcoming talks between representatives of the Free World and the government of Red China should be attended by delegates also from the Nationalist Chinese government, i.e., Chiang Kai-shek. He went on to charge that the administration had brought this matter up just as Congress was adjourning, so that it could appease the Chinese communists without any restraints from, as he put it, the representatives of the American people. Further, he charged that the whole thing was a subversive move, and insinuated that anyone cordial to the idea was himself a subversive.

Whereupon, Senator George from Georgia, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee took over. He excoriated McCarthy for his charge of subversion, ridiculed the idea that any appeasement was intended, and proceeded in general to tell the Wisconsin representative that it made sense to seek peace with anyone anytime, and that such could be done without sacrifice of principles.

McCarthy, noting the lowered temperature in the Senate as well as the heat in the words of the Georgia senator, came back contritely with a perennial apology, assuring Sen. George that there was no doubt about his loyalty; that he, McCarthy, had always known the Georgian as a patriotic American, a scholar, and a true gentleman.

In reply, Sen. George thanked his colleague for “them kind words,” remarked that he had no doubt as to the Wisconsin Senator’s sincerity, and ended by saying, “I wish I could in all honesty pay a similar tribute the scholarliness and gentlemanliness of my colleague that he has paid to me, but I cannot honesty do so, and I refuse to perjure myself by pretending that I can.”

To which climax this reporter has only two words in comment. Bravo! And touché!


July 17, 1955

In the first hearing in a grade school segregation case since the May 31 Supreme Court decree for an end to segregation, a three-man federal court ordered the Summerton, South Carolina, school district to proceed “with all deliberate speed” to operate on a racially non-segregated basis. This particular case is one of the original five in which the Supreme Court held that racially segregated schools are unconstitutional. The court order this week enjoined the trustees from refusing because of race to admit any child to any school. The court went on to agree that it may take some time, even a whole year, for the trustees to work out the necessary arrangements, but it retained jurisdiction of the case to check on what the trustees do. If they act in good faith, they need have no fear of being held in contempt of court, but the spokesman for the court, Judge Parker of Charlotte, North Carolina, said, “I assume that the trustees are going to obey.” The trustees, on their part, have announced they will close the schools rather than mix white and Negro pupils. It will be very interesting and illuminating to see what develops in this case, for South Carolina has been for long one of the most unbending of the states with respect to the problem of race relations. Both the state and the trustees should recognize that not only the court and the law, but also the spirit of history nationally is against them. Their resistance may delay, but cannot prevent the ultimate triumph of those democratic principles which our highest court so wisely, if belatedly, enunciated.


Of course one does not have to go to South Carolina to find examples of less-than-forthright measures to comply with the evident implication of the court’s decision. In our own case here in Tennessee, for example, the State Board of Education recently ruled that it would admit “qualified” Negroes this year to the graduate schools of the state colleges. The board went on to say that next year, they could be admitted to the senior year of the undergraduate school, the third year to the junior, and so on. It takes nothing more than elementary school calculation to arrive at the simple fact that, according to this formula, Tennessee will have complied in full with the court’s ruling by 1972, or 17 years from now. It requires no recourse to a crystal ball to see clearly that the issue is not going to wait that long on such timid boards of education, whether they be at the state or local levels. Experiences in desegregation among states, cities, and school districts since May 17, 1954, indicate that integration is accomplished most rapidly and smoothly if three things obtain:

  1. That the school officials, board, president, superintendent, principal, and anyone else in administrative or supervisory position, act firmly, fairly, and fearlessly. The law and its implications are clear. There is no excuse for hesitancy, half-hearted statements or actions in the matter;
  1. When adults stay out of the picture. This means that you and I as citizens and parents have a responsibility also to meet the challenge frankly, and refrain from injecting our own prejudices into the matter. Children of all races are amazingly and hearteningly flexible and adaptable. Left to solve their own problems of association, they will make fewer mistakes than when dictated by the prejudiced adults;
  1. When outsiders, which usually means professional demagogues, are not permitted to inflame sensitive circumstances by their breast-beating and partisan appeals.

Colored citizens have been patient and long-suffering in their battle for this simple, elementary right in a democracy. It is understandable that now, with the weight of the law where it should have been all the time, they are going to be equally as patient and long-suffering with school officials who would evade their responsibilities.


The U.S. president of the World Council of Churches has urged that the churches in this country set aside today for “summit-meeting” services. Dr. Henry Knox Sherrill, who is presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, has also urged Christians to pray daily for the conference. This morning, in the American church in Geneva, President and Mrs. Eisenhower were scheduled to join in prayer for the success of the meeting. The church is Episcopalian, but so many other Protestant Americans attend that it is almost interdenominational.


In Buenos Aires, Argentine Roman Catholics have not been disturbed as they attended a special Mass celebrated by Bishop Merlin J. Guilfoyle of San Francisco. The bishop and other Catholic clergymen and laymen were in Buenos Aires en route to the Eucharistic Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Some American sources earlier had been concerned about Bishop Guilfoyle’s mass in the riot-scarred Metropolitan Cathedral. Police still stand guard in front of the church, after the uprising against Argentine’s President Peron one month ago. But Friday’s service ended without any difficulties. After the mass, many of the faithful gave the traditional Argentine gesture of support, waving white handkerchiefs to Bishop Gulifoyle as he walked out of the cathedral.

This Eucharistic Congress, to which some 2 million Catholics from five continents are converging, is expected to look sharply into the troubles between the Catholic Church in Argentina [and President Peron].


In Fallsburg, New York, the Rabbinical Council of America has formally asked the Soviet Embassy in Washington to permit a delegation of rabbis to visit Jews in Russia. Spokesman for the council say it has received a communication from the embassy asking full details and the nature and purpose of the proposed visit. The council president, Rabbi David B. Hollander of Mount Eden Jewish Center in N.Y.C., said, “If our request is granted, it will foster the growing spirit of understanding between East and West which now appears to be emerging.” Of the proposed visit, Hollander said, “We seek only to visit co-religionists in an effort to strengthen the bond between our peoples. Announcement of the application was made at the council’s 12th annual meeting this week in Fallsburg. The meeting of the council, representing one million congregants, was attended by some 600 rabbis from all parts of the nation.


Of a very unusual nature comes this word from Vicksburg, Michigan. There the Rev. George Stannard, pastor of the First Methodist Church, says he’ll conduct Christmas services in his church today. He says he hopes in this manner to allow his congregation really to enjoy Christmas. Stannard says modern Christmas services have all the joy taken out of them by shopping, the scramble for gifts, the tedious writing of cards, and the worry over bills. This is a severe indictment of how warped we can make what started out as a truly spiritual commemoration. Most of us nowadays do not celebrate Christmas; we merely swap merchandise and call it Christmas.


As a people, our memory is usually terribly short with respect to the rapidly passing events that are brought to our attention through various communication media. It was almost a year ago that our newspapers were full of stories about events in a neighboring American country, Guatemala. A few days ago a nationally known commentator and columnist, a member of the Sokolsky-Pelger-Lewis Axis, which in my judgment is about the heart in the business, devoted his daily column to the tune of “Guatemalan picture looks brighter.” Under this title, Lewis paints in glowing terms the alleged progress made in the past year and the reputedly improved conditions of today.

Being skeptical of both his facts and interpretation, I indulged in as much research on the subject as time would permit, and came up with an entirely different picture. Though I must confess my disadvantage as to time and resources for research. The facts I uncovered are as follows:

Prior to the regime of the revolution, over which we presided, no one in Latin America was given more dollar help proportionately than Guatemalan dictator Jorge Ubico. Yet, this regime was overthrown at the peak of our munificence, mainly because its program undercut the feudal structure without providing alternatives, and this inflation that brought about general misery. Even our State Department’s white paper admits that the revolution which overthrew Ubico was urgently needed. Ubico was succeeded by the Arbenz regime, which embarked upon a program that included social security, sanitation, health projects, land reform, and similar badly needed changes. Perhaps without aid, certainly with our blessings, this regime was overthrown as communist, and the present administration of Colonel Castillo Armas, whose hold on the country today is so shaky that he dare not risk stepping outside the national palace unless surrounded by a large military force, and he did not attend the ball held for Vice President Nixon on the latter’s recent visit because there was not enough parking space for his machine guns. The State Department’s white paper found throughout the overthrown regime 16 known Labor Party members, i.e., communists, two or three with better than clerical positions, several veiled communists, four in relatively important positions, eleven suspected communists, against whom the evidence is flimsy. Doubtless there were others in provincial and town governments, but about all those named escaped abroad, except a Nicaraguan lawyer who was shot without trial. Thus, those who have suffered most have not been the communists but faithful non-communist civil service workers who have been thrown out of their jobs or thrown into jail.

Today unemployment is severe and the ragged and barefoot have reappeared in the city streets. General unemployment and destruction of labor unions have depressed wages from the approximate dollar achieved in recent years toward the 15-cent level prevailing under the Ubico dictatorship. Under the Arbenz pro-communist regime, Guatemala for the first time in history, became a food exporting country as a result of technical improvements long scorned by feudal agriculture. But within the last year the government has spent about $4 million for corn alone, and greater outlays will have to be made or many people will starve. The government’s plight is bad and growing worse. Salaries of government personnel, except for the army, are badly in arrears. Schoolteachers are hard-hit, and many schools have shut down. Public housing, road building, and other public works have been halted.

Civil rights no longer exist. All parties except Catholic groups and the new party created by the dictatorship have been outlawed. Castillo was named president by voters passing before soldiers at the polling places and shouting “Yes” or “No.” Not even the Soviets have ever dared stage such a barefaced travesty. Nothing like it has been seen in Latin America since the French soldiers prodded voters with bayonets in a plebiscite to seat Maximilian on the throne a hundred years ago.

No farm unions or cooperatives are allowed. Nearly all schoolteacher, student, women’s, and cultural organizations have been suppressed.

And this is the kind of regime for which we have earmarked $6,500,000 to help. It is unlikely that many American taxpayers would object to having their dollars spent to aid needy people to achieve greater democracy in a country on our own continent, but let us be honest with ourselves about Guatemala. The revolution we sponsored did not injure many of the real communists. The regime we are now subsidizing is no more a democracy in the American sense than is the Kremlin. Is there a moral principle involved here? It is about time that the rank-and-file of our citizenry re-evaluate the deals we have made in recent years with the Titos, the Francos, the Armas, and similar non-democratic governments. If we are going to deal with them as a matter of expediency, that is one thing, but let us not cloak expediency with distortion of what the facts are. This is hypocrisy of the rankest sort.





July 10, 1955

Sometimes even the most well-meaning people, trying to thread their way intelligently through the confusingly complicated world of today, find themselves taking, unconsciously of course, diametrically opposite and contradictory positions on important issues. What brought this on is an item brought to my attention by one of you listeners. A reader of the Miami Daily News insists upon retaining freedom of religion and of speech, but later on in her letter she justifies the banning of the film “Martin Luther.” How can one square a loyalty to freedom of religion and at the same time subscribe to censorship of religion because it happens to be filmed and deals with religion in a way one does not like?

In this connection, the words of Benjamin Franklin seem more than appropriate. He says, “When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it, so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil powers, ’tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.”

The same reaction was evoked some years ago by the appearance of “The Miracle.” And one having only incidental religious implications was a film of a story by Charles Dickens that displayed a Jew in a bad light. I personally regret that any form of communication media holds any individual of any group up to contempt because of his identification with that group, but to prohibit all communication media that do not portray everybody in a favorable light would mean to stifle all communication. The good common sense of most people, and their sense of fairness, will usually assess any character, film, or other means of portrayal as it should be, and censorship of any kind is anathema to free men who love freedom.


Today we hear a great deal about that behavior which we call juvenile delinquency. It is a very complicated subject, and one which I hope to deal with in greater detail on some future broadcast. However, I wonder if the public generally is aware of some of the fundamental, society-imposed influences that contribute to such behavior. For one thing our system of contracting marriage is psychologically – and I might add biologically – unsound, outmoded, confused, hit-or-miss, putting a premium on guile, promoting unhealthy competition, and encouraging sexual looseness. Being an unmarried young woman, under our far-from-intelligent system, is a hazardous occupation like handling explosives. Yet, the young female herself is not without some blame, for many of her antics to attract the male are pathetic and rarely funny. Often in our marriage mart the solid young man with substantial academic or other achievements to his credit, but not clever with women, feels rejected. He has no line, he doesn’t dance well, he isn’t good at lying, he doesn’t have a sporty car, but because of his lack of success with members of the opposite sex, he is confused, frustrated, and feels cheated.

The rising divorce rate, with its consequent paralytical impact upon the personalities of young people is something for which they are not responsible, but because of which they suffer from the insecurity, uncertainty, frustration, that go with uncertainty. Someone has said that there are no tragedies but the tragedies of childhood. That may be hyperbole, but perhaps it is not too much to say that most of human tragedies have their genesis in childhood. My work brings me constantly in association with young people, many of whom, directly or indirectly, convey to me something of the problems that are affecting their outlook and behavior. The tragic thing is that most of these problems have their roots in attitudes or activities of adults, adults who affect very personally and directly the attitude and behavior of these young people. How would it be if we stopped putting so much emphasis on talking glibly and with sad countenances about juvenile delinquency and started taking a serious, unemotional, and objective inventory of the adult delinquency that contributes to this so-much-heard delinquencies of minors?


In line with this same thought comes an AP news item that a Protestant youth leader this past week stressed the importance of the Christian home in combating juvenile delinquency. President Edgar Fritz of the International Walther League says in nine cases of ten, parental delinquency is to blame for wayward youth. Fritz has also told the 2,000 youthful delegates at his group’s convention they have a duty to help churches make the family a spiritual unit. The Walther League, which met in NYC, is the youth organization of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod.


The National Council of Churches says that teenagers and young adults leave the church mainly because they are bored. A survey of 605 youths adds the teenagers and young adults do not like programs that offer little or no challenge to their skill sand interests. Other reasons named were marriage and family responsibilities that conflict with working or school hours. The council adds that the young persons recommended several ways for churches to hold their interest. Included are well-planned programs that are intellectually adapted to local needs, capable and sincere leadership, friendliness to newcomers, and church activities in which all … may take part.


Contacts between the Church of England and Britain’s Methodist Church seem to have gone beyond the preliminary stage. Worldwide attention of religious circles has been stirred by the moves. The Anglicans have expressed cautious hopes for closer association with the Methodist Church, built on Episcopal lines. That would mean inter-communion between churches governed episcopally, by bishops, priests, and deacons. Some proposals have been made that the British Methodist Church might become an Episcopal one. Now Britain’s Methodist Church leaders say they would welcome opportunity to discuss closer relationships with the Church of England. The Methodist conference meeting at Manchester, England, has declared it does not envisage a dull and level uniformity. It desires that the particular character and influence of each church be retained.


Well, it seems that at last investigationitis has beset at least one of the churches. In Milwaukee, July 28 has been set as the date for the heresy trial of the Rev. George Crist, pastor of a Lutheran parish in Durham, a suburb of Milwaukee. A five-member investigating committee of the Church’s Northwest Synod has informed the 31-year-old minister of the date. Crist says he’ll defend himself by trying to prove his views are within the doctrine of the Lutheran Church. He says he does not believe in the virgin birth of Christ. He says that statement and others attributed to him probably will form the basis of the charges. But he says he believes his point of view is within the synod’s article of faith, which is based on the Bible and the confessional writings of the Lutheran Church. Two other Milwaukee area ministers are also under investigation by the committee.


The Argentine government has informed the Vatican that two Roman Catholic priests ousted from the country three weeks ago may return. Vatican sources say the withdrawal of the expulsion order was communicated to the Vatican through normal diplomatic channels. The two prelates are now en route to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the International Eucharistic Congress. And in Buenos Aires, Cardinal Copello has urged all Catholics to heed President Peron’s plea for peace and harmony, and has ordered that a pastoral be read at all masses in all Roman Catholic churches today signifying support of the president’s plea.


For some time now I have been getting together some comments upon the fundamental social and political and moral nature of the Supreme Court decisions relating to desegregation of the public schools – those of May 17, 1954, and of May 31, 1955. While I had made some progress on that, here comes a national magazine that does it much better and more comprehensively, so I take the liberty of quoting to you rather liberally from an editorial of Collier’s for July 22, now on your newsstands. It says, in part:

“In two great decisions requiring the integration of white children and black in our … schools, the … court has restated shining principle and returned to the smallest communities the challenge of living up to it. By ruling … that ‘separate educational facilities are inherently unequal’, the … court set the record straight for ourselves and the world. To the communist charges … that we are insincere in our pledges to our own colored citizens, we have said they lie. At home the decision swept away the legal struts by which 20 states and the District of Columbia permitted or required separation of school children according to race or color. In one stroke, the court destroyed the jerry-built house of legalisms that had protected our prejudices for nearly a century. It got down to the clean granite of what we believe.

“… The court set no deadline; it knew that the change would be neither easy nor simple, that conditions varied widely from place to place.…

“In its decisions the … court has followed its instructions to the lower courts. It has moved with ‘deliberate speed.’ That this is a wise course is shown … by the transition which has already happened. At the time of the original ruling everyone looked instinctively to the South, fearful of violence. Actually, surprisingly, little violence has occurred…. True, some of the bitterest opponents of the Court’s decision have repeatedly vowed a last-ditch fight against any change.…

“But their outraged cries have sometimes sounded hollow, as if spoken for political effect. The plain facts show that the tide is against them. In many of the so-called border states, Negro and white children now for the first time are seated on adjacent benches learning their ABC’s together. Here integration is proceeding for the most part quietly and unspectacularly, particularly when public officials have given an example of calm compliance. Even in the deepest South there has long been a growing body of citizens who have foreseen that ultimate integration must come, that by depriving the Negro of equality under the Constitution, we were also depriving ourselves of the full benefit of his immeasurable gifts.…

“The … decision, of course, did not please those who wished integration to come overnight, some of these eager minds feared that by failing to set a deadline for compliance, the … court had opened the way for years of delay while a multitude of individual legal actions would have to be carried upward through the courts all over again. Yet the court’s decision should give little comfort to those who would destroy its meaning. It has ordered that good faith compliance be undertaken promptly, and that those asking delays must prove the delays are necessary.…

“Implementation would come more quickly … if it were left to the nation’s children. In Washington, D.C., and other localities where integration already has been largely accomplished, it has been found that in the elementary grades particularly, Negro child and white child accept each other simply, find nothing astonishing when a little Negro girl is elected to play Goldilocks or the fairy princess. For youngsters have an easy way with truth, a direct and casual acceptance that all children are created equal. They have not yet had laid upon their free minds the deadening weight of old prejudices and old fears. The adults who most oppose integration could find worse examples of democracy in action than on the playgrounds where white and Negro children mingle.

“Yet the court’s decision for the most part will have to be implemented by parents. For many, it will require an act of courage; it is not easy for any man to alter abruptly the beliefs by which he has lived a lifetime. It is here that the … court has served us well. It has recognized that its decision will stir a struggle in many an individual conscience, that to impose an arbitrary deadline might only inflame resistance to the change that must come. The decision emphasized that in a free society it is far better for compliance to come from below than to be enforced from above. Prejudice cannot be erased by an edict, or enlightenment created by law. The court has preferred to challenge us, North and South, Negro and white, to be the kind of citizens that a free society must have – and not having them, dies. For ultimately the law must be enforced not by a man with a gun, but by recognition in the heart. This is the immeasurable strength, the enduring secret, of free men.

July 3, 1955

This summer, some 6 million American youngsters are going to use part of their traditional summer vacation to learn more about religion. They will be attending vacation church schools or church camps. The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. says the number of individual schools and camps is expected to exceed last year’s totals. Some 96,500 church schools and more than 3,500 church camps were operating then. About 35,000 teachers have prepared the 1955 season with special training this past spring, at workshops conducted by 20 state councils of churches and 50 city councils. The National Council’s Special Committee on Camps and Conferences has conducted six interdenominational leadership training camps. Most schools are conducted by local churches or church groups and most run from two to four weeks. Attending the schools will be children from kindergarten age through the 9th grade. The church camps will enroll children from the fourth to ninth grades.


The Rabbinical Alliance of America has urged legislative bodies in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to stop coddling and pampering youthful criminals. The 400 delegates of the Jewish Orthodox group have been meeting this past week in Spring Valley, New York. In NYC, Chairman Strauss of the Atomic Energy Commission has praised formation of an Institute for Ethical Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Strauss said, “The foremost source of inspiration and instruction available to the modern man in this search for moral insights is certainly scripture.”


Vatican City: Pope Pius XII bestowed his blessings this week on more than 10,000 persons who packed St. Peter’s Square. They had come to observe the feast day of the first pope of the Roman Catholic Church. The Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul drew one of the greatest crowds on record for the occasion.


Washington: The Senate has given final congressional approval to a bill requiring that the inscription “In God We Trust” be placed on all U.S. currency. This inscription now appears on coins, but will be placed on paper money also gradually as the Bureau of Printing and Engraving obtains new dies.

My comments upon the principle involved in this bit of religiosity has been either misunderstood or misinterpreted, but it still smacks of the pharisee who wore a long face to convince those he met that he had been fasting and thereby was a devout person.


Last week I reported on the fact that the Jews had turned down the proposal to ordain women as rabbis. This week from Spring Valley, New York, comes the item that the proposal has been termed “blasphemous” by the national director of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. Rabbi Chaim Lipschitz made the statement at the 13th Annual Conference of the Alliance. Rabbi Mendel Feldman, president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, had made the suggestion. Now being of the liberal persuasion and a devout believer in the principle of democratic equality, this reporter can understand how righteous indignation may be sweeping throughout the Jewish distaff ranks at this affront. It would seem that they are having about as difficult a time breaking into the purely masculine rabbinical order as the Republican women have had in getting in on the White House stag breakfasts. Oh well, slavery lasted in this country from 1619 to 1863, but it finally ended. Maybe this rabbinical problem will be ironed out in a couple of centuries.


From Chicago comes a statement of a missionary of Jehovah’s Witnesses that “Communism is beating Christianity at its own game.” Joseph Wengert of International Falls, Minnesota, said the clergy “cry out in complaint about spiritual apathy. But the spiritual drowsiness they see,” he said, “is merely a reflection of themselves.” He spoke at the final session of the five-day assembly of the Witnesses in Chicago.


The six-day international convention of the Young People’s Lutheran League closed this week in San Francisco. Dr. Charles Malik, a U.N. delegate from Lebanon made an address in which he stressed the closeness between the objectives of the Young People’s Lutheran League and the U.N.


And while on the subject of Lutherans, in New York, the Rev. Arnold Grumm, vice president of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod said that the Lutheran Church is growing so fast that there is a shortage of pastors.


In Heidelberg, Germany, German and American members of the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) have broken ground for a new church building. Both congregations have been raising money for the church since January. They will supply ten percent of the building costs, with the rest being borne by the Central Church of Salt Lake City.


On Friday of the past week, Foreign Administrator Harold Stassen ended his supervision of that now defunct agency and officially assumed the unusual state of a member of the cabinet without portfolio as secretary of disarmament and peace –  or whatever other euphemistic term is applicable. Realizing that all men have their weaknesses, and Mr. Stassen at times shows he is richly endowed with them, we nevertheless hope that the net result of his endeavors will be achievement toward lasting peace. In connection with the job that lies ahead of him, there came to me this week a copy of a letter sent to Mr. Stassen by the Social Action Committee of the South Nassau Unitarian Church. Its contents seem worth sharing with you. It reads:

“Dear Mr. Stassen, pursuant to your request for suggestions from the public, we respectfully submit the main points of agreement brought out at a recent forum which we instituted to consider the matter.

“First, it was the consensus … that the increasing danger to the world from new weapons of mass destruction rendered obsolete former methods of settling disputes among nations and made necessary a system of international cooperation; and that the matter of disarmament is inseparable from the U.N. which is the only existing instrument capable of dealing with the present situation. Hence the recommendation that you make every effort to strengthen and improve the United Nations so that it may become an effective instrument for enforcing peace, ant that you use your influence to have the Formosa matter and all similar matters that may arise turned over to the body for disposition rather than be handled by the U.S. alone or in concert with one or more other nations.

“Second, it was the opinion that the development of nuclear weapons had already reached the stage where either Russia or the United States could destroy the other, and that regardless of which might strike first, the other would retain ability to retaliate. If this be the case, there would seem to be no point in continuing to amass huge stockpiles of armament and expending vast sums for the development of new and more destructive weapons: and without weakening our ability to retaliate, we might well divert a large portion of our energies to Point Four and similar projects for the improvement of underprivileged peoples. This would strike at the basic causes of war and nullify much of Russia’s present appeal to the peoples of Asia which rests on false pretenses of friendship. It would tend to lessen the distrust of the West by Asians, arising out of centuries of colonialism, and make them see us as their real friends. And finally, it would tend to make our allies more confident in our ability to work for an enduring peace.”

And to that this reporter can add little except to stress that peace cannot be enforced. Only law is enforceable, and before there can be law there must be a duly constituted governmental body to make it, to administer it, and to adjudicate disputes arising under it. Mr. Stassen would do well to bend his energies toward accomplishing the results envisioned by the Unitarians of South Nassau.


And from a cynical friend of mine comes this quote of the week that may sound pretty harsh, but I, and I am sure all of you, have a feeling at times that he is more than half right. He says:

“The Democrats in Congress have enough votes to restore civil rights and liberties and stop the give-away program of the Republicans, but with the exception of a half-dozen valiant senators, it is a do-nothing party. In the face of the greatest need for protection of the people in American history, the Democrats piddle around on peripheral issues. The House has passed the Dixon-Yates Bill, the greatest steal in history (what about Tidelands Oil?). The Democrats could have stopped it. It doesn’t make much difference whether the Republicans skin us from the neck down or the Democrats from the heels up – we the people get skinned.”

Seriously, we may well ask what has happened to the brave promises during the last campaign: promises regarding educational aid, housing, reforming of committee procedures? At times it beings to look as if the opposition party, controlled as it is through committee chairmanships by conservative and in some cases by reactionary Southerners, has given up thought of effective opposition.


Tomorrow marks the 179th anniversary of the signing of the most radical and startling document of its kind ever to emerge from the hand of man – our own Declaration of Independence, so radical that when India was recently framing her constitutional system she rejected it because of its revolutionary nature. It is not law, the courts have held; but those same courts have held that it is a philosophy of government that gives meaning, breath, and life to our American way of government. Tomorrow from platforms, over the radio, TV, and other means of communication, you will be hearing leather-lunged orators extolling this and that, with sonorous phrases and emotional frenzy. Little constructive has ever been accomplished by emotional outbursts. Let us forget emotion and look at a single sentence of the immortal document itself.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal” (not white, black, recent immigrants, or those whose ancestors came on the Mayflower), “That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights: that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” (Property was originally there, but was stricken out.) “That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” (You and I, not president, senators, or other public officials) “That, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundations on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

Jefferson did not just think these words up out of his head. They are the expression in tangible form of the struggle that had continued for centuries. Therein he expressed the yearning of ages for man to be free, free to worship, think as he chose, go where he would, live in the dignity to which every human being is entitled regardless of race, creed, color, property, or anything else but his own individual merits.

There Jefferson emphasizes that government is the instrument of the people, and that the people have an inherent right to revolt. He did not say “peaceably,” he merely said “alter or abolish” whenever government goes beyond its rightful limits of promoting the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Many of those whom you hear tomorrow will give splendid lip service to these ideals, but also some of them will be men of little minds, fearful courage, and no perspective, who worked and voted for legislation (like the Smith-Connally Act) that, if enforced, would make a mockery of the Declaration by retaining the semblance but removing its substance. I suggest – no, urge – that you get down this charter of American governmental philosophy and read it as both background to and insulation from the distortions you hear and that you look for discrepancies between what the spokesman say about it tomorrow and what they do about it in the months ahead.

Again it was Jefferson who said that “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves.” You are part of the people. So am I. The principles of our Declaration will survive in this dangerous world only so long as we know what we believe, inform ourselves of the issues, and exert every effort to promote the principles of that Declaration. If we do not, those principles will fail, and we shall deserve whatever may follow.

June 26, 1955

As dull as statistics can early and easily become, they constitute at times the most accurate method of determining just where we are and what we have. Thus they provide us with something of a quantitative inventory of how widespread religion is in America, as set forth in a recent book edited by Leo Rosten and published this week by Simon and Schuster. [A Guide to the Religions of America?] The book reveals that:

  1.  Ninety-six percent of Americans say they believe in God, while 76 percent of them believe in some form of afterlife;
  1. Seventy percent of American Negroes are church members, while some 60 percent of white people are;
  1. Episcopal, Jews, and Presbyterians have a greater proportion of white collar and professional people in their membership;
  1. Baptists, Catholics, and Lutherans have the biggest share of manual laborers;
  1. Suicide rates are lowest among Jews, and somewhat higher among Protestants than Catholics;
  1. While nearly all denominations carry on missionary work to secure converts, Quakers, Christian Scientists, Jews, and Unitarians do not;
  1. Three out of 10 Catholics marry a non-Catholic; one of the three without approval of the church;
  1. Jews have the lowest divorce rate of any of the three major religious groups, while Protestants have the highest;
  1. Sentiment among Protestants favoring one united Protestant church has climbed from 40 percent in 1940 to 50 percent now, while only 39 percent are opposed, with the remaining 11 percent undecided;
  1. The average church has 322 members, a gradual climb from some 235 in 1926;
  1. Among clergymen, 38 percent believe the Bible is wholly free from legend or myth, while among ministerial students only four percent hold this belief.

Many more features that are well worth reading appear in the volume, but the above are a few of the highlights. Clergymen, church researchers of many denominations, and others have contributed to the volume, which provides one of the best, detailed, and up-to-date accounts of the country’s churches which has appeared in a long time.


In the week’s mail there was an item on fear that seems worth passing on to you listeners. It deals with the proposition that we can not only learn to live with our fears, but can turn them to creative account. Fear is an emotion. It involves reverberations and disturbances that are likely to affect our behavior. It can be so acute as to constitute terror and paralyze action if not dealt with wisely. It can and often does cause unhappiness and illness.

Yet, man is an animal that is accustomed to meeting crises. Fear is useful to him in apprising him of a present or pending crisis. He is also biologically equipped to meet crisis. In the relatively long story of evolution, only those animals that had or developed a quick sense of fear survived. The buffalo is now almost extinct, but his fear quotient was low. Man’s fear quotient is high, and developed to a greater degree than any other animal.

Emotions can (and should be) servants, not masters. Otherwise we become something of only a ganglion of the universe. One of the ways of making them servants is to develop a philosophy of life and living, some personal and satisfactory system of thinking about our relation to the universe and our place and function in society. This may be called “religion.” One can hardly know right from wrong or know the desirable limits of behavior without some scale, sense, or hierarchy of values.

Today, fear is real with all of us: fear of financial insecurity, atomic war, loss of prestige, loss of health; some people are afraid of sex, afraid they won’t get married, or afraid that they will. In the economy of our philosophy, fear plays a large part, but it can be turned into something creative, nevertheless.

One way to make it creative, in addition to building a philosophy of or an attitude toward life is the matter of religion itself. Doubtless a considerable amount of our fear grows out of conflicts emerging from irrational religious ideas. The conflict, for example, growing out of the notion that we live in a bisected cosmos, a natural and a supernatural world, can well give rise to an ambivalence that prevents unity of purpose in the business of concentrating on building a worthwhile, and enjoyable life here and now.

Another step toward making fear creative is to regard and accept it as normal. Fear can be a stimulant to action. Someone has remarked with a great deal of truth that “We are as lazy as we dare to be.” Fear of failing in school can well be a stimulant to greater scholastic exertion. Fear of financial insecurity, loss of prestige, can well be the exciter that brings about greater exertion.

Again, fear can be looked upon as something of a benevolent warning. It can tell us to avoid the end result of possible failure in health, professionally or otherwise.

Fear can also force us to look facts in the face. Many times perhaps we are afraid of the little man in the dark room who isn’t there. There is no substitute for coming to grips with reality, whether it be in business, domestic affairs, professionally, or purely personal relations with others. One of the most pernicious habits is pretending that evils do not exist. The optimist (he who sees the bright side when there is really no bright side) is flirting with disaster, is somnolent, or simply being unfair with himself and the world. The philosophy that always “God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world” is the philosophy of a simpleton. Such a Pollyanna outlook cuts the nerve to action, and there is no security in pretense.

Fear thus need not paralyze, need not attain mastery over the individual. In 1933, some of you may recall, a great president said that “All we have to fear is fear itself.” That is a statement that, analyzed logically, does not make sense and the parts of it are contradictory, but many of us can recall how it calmed the hysteria that was assailing us as a people. And who can objectively say that out of our fears, as a nation, in the depression of the 1930s, there was not carved creative action during the next two decades?


This next item may seem ironical and contradictory when compared with what I just said about the dangers of optimism. Several times on this program, however, I have been optimistic enough to see (or think I could see) glimmers of hope that we were coming out of our paroxysm of hysteria and fear as a nation and getting back to sanity. A feature (on the back page at that) in the news this week revealed that we have indeed come a long way as far as the U.S. Senate is concerned. About a year ago, the Senate, by a narrow squeak, voted to condemn Senator McCarthy for a few of his many un-American actions. This week, the junior senator from Wisconsin attempted to get through the Senate a resolution that would have laid down a list of prerequisites, agenda items, etc., that would almost certainly have prevented or wrecked the forthcoming at-the-summit, Big Four Conference. (And if time permitted I should like to discuss the irony of such a meeting.) However, when the senator saw he was licked, he tried eagerly to send his resolution back to the committee, but the Senate blocked that, and then, by the overwhelming vote of 72-4, it voted down once and for all this effort of McCarthy to get out of the basement. Even the California senator from Formosa voted against his erstwhile comrade in arms. What does this mean? Well, it may mean much or nothing, but it certainly reflects that this time in the Senate the tail did not wag the dog, and that is about the reverse of what was happening prior to the Watkins Committee a year ago. This, itself, is some indication that we are little saner, a little less hysterical, and considerably more moral in public life on this particular personality issue. It would appear that the once seemingly indispensable man has now become very much expendable.


A dispatch from Buenos Aires cites informed sources as declaring that Argentine officials are trying to end the seven-month feud between the church and the dictator’s regime. Officials of the foreign ministry are said to be studying terms of a possible concordat between Argentina and the Vatican. But that will be if and when an Argentine Constitutional Assembly votes on ending the Catholic Church’s status as the Argentine state church. An easing of the tension has already been evidenced. Pro-government newspapers have quit their long stream of attacks on the Catholic clergy after last week’s abortive revolt against Peron. And imprisonment is ended for all priests arrested since last November, when Peron publicly accused some clergymen of trying to subvert his government. Furthermore, the police are guarding churches to prevent such incidents as the burning and sacking of religious buildings during last week’s revolt. Religious services are allowed if the sermons are not political and the congregations do not demonstrate. No word has come as yet of the moves to bring back into the church the Argentine leaders and others who took part in the expulsion of two prelates from the country last week.

But repairing the scars, even under the most favorable future events, will take years. In addition to public and private buildings damaged, church properties in downtown Buenos Aires suffered vastly, even after the revolt. The Episcopal Palace was burned out. Church officials say irreplaceable records of historic and civic interest dating back to the early 17th century have been lost. An AP religious news writer says only one thing is clear. George Cornell declares religion is one thing men consider their own, not to be tampered with lightly. And it is likely that many in Argentina, including the goose-stepping Peron, have learned this.


It seems unlikely that women will ever become rabbis in the Jewish religion. The Central Conference of American Rabbis, meeting in Asbury Park, New Jersey, has defeated overwhelmingly a move toward that end. They rejected a resolution that would have put the conference on record as favoring introducing women rabbis into Jewish life. But after voting down the resolution, the assembly adopted another one calling for a one-year consideration of the proposal.


Just a little bit on the social side comes a statement from a writer of religious novels who says that ministers’ wives should try to be attractive, but, she adds, “not too much so.” The novelist, Grace Irwin, who teaches in a Toronto secondary school, has some further advice for wives of pastors. She says the minister’s wife must be the most adaptable person in the world. For instance, she must be ready to changer her role according to the size of her husband’s congregation. She must also know that wife and family can never come first. Her husband is a public servant insofar as his parish is concerned, and somewhat like the doctor, must leave home at any time on almost any kind of errand.


Columbus, Ohio: The Congregational churches of the U.S. and the Evangelical and Reformed Church have chosen June 25, 1957 as the date for their merger. The time was selected by the Evangelical’s General Council and the Congregational Executive Committee at a joint meeting this past week. They will take the name “The United Church of Christ.” The two groups will conduct joint religious projects during the next two years in preparation for their merger.


Washington: The House has passed and sent to the Senate a bill authorizing the post offices to accept stamps bearing the words “Pray for Peace.” The House Post Office Committee said it should “encourage the great body of our people to do so, and to work actively toward its accomplishment.” And the ambiguity in language construction there gives this somewhat weary if not cynical reporter to wonder whether the committee meant work to accomplish peace or to accomplish acceptance of such stamps.



June 12, 1955

From Denver comes an AP dispatch that reveals the height of something or other. A reporter of the Denver Post went to the local weather bureau to get information on the weather and incidentally discovered that a telephone cable serving federal courts, law enforcement and other agencies had been tapped. This cable carries such sources of secret information as the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. District Court for Colorado, the office of the local U.S. attorney, postal inspectors, and the Investigation Office of the State Department. Interestingly enough, none of the spokesmen involved exhibited any concern about the matter. The weather bureau said merely it had seen several men working around there late the day before. The Denver agent of the F.B.I. said, “I have no information,” while the U.S. attorney said merely that “We have no control over the building….”

It should be a matter for concern when even the secret deliberations of members of our high federal courts are suspect and Gestapo and MVD Vityaz methods are used to listen on information that heretofore has been regarded as sacred as the relationship between a priest and his parishioner.

This disclosure brings to my mind another instance of the straits to which we have gone in our over-zealous hysteria, an instance called to my attention by one of you listeners – assuming there are others. In the recent case before the Supreme Court, involving the matter of dismissal of a Yale professor from part-time employment with the U.S. Health Service, Dr. John Peters. The Supreme Court was informed by Atty. Gen. Warren E. Burger that it could not have access to secret information that led to the dismissal of Dr. Peters. Burger went on to say that security laws provide that the Justice Department cannot release confidential FBI reports except to certain authorized officials unless it has the special permission from the president. Apparently, the members of our highest judicial tribunal are not to be trusted with evidence upon which it is asked, by the Justice Department, to make a decision. The Justice Department, headed by a political appointee, is trustworthy. Members of the Supreme Court, removed as far as possible from political turmoil, but not entirely free from indirect control, are not worthy of confidence that they are loyal to the country. Someone should go to Burning Tree or to Augusta and inform the president of how badly mixed up our so-called laws and procedures are.

It is not a very long step from eavesdropping on our courts to invading the traditional privacy of the home, the church, or other place where the Bill of Rights says we are secure without unreasonable searches or seizures.


In the newspapers, on the air, and on the street we hear people saying that the Negro wants this or he wants that. Actually, it is difficult if not impossible to say what he wants, for the Negroes, like white men, do not all want the same thing by any manner of means. In the present stew over desegregation, it might be worthwhile to consider what the dean of the Atlanta University School of Social Work had to say on Brotherhood Sunday about the Negro’s desires. Being a Negro himself, and an outstanding member of his race, Dr. Whitney Young says this:

“What does the Negro want? The answer is nothing special –just about what everybody else wants – nothing less and nothing more. We don’t want any special jobs, saved for us or withheld from us. We don’t want any special car in which to ride, or special schools to which to go. We don’t want any special houses or blocks to live in, or special units of the armed forces from which to fight for freedom. We don’t want any special favors to put us ahead – we don’t want any special agreements to hold us back. All we want is equal opportunity with all other Americans to live and work and play, to vote and get an education, and be promoted, to fight for our country and – hope to be president like everyone else.” (Why anyone would want to be president, it is difficult for me to see, but on with Dr. Young’s statement.) “More than that we do not ask, but with less than that we shall never be content.” And can you think of any reason why they should be asked to be content with less?


One of the most difficult things to do rationally and conclusively is to define religion. Most of us insist that we have it, believe in it, but when asked to say sensibly just what religion means to us, we have difficulty in finding words that are coherent, meaningful, and logical. What brought this on was my reading the past week a series of statements of outstanding figures defining what religion is or was to them. The great Japanese Ichiro says it is “the endeavor to establish a righteous and vital relation between myself and the universe.” Well, the word “universe” takes in too much territory for me. I’d say religion is more the endeavor to establish a righteous and vital relation between myself and [other] human beings on this planet. The word “righteousness” has no meaning when applied to the universe.

Again, John Dewey says “Religion is adjustment.” But “adjustment” plays into the hands of the status quo. I am not going to adjust to society any more than I have to in order to survive. We need rebels. Religion should be the dynamic back of holy mischief. It is difficult to tolerate a well-adjusted person. None of my heroes were adjusted to the society of which they found themselves a part. Instead of totally adjusting to society we should each do his part to modify society in the direction of individual and social justice.

Whitehead says that “Religion is what a person does with his solitariness.” This well could sound more like a vice than a religion. I doubt if much goodness exists in isolation. Goodness has little meaning apart from society. Isolation of the voluntary kind is selfish anyway.

Donald Hankey says that “Religion is betting your life there is a God.” Could be, but the stakes are pretty high for something that cannot be established. I never was much for gambling anyway.

Well, there are the definitions with some comments. What do you consider religion to be? Try formulating your own definition, and if you are rash enough to spend 3 cents for a stamp, send it to me in C/O of radio station WJHL. I shall appreciate it very much.


And speaking of writing to me, your criticisms and suggestions are always appreciated, whether they be critical or otherwise. Unfortunately it is not always possible to acknowledge them all. One criticism, however, I should like to acknowledge. It says that too much time is spent on what democracy is not, and that not enough is devoted to what it is. That, I must admit, is probably a valid criticism, and at the risk, perhaps hope, that you will disagree with this next, I am going to suggest some things that democratic government is, and what one committed to it will do.

We live in days when traditional American principles often go into an eclipse – a time when thinking (or what passes for it) is so topsy-turvy that Americanism is called subversive, and subversion of American rights and liberties is called patriotism. The believer in those traditional principles will hold firmly to them, for they constitute the highest Americanism. He will defend the high ideals of the Founding Fathers who wrote those principles into our constitutional system. He will not disregard the truly glorious history of this country. He will take his stand on the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and its Bill of Rights. He will take those sacred documents as his charter of liberty and justice. They shall be for him as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, guiding him to seek an ever-widening sphere of freedom with which the human soul can grow, enjoy, and live more fully. He will not be unmindful of the great price that was paid for his heritage as a free citizen of this great nation. Others may scoff, ridicule, bribe, connive, and conspire to turn our government over to the jackals of special interests and the exploitation of the people, but the liberal will say that “As for me and my house, we prefer to serve the masses rather than the classes.” He will stand for freedom of press and pulpit, equality before the law, defense of the courts, just taxation, the voice of the people, the defenses of the weak.

The Founding Fathers sought a government that would forward the welfare, safety, and happiness of all its citizens, and they said so in words that should sing in the hearts of all who love their fellow men. Historically our government in the main has pursued those ends. There have been divergences from them, of course, but as a people we have been ashamed, not proud, of such digressions. We do not extol them on the Fourth of July. The liberal will not be deterred from his purpose and program of seeking to promote the welfare of the masses of people of this country by slogans labels, such as socialism (of the creeping or any other variety) for labels are blindfolds to keep us from analyzing and thinking critically. He will insist that government is an instrument of the people for liberty, safety, and the pursuit of happiness. In this connection, it is interesting to note that of the proposals of the Populist Party of 1890, over half are now accepted parts of the American system. It is safe to say that there never has been a measure proposed for the welfare of all the people that has not been bitterly opposed by those whose philosophy was to get rich and to keep others in poverty. Among those who cry “creeping socialism” the loudest are those who maintain the most powerful lobbies in Washington and elsewhere to secure legislation in their own interest.

But what, you ask, does all this have to do with religion? The answer is “Everything.” Whatever brand of religion you espouse, it emphasizes, or should do so, the sacred worth of the individual, and this worth is true regardless of where or who the individual is. Individuals can evolve into their greatest, happiest, and fullest only when the environment and society in which they live grant them the respect and opportunity that the human soul needs and deserves. Between human and property values, there is only the choice for the religious man, if a choice must be made, that is in favor of human values. President Eisenhower has said that where property values are concerned, he is a conservative; and that where human values are concerned he is a liberal. He probably has not thought this through. He simply cannot be both these in our world of today without developing an advanced case of schizophrenia, for human welfare is so wrapped up with what is or what is not done with property that one cannot separate the two. To the religious, only people are sacred, and anything which contravenes this sanctity, whether it be government, economics, or what have you, is a matter of concern to religion everywhere.


Mrs. Gertrude W. Eiseman of Boston has been elected president of the Mother Church, the First Church of Christ Scientist, Boston. Some 7,500 Christian scientists attended the Annual Meeting of the Mother Church. Will Davis, manager of the church’s Committee on Publications, said many insurance companies are now recognizing Christian Science practitioners, nurses, and sanatoriums.


Washington: The House has approved and sent to the Senate a bill to require that all future U.S. currency bear the inscription “In God We Trust.” The bill was sponsored by Democratic Senator Bennett of Florida. It will still probably be necessary to put up the usual collateral at the bank however, when negotiating a loan.


The average salary for pastors of the United Lutheran Church in America enrolled in the Church’s contribution pension plan is $4,392. Dr. George Berkheimer, executive secretary of the pension board, says salaries of UCLA pastors range from an average $3,150 for those in the age group 25 to 36 years to $4,732 for those in the 40 to 44 age group.


Francis Cardinal Spellman of New York is said to be undecided about visiting Argentina. The anti-Roman Catholic measures of President Peron have been denounced by the U.S. prelate. The trip to Buenos Aires had been planned months ago for the end July. Authorities in Buenos Aires watched Roman Catholic preparations for Saturday’s Corpus Christi procession inside the Metropolitan Cathedral. The church was forced, practically, to hold its traditional meeting in the Cathedral instead of historic Plaza de Mayo because police forbade marches this year. The occasion honors the Eucharist in an annual ceremony. And from Vatican City comes the statement that the Argentine army does not appear willing to follow President Peron in his stand against the Catholic Church. While this may be merely wishful thinking, it could be that trouble is brewing for the goose-stepping dictator in the most southern of the Latin American countries.

June 5, 1955

Slipshod newspaper reporting, with perhaps (or perhaps not) an intent to deceive, has given the American people the impression that Congress has reformed the procedures of its investigative committees. It has not. This is the situation in the words of Representative Hugh D. Scott, Jr., Republican, Pennsylvania. It would allow a committee to circulate derogatory information from its confidential files without notice to the individual concerned and without giving him an opportunity to explain or deny the defamatory material. It would allow a committee to make public defamatory testimony given at an executive session without notice of hearing to the person defamed. It would allow a committee to issue a public report defaming individuals or groups without notice of hearing. It would not allow a person under investigation to cross-examine a witness accusing him at a public hearing. It would not entitle a witness even to 24-hours advance notice of a hearing at which his career or reputation would be at stake. It would not prevent the committee from sitting as a legislative court, trying guilt or innocence of individuals, or inquiring into matters wholly unrelated to any function of activity of the U.S. government. These admissions, from one who has never been noted for his liberalism, should cause more than a question mark in the minds of many of us who have read in the daily press how the McCarthy mess taught Congress and the people a lesson, and that now committees cannot and will not go to the extremes suffered a year or so ago. The first responsibility of a free press is the truth, unvarnished and undistorted.


I trust that the dean of Yale Divinity School will not mind my sharing his sentiments with you. He says that “Many so-called religious broadcasts are neither intelligible nor intelligent.” (Parenthetically, let me breathe a hope that this one may somehow or other fail to be included under his description.) But he goes on: “Some of the ‘wholesome family’ sketches constitute the best argument for celibacy advanced since the Middle Ages. As to the ‘peace of mind’ cults, it is not likely that a few psychological gimmicks or changes of attitudes will solve tensions that are really significant.” … No informed person discounts the importance of mental hygiene or the tremendous role that psychological attitudes can and do play in fashioning our peace of mind and our behavior. However, much of the above reminds me of some of the cults of the 1920s and 1930s, the devotees of which went around saying “Every day in every way I am getting better and better.” Perhaps it helped to those whose analytical and critical faculties were absent or dormant, but it seems about as logical as the oriental prayer wheel, and probably about as effective.


Numerous times I have stressed a constructive approach to the solving of the problems of human beings and the problems of human relations and have emphasized that the current notion that such problems can be solved only by mutual massive retaliation is a negative approach that really solves nothing, but instead creates greater problems. I should like to document the soundness of the constructive solution by giving what can only be a thumbnail sketch of how it worked in Greece. Call it the “Truman Doctrine,” Point Four, Marshall Plan, or whatever you choose, it shows far greater results than the billions we now appropriate for massive retaliation, while we let Point Four die from financial anemia – and from politics.

From the standpoint of land area, population, and production for world markets, Greece has little significance except to itself and its own people. It is only about one-third the size of California, but as a democratic outpost in Eastern Europe, it has an influence out of all proportion to its physical limitations. It is not only an ancient cradle of democracy, but unlike its neighbors, it fought on the side of the Allies in both world wars. After freeing itself from 400 years of Turkish rule, it established a democracy, breaking up the great feudal estates into family-sized farms. This establishment of a land-owning peasantry had a stabilizing influence through subsequent Greek history. But prior to the last war, the farmers of Greece were very poor, the land becoming so fractionated by inheritance that a single ownership might include five or more widely separated holdings. Cropland per person was limited and the average crop was about the same in yield as that for India, and some one-half to one-third the average yield in most countries in Europe. Farmers lived precariously in rural villages and there was much unemployment.

To make matters worse, after the war, Greeks were shooting Greeks in a bitter civil war. Britain, backed the government in exile in its conflict with E.A.M., the communist-dominated National Liberation Front which had become a movement of the unemployed and underprivileged. Much of the support of communism grew out of poverty, inflation, and general unrest.

These were a few of the conditions when the rehabilitation program began in 1948. During the seven years following, these jobs were accomplished: 740,000 were protected from flood damage; 589,000 acres were drained, including 94,000 acres of former lakes and swamps which added rich virgin lands to the arable area, capable of producing 45-50 bushels of wheat to the acre. 182,000 acres were included in newly developed irrigation projects, including the development or reconditioning of 8,530 wells for which new pumping equipment was provided through loans from the Agricultural Bank. In addition, master plans were prepared to guide future development, constituting something of a blueprint for the reconstruction of the economy of a whole nation and its social order. Reclamation of alkali land has been demonstrated feasible and profitable, and in 1954 Greece not only supplied her own needs for rice, but exported 18,000 tons. Demonstration of the use and value of fertilizers, sprays for weed control, adaptation of crops and methods to soil conditions, use of machines to displace crude hand methods has produced fruitful results. A forest and range land development program has been initiated. Highway building and transportation generally have been partially developed with long-range completion plans. A power program modeled somewhat after TVA – creeping socialists please note – has resulted in the construction of a national network served by three hydro-electric plants and one steam plant using indigenous lignite as fuel.

And how was all this accomplished? Simply by putting human ingenuity, patience, understanding, and cooperation to work with nature with the objective of bringing a better possible level of living for human beings from a relatively barren area of the earth’s surface. This program may have been more spectacular in Greece than elsewhere because, there, it started from scratch, there was no other way but up.

A large proportion of this reconstruction and development work was carried on by public and cooperative enterprises. In a country of poverty-stricken landless, would be farmers, it is hardly conceivable that any other course would have been feasible. Yet, the dollar cost of this program was a little over $30,000,000 while the combined incomes of farmers and farm laborers, and tenants rose more than $200,000,000, because the primary increase in buying power due to increased productivity created new demands which were met in part by new industrial activity. Unemployment and under-employment were reduced. Hundreds of landless farmers secured lands in reclaimed areas. Practice of local dentists and doctors increased markedly. Homes were improved and new shoes, suits, and dresses appeared in the village streets.

Not all problems have been solved, of course, but much progress has been made. Private construction companies, national governments, but, most important, the little people of Greece cooperated into putting into effect a program of cooperation with nature to bring about human betterment. Here is a shining example of practical, human religion in practice. We could drop a couple of atom bombs on Greece. They would cost about what the reclamation program has. They would wipe out the population and leave no human problem to solve, other than those left by the debris. This is the way we seem to be heading in many areas of the world. It is something of a pleasant exercise to look for a moment to earlier years when we had a human instead of the present inhuman attitude toward what should be our policy in areas where poverty stalks the earth and the specter of dictatorships is an ever-threatening probability. Bombs won’t cure that. Constructive rehabilitation might, and it would not only be cheaper financially, it would improve human existence, our own as well as the people in other lands.


Alabama Methodists, meeting in conference in Montgomery, are determined to keep racial segregation within their church. They have voted by a wide margin to oppose any move toward integration. The state Methodist conference rejected this week a watered down resolution to gradually adjust to the racial problem. It then voted to oppose integration “in churches, schools, colleges, and assemblies.” Ho! Hum! It looks as if it is about time we quit sending missionaries to foreign lands and concentrate on heathen closer home.

It is very refreshing to turn from this bitter note in the news to action taken by our own Holston Methodist Conference meeting in Chattanooga. It reads as follows: “The … conference has unanimously approved a six-point plan which calls for ‘community-wide inter-racial religious services.” This measure for better racial relations on the local church level was one of several in the conference program for 1955-56 voted on Friday. Since a recent broadcast was devoted to the matter of integration, further comment will be withheld until the pattern begins to shape up somewhat more clearly.


Memphis: The twelve jurors who convicted airman Gerald Rosenthal of murder have testified that anti-Semitism played no part in their verdict. Rosenthal, who is seeking a new trial, was sentenced to die for the slaying of Richard Carter in a Memphis hotel room. The defense claims one juror had stated he was prejudiced against Jews. Obviously, one should be convicted or freed only in terms of his guilt or innocence, not in terms of his religious beliefs.


The 300th anniversary year of the first Jewish settlement in this country has ended with a public assembly in New York City’s Carnegie Hall. Adlai E. Stevenson, former Democratic presidential candidate, told the gathering that a free society all over the world would be stronger today if free men had lived up to the responsibilities of freedom. (And it is doubtful if anyone would challenge that statement.) He also declared the responsibilities of freedom are essentially those that decent men and women must feel in human relationships. Stevenson lists these as tolerance, loyalty, charity, compassion, and brotherhood.

And somewhat in line with the sentiments of Mr. Stevenson comes this news that nine British [ministers] and eleven U.S. ones will exchange countries this summer. The Britons will appear in about 100 pulpits in 20 states, and the Americans will lead worship services in Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. The National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S. sponsors this exchange.


Buenos Aires: Two Roman Catholic priests in Argentina are reported to have been convicted of holding an unauthorized demonstration and sentenced to 15 days in jail. Dispatches from the interior also report the arrest of at least 20 more persons on charges of holding pro-church demonstrations without police permits. How would you like to have to go to the cop on the corner to get permission to engage in church service?

In connection with the Argentine situation, a dispatch from Vatican City says that Vatican sources deny that President Juan Peron of Argentina has been excommunicated. The sources said the Holy See has not “as yet” issued any notice of excommunication.


Washington: The House Post Office Committee has okayed a bill authorizing cancellation of postage stamps with the words “Pray for Peace.” Now if they will also repeal religious words in the pledge to the flag, and remove other similar insignia form other public stamps, papers, etc., we shall be making some headway back toward our traditional separation of church and state.


A Manhattan rabbi has urged the temples and churches of NYC to make a united fight on juvenile delinquency. Dr. William. F. Rosenblum made the recommendation in a recent sermon, commemorating the day when young members of Jewish congregations traditionally pledge loyalty to their ancestral faith. He has stated the churches themselves must act, without becoming blue-nosed prudes or censors. Rabbi Rosenblum says that they must take a united stand against influences that tear down the beauty and inspiration on a day such as confirmation at which time young people dedicate themselves to a spiritual way of life.

May 29, 1955

One of the very pressing and very human problems with which millions of people have been beset since the outbreak of World War II, and one which has received little attention in the press generally has been that of displaced persons and refugees, whether they be from the tyranny of Hitler or from that of the communists in East Germany or other countries under the sway of the Iron Curtain rule. Both President Truman and President Eisenhower asked for and got special legislation to permit a modest number of these unfortunates to enter this country, but neither acts has resulted in much more than an aspirin for a headache. The unworkability, of the lack of desire to enforce, the last Refugee Relief Act of 1953 was the subject of recent controversy within the State Department, and resulted in the firing of Mr. [Edward J.] Corsi by Secretary Dulles, because, Dulles said, Corsi was not the man for the job, or words to that effect. Curiously enough, it was the same man who, 90 days before, he had told the Senate was the best-qualified person he knew. Whatever the vagaries of politics in the matter, the fact is that while the 1953 act authorized admission of up to 214,000 refugees and other non-quota immigrants before the end of next year, to date only a little over 30,000 visas have been issued and of these only some 22,000 persons have actually entered under the law – far below the anticipated number, and hardly more than enough to make a dent in the problem. Now President Eisenhower asks Congress to change the law in ten specific ways in order to make it administratively workable. The present outlook for passage is good, partly due, it must be admitted, to the absence of the late Pat McCarran of Nevada, who was adept at devising gimmicks to prevent a law from doing what it seemed to purport to do. There are, it is true, many individuals and groups who retain their holier-than-thou attitude toward immigrants, but in many cases their own ancestors migrated before there were any immigrant laws, and it is reasonable to suppose that many of them could not now enter under the rather stringent criteria set up. Here is a national opportunity and responsibility to perpetuate something of the tradition enshrined in the words of the Statue of Liberty, to receive the oppressed. It was the Master himself who cast favor upon the person because, in his words, “ I was a stranger and you took me in.” Here are millions of strangers and the least we can do in the circumstances is assume willingly the role of host, a role indicated by both our civic tradition and our religious precepts.


Occasionally it appears to be pertinent to deal briefly with some aspect of the scriptures. A few weeks ago, I commented briefly on the New Testament, with special reference to the Revised Standard Version, about which there is continuing, but decreasing controversy. This week, an item came to mind about the problem of prophecy in the Old Testament, which prompted a little investigation, with how fruitful a result, I shall leave you to determine.

The prophets are about the least understood part of the Bible and yet one of the most interesting. They are difficult to understand, and require a knowledge of human nature, social customs, and world history completely beyond the children who study the Bible in Sunday schools. The attempt to bring down to a child’s level has produced a naive interpretation which pictures God as a sort of coach who frequently sends new players into the game with special instructions. They go so far as to show that when the players disregard the instructions they lost the game.

Ministers and writers have added to the confusion by combing the Old Testament prophecies of the coming of the Messiah and twisting them to show that they prove that Jesus was the Messiah.

Actually, the word “prophet” is Greek and has been used to translate several Hebrew words with different meanings but with the common idea of speaking messages supposed to come from a supernatural source. Samuel himself, called a “prophet,” was more of a priest with a shrine and ritualistic duties. Later prophets were “seers,” or visionaries who interpreted the meanings of the times – much like our present-day radio commentators. There were also “diviners,” who sought revelations in natural phenomena, the entrails of a second goose, the stars, the patterns of stones thrown on the ground, and “signs” of all kinds. All these various meanings have been included in the word “prophet.” No wonder it is difficult to understand and interpret. And the bewildering thing is that those who have basic foundation in a knowledge of human nature, social customs, and world history are the very ones that try to do the most interpreting. Those who have done the most study are likely to be the most reluctant to pose any dogmatic statement as the explanation of prophecy.


We used to be amused to read in our history books about the benighted governments of the Old World burning books that expressed ideas that the governments did not like. Now we learn that the Post Office Department is burning “thousands of sacks of mail.” We are not amused any longer. The burning of books is a historic sport of tyrannical majorities. There is no room for such nonsense in a land traditionally dedicated to freedom of conscience and the mind. Book burning is a negative sort of brainwashing. A free and independent press is the symbol and condition of a free and independent mind, without which a person is not a citizen but a slave, though his slave bonds are invisible. As Tom Paine said of another time, “These are times that try men’s souls.” These times call for free institutions of religion, for courage, dedication, information, and patriotism untainted by the particular definition of small, however-well organized, groups who would impose on the minds of men their own narrow, provincial conception of what patriotism is. Time may be found on a later broadcast to deal with this vital problem in detail.


A bit of satire, or so I interpreted it, came to my attention this week from a church paper. An excerpt from it goes something like this: “I have just been reading some old stuff on the National Council of Churches of Christ in America meeting in Evanston. Evidently a lot of time was spent wrangling over whether or not Christ was coming to this earth again and whether people were prepared for it. In 325 A.D. a similar church council wrangled over whether God was in three persons or all of one piece. Not much improvement in the church in fifteen centuries.”


Somewhere I read that the U.S. owns and holds about 75 million bushels of wheat in 317 ships of the U.S. Reserve Fleet, including 30 million bushels on the West Coast. The Agriculture Department is preparing 105 ships of the “mothball fleet” to store about 24 million bushels on the West Coast. Most of the human beings on this planet are hungry. Hunger favors communism or any other change. Wouldn’t it be better to oppose communism with wheat than with bombs? Or am I being unappreciative of the role of force in the world of today. Seems like that somewhere I also read that he who takes the sword shall perish by it.

Of course in recent years those who talk about, believe in, and emphasize the desirability and possibility of peace as opposed to war are often looked upon by little men, or men of little minds, as being suspect; sometimes their very loyalty is even impugned. But war is the breakdown of diplomacy. It is the failure of government. It is, momentarily at least, the collapse of civilization. It is so all-pervading and recurring that little people everywhere, and most of us are little people, cannot but be concerned about it, whatever their religious convictions, or whether they have any such convictions at all. War is the denial of the right of human beings to exist. It constitutes an indictment of the human race. It is the negation of all human values. Curiously and tragically enough, man is the only animal that hunts his own species. As a means of settling international disputes, war is a failure. It creates more problems than it settles. Every war contains the seeds of future wars. There is no such thing as a just war, for war is killing innocent human beings. All war is immoral.

The assumption, in some quarters, is that in a war, one side is right and one side is evil and the right side will win. History shows that this is not the case. Napoleon is reported to have said, “God is on the side of the heavy battalions.” All war decides is which side has the most efficient killing machine. When the war is over the contestants have to do what they might have done before the slaughter: that is, sit around a table and decide how they shall live together in peace. War is always presented to its victims as a noble crusade. It is never that. It is brutal, dirty, immorality on a gigantic scale. It is the supreme disgrace of the human race.

The liberal, and I used the word advisedly, is for peace. This does not mean that he endorses the form of government that obtains in Russia or China, or, necessarily, anywhere else. He can not endorse the government of our ally fascist Spain. He may not endorse the government of our ally communist Yugoslavia. He may say that the form of government that other nations have is none of our business. But in any case, he is for peace. He sees that the U.S. has coexisted during the entire life of communism on this planet. Russia has the oldest government in Europe. During its history it has never attacked the U.S. It, like the U.S., has tried to spread its ideas…. Why this sudden fear that Russia is going to attack us? I think that that fear is whipped up by politicians who see this hysteria as a means of getting elected or staying elected.

Today, no one really wins a war. “You lick ‘em; then you feed ‘em.” In World War II, we defeated Germany, Italy, and Japan. Now the American dough boy, if he survived intact, is holding up their economy by the taxes he pays. Between 80 and 90 percent of our federal income goes to pay for wars past, present, and hoped for. A French statesman is quoted as saying, “We won two wars. If we win another, France is finished.”

The peoples of the world do not want wars. They would live in peace if the old men on the chancelleries of the world would let them alone. On issues removed from the lives of the common people, those in high places decree these bloody sacrifices. In this country boys are conscripted, uniformed, pushed, pulled, hauled, sworn at, brain-washed, and made thirsty for the blood of kids of other nations who have gone through a similar process. How long is this bloody death going on? How long before the youth of the nations will say to the 60-year-olds in government, “If you want Germans, Chinese, Japanese, or what have you killed, go do it yourselves”?

Yet, the problem is not quite that simple. The problem of war is a tough, longstanding one. Man has solved the problem of armed conflict through his history only by applying the rule of law over ever-widening areas. First it was the family, then the clan, the tribe, to the city-state, and now into the sphere of the national state. It is between these national states today that anarchy reigns supreme. Globe-trotting secretaries of state may rush here and there making little agreements that are blown into huge victories by partisan papers, but the fact remains that such people are merely trying to put blowout patches of an old tire that has long since demonstrated its unreliability. The problem of war can be solved, but only when enough people among the nations demand and secure the establishment of world law to apply in the area where there is now only international chaos. Application of law, in our Western, democratic philosophy of things, involves a law-making body responsible directly or indirectly to the people, it implies some kind of administrative agency to see that laws validly enacted are put into practice, and it involves a law-interpreting agency to settle differences of opinion over the meaning of laws. In short, it requires some form of world government. Though I am aware that the phrase “world government” is anathema to some people, in fact, a facts-forum poll that reached me yesterday asks this question: “Is it possible to promote world government and be loyal to the U.S.?” To the liberal, there is only one answer to the question, and to the liberal, the question itself is silly. There is no conflict between my loyalty to the government of the state of Tennessee and my loyalty to that of the United States. Sometime, let us hope, such a narrow conception of loyalty will be relegated into the limbo of dinosaur land, where it belongs.

To realize a world government, responsive to the will of the world’s peoples, will take tough work, compromise, adjustment, and an absence of jingoism. It may, to use a painful phrase, even require an “agonizing reappraisal” or many of the shibboleths that we have mouthed lovingly through the years. But it is the only sure road to solution of the problem of war. It will take brains, not brawn, and sometimes we seem more inclined to use the latter and let the former atrophy from disuse. But the problem of war goes on, like Banquo’s ghost will not down. An alternative to it must be found, and there may not be nearly so much time in which to do it as we need. What do you think about it? Tomorrow, all over this land, people will march to cemeteries to pay decorative tribute to the war dead. These cemeteries are painful memories reminding us of the stupidity of man. Is it not about time that we, in a paraphrase of the words of the Great Emancipator, “Here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this world shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”?

May 22, 1955

Another item in the oft-mentioned and prolonged struggle between dictator Peron of Argentina and the Catholic Church is in the news from Buenos Aires. Argentine police are reported to have arrested a number of Roman Catholic priests. Reports say the police have made a series of raids since Thursday, and are continuing them. The arrests are connected with an alleged plot by Roman Catholics to “disturb the peace.” The raids followed passage by Congress of a law ending the position of Catholicism as the official religion of Argentina.


A Baptist leader has declared Protestants should tear down the mountain of disunity separating them. The Rev. Edwin T. Dahlberg, of Delmar Baptist Church in St. Louis adds Protestants must band together at a time when the U.E.[?] is coming down in a welter of crime and militarism. The Rev. Dahlberg has made his statement to the 10,000 delegates to the 48th Annual Meeting of the American Baptist Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He also states that since the Protestant Reformation we have been marching around the mountain of denominationalism. He has added that Christ did not intend a splintered, divided system of 250 competing churches that in many countries will have nothing to do with each other. “As Baptists,” he says, “we have to work with our brethren in other denominations to find a better answer to our problems than we have now.”


And from Miami, Florida, comes another statement on another subject from another Baptist. The recent leader of more than 8 million Baptists in 30 states, the Rev. J.W. Storer, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, says that Baptist ministers no longer spout so much fire and brimstone. “Baptists,” he says, “still believe in hell as a reality as much as they do in heaven as a reality, but now the approach is not so much the fear of hell as the love of God.” Dr. Storer was, until this convention, president of the Southern Baptist Convention. The 15,000 messengers at the 98th annual Southern Baptist Convention have named a North Carolina pastor as head of their denomination. The new president is Dr. C.C. Warren of the First Baptist Church of Charlotte. Action by these delegates has included a statement against a continuing universal military service in the U.S., as well as the launching of a nine-year program of emphasizing and bolstering their missionary work throughout the world.


This next item brings with it to this reporter none of the satisfaction that is supposed to go with the position of “I told you so.” A third major Protestant church in the U.S. has heard the statement that the so-called revival sweeping America is neither genuine nor permanent. That comment has come from the Rev. Dr. Charles B. Templeton of New York, who is secretary of the evangelism division of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. The statement was made at a rally preceding the 167th General Assembly of the Northern Presbyterians in Los Angeles. Dr. Templeton says most people today seem to want God as they want a hot water bottle in the night – to get over a temporary discomfort. He adds that the statistical columns of today reveal a U.S. increasingly Christian but the news columns reveal us as more and more pagan. However, the new moderator of the Northern Presbyterians sees the U.S. and the world on the crest of great new religious enthusiasm. The Rev. Dr. Paul S. Wright, of Portland, Oregon, declares it a major goal of the church to respond to this enthusiasm and do its part toward filling the need of the people.


An official of a Jewish organization notes dramatic developments in the war against bigotry and prejudice (and to that, this reporter should like to comment that it is about time). Anyway, Henry E. Shultz of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith declares that major battle is still to be won. Schultz’ remarks have been made at a district convention of his organization meeting at Kiamesha Lake, New York.


Back to Argentina for a moment, the Vatican newspaper terms it too early to dwell on particulars of the Argentine House of Deputies to separate Argentina and the Roman Catholic Church. But the publication, L’osservatore Romano, adds that … the nation’s senators have approved the resolution. President Peron’s signature on this and two other bills restricting church is taken for granted. Catholics probably will not like this comment from a Protestant, but it may well be that the Argentine church will be far better off in the long run if Peron has his way, for as long as it is tied to the state, it must suffer from the vagaries and whims of political forces. Independent of politics, it can concentrate on spiritual rather than political fortunes.


Many sociological studies have pointed to the intimate connection between stability in land tenure and stability in the cultural and religious development of local communities. Typically, the rural church in an area of heavy farm tenancy has a shifting population, only a comparatively few of whom are associated with the church. Such areas are also generally characterized by considerable rural poverty, run-down land, and little community purpose. But the rural churches have endured and have grown for the most part in areas in which land tenure is stable.

The Southern agricultural picture generally is one in which the one-year lease is the rule rather than the exception. Hence, a tenant who is ambitious and industrious and applies himself to the best method he knows on the land he is tending may find that next year he has to move, to begin again the same process somewhere else. It is indeed understandable that under such a system, even the best tenant loses his ambition to improve land for his successor to capitalize upon. Nearly every other civilized Western country has, many decades ago, departed from a renting or leasing system of this kind and has required by law the use of a long-term agricultural lease with strict clauses for compensation for … improvements and provision for arbitration in disputes between landlord and tenant as to the values of improvements involved.

It would be well for the land and the people and the churches of the rural South if some such leasing system became customary. It is all the more needed in recent years as the South has moved rapidly from cotton to cows, for nobody can wisely go into the cattle business on an annual unwritten lease. The problem is one that eventually comes back to education of both landlord and tenant, and perhaps the public as well, and this is a problem that churches could and should attack wherever their parishes are suffering from the weakness of a transient, unstable population. They could well do it for their own selfish interest as well as for the unselfishness that would be involved in knowing that they had contributed to the general well being of a class of people that are on the bottom rungs of our socioeconomic ladder.


An item coming to notice the other day from one Joe College seems worth passing on to you. It goes something like this: “In this age of servile conformity and anxiety to be acceptable to the stereotype currently demanded by the conformists, the great need is for college students who are maladjusted. If there is anything duller than a well-adjusted individual it must be the average movie or TV program.” And try as he might, your reporter could think of no comment that would improve upon that statement.


A tract distributed by a Catholic agency says that brotherhood cannot be realized until all people are Catholics. The communist religion holds that brotherhood cannot be realized until all people are communists. Both these are puny conceptions of brotherhood. Brotherhood includes all people of no religions and no religion, people of all politics or no politics – in short, the whole human race. Any other conception divides the world into pharisees and publicans, and it is highly doubtful if you can find any individual who admits that he wants to be either one.


At times, comments have been made that amounted virtually to questions, about the emphasis which this program has consistently given to the subject of civil rights, especially as these pertain to minorities. I have been at times surprised at these comments, for I had, naively it would seem, taken it for granted that everyone looked upon the importance of civil rights as axiomatic which needed no proof or explanation. A brief answer to this is an anonymous quotation which goes something like this: “It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself to resist invasions of it in the case of others.” And to that, might be added, “not only liberty of conscience, but every other kind of liberty.”

In a democracy it is important to protect minorities. Most majorities can take care of themselves. The history of religion, of governments, we might say the history of the world, has been the tyranny of majorities over minorities. A democracy, to be a democracy, must protect the right of a minority to teach, preach, publish, educate, agitate, and propagandize freely in the attempt to transform itself into a majority.

In a democracy there should be no second-class citizens. Such rights and privileges as the state can confer upon its citizens, should be the rights and privileges of all citizens: the right to sell services in every market; to move about at will; to purchase goods, land, houses, services on an equal basis; to enjoy all public facilities as parks, swimming pools theaters, hotels, restaurants, schools, and transportation without discrimination. Democracy demands political, economic, and professional equality. It demands no discrimination on any basis of race, former nationality, political preference, religion, or color of skin, or ideas.

As for civil rights generally, sometimes it would appear that we have become so frightened lest we lose our liberties that we have well-nigh abolished them. In the name of defending democracy, we have denied its principles. One by one we have seen assaults upon our democracy, not by a foreign power, but by the people we ourselves have elected. In the main, the pulpit has been silent. The true patriot has been dumb. And the schools have cravenly acquiesced in inquires and procedures that would do violence to every principle for which the schools should stand, including that of intellectual freedom and independence. The courts have often tweedle-deeded a little on the treble and toodle-doodled on the bass. The opposition party has cried “Me, too.”

There is no doubt that there is danger among us – danger to the freedoms that have been traditional with us as a people; danger from the communists, but also danger from the fascists and the professional anti-communists. Many of us think the danger has been over-exaggerated, though admitting its existence. Thus far I have seen no evidence that any nation intends to attack us, but to bait Russia has become a national pastime. Worse, one who tries to understand Russia is looked upon with suspicion. Some politicians have found it easy and cheap (cheap in more ways than one) to ride into office on red hysteria, conveniently ignoring the basic social and economic as well as political problems that beset us. The notion that this country will become communist is ludicrous. The Communist Party has never elected a single person to the House or to the Senate, and I for one hope it never does. No party in any country at any time is as cordially hated and discredited as that of the communists.

There is no question that a government has a right to take lawful steps to preserve the nation. All of us agree to that. If there are state or military secrets that are stolen or passed on to nations or people who are not entitled to them, those who do these things when found guilty should be punished. But they should be tried in a court of law by due process, and their rights as accused protected. In our republic there should be no Star Chamber councils, no congressional vigilantes, no evidence by professional informers, no wire-tapping, no trial by secret documents, no protected perjurers, no trial by slander. All citizens should be safe in their persons, papers, houses, and property. Only courts should try accused persons.

All of these things are simply the foundation stones of the American way; they represent the best that has gone into American thoughtways and folkways. They apply to all alike: the mightiest as well as the lowliest. It was one who Himself constituted a minority, who refused to conform to the hysteria of his time, who found himself tried, convicted, and sentenced by a paid informer, upon evidence given by perjured witnesses, under a misapplication of the law. It was He who said “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

America cannot afford to forget or to ignore these things, for upon them rest our freedom to worship as we please, and this is one and only one of all the other freedoms to which we as a people have dedicated ourselves as a nation. These are a few of the reasons the subjects of civil rights and minorities are stressed by this reporter, for he believes devoutly in them and is sure that if these are taken away, the real American way of life will disappear with them.


Senator Long of Louisiana recently said in connection with the Far Eastern situation, “The best way for us to save face over Quemoy and Matsu is not to get our face in Quemoy and Matsu.”


May 15, 1955

One year ago next Tuesday, May 17, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision that public schools segregated on the basis of race are unconstitutional. This decision cut squarely across long-established mores and traditions in some 17 Southern states and in some states outside the South. It seems appropriate on this anniversary to review as much as time will permit something of what has happened in the South since last May, one year ago.

It should be emphasized at the outset that there are many “Souths” when it comes to viewpoints with respect to racial matters. Obviously the Georgia crackers who put the Talmadges in office, the North Carolinians who revere their Dr. Frank Graham, and proper Charlestonians would not react the same way to identical conditions. Moreover, different sections of the South differ sharply in their percentages of Negro population, in community leadership, in their cultural level, and in other matters affecting desegregation of schools.

One very significant thing has not happened: Blood has not run in the streets, and there have been no lynchings. The nearest to violence at all are a few demonstrations in some border states shortly after the decision was handed down. Some newspapers and more politicians sputtered recklessly, but most people took the decision in their stride.

Also significantly enough, when the North Carolina Democratic Convention met only three days after the decision, the keynoter drew a round of applause when he emphasized that “We have no other course except to obey the law as laid down by the court. To do otherwise would cost us our respect for law and order.” And the delegates promptly tabled a resolution critical of the court.

Furthermore, with less than a month after the Court’s decision, most of the major church groups aligned themselves in support of desegregation. It could be that they moved swiftly because of guilty consciences, for with the exception of the Catholic and Unitarian churches, Southern religious groups had not seemed to have their hearts in this practical problem of applied Christianity.

This is not to imply that there have been no tough spots. There have. Milford, Delaware, held the national spotlight in the face of organized opposition to desegregation. Ten Negro students involved were transferred to an all-Negro school. Yet, Dover and Northern Delaware communities now have partial integration programs in effect. In West Virginia, white students picketed some schools newly opened to Negroes last September. But the protests died of their own weight. About 1,000 Negro students have been integrated with 50,000 white students in 135 public schools in the state.

But in April of this year, a minister of a Baptist church near Parkin, Arkansas, has been dismissed after delivering a sermon opposing segregation. The Rev. Ed Jones says that last year he discussed the subject of integration in a sermon. Three weeks prior to his dismissal he preached on the subject again. He was then given a choice of not preaching on the subject or being dismissed as pastor. He was told to quit saying that segregation was un-Christian or quit his pastorate. It was something he could not do. In his words, “I had to say that segregation in the church is sinful and not Christian.” His dismissal was on a vote of 43 to 7 for dismissal. Another minister was ousted from another Baptist pastorate in Shellman, Georgia, last year. The Rev. Henry Buchanan expressed similar views to those of his colleague and was dismissed.

Another development on the debit side of the desegregation ledger is the formation of citizens’ councils, mainly, it seems, in Mississippi. These appear to be voluntary associations of white people in the community who organize to make it tough on both white and colored who advocate desegregation. Their tactics include mainly economic boycotts. Persons known to favor integration have their notes refused at the banks; find it difficult to get jobs; are dismissed from the jobs they have for no other known reason. Social ostracism is also among the weapons of these racial supremacists. Persons sympathetic to equal opportunities for both races find themselves shunned by their former associates. Counterbalancing these undemocratic practices is a move to set up a fund for victims of the councils. Individuals, church groups, and other fair-minded people are doing this to neutralize the evil effects of the discriminatory practices.

Looking at the bright side again for a moment, there is more heartening news. The racial bars in schools are being taken down gradually in St. Louis, Kansas City, St. Joseph, and numerous smaller cities. Organized opposition to this, started in St. Louis by a disciple of Gerald L.K. Smith, collapsed almost immediately. Six high schools in St. Louis were desegregated in February, and the only incident was the beating up of a white student, not seriously. One principal remarked after the experience of one month with desegregation that “It’s almost as though we had been going along this way for years and years.”

The District of Columbia is in a special category, in that the legal authority of the federal government was a major factor in the movement toward complete desegregation within 12 months. Here a positive stand was taken by the government, which could be meaningful to hesitant state and local officials. Certainly in the District the transition progressed remarkably well, while official indecision in Delaware, e.g., added to the problems. Over half of the students in Washington attend desegregated schools, and the ratio of Negroes to white students there is about 60:40. The only place that anything like real friction developed during this sweeping change was concentrated in a school with a small Negro enrollment in an area with a history of strained race relations.

Perhaps as significant as any thing else in the fermented picture of the South over segregation is to look at what has happened in a few communities where newspaper editors in the South took a firm stand on principle in the controversy. In Smithfield, North Carolina, famous for producing Ava Gardner, not Smithfield Hams, with a population of 7,200, the semi-weekly Herald, edited by Tom J. Lassiter, former teacher at the University of North Carolina’s School of Journalism, the editor discussed the issue fully and frankly in his columns, taking what was, for his community, a radical stand in support of the Court’s decision. Lassiter reprinted liberal articles from Time magazine and other publications bearing on the issue. The paper received and printed letters from only three persons opposing the decision. Furthermore, the editor received a number of compliments – and heard no criticism – on his front-page editorial written the day after the decision was handed down. Subsequent editorials on the same subject did not draw much comment. Editor Lassiter comments, “Someone constantly surprises you by saying quietly that he thinks the decision was just even though he hates to face the problems that the decision has created.”

In Cherraw, South Carolina, Mac Secrest, a North Carolinian and a former student at Duke and the University of North Carolina, runs the weekly Chronicle. Cherraw is a quiet old town of 4,836 on the banks of the Pee Dee River. It is in a farming community, but many of its residents work for hosiery yarn, rayon, and nylon plants. Secrest had this to say after the ruling: “Let us show that we have learned the lesson that it is best and wisest to accept with graceful resignation the inevitable … to Southern parents will fall the responsibility of teaching our children to overcome this (racial) prejudice. To do so we must accomplish the still more difficult task – that of ridding ourselves of it.” This and other editorials prompted four letters. One writer said the issue has two sides and will require time. Another feared the decision would result in more interracial marriages. The third said that people with whom he had talked admired the Chronicle’s stand, and the fourth wrote that “Negroes is all right in there places, but that isn’t with white people,”[sic] and suggested that the editor go back North or to Russia, wherever it was he came from. And to this the editor appended, when he printed it, a saucy note concerning his northern (Carolina) background and admitted memberships in such dangerous left-wing groups as the Kiwanis Club and the American Legion.

Down in Pritchard, Alabama, Charles O. Ditmars, who studied at the University of Alabama, his native state, at Duke, and at the University of North Carolina, publishes the Herald. Pritchard is a fast growing industrial suburb of Mobile. Since the Court ruling, Ditmars has not minced words. He said bluntly that the Court decision was the law of the land. And the brash veteran of Guadalcanal went on to add that when the diehard white supremacy boys march off to the foxholes in northern Virginia, the Herald would wave little stars and bars and send them boxes of cookies, once a year. Ditmar’s comments about the reaction to this paper’s stand: “Readers mutter, congratulate, and condemn, and that suits me.”

The interesting thing is that in these three cases, no advertisers have cancelled because of the stand; the circulation of all three papers continues to grow. One Cheraw Chronicle subscriber cancelled because of the paper’s stand, but circulation has increased about 50 percent during the last year. It would seem that the experience of these editors who have moved ahead of what is considered the prevailing Southern position on segregation suggests that many Southerners will respond to liberal leadership, and that newspapers’ business offices won’t collapse if they offer that leadership. One difficulty seems to be something of a vicious cycle. Many Southern newspapers echo the statements of congressmen and governors of their respective states, and then the congressmen and governors go around quoting the newspapers. It is something like the story of the man who stopped every morning in front of a jewelry store, looked in the window, and then walked down the street. One day the jeweler stopped him and asked why he always looked in the window. “Well,” he said, “I work at the factory. My job is to blow the whistle at noon. So I always stop to look at your clock and check my watch against it, so I will be sure that I blow the whistle at the right time.” “That’s interesting,” said the jeweler, “because I always set my clock by your whistle.”

However, while politicians and the majority of newspapers are setting their clocks by each other’s whistle, another voice is rising in the South and chiming in alongside the small town editors. It is the voice of the men and women who, many for the first time in their lives, are writing letters to daily newspaper editors. The largest paper in North Carolina, The Charlotte News, reports its mail heavy for months following the court decision. The News favored the separate-but-equal doctrine and expressed grave disappointment over the court ruling. For every four letter writers opposing the court decision, there were three for it. Other large papers through the South report the same reaction.

Another positive factor in the situation is the formation last year of the Southern Education Reporting Service, an objective, fact-finding agency established by Southern newspaper editors and educators with the aim of providing accurate, and unbiased information to schools, public officials, and interested lay citizens. Its circulation has reached above 30,000 and the Ford grant, with which it was originally started, has been in a measure extended, though its future circulation will depend upon subscription rates to cover cost of printing and mailing. Experience of the director, C.A. McKnight, a veteran Southern newsman, has convinced him of the following trends in recent months:

  1. Where school boards and administrators have taken a forceful and positive stand, desegregation has proceeded smoothly;
  1. The number of pupils engaged in strikes and picket lines has never been more than a small fraction of the total integrated student body;
  1. Military posts and Catholic parochial schools have undergone some degree of integration in virtually 17 states;
  1. Organized resistance to implementation of the court decision developed in almost every one of the states, with varying degrees of effectiveness;
  1. PTAs and teacher groups, medical societies, and ministerial associations are desegregating in ever increasing numbers;
  1. Unprecedented state spending to equalize white and Negro facilities is planned or under way in many states;
  1. The U.S. Attorney General and all states filing briefs with the court agree that federal district courts should be given a wide latitude to consider variations among states and communities.

Where do we go from here? The Court has not handed down its decree putting into effect its decision of a year ago. When it does, that decree will help answer the question. We do know that in recreational areas, in voting, in membership on school boards, city councils, and other public agencies, Negroes are participating in ever-increasing numbers. Heretofore, opportunities for Negroes in jobs and compensation for those who had jobs were very few and low compared with those for whites. The South is seeking new industries and development of resources. Yet it greatest untapped resource lies virtually unnoticed beneath the dark skins of its colored people. Maybe, as Alan Patton said, “Edicts from the top are not always at the bottom, but the acoustics are improving.”


May 8, 1955

The fact that there appears to be a cult of religiosity in this country generally and in Washington particularly has been mentioned on this program before. John Cogley, writing in a current issue of the magazine Commonweal, deals with the subject somewhat at length. Putting it in time perspective, he says, “Religiosity – or the God-bit, as it is called in the more cynical capital circles – has long been a part of our political traditions. … The people, especially religious people, seem to demand it and who is to say that there may not be some faint ring of sincerity as the politico’s little coins of godliness are dropped.… It is the identification of our national cause, our needs, our ends – conceived in political and military terms – with God’s cause.… Certain vestiges of America’s Calvinist past seem to have reappeared [and] people who know better talk as if ours is not only God’s country but that we are his chosen people.… It may even be that when a great nation begins to think of itself as godly because it is great, it has gone a long way toward losing its claim to godliness.” And to that, anything which this reporter might add would indeed be superfluous.


Some people find it easy to become emotional over sacred writings. An understanding of how they came to be what they are may do something to shed light rather than heat on a subject of importance to all of us.

Even yet, after it has been distributed widely over a number of years, there remains much heated emotion over the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. This version is a monumental task that required our ablest scholars a number of years to finish. Without dwelling on its merits or demerits, it is illuminating this controversy to reflect how our Bible came to be, especially the New Testament.

Actually the New Testament consists of a small part of the writings that were produced by the new religion that came to be called Christianity. Many of these early writings have been that new religion. Some of them have been lost or were not considered worthy of preservation. There remain more materials that did not get into the New Testament than did. Unlike the Old Testament that took over 900 years in developing, the New Testament was dashed off in about 100 years (50-150 A.D.). It is divided into 27 sections called “books.” Like the Old Testament, the titles tell us nothing reliable about the authorship. The books were tracts for their times, and exhibit great theological diversity. Some people have been confused because they have approached the New Testament with the notion that Christianity began as a full blown theological system and that that system was set forth consistently in all its parts. The truth is that when a person speaks of Christianity, he may mean almost anything having to do with Christ. Christianity is a culture containing many, and often somewhat contradictory, theologies, just as it must be admitted that in the New Testament there are some contrary doctrines.

As with the Old Testament, there are no original manuscripts extant. All we have are copies of copies. All the books have been changed through the years by editing, translations, and deliberate revisions, as well as by unintentional errors in copying. By the time that printing was discovered some 1,450 years after Christ, thus making uniformity and permanence possible, the text had become progressively corrupt through copying and translating. The earliest complete copy of the New Testament is of recent discovery and written in Greek. It shows a large number of discrepancies in what we have been calling the New Testament.

A large part of the New Testament consists of letters of Paul, an apostate Jew, who had absorbed many religious ideas of the Hellenistic world. He wrote nine or ten of the books (Authorship of Ephesians is in dispute, though usually accorded to Paul).

There are three biographies of Jesus that show remarkable likeness, even to parallel language. A philosophic biography called “John” completes the list of the Gospels. The writer of “John,” whoever he may have been, was seemingly trying to bring together all the disparate and warring conceptions of Christianity under one big tent. Then there is a history of the early church called “Acts,” part of which may be fictitious. There is no consensus as to who the author was, though generally it has been ascribed to Luke. Some minor writings largely make up the rest of the New Testament except for the final book called “Revelation.” This seems to be rather frenzied symbolic writing. The author appears to be suffering at times from delusions of persecution, at other times perhaps of grandeur. Its contents are subject to almost any kind of interpretation, and many of us do not profess to understand it or to believe those who claim they do.

These, then, are a few of the facts of how the New Testament came to be. The authors of the Revised Standard Version simply took what we had and tried to make it as nearly like the earliest known copies as they could, eliminating as many errors that had occurred during history as possible. They tried, then, to give us a Bible like it originally was and in language of the man-in-the-street today. It might be well for us to keep these historical facts in mind as we try to evaluate the work of these scholars, for theirs has been a truly monumental production. For my personal use, I prefer the King James Version, but that preference is in no sense a disparagement of what has gone into the new version.


Intellectual compartmentalization perhaps has always been a characteristic of secondary intellects. But it became a disease in the 19th century. It is most evident in the church now, which is ready for the most part to bless war and nuclear weapons, and it is also evident in government that in the name of liberty takes away our liberties. It would seem past the time when the former should reassess its principles and the latter its procedures.


It is interesting, though not very rewarding, to reflect upon some of the more popular and publicized theological trends these days. On the one hand we have the paralyzing theology that Christianity is a religion of failure taught by the Niebuhrs and the Tillichs. On the other hand, we have the oversimplified psychology of the Sheens and Peales. The latter support their viewpoint on the superstition of direct and personal intervention on the confident supplicant’s behalf by the deity. Reason and logic combine to leave the impression that the first is founded on a cosmic conception that has never been established: while the latter bears some elements of pure charlatanism. It gives assurances more extravagant than the claims of a salesman of second-hand cars.

President Eisenhower says his attendance at religious and dedication services of a Jewish temple is neither unique nor especially extraordinary. He said that before the service some of the distinguished members of the congregation had voiced to him surprise at his attendance, wondering that the president of the U.S. should attend services of a faith not his own. The chief executive spoke from the pulpit Friday evening at the Washington Hebrew Congregation, in ceremonies dedicating the building of the congregation. He emphasized that the U.S. is a spiritual organism. He told the 2,000 persons present that “It is well to remember … you may not protest those rights [of religious freedom] only for yourself. You must protect them for all, or your own will be lost. During the service, conducted by Rabbi Norman Gerstenfeld, the president joined in responsive prayers.


Fuller use of America’s abundance to build a freer, more prosperous world is urged by some U.S. religious leaders. In a joint declaration, 88 top-ranking Jewish, Roman Catholic and Protestant clergymen and lay persons also ask greater output and more equitable distribution at home.

The six-point declaration has been released in New York by the Rt. Rev. Monsignor Luigi Ligutti of Des Moines, director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference. Other signers include Rabbi Eugene Lipman of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, and the Rev. Dr. Eugene Carson Blake, president of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.


Celebrations today honor two U.S. mothers. A woman lawyer and mother of ten children has been selected as the Roman Catholic Mother of the Year. She is Mrs. Henry Mannix of Brooklyn, N.Y., for many years an officer in many Catholic organizations. The other, chosen by the American Mother’s Committee, is 75-year-old Mrs. Lavina Dugal, of Pleasant Grove, Utah. She is a Mormon and the mother of eight children, and much of her activities outside the home have been in the Mormon Church.


We are enjoined by the Bible to judge not, lest we be judged. Also, and this may be one of the contradictions I mentioned a moment ago in the New Testament, we find that “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Following the latter biblical instruction for a moment, it is easy to say that we would be impressed by the self-avowed religiosity of some public officials if such avowals were accompanied by commensurate morality. Many of us have been highly skeptical of the morality of a continuing practice of government of hiring professional informers. Over 80 people that we know of have been employed in such questionable capacity. How many more there are is not known, for the agencies using them are not talking.

Now at least one of these 80 has called the practice a racket, and three have confessed that they are liars. Everybody can agree that this last is true, for if they are now telling the truth, their original testimony was false, and vice versa. Few of us would hazard a guess as to which of their stories, if either, is true.

Harvey Matusow says that he was a dedicated communist fanatic (Are there any other kind?) for a year or two. One day he walked past a synagogue and was overcome by a realization of the sins he was committing and decided to reform. He says he made his living from 1951-1954 by testifying in 25 trials, deportation proceedings, and other hearings, and that he made 180 identifications of communists, or persons he wished to call communists, all for the various agencies that employed him. Not only that, but he hired out as a speaker in congressional campaigns in which, for a fee, he would damage this or that candidate with insinuations of subversion. He wrote for the Hearst papers and lectured on the American Legion circuit.

Among the agencies who used him were the Department of Justice (of all people), the Subversive Activities Control Board, the McCarthy Subcommittee, the Jenner Subcommittee, the House Un-American Committee, the State of Ohio Un-American Committee, and the New York City Board of Education.

Two other people, a Lowell Watson of Kansas, and a Mrs. Marie Natvig, of various places and occupations, admit they lied before the FCC and other agencies. In her testimony before the FCC, Mrs. Natvig branded a prominent publisher and TV licensee as a communist. Now she says that she not only lied about this man but also about her own communist affiliations.

None of the agencies concerned has indicated its intent to reconsider the moral, juridical, or political effects of retaining these witnesses, nor, more to the point, do they seem concerned about trying to find out what injustices, if any, have been done on the testimony of these self-confessed liars. On the contrary, the Department of Justice, at least, seems more concerned about withholding any facts that might indicate its agents helped these liars manufacture evidence, or that they were suckers who accepted untrustworthy evidence, than they are about righting any wrongs that may have been done. Apparently, the Justice Department is not disturbed by the commandment that says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness …”

Let us be clear on a basic point in this connection. Anyone who has broken the laws of this nation should be punished with whatever penalty the law provides for their crimes. The government has a right and an obligation to know that its employees are loyal to our constitutional system of government. But, government also has an obligation, both legal and moral, to uphold that system through observing due process at all times. This involves informing the person of the charges against him, confronting him with his accusers, permitting him to cross-examine them, convicting him upon reliable evidence, and permitting an appeal, to the highest court, if necessary, in case any of his rights have been violated. Not only this, but government has an obligation, moral if not legal, when a wrong has been committed by its own agents to seek just as assiduously to correct the error it has made.


April 24, 1955

Since my movie-going is, by choice, limited mainly to those times when domestic tranquility makes it the discreet thing to do, mention and evaluation of moving pictures dealing with religious themes on this program are usually, of necessity, brought to you vicariously. It is so in this case of a new picture entitled “A Man Called Peter.” The picture is in color and beautifully done. The actor in the title role is an appealing figure with a delightful Scottish accent not overdone. The female lead is adequate and the supporting cast is convincing.

The theology is the usual loose sentimentalism we have come to associate with American Protestantism. The theory that a deity is looking after one and guiding one works all right until trouble comes. Peter the preacher, in spite of his resounding sermons, when trouble comes has no philosophy with which to meet it. He slumps down on the cellar stairs and laments that he and God are no longer pals. After a thrombosis he says God mended his heart. (He had resorted to a physician in the meantime.) If God mended his heart, it is logical to say also that God sent the thrombosis. The film says plainly that God cured Peter’s wife of tuberculosis. If so, by the same logic, God sent the tuberculosis. If there exists a super-personality deity who inflicts angina pectoris and tuberculosis on human beings then picks out a few whom he miraculously cures, then we are dealing with a God who indulges in vagaries of the most human kind. The logic of this picture is such that a team of horses could be driven through it, but the film is recommended for adults who park their critical faculties with their chewing gum when they attend movies.


An American Presbyterian minister, Dr. Louis Evans, former pastor of the Hollywood Presbyterian Church, now Presbyterian minister at large for the U.S.A., made a trip to Scotland this week to address a meeting of several hundred ministers. His message proved something of a startling indictment of attitudes and practices which he sees in the current religious pictures.

He attacked first what he called brilliant preachers talking over the heads of the people. He says: “We are never profound until we are clear. The average university student in America or Scotland has a third grade spiritual education.” Well, that statement is certainly clear. I shall leave it to you whether it is not also profound. “There has never been,” he says, “such a need for clarity. Talk straight,” he admonishes his fellow clergymen.

Another danger which he sees is professionalism. Many preachers, he says, get so wrapped up in their programs they don’t have time to mingle with people – to love them, to help them. What the world needs, he relates, is not more political genius but inner integrity. He goes on to warn also about smugness in church denominations. Many churches, he says, “use different ways to get devils out of a person. Episcopalians chant them out. Baptists drown them out and Presbyterians freeze them out. Just remember this – whenever any church begins to think it is the only church then it has deteriorated to the point where it has ceased to be a church.” Are these just warnings and criticisms? He does not say this applies to all ministers, but doubtless all of you can think of some minister or church where it does apply. It may do us all good now and then to welcome the wish of Burns the poet when he said “O wad some Power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us.


On a very different subject comes the report of the campus controversy at Columbia University. The students had drafted a petition to reaffirm faith in the Bill of Rights. When this petition was presented to the university president, Dr. Grayson Kirk, he refused to sign it, saying that to do so was an empty and gratuitous act. His comment was that “It should be assumed that any American of intelligence, common sense and devotion to our American way of life believes sincerely in the provisions of the Bill of Rights.” Apparently the president has faith, but he wants no active part in it. Was it not Paul the Apostle who commented that faith without works is dead? It would seem relevant to tie this incident in which Dr. Evan’s comment just reported about religion. Too many people today are going around making fine speeches about democracy, but those same people do darn little to put such speeches into active practice in their work with others. Apparently Dr. Kirk has academic allegiance only to the basic document that has enabled his university to be the truly great institution that it is.

Fortunately, however, his students’ allegiance to it goes deeper. Commenting editorially in the campus newspaper on the president’s explanation, and calling it unconvincing, they point out, and understandably so, that affirmation of the Bill of Rights is no more gratuitous than the university’s celebration last year of its bi-centennial on the theme “Man’s Right to Knowledge and the Free Use Thereof.” Veritably it might be said that “A little child shall lead them.”


Japan’s 1,139 year-old Buddhist, Shingon (meaning “true word”) sect became the first in the country to form a labor union with priests as members. Twelve shaven headed priests last week joined office clerks in Temple of the Paramount Summit Labor Union, and drew up a contract complete with a strike clause. Their main purposes are job security and better working conditions. What’s this world a comin’ to anyway! If Japan had the hysterical jitters as badly as we do here – which fortunately it does not – it may be that Hirohito would be suspecting the subversive infiltration of agents of John L. Lewis or Walter Reuther, or even George Meany.


In the German town of Darmstadt-Eberstadt, with a population of 15,000, Protestant and Catholic church bells rang out this week in new ecumenical harmony. The Catholic bells’ low C, D, F, G, and the evangelical bells’ higher G, B, C, D, formed (more or less) the tune of the Te Deum composed in the 4th century, and one of the most famous hymns in history. Perhaps in another 400 years we may be permitted to see such much-longed-for harmony among some Protestant churches here, not to mention also among Catholics, Jews, and Protestants.


A pioneer undertaking that has deep human and religious significance is going on now in the District of Columbia at the Columbia Heights Boys Club. There is in Washington a network of racially segregated metropolitan police Boys Clubs. The police give only nominal support to these clubs. A board of directors, composed largely of Washington businessmen, actually oversees the clubs. One of the clubs had for more than 15 years met at All Souls Unitarian Church.

Dedicated to an integrated society, the board of the church decided last July it could no longer allow any group to use its facilities on a segregated basis, and so informed the board of the Boys Clubs. After long consideration, the clubs decided in favor of segregation, and finally voted to vacate the church facilities on December 1. By that time it had done so, and William Neal, a graduate student and physical education instructor at George Washington University moved in that afternoon, as program director for the Unitarian Service Committee and to launch a new recreation group for boys.

On opening day, two little Negro boys entered rather tentatively, not sure that the club was really meant for them. Not seeing an adult to question, they started out again. As they reached the door, a white boy of their own age ran after them shouting, “Come on in, it’s okay.” And the new Columbia Heights Boys Club became a reality.

Washington, where segregation is an issue under the very shadow of the Supreme Court’s far-sighted decision, urgently needs a carefully planned experiment to show how integration of a voluntary youth service may be achieved. The Unitarian Service Committee has offered a pilot demonstration of great value. Moreover, and partly as a result of the action by All Souls, two other police Boys Clubs have since been ordered to stop using government-owned facilities on a segregated basis.

Does your city and mine need such a program? Paul said, “God hath made of one blood all nations of men.” Across the front of the Supreme Court Building are these words: “Equal Justice Under Law.” Do we believe that Paul was wrong? Do we mean what we write across our public buildings, or do we, like President Kirk, say we believe but refuse to act? We cannot continue much longer to say one thing and do another about this matter of equal justice. Both our religion and our government demand otherwise.


A prominent U.S. church woman says the American government, churches, and welfare groups should send abroad more persons who represent all races in this country. That is a conclusion of Mrs. James D. Wyker, president of United Church Women. She says sending diplomats and others of varying races would improve understanding of the U.S. She adds also that it would help other nations see that we all have a job to do together to achieve a peaceful world. Mrs. Wyker, who is an ordained Disciples minister in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, says such action would immeasurably strengthen our foreign policy and win more friends for the U.S. Mrs. Wyker’s suggestions are so obvious that it is remarkable that we should have to have them called to our consideration. And certainly no one could rationally dispute the fact that we need all friends we can get in this too unfree world of today.


At the Asia-African Conference at Bandung, Indonesia, a Philippine delegate has noted with gratification that most speakers have addressed their appeals to “almighty God.” Raul Manglapus of the Island Republic has declared himself struck by what he terms the frankly religious tones in the opening speeches of most chief delegates. Mr. Manglapus says the culture of Asia is the cradle of the world’s earliest and greatest civilization, and adds that it is founded on one cardinal principle: the love of God.

Virtually the gamut of the world’s largest religions is run at the Bandung Conference  – Christians, Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists, and others. Even atheists are there. Red China’s Chou En-Lai (joe un-lye’) has so described the Chinese communists. But he has asserted they respect others with religious beliefs and adds the hope that others respect them. Without in any way subscribing to most of the tenets of the Chinese communists, it is only fair to observe that we cannot refuse to respect anyone’s right to be an atheist if he so chooses, but to give such respect does not imply acceptance of non-faith.


A slightly curious attack comes from a top official of the National Association of Evangelicals who has attacked those who wish to break down differences between Protestant faiths. The NAE’s director, the Rev. George Ford told the group’s convention that the evangelical church must act or, in his words, the liberal ecumenical movement will usurp the rights of churches. Ford said the ecumenical movement favors such innovations as, in his words, “downtown worship centers which would not only take the place of regular Protestant churches but would be headquarters for Catholics and Jews as well.” It might do us all good to get together once in awhile, at least.


At the risk of indulging in what you may regard as postmortem, I should like to pass these reflections along to you for whatever they may be worth.

Easter has come and gone. Jesus had risen from the dead before Easter. The centuries have not been able to bury him. Forsaken by his friends, sentenced to die with thieves, and his mangled body sealed in a borrowed tomb, he has risen to command the hearts of millions, and to haunt our hate-filled world with the restlessness of undying hopes. At Easter time we commemorate the miracle of his spiritual resurrection. The years bring him increasingly to life. His public ministry was of only one year, but in that year he gave direction to the centuries. Already he has lived much longer than the disciples believed the world would last, and in far lands they never dreamed existed. The imperial forces that tried to destroy him have long since perished. Those who passed judgment upon him are remembered only because of him, and although military might and political tyranny still stalk across the earth, they too shall perish, while the majesty of the workman-prophet bearing his cross to the hill will remain to rebuke man’s way of violence.

It is easy to by cynical at Easter time when the world turns out in its gay colors but seemingly pays little more than ritualistic attention to the message of Jesus. It is easy to join with those who lend their extravagant lip service to the “Risen Master.” Yet the spirit which he put into the world somehow survives our cheap ceremonies, as it does our foolish ambitions, and reminds us that there is no gain except in moral stature, no conquest except the inner life, and no worship which is not of the heart.






April 17, 1955

Several times references have been made on this program to the tug of war going on in Argentina between dictator Peron and the Catholic Church. Last Sunday it was reported that Peron had, for the first time in some four months, permitted the Catholics to parade in religious procession in the streets. This week, the news reveals that the government had agreed for the procession to march only from Congress Square to the church of Our Lady of Montserrat, which is only eight blocks, instead of the traditional thirteen blocks on down to the spacious Plaza de Mayo.

Well, the procession reached the point where it was to stop at the church. The marchers shuffled to a halt, some of the younger advanced on as into enemy territory to see what the cops would do. They did nothing. Then the columns slowly started up again. The crowd, catching the spirit of the marchers, joined in, and by the time they had reached the forbidden plaza, a sea of white handkerchiefs fluttered, not in the air, but for the church, in defiance of President Juan Peron.

A part of the picture of the strained relations is the fact that Peron called home his representative to the Vatican, while the pope reciprocated by asking return of his Apostolic nuncio to Rome. It remains to be seen what retributory measures the government will now take to punish the Easter Thursday crowd for its disobedience. Truly the church is paying a big price for its once-respected constitutional right to a monopoly of religious education within the state. Those in this country who urge religious education in our public schools could follow with profit what is happening in a sister American nation where religion and the state are not kept separate. One, it would appear, is swallowing the other.


Two years ago the Russell Sage Foundation commissioned a Presbyterian minister-sociologist, Dr. Samuel Blizzard, to cooperate with Union Theological Seminary in a study of the functions of the parish minister. Detailed questionnaires were sent to informants in 47 of the 48 states. From the replies, some interesting and significant information is revealed. In the first place, the typical minister is between 35 and 44 years of age, married and has two children. His church is made up of about 400 members; 22 children are in his Sunday school. The greatest single trend pointed out in the survey is the shift from rural and village to urbanized mass living. Among the questions facing the ministers are such as these:

  1. Should the minister be a mediator between God and man or a servant of the congregation?
  2. Should he specialize or be a general practitioner?
  3. Should he emphasize an all-knowing and all-powerful God, or stress the ethical implication of the Gospel?
  4. Should he identify himself with the trends in our culture or be critical of that culture?
  5. How should he divide his responsibility to the local church and the world wide, or ecumenical church?

It is likely that these and many more similar questions confront the minister as he goes about the work of his church, and it is equally likely that no single answer will be possible for all. In religion, as in all other matters in this country, people have a way of maintaining their own diversity of religious beliefs and practices, while at the same time keeping with a very broad framework of ethical behavior approved by American religious mores.


This next item should doubtless be included under the “How mixed up can you get?” department. It reveals that Cecil B. DeMille is listening to taped speeches of Gen. Van Fleet with a view toward using Van Fleet as the voice of God in Paramount’s forthcoming picture entitled “The Ten Commandments.”


Something that does make sense is a recent speech of Ernest T. Weir, chairman of National Steel Corporation, a speech made before the Cleveland, Ohio, Engineering Society. He says, “Never in all history has humanity had so great opportunity to exercise a choice as to what its future shall be. And never before has it been confronted with a choice between such drastic extremes. Scientific knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge in practical ways have been increasing at an ever-faster rate – particularly over the last half-century … and the prospect for future development defies the imagination.

“The critical question is, will humanity use this expanding knowledge, and the ability to apply it, as a tool or a weapon. Will these things result in a better more livable world, or in the suicide of civilizations? I am convinced that the answer to this question is being formulated by those of us who live today – and that no individual can escape a personal responsibility for his contribution to that answer….

“Since the war, the two real centers of power in the world have been the United States and Russia. And these two centers have conducted themselves as armed camps, each viewing the other with suspicion and hostility…. The great bulk of opinion expressed by certain military men, by certain members of Congress, and in a number of news organs, created the impression of a nation convinced that world problems could not be solved short of forcible means….

“The only real choice that the people of the world have today is the choice to live together or to die together. The fact is that war has moved to such extreme level of destructive power that it has lost whatever excuse it ever had as an instrument of international policy….”

There is much more of the wisdom and conviction of Mr. Weir, but the above are enough to express not only his viewpoint but that of countless others of us. We can only hope – perhaps wish would be a better word – that the go-it-alone Joes, the military brass and the naval braid would let these sentiments sink into their consciousness when they talk recklessly of tossing around atom bombs as they would Fourth of July firecrackers. We sometimes wonder if they can read; we frequently wonder if they can think; and we almost always wonder if they have not lost only their sense of values but also their sense of balance when they talk in 1955 in language that could have been realistic only in the 19th century, even if it was then. There is pretty good evidence to substantiate the charge that today it is the so-called leaders who are laggard in this business of war, and that the peoples of the world are thinking far more realistically than their leaders. If so, the answer for us little folks is to bombard the leaders with so much evidence of rational approaches to world problems that they will be deflected from the irrational ones which they are so eager to express with each issue of the newspaper.


Not infrequently on this program it is appropriate to comment upon the current status in this country of the thing that we call academic or intellectual freedom. Did you ever stop to think that our whole bundle of freedoms – religion, speech, assembly, due process, etc. –  are so inextricably interwoven that the weakening of one automatically undermines all the rest? A national magazine comes out in a current issue with a pertinent and thought-provoking article entitled “Are Our Teachers Afraid to Teach?” What are some of the facts about the right of freedom to teach in 1955? Not only freedom to teach about what everybody agrees to be true, but equal freedom to teach about all sides of controversial issues? In San Francisco, at a meeting of the Association of School Administrators, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Hervert C. Clish said, “I hope nobody will leave this room today thinking that teachers are not afraid. Of course they are.” Teachers seem more concerned than administrators with the realities of teaching in a fearful world. Prof. Milton Konvitz of Cornell told an American Jewish Congress forum that congressional inquisitions have induced fear and bitterness, if not hysteria and panic among teachers. He pointed out that most universities in California employ full-time liaison agents with the state’s Committee on Un-American Activities to screen applicants for teaching jobs. At the University of Colorado two ex-FBI agents are retained to check on the faculty. But it remained for one no longer in the academic world to provide the most comprehensive evaluation. In a lead article in Look magazine Robert M. Hutchins, formerly of the University of Chicago, and now with the Ford Foundation, gave the coup de grace to the hair-splitters and apologists for witch hunts among teachers when he said, “Education is impossible in many parts of the U.S. today because free inquiry and free discussion are impossible. It is almost as bad,” he goes on, “to be ‘controversial’ as it is to be a spy or traitor.”

And yet, most of us who are interested in real education are keenly aware that to eliminate consideration of controversial issues from teaching is not education at all but indoctrination. It is true that there have been relatively few teachers in the country who have lost their jobs because of their teaching of controversial issues, but, again as Dr. Hutchins rightly points out, “The question is not how many teachers have been fired, but how many think they might be and for what reasons. It is even worse than that. Teachers are not merely afraid of being fired; they are afraid of getting into trouble.… You don’t have to fire many teachers to intimidate them all. The entire teaching profession of the U.S. is now intimidated.”

Of course it is possible to read statements of teachers who insist that this is not true. This reporter cannot help but wonder when he hears teachers say that, whether they are afraid to say what they think, or are they so unaware of what is going on in the world that they honestly do not see it. In either case, there are understandable grounds for wondering also just how much such people are worth to the occupation of teaching.

I have no desire to see things that aren’t there; neither do I wish to fail to see things that are, and the conviction that Hutchins is right is very real and deep. One cannot help but wonder also how honest we really are about the defense of democracy, with its freedom of speech, when we forbid the cadets at West Point and Annapolis to debate the current Pi Kappa Delta question of diplomatic recognition of Red China. At his press conference the president, when asked about this denial of freedom of speech, said he did not agree with it. But to date he has taken no steps to correct the Army and Navy dictators who forbade the students this elemental right. Who’s running the executive department anyway? The constitutional commander-in-chief or the superintendents of the respective institutions?


The truth is that it is very fashionable today to take a swing at liberals, interpreting liberals as those who insist upon a scrupulous regard for our constitutional rights. Those who take such swings list the ills that afflict us and say, “See what liberalism has done.” Evidently such inane remarks fool many. The plea is to go back to authoritarianism in religion, in government, in morals, and about everything else. Curiously enough, it is only business that escapes the call to return to something. But if business goes back to something it may well be bankruptcy, and that swiftly. My notion is that to return to the past means bankruptcy in other fields also. Fascism and Nazism are, or were, repudiations of liberalism and a return to authoritarianism.

Those among us who seek to make everyone orthodox, i.e., to agree with them, are, in essence, representing a failure of nerve, a lack of faith in man and the human enterprise. In this unbrave world of today, what should be the strategy and program of the liberal? Obviously, it is the liberals today who are really the conservatives, for it is they who wish to conserve the best that is in the American tradition, and that best is represented by freedom to worship as we please, to think our own thoughts, to speak our own minds, to teach our children to think for themselves, and to permit those same children to be taught by teachers unafraid to stimulate the thinking of their charges in any direction that will enable them to weigh all sides of controversial issues. Teachers are not afraid that honest examination of controversial issues will make undemocratic citizens, for they recognize that only by the interplay of freedom of information and discussion can citizens of a democracy learn its ways and practice it.


Boston: The first biennial convention of the Council of Liberal Churches will be held August 24 – 29 in Detroit. Some 1,000 delegates representing the Universalist Church of America and the American Unitarian Association may vote on proposals pointing toward total merger of the two denominations.


April 10, 1955

Services of various kinds today throughout the world have commemorated a day that is holy to all Christendom. Various denominations have participated in other services throughout the week, observing some feature of the last week of Christ before his crucifixion. On Good Friday a Mass of the pre-sanctified was held in Jerusalem’s Chapel of the Calvary. A solemn procession visited Stations of the Cross where brief sermons were delivered.

In Vatican City the pope appeared in his Vatican study window and blessed the thousands of pilgrims in Rome from all over the world to observe the holy week. In the city itself thousands of these pilgrims and the Romans themselves flocked to some 455 churches for the Good Friday services. Religious images and crucifixes were draped in purple mourning. Holy water fonts were empty. In many churches statues and images of the dead Christ were on display.

In Argentina, this Easter is more than usual a time of rejoicing for Roman Catholics. For the first time in more than four months the government has permitted them to march in religious procession. So thousands of worshipers had their Holy Thursday parade in Buenos Aires.

In Rome on Thursday also, the world’s chief Roman Catholic church, St. Peter’s, saw a repetition of the ancient rite of washing the papal altar stone. This is symbolic of Christ’s washing his disciples’ feet at the Last Supper.

This week has been again the coincidence of the Jewish Passover season and the Christian Holy Week. For Jews, the period has marked the joy of deliverance from ancient Egyptian bondage. Rabbi Samuel H. Barron has declared that throughout the ages the story of the exodus from Egypt has been related to the emancipation of all people from slavery. Rabbi Baron is director of religious education for the American Council for Judaism. The president of Synagogue Council of America, Dr. Norman Salit has requested “may a loving God transform the souls of mankind’s rulers so they can thus make themselves the Moses of their peoples, purveyors of liberty and builders of peace.” And so on Wednesday came Seder (say-dehr), the first of the special happy feasts that mark a Jewish celebration that dates back to the time of the pharaohs of Egypt. The week of unleavened bread is being celebrated around the world. And the National Jewish Welfare Board has seen to it that the U.S. servicemen of Jewish faith have had their Seders.

Easter marks the commemoration of an event that resulted from an orgy of violence, which, in turn, resulted in the crucifixion of Christ. Violence has many forms and disguises. It is as cunning, persuasive, and seductive as its father, the devil. It has woven itself into our language, our thoughts; it dyes our emotions and seeps into our sub consciousness. We begin teaching it to our children. To get obedience we spank or flog them. The child, learning the efficiency of brute force from his parent, goes out and practices it. He becomes the bully of the schoolyard. The teacher continues the boy’s course in the art of frightfulness, if not by physical threat, by moral terrorism. When he grows up every motion of his adult mind is spoiled by the poison of the force idea. Violence is the greatest hindrance to reform, to progress. It is the twin brother of autocracy, tyranny, despotism, dictatorship –– whatever alias you choose to use. No greater lie was ever coined than the saying that “God is on the side of the strongest battalions.” War is the perfect flower of the doctrine of force.

The people of the U.S. are caught in the grip of a brutal belief in violence – doubtless, ironically enough, because of having won two world wars fought for the avowed purpose of destroying militarism and the mad militarists. And yet they want to continue and intensify this militarism by telling us now that only by UMT [Universal Military Training] can we find peace, for armed might is the only language we can use that will be respected.

Have the same people who preach this doctrine — a doctrine preached by every military clique in history — given us any indication that they are willing to try any other language? Wouldn’t it be remarkable, and certainly worth trying, if they could but see that a million spent through the United Nations for world recovery is vastly better preparedness than a billion spent in more bombs and guided missiles? No permanent progress has ever been due to fighting: it has all come about by cooperation; very little if any has been made by conflict. And today, it would appear, we are faced with the stark alternatives of either co-existence or no existence. There is no defense against the A- and H-bombs, and we had just as well quit talking and acting as if there were. I personally do not relish the idea of having to co-exist with a communist ideology which I hate, but no amount of ostrich-like activity will cause that ideology to vanish. Only a hard-headed, stubborn insistence on proving that our brand of democracy works better than a totalitarian collectivism will enable us to co-exist without being submerged.

I am well aware that there are those who will call people who speak in this vein naive eggheads. Yet the memory of those who do such name-calling is short; their judgment is even weaker. Even I am old enough to have lived through a series of major disappointments. World War I was “to make the world safe for democracy.” It did nothing of the kind. We turned to the League of Nations and the World Court with high hopes. But then millions marched to war while the buildings at Lake Geneva became mocking skeletons. Then a period of financial extravagance and behavior extravagance was followed by worldwide hunger and despair. The dream of a brave new world of brotherhood faded before a craven fleeing to the past an apostasy to the worth of mankind, taking many forms. In a fit of madness another world was projected.

It would seem that when conditions become complicated the old men of the nations can think of no better solution than to set the youth of the nations to killing each other. And they call that patriotism. In our worst moments of depression and disillusion we could conclude that the world is ruled by blockheads; that there is no healing in Zion; that all that remains is to curse God, or McCarthy, and die. But despite the blockheads, there is the comforting thought that it just might be those same eggheads whom they despise who may yet save mankind from its own madness, for the egghead tries to think problems through to a sound and sane solution rather than to resort to brute force of the kind that cannot but lead to Calvary for mankind, for he who takes the sword perishes by it.

Well, it is not difficult to be somewhat bitter, even on Easter, when we reflect today that after 2,000 years of stupid force, the rulers of the world have nothing better to offer, it would seem, than a continuation of the same old eye for an eye. But the one whose resurrection we commemorate today brought to the world a new vision, a different version as to what constitutes sane and proper conduct.


Easter, like many of the other days, both holy and secular which we commemorate, is not only closely associated with our religious beliefs, but it also has a counterpart in the non-religious sphere. Its name in English comes from an Anglo-Saxon goddess, “Eostre,” who represented light or spring. The Anglo-Saxon tribes, who had never heard of Christianity, held a festival in her honor every April. To the Christian, it marks the resurrection, or rising from the dead of Jesus. In most Christian churches, it is preceded by a 40-day observance of Lent.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, 40 days before Easter, excluding Sundays. The name comes from Lenten, an Old English word for spring. Lent was at first a 36-day period, but during the reign of Charlemagne, about 800 A.D., four days were added to the 36, making it correspond to Christ’s 40 days in the wilderness. Thus, from Ash Wednesday until Easter, fasting is prescribed by some faiths, special devotions are held, and many entertainments and amusements are given up.

Holy Week, the seven days before Easter, is a time in many churches for deep religious feeling and worship. The Protestant churches commonly observe with special services, music, and flowers. Many of the churches hold a special baptismal service. A mass on Easter Sunday closes the Lenten season in the Catholic Church and in some Episcopal or Anglican churches. Many Easter customs are quaint, and others are full of meaning. Just as the earth is dressed in a new cloak in the spring, people often wear new clothes for Easter. The idea of Easter eggs came to us from ancient Egypt and Persia. The eggs are a sign of new life. Legend has it that they are laid by the Easter Rabbit on Easter Eve. Churches often decorate with white lilies, a symbol of purity and light. The cross reminds worshipers of the religious meaning of Easter.

The first Nicene Council of the Church, in A.D. 325, fixed Easter as the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after March 21. The earliest possible date of Easter is March 22; the latest is April 25.

And thus it is that out of the past, the past of the Christian religion, comes to us this Easter, bringing with it customs drawn from numerous, and sometimes non-Christian peoples. It is for some a day of solemnity in what they consider to be a proper reverence of the tragedy that preceded Easter Sunday that first time: with others, the emphasis is on the resurrection itself as a symbol of victory over death. To all it is a day of religious significance, regardless of variations in the way it is observed.

And it is these variations among us in the celebration of a religious day that bring me to the item with which I should like to conclude this broadcast.

It was an English Unitarian layman, one Sir John Bowring, who wrote the well-known hymn “In the Cross of Christ I Glory.” Now the Unitarians are a religious group whose members believe in seeking the truth of religion within their own souls. They encourage freedom of belief, and promote the interests of religion which Jesus taught. Here is a group who do not accept the orthodox conception of the metaphysical nature of Jesus, but who respond in vital faith to the Jesus of the cross. This ought to remind us that the quality of personal faith and living cannot be judged by a person’s attitude toward dogma, even the dogma that others might consider to be the most sacred and necessary. There is much about the hymn that this Unitarian of the 19th century wrote. First there is the picture of a Unitarian glorying in the cross of Christ, and glorying in a very vital and personal way. The human reveals how much the cross meant in his life, glowing with peace and joy and adding luster to bright and radiant days, with a peace that knows no measure and an always abiding joy. But many who sing “In the Cross of Christ I Glory” today in their churches sing also the equally great hymn of the Roman Catholic Newman entitled “Lead Kindly Light.” If the Unitarians represent the extreme of liberal approach to religion, with scarcely any attachment to dogma, the Catholics represent extreme orthodoxy with respect to religious dogma. Between these extremes are the hymns of saints and believers of all faiths and sorts whose common experience is devotion to God.

If we are realists, the use of the hymnbook should make us tolerant and humble, rebuking all narrow and sectarian ways in recognition of the wholeness of the unity of Christ. Paul set glorying in the cross against the attitudes of those who would make religion a narrow and circumscribing thing, a matter of ritual observance for the sake of ritual alone. The cross of Christ is what Sir John Bowring called it. In his words, a cross that was “towering o’er the wrecks of time …,” a symbol of eternal greatness and grandeur.


April 3, 1955

Washington: World leaders of the Seventh Day Adventists have come out in strong opposition to the adoption of a world calendar. The proposal, being studied by the United Nations, would bring about equal quarters of 91 days each by dropping one day from the calendar altogether and two in leap years. The objective is to put business on an unchanging cycle, saving millions of dollars in bookkeeping and other costs. But Walter Beach of Washington, general secretary of the Seventh Day Adventists, said the calendar would break the present weekly cycle, hopelessly shift the holy days of various churches and “bring religious confusion and economic hardship to those sacred personal attachments to Saturday or Sunday or to any other day.” (UP)


(AP) Nearly 400 television stations across the U.S., in Alaska and Hawaii, will view a major new Easter film during Holy Week. The 44-minute film is entitled “The Day Before Easter” and will dramatize the Easter message. The film was produced in Hollywood for the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S. The story’s simplicity is said to afford rare religious potency. It concerns a veteran clergyman, Dr. Mackenzie, who finds himself dissatisfied with the Easter Sunday sermon he has prepared. Because of the acute problems involving members of his congregation, he has not had enough time to work on the sermon. Being a man who cannot be happy with easy, glib answers, he knows that unless people’s religion can help them solve their immediate problems, he has failed in his task. The film will be climaxed by Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, performed by the Hollywood Presbyterian Church’s great Cathedral Choir.


Catholics on the Island of Mindanao are mourning the destruction of their church by the violent earthquake which struck the southern Philippines on Thursday. Particularly tragic was the destruction of the Church of St. John the Baptist in a small village on the island. It was a stately stone church seating 1,500 persons. Begun and completed by the Spaniards in 1864, after 40 years of work, it was the only remaining Spanish church on Mindanao. According to its pastor, the Rev. Thomas Callahan, it was built to serve as a church, but was also a fortress against the Mohammedan Moors who used to raid Christian communities. During World War II the edifice was damaged by the Japanese. Only recently were restoration and repairs completed at a cost of $25,000.


Thirty-five years of work by a Jewish scholar, Hugh Schonfield, was completed this week with the unveiling in London of a new translation of the New Testament. An English Jew of the Liberal Synagogue, Schonfield considers his effort the authentic version of the writings which make up the story of Christianity. He was motivated, he says, by a great need to promote improved relations between Jews and Christians. The work is said to be the first such ever done by a Jew, and is the world’s first non-ecclesiastical interpretation of the New Testament. The translation is in modern English idiom and runs to 568 pages. For 30 years, Schonfield studied countless manuscripts, and he traveled to Palestine, Egypt, Athens, and Rome. It took five years to write. A special subscription edition of 3,500 copies is to be issued in London, selling at $11 each. The new translation is expected to be published in the United States soon.


This program has from the first been, and will continue to be, dedicated to the principle of not only the utmost freedom of religion, but also to the right of freedom of religion. To this reporter, no other position is tenable in a nation that wrote into its first article in its Bill of Rights a guarantee of religious freedom.

This week saw an attack in Congress on the sincerity of the religious convictions and activities of the president of the United States. Now let us keep in mind at the outset that Americans reserve the right to criticize freely our public officials, and not even the chief executive is immune from criticism about almost anything. This reporter has done his share of criticizing, not only the present occupant of the White House, but numerous of his predecessors. That is the American way.

However, to question the sincerity of one’s devotion to a religious creed is not only bad taste; it runs counter to one of our deepest and most cherished principles. If one is charged with a crime, that is something that is capable of objective proof in a court of law; if he asserts physical superiority, that, too, can be proved by a test of strength. But if he asserts that he holds to certain spiritual convictions, that is a matter about which only he and his deity know, and no mortal has a right, under our scheme of things, to question the sincerity of that asserted belief.

It is understandable that in the heat of political rancor, even the otherwise most measured of men sometimes indulge in unbecoming charges. This has been true when persons of other political complexion have occupied the White House, and when the attacks came from the same party as that of present occupant. Both are equally in bad taste and both are equally wrong. Citizens naturally have their private evaluations of many things connected with public officials, and doubtless, consciously or unconsciously, they take these things into consideration when they go into the ballot box. But to make his religion a public issue with respect to any man is going beyond the realm of both propriety and ethics.

A great governor of the state of New York ran for president in 1928, and was defeated largely because of his religion. This reporter does not subscribe to that particular faith, but he feels yet a sense of shame that the religious issue was undoubtedly a cause of his defeat. Such prejudice assumes that one cannot be a good citizen or office holder because of his religion, when there is no evidence whatsoever to indicate that any president in the past has let his religious convictions determine his governmental policy. America has had far too much religious bigotry in her past; she needs no more of it, whether it comes from a political spokesman or from a religious fanatic.


An item of possible interest relating to public officials and their religion comes to light this week in the publication of the results of a survey carried out by the Living Church magazine. This survey reflects the current religious affiliations of the members of the present Congress. The results show that Methodists predominate, with 105 members out of a total of 531 in both houses of Congress. Roman Catholics are next, with 82 members: followed by Presbyterians, with 68; Baptists rank fourth, with 66; Episcopalians number 33; Congregational-Christians, 31; Lutherans, 21; Disciples of Christ, 8; Latter Day Saints, 8; Jews, 7; Reformed, 5; Friends, 3; Unitarians, 3; and the rest are unspecified.

There has been no opportunity to check these figures to see whether they are proportionate to the numerical ranking of these faiths in the general population, but it is likely that they are roughly so. If so, this is as it should be, for it reflects something of the heterogeneity of Americans generally, i.e., our religious affiliations find expression even in Congressional representation – not, it is hoped, that many vote for Methodists because they are Methodists, but that as a people we have confidence in men of all faiths, for America is made up of all faiths.


Dr. Charles Allen of Atlanta calls our attention to some parallels between religion and science that are well worth thinking about. Writing in The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, he points out that both science and religion are based on faith, and not on despair. Science looks ahead with optimism believing that things are possible, refusing to believe anything is impossible. The Christian recalls the words of their leader who said, “If ye have faith … nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Science reveals a world that is trustworthy; likewise, religious truth reveals a God who is “the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Science reveals the existence of positive, creative forces that release spiritual power. Science liberates the man by constantly widening his horizons. Religion liberates the man, for it believes that “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

What, then, becomes of the much talked-about, much prolonged conflict between science and religion? The truth is that this conflict exists only in the minds of those who want to feel rather than think their religion; it sprang more from a non-rational approach to religion than from a knowledge of science. In all likelihood, the major battles in this conflict came from ministers who devoutly believed their religious dogma but were largely devoid of the true nature of what science is, how it works, and what it tries to do. Both science and religion seek truth. Both respect it, and a religion so fragile that it cannot withstand honest scrutiny by inquiring minds is of doubtful utility.


All media these days are so filled with speculations, threats, charges, and counter-charges relating to possible war in the Far East that it is difficult to prepare a 15-minute broadcast without taking some notice of it, for apparently talk of war is ubiquitous, and no subject is of greater concern to people of all religious convictions and faiths. Without trying to review charges that part of the palace guard is trying its best to take us into war, charges made this week on the floor of the Senate, and denials of those charges by the Administration, let us look soberly at some little publicized facts about the Formosan situation.

First, both the governments of the China mainland and that of Chiang Kai-shek are dictatorships. They vary in details, but their general patterns are much the same. Anyone who has read objectively the story of Chiang’s rule while he was in China can hardly, with a straight face, assert that the present regime on Formosa is “the Far Eastern stronghold or outpost of democracy.” That assertion has been made by a spokesman in high public office over and over again. The only thing wrong with it is that it simply does not square with the facts. It is a safe assumption that the American people do not want dictatorship of any kind, from whichever portion of the political spectrum it comes.

Second, the island of Formosa is peopled by over 7 million inhabitants who are Chinese in national origin, but who settled there hundreds of years ago. There is no evidence, no reason to suspect, that they feel any considerable desire to be under the rule of either Mao Tse-tung or Chiang Kai-shek. On the other hand, a recent indication of Formosan desires came in the form of a letter from Dr. Thomas I. Liao, leader of the underground Formosan Democratic Independence Party, to British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, requesting British support for Formosan independence from both the Communists and Nationalist Chinese.

We give much lip service to the U.N. Why not, instead of a big three, big four, or big any kind of conference to settle world tension, work through the U.N. to resolve the Formosan crisis by placing it under the U.N. Trusteeship Council for a period of years, and in the meantime police the country as much as necessary by a truly U.N. police force? ….

[There is a page missing here from the transcripts.]

March 27, 1955

In recent years, and increasingly lately, this country has read and heard a great deal about universal military training (UMT) as a fixed part of our national policy. This subject is such an important one from the standpoint of our national security, with respect to our national traditions, and in regard to our civic and religious beliefs as a people, that it merits more than usual consideration from all of us.

The president said some time ago that he meant to make UMT his administration’s number one objective in the 84th Congress, in spite of statements to the contrary during the 1954 political campaign. Military leaders have wanted to institute UMT for a long time, and the American Legion has announced UMT as its major legislative goal in this Congress.

Legislation to extend the draft for four years was introduced January 25. Committee hearings which were hardly open to the public were held February 1 and 2, and the bill went to the House of Representatives the next day and was passed five days later 394 to 4. H.R. 2967 was introduced also on January 25 to reactivate UMT. It establishes a permanent, long period compulsory reserve plan which would claim eight to ten years of the life of every man between the ages of 17 and 35, regardless of how much active duty he saw, and regardless of whether he enlisted or was drafted. It is the first time legislation would make all fit men be part of the reserve system, so all of America’s manhood would be militarized for many years. It would offer six months of active training to 17-19-year-olds and put them then into a ready reserve for nine-and-a-half years. In essence, this proposed legislation makes military service compulsory for all American men, claims at least eight years of their time, and is a big step toward eventual drafting of the youngest, most impressionable in the group – boys just out of high school, inexperienced in managing their own lives, forming their own independent philosophies, planning their own security. Sec. Wilson has said the plan would retain for free Americans their tradition of voluntary service as citizen-reserves. But, considering that free Americans would be given no choice, there is a question as to whether they would continue to feel free.

These are the facts. What do they mean? For you and me as citizens, for the boys of this country, and for us as a nation of people?

It means, first of all, that military leadership would control the nation’s manpower in peacetime. It means that American men would be taught the habit of obedience to command rather than encouraged to think for themselves.

It means, second, that Americans in time would come to look upon the bearing of arms as the ultimate in citizenship, rather than voting, community service, or taxpaying, all of which leave an individual with his freedom of choice in operation.

It means American life and expectations on a free, individual basis would be seriously crippled –  under military discipline the individual’s chance to make free choices almost disappears. Robert M. Hutchins has pointed out that “It is surely one of the greatest differences between a slave state and a free country that the one relies on external discipline applied to the citizens by the state, and the other relies on their own self control and discipline.”

But, the proponents of UMT argue that this plan is a formula for peace. If this were the case, many of us who oppose it would support it. But history is against this argument. Europe has had conscription of a universal military training kind earlier than anywhere else. If UMT were a formula for peace, then, Europe should have been the most peaceful continent of all. Instead, it has been the center of more war outbreaks than anywhere else. In 1926 prominent citizens of 14 European countries appealed to the world to ask the League of Nations to propose abolition of compulsory military service as a first step toward true disarmament. In their words, “Conscription involves the degradation of the human personality and the destruction of liberty.”

UMT gives not security, but a gambler’s hope of victory. In a hydrogen era, no victory is possible. War cannot be prevented by armed force. Instead it begets more and more force until the world is an armed camp. We cannot scare our enemies into submission. If our monopoly for a few years of the atom bomb did not frighten Russia, She will not be frightened by UMT.

Under the American tradition of nonaggression and peaceful staying at home unless attacked, we have been able to mobilize quickly and with a spirit unmatched by the professional soldier.

All of this poses the question of what we can do then instead of UMT? We must first of all accept the inevitable fact that war does not work as a means of solving international problems. War is useless as well as wrong. Even through such a relatively feeble organization as the U.N., wars can be at least partially avoided through the forum of world opinion.

We can work for and insist that our public officials work for establishment of a system of world law binding upon would-be aggressors and non-aggressive alike. Only through the development of some such system can peace and democracy be assured. A military system cannot function democratically; it just is not made that way. Many thoughtful Americans are convinced that the real effects of UMT will be, not peace and security but:

  1. To bring every American young man under exposure to and influence by the military mind for eight years;
  2. To destroy the civil security of the individual young Americans; to destroy civilian manpower controls; and to give the professional military leadership control at all times of all Americans of fighting age;
  3. To give the armed forces an excuse to continue in service thousands of officers who otherwise never would be kept on active duty in peacetime;
  4. To make strong in all of us the habit of obedience to military command, or in other words, to militarize America.

There are many other considerations that should be thought over carefully before we rush blindly into adoption of a permanent policy that will mean a radical departure from anything we have done in the past. Every UMT plan in history has been inaugurated under the guise of national security and the promotion of peace. None has guaranteed security nor prevented the outbreak of war. On the other hand, wherever is has existed, UMT has meant reduction of civil freedoms and the promotion of the spirit of militarism. Unless we wish that to happen in America, we should inform ourselves, then act by letting members of Congress and of the executive department know what we think. Once fastened upon us in law, such a system will be perpetuated through one excuse or another until it becomes a permanent fixture. Then we shall have neither assurance of peace nor a possibility of preserving democracy.


A moment ago in connection with UMT, I mentioned the matter of money involved. A breakdown of our national finances shows that 65 percent of our federal tax money is now being spent for military purposes; 24 percent for fixed charges to pay for debts and veterans resulting from past wars. Thus, 89 percent is being spent for creeping suicide. The remaining 11 percent goes for what some call constructive purposes and others call “creeping socialism.” How mixed up can we get as a nation? What values do we really cherish when we get ourselves maneuvered into a position where we are willing to or have to waste our substance upon such unbalanced expenditures?


Dean James A. Pike of the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City says, “There is too much noisy religiosity on the public level. When,” he says, “we put ‘In God We Trust’ on our postage stamps, open up a meditation room in the U.S. Capitol, and make constant reference to spiritual values and then fail to live up to our words with our deeds, we give an impression of hypocrisy to the rest of the world.” And to that, this reporter might add, we give an impression of hypocrisy, not only to the rest of the world, but to many of us here at home who wonder whether religion is something to be felt and thought and lived, or a label of respectability that is proper because of the suspicion and spirit of the times.


This week saw the passing of a great American. Walter White, said to be one sixty-fourth Negro, could easily have passed for a white man, but chose to retain his identification with the colored race because he believed that by so doing, he could make a greater contribution to the welfare of one-tenth of the American population. At 61 he suffered a heart attack and died last Monday night. He did live to see his career climaxed by the Supreme Court’s ban against racial segregation in the public schools.

Since 1931, Mr. White had been executive secretary of the NAACP. He once explained that his father, an Atlanta postman, died because of neglect after an injury, caused by his being a colored man. He joined the staff of the association at the age of 25. He tackled the Negro problem in particular and problems of race relations in general, and became a bitter and caustic foe of white supremacy. Governor Herman Talmadge of Georgia denounced him as a professional agitator. He may have been just that to the racial supremacists and to political demagogues, but to millions of Negro Americans he was a staunch supporter of their rights as citizens, under a Constitution that makes no provision for second-class citizenship.

Whether agitator or crusader, his contribution to American life has left an imprint that cannot be erased with his passing. Whether one always agreed with his methods, liberals of both races rarely disagreed with his motives.

There has always been, and most of us hope there always will be, a place for people like him in the American picture. He is one of a long line of many Americans who, in their day, refused to believe that this was the best possible of all worlds, and set about to do something to make it better. Patrick Henry, Carl Schurz, Dorothy Dix, Susan B. Anthony, Abraham Lincoln, Eugene Debs, Theodore Roosevelt, as well as his distant cousin Franklin D., believed that by their own efforts they could promote the well-being of people, and did so in a way that carved out for themselves a niche of prominence in our history. We can only think with regret what our country may be like had it not been for the contribution of these and many more who had the courage to enlist in a cause and fight for their principles. Walter White is one of them.


Mr. E. L. Blystone, of Ardara, Pennsylvania, sends this little poem that, while smacking of satire, is all too true in reality of the world of today. He calls this poem, “In God We Trust, I Wonder.” It goes like this:

“Printed on our coins and stamps, states, In God We Trust.

’Tis but a bubble of thin air, that common sense will quickly bust.

A falsehood doing untold harm that gullible will swallow;

But when we look the facts in the face we find this claim quite hollow.

When preachers go to bed at night they usually lock their doors

They don’t trust this God of theirs, to carry out his chores.

Most all these modern churches are equipped with lightning rods,

No sensible congregations put their faith in Christian Gods.

Our government doesn’t trust this God, to guard it from all harm

But places its trust in well-trained men recruits from city, town, and farm.

Bombs, aeroplanes, and battle ships, and weapons of every king;

Are now employed to guard our land, in God We Trust, is wisely left behind.

Well-lighted streets at night we find will guard against thug and thief

In God We Trust are idle words we’d sooner trust a good police.

From pulpit, press, and radio In God We Trust, they bellow

But he who does will soon find out that they are wrong dear fellow.

In surgeons most of us will trust, and not our trust in God

Many who fail to practice this are resting ‘neath the sod.

A word to the wise is sufficient as along life’s highway you trod

Put your trust in your fellowman but never trust this Christian God.”

It certainly is not good poetry. Is it a true analysis of the difference between what we say we believe and what we actually believe? What do you think?

March 20, 1955

From Dr. Harold Scott, pastor of the First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City, comes a comment on preaching that makes sense. Dr. Scott says, “Once in a while I have to go to court to identify someone, testify that someone sustains a good or bad reputation, or was sane when he signed his will, or something else. I hear lawyers interrupt with ‘irrelevant, incompetent, and immaterial.’ Ain’t them gorgeous words? So often when I hear preaching, those words come to me. Sometimes when I preach and get off the subject running some minor thought down an alley, those words flash in my mind and get me back to my thesis in a hurry. Perhaps all preaching would be better if there were a competent person in the congregation who, when it was needed, would rise and thunder, ‘irrelevant, incompetent, and immaterial.”

One cannot help but wonder what would happen if some penetrating soul should attempt to give voice to just such comment outwardly for I am sure that many of us have done so inwardly. Ministers, perhaps even more than teachers, are unaccustomed to having what they say challenged, hence they go along uttering much that really is incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial, knowing that nobody is going to have the temerity to brand it as such, and those who need it most would be the first to attack such an affront not only as a personal attack but as sacrilege against something holy. And yet they, as well as we, should recognize that any preaching, indeed, any religion, that will not bear the most merciless scrutiny of one doing an honest analysis of its meaning is not worth much as a sermon nor as a religion. Religion and preaching have no place for that which is irrelevant, immaterial, and incompetent. And Dr. Scott has tossed us a thought well worth considering.


In another area there comes to our attention an indication of how sick our society is today. Chief Justice Warren made the comment that a group of state employees charged with responsibility for determining what announcements could be posted on the employee bulletin board refused to permit the Bill of Rights to be posted on the ground that it was a controversial document. Only after the governor in writing vouched for its non-controversial nature was the Bill of Rights permitted to occupy a place along with routine items of interest. And this happened in the U.S. on the 15th of December 1954, the 163rd anniversary of our Bill of Rights. It is straws in the wind like this which cause some thoughtful people to ask the question whether ratification of the Bill of Rights could be obtained today if we were faced squarely with the issue.

Some of you have doubtless wondered why some reference is made to that document on this program almost every week. The answer is simple: Every religion worthy of the name places emphasis upon the divine source of man’s creation; it stresses the innate worth of the individual as a creature of the deity; it contends that every man should have the right to worship as he pleases, to be free, to be permitted to speak his own thoughts without fear of penalty. All of these freedoms rest upon how seriously we take our basic guarantee of these freedoms, and that guarantee is the Bill of Rights. Have you read it lately? And of equal importance, do you follow the news to see wherein it is being observed and by whom it is being trampled upon? Every time we permit erosion of these basic freedoms, we narrow the base of our own enjoyment of those freedoms. Get it down, read it, then follow through with the news from day to day to see what is happening. It might possibly jar us out of our lethargy if we did.

It is a bit shocking in talking with people who are supposed to be well-educated to discover they are unaware of the stresses and strains of our national life. I have a notion it is because they do not read periodicals that deal with contemporary struggles. If anyone is to be alert to the onslaughts on our rights and liberties, and the plots for economic exploitation, he must make an effort. He cannot get much of it from his daily newspaper, or from many high-priced slick magazines. He can get some vital warnings, however, from some labor papers. He can get it also from reading magazines and newspapers that are committed to the American way of circumspect regard for our traditions and freedoms. People of religion need to be informed about such things more than any other.


Doubtless many of us take our ministers for granted. We assume that he has time, or should take time, to respond to our calls, our desires to seek his assistance, whether it be a sacred or secular matter. Probably the average minister, who is alive and to whom his parishioners looks for assistance, can appreciate the somewhat whimsical notice that one pastor tacked on his bulletin board. It went like this:

“Unless it is an emergency I wish you wouldn’t phone me until 10 a.m. I would like to shave without having to phone while the lather dries on one side of my face. Also cold coffee isn’t so hot if you know what I mean. I sort the mail at home and read what looks intriguing, that is, that looks as though it had money or a kick in it. I get over to the study at 10 a.m. I am available until 11 p.m., when I amble over to the manse, read the newspaper, and go to bed.

“Another thing, why when you have a message to me do you give it to my wife and tell her to tell me? I’m not hard to talk to or with. I’m jealous.

“Still another thing, on Saturday I’m sweating over my sermon. Please don’t call on me unless you have made an appointment.”

How many of you ministers listening in have a feeling of envy for the minister who dared do this? I dare say that most of you have felt the same way at times, and rightly so.


Poughkeepsie, New York: Twenty-two year old William Johnson is under court orders to attend church every Sunday for one year as a condition of his suspended sentence for 11 traffic violations. Johnson was also placed under probation for the year to a blind minister, the Rev. Delmar Cooper of the Dutch Reformed Church of New Hackensack, New York, Johnson’s hometown. Justice of the Peace George Dietz of the town of Poughkeepsie set the conditions in suspending a 30-day jail sentence for Johnson, who pleaded guilty to all charges.

It may be merely a schoolteacher’s slant to comment that while this may have some effect insofar as social conduct is concerned, it is highly doubtful as to whether it is of any religious virtue. Church affiliation and churchgoing should rest on some interest other than that of punishment for a civil offense. It smacks of our Puritan ancestors who placed people in the stocks for nonattendance at church as well as for other habits of conduct unapproved at the time. It would seem that we should have other and better scales and patterns of values than to look upon churchgoing as a form of punishment.


The task of preparing the nation’s Protestant Sunday school population of more than 30 million for responsible living as adult Christians will be the theme of a gathering in Cleveland this summer. The 23rd International Sunday School Convention, designed to provide information and inspiration to volunteer church workers, will be held July 27 – 31. Preparations for the meeting are well under way. Sponsoring groups are the National Council of Churches of Christ U.S.A. and the Canadian Council of Churches. Some 10,000 persons are expected to attend.


From a high Roman Catholic churchman comes a statement that is not new. In fact it is trite, but that does not detract from its validity. Archbishop Karl J. Alter of Cincinnati says a closer-knit family life, with more accent on religion is needed to meet the problem of the broken home and its consequent effect upon juvenile delinquency. The archbishop’s comments were made at a sermon at the High Mass opening the 23rd Annual Welfare Conference in St. Paul. He goes on to observe that millions of dollars have been and are being spent on child guidance clinics and other social centers. Yet the ratio of juvenile delinquency has risen 45 percent in the last five years.

The archbishop is exactly right, and this reporter cannot help but wonder when we as a people are going to awaken to this fact. Proposed remedies consist merely of more and more appropriations of money, more social workers, more diagnostic clinics, and more probation services.

Obviously such things are necessary in our present state, but they are palliatives, rather than real cures, somewhat like taking an aspirin for a headache, they do not remove the cause. Little is being done to remove the cause. It is in the homes of the nation that loyalty and integrity and devotion to the truth can first and best be taught to the young. Such ethical and spiritual qualities in individual Americans are fundamental to our continued progress as a nation.

Here in our own area, newspapers have recently carried considerable news about meetings of people conferring on juvenile delinquency. Emphasis has been laid on needs for more money for more facilities. I do not recall seeing anything about a program to arouse families to action, to stimulate better home conditions that will strike at the root of a social and personal problem of vital importance to all of us as individuals and as a nation.


A Seventh Day Adventist church leader says permission has been obtained to publish Bibles in Russia for the first time in 28 years. Vice President H.L. Rudy of the Adventists General Conference says the Russians agreed recently to ease Bible printing restrictions. He adds that 100,000 Adventists in Russia have also been granted permission to print religious literature.


The oldest retired Methodist Church missionary died this week. She was Mrs. Elizabeth Brewster, 93 years old, of Cincinnati. For 66 years she was a missionary in China and was known to thousands of Chinese. She went to China as a missionary at the age of 22, married another missionary there, and took over his duties as district superintendent when he died in 1916. She wrote many religious and school texts in Chinese. Three of her four sons and her two daughters are missionaries.

March 13, 1955

An all-state student civil liberties conference is being called for students on California campuses, April 22, in Los Angeles. A temporary steering committee has emphasized that the conference is not to present any organization’s ideology, nor to be sponsored by any one group, but to focus attention of students on the problem of attacks on student civil liberties, and to achieve student unity for action. A spokesman for the move says that “Civil liberties in our day are intricately related to political events and armament races. Abrogations of human rights are justified, for the most part, in the name of military necessity.”

Endorsement of ministers, business and civic leaders, labor leaders, and faculty members is being sought for the conference, in addition to student leadership.

It is encouraging that students themselves are becoming aware of the importance of the rights of the individual in these times when those rights are being ignored, violated, and trampled upon, for upon them rest our freedoms to worship as we please, vote as we choose, think and say what we please. And it is these rights that distinguish democratic freedom from dictatorial tyranny. Church leaders have been in the forefront of rushing to the defense of human freedoms. Ironically and discouragingly enough, it has been the school men, the colleges and universities that have been the most timid and uncertain. Freedom of the intellect is as important in our way of life as is freedom of religion, and it is indeed a sad commentary that those who are loudest in their preaching of the democratic way have been the least certain as to whether they should take a forthright and determined stand. It would appear that our students are better defenders of our own responsibilities than we teachers ourselves are.


And in line with the preceding news note, comes this week from the U.S. Postal Department a ruling that the Soviet newspaper, Pravda Izvestia, and other publications of like nature originating in Russia, can no longer be delivered to private subscribers in America. This hostility to men and women of thought which is found among our national and state legislators is startling, disturbing, and strikes at the root of fundamental right to knowledge. (And let me assert here that for two reasons I subscribe to none of the prohibited reading. 1st, I could not read them if I had them; and 2nd, my salary as a teacher will not permit this luxury if I could read them.) However, were I financially and educationally able to read them, I should very much like to do so, and would, were it not for the fact that a political appointee in Washington has just said that I do not know what is good for me to read, but that he does. Hence, he will censor my reading materials.

This arbitrary ruling is, or certainly should be, a matter of concern to Americans, since it is apparent that we in America can know very little of what is taking place in the Soviet Union or other Iron Curtain countries unless we have full access to the publications originating in these lands. We need no barriers to cultural freedom here. Apparently the powers that be these days are consecrated to freedom of enterprise in all areas but that of ideas, but their bureaucratic arrogance can well do harm to American scientific and humanistic learning. The ironic part of the recently exposed regulation is that it contrasts strangely with the continued operation in New York of two concerns that arrange for the import of thousands of dollars worth of books, magazines, and newspapers annually from the Soviet Union. Hence, while we draw an Iron Curtain over one entrance of thought to this country, we keep another one open, without any concern about it. Also, school libraries and similar institutions are permitted to receive the banned publications. Apparently there is no harm in them if they go to institutions where individuals have free access to them, but they are highly dangerous, even explosive if they go directly to those same scholars by subscription. One cannot but be reminded of the observation of our own Emerson of a century ago when he remarked that “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” It would seem that our Postmaster General is not troubled by consistency, whether it be of the foolish or any other variety.


At least twice before on this program I have reported the efforts of the Protestant Church of Christ to win legal recognition and the right to worship unhindered by the Italian government. Again this past week, police have torn down, for the third time, signs erected near or on their Rome church, indicating the name of the denomination.

Italian courts have already held that the church had legal freedom to maintain its services. However, the police, in destroying the signs before insisted that they “had other orders.” The U.S. is extremely cautious in the matter, for it is not clear what if anything we can do about it. Our chargé d’affaires, Francis Williamson, acting in the absence of Ambassador Clare Boothe Luce, has made no protest, though the embassy has voiced official regret about the matter.


This week has seen continuing close attention by the United Nations to the tensions between Egypt and Israel as a result of the costly border fighting touched off near Gaza recently. You will recall that in this clash, 42 Egyptians and eight Israelis were reported killed. This tension was heightened by militant statements from both Egyptian and Israeli premiers regarding progress toward a new Arab lineup against Israel.

While some of the factors in this dispute are still obscure, the Arab-Jew conflict is always involved in religious overtones. Basic religious differences between these two people make more difficult the settlement of nonreligious differences, and it is these latter differences that the U.N. Security Council is watching, for Israel has charged that Egyptian armies attacked Israeli troops; that a virtual state of war has been brought about by Egyptian belligerency; that propaganda and threats have been used against Israel; and that Egypt has refused to negotiate their differences.

March 6, 1955

A term that is much in the news these days is that of “coexistence.” From the pages of a recent issue of The Christian Century comes a heart-warming example of coexistence in practice, an example far removed from international wrangles, but one indicative of our own domestic problems. St. Louis recently re-zoned a residential block in a white neighborhood to permit two-family dwellings. “For Sale” signs began to appear. Then two Negro families moved in. More signs were put up. Many surmised that deterioration had arrived. Then the owner of one of the most stately houses in the block put up his sign. It read: “This house is not for sale. We like our fine neighbors. Your race, religion, politics, are not our concern. All who take pride in their homes are welcome on this street.” The “For Sale” signs began to disappear and finally all were removed. The neighbors began to get acquainted. Newspaper reporters, after investigating the phenomenon, got the impression that at least one block of solid citizens had found out that variety and a shifting status is the American way. The only thing this reporter wishes to add to this is that any comment on his part would be in the nature of anti-climax.


Harvey Matusow admits he lied for the McCarthy committee for $25 per day extra, which he did not get after all. Communist philosophy embraces the doctrine that the end justifies the means. According to testimony it appears that congressional investigative committees adopted this odious doctrine. Can anyone help wondering about the truth and veracity of people who rat on their fellow workers? We wonder how many laboriously built reputations have been ruined by perjured testimony. Professional informers have been proved liars again and again. Not one has been indicted for perjury. They go right on recalling more and more names, which is made necessary of course by their ghoulish profession. Apparently neither they nor their hirers are concerned about the commandment that enjoins us not to bear false witness.

In this situation of heated arguments and red faces, much has been said about the degeneracy of those paid informers who knowingly lied to the detriment of people against whom they testified. And this is as it should be; they are degenerate, morally. Curiously enough, little has been said about moral degeneracy on the part of those who encouraged and paid these informers to lie. Perhaps there is an area for further investigation of investigators, though there is indication that as a people we are, understandably, more than weary of inquisitions.

Snoopers, gossips, tattlers and others of their ilk would not thrive unless there were those willing to encourage snooping, tattling, and gossiping. It is reprehensible, whether it be before a legislative committee, within a school staff or student body, within a community, or where it is, and it all represents moral degeneracy, whether it be on the part of the snoopers, or of those who encourage snooping. Those who encourage it admit by their acts that they do not have the moral courage or the mental ingenuity to do open, honest inquiry and to face the objects of their inquiry. The whole rotten procedure is a despicable one, and one with which honest, moral people will have nothing to do.


And as something of an antidote to the above critical comments upon one aspect of the current scene here in America, comes something of a mash note from a Norwegian bishop who has just spent five months here. He says, “To me, American church life seemed to be more attractive, more in contact with people in general than is the case in Europe. This may be the result of the warmth of your church atmosphere…. In the USA a pastor or a parish worker may be approached by any man wanting his advice … about how to secure a good used car or something. This in Europe is not considered the proper thing for a Gospel man to be engaged in.… We think we are more pious and we claim to be more directly converting people…. Result: lack of contacts, lack of conversion.” He says further that “European churches consist of individuals, the American ones more of families.” The club like sociability of the U.S. Protestant churches reminds him of the “social trend so often noticeable in the New Testament.”


From San Francisco comes a dispatch that a body of self-styled “conservative” Americans are soon to meet there in an announced effort to get the U.S. out of the U.N. and to get the U.N. out of the U.S. This group calls itself the Congress of Freedom. San Francisco, you will remember, is the city where the U.N. came into being, and it is somewhat ironical that the fifth annual meeting of a group of radicals who call themselves conservative should choose the birthplace of the international organization as their meeting site. The roster of names prominent in this movement is also rather striking: Spruille Braden, former U.S. ambassador under the Truman administration; Merwin K. Hart, long the subject of considerable notoriety for his efforts to repeal anything that smacks of the 20th century; Lt. Gen. A.C. Wedemeyer, US Army, Retired; and Herbert U. Nelson, head of the National Real Estate lobby, a member of the Board of Regents of the University of California, one-time attorney for Wm. Randolph Hearst. Interesting also is the fact that a considerable number of prominent Americans whose names appeared on the list for the meeting last year in Omaha no longer grace this year’s roll. Could it be that these Americans realize that the only freedom involved in such a radical venture as that proposed by the self-styled Congress of Freedom is the freedom to commit national and international suicide? Certainly the veterans in the movement should be more keenly aware than anyone else of the futility of war as a reliable means of promoting peace. How illogical and ridiculous can some of us become?


On March 1, Tuesday of this week, Sir Winston Churchill addressed the House of Commons. He proposed as the most sensible course for the Free World to follow to achieve as much disarmament as we can all round among the nations, and at the same time to place our reliance upon the deterrent effects of our nuclear weapons as a preventive of war. You would do well to read his entire speech, for it comes from a man whose wisdom we respect, whose judgment we find not unreliable. However, the prime minister failed realistically to admit and deal with the simple fact that no weapon, however horrible, has been a reliable deterrent to war in the past, and there is no visible sign to make us hope that it will in the future. Admitting the need for possession and possible use of such weapons at present, is it not about time for human kind to realize, and act upon that realization, that the only substitute for war is the rule of law, that this rule of law will not come into existence without the long and sustained effort on the part of leaders to bring it about, and that until and unless we do, there is nothing apparent to keep us from continuing to proceed headlong into the abyss which our own incentive and scientific ingenuity is driving us? It is not only later than some people think; it may already be too late, but it is not too late to try.

February 27, 1955

References are frequently made on this program to the importance of the Bill of Rights as a constitutional guarantee of our democratic freedoms. An essay contest on this subject has recently been won by a 17-year-old student of Jefferson High School in Richmond, Virginia, a Miss Ann Turner. Calling her essay “What the Bill of Rights Means to Me,” Miss Turner has summed up in choice language not only what the Bill of Rights means to her, but also what it should mean to every American. She says:

“I am the ‘Bill of Rights.’ I represent America. I dwell in her churches, her courts, her newspapers. I protect her people. Long ago my way was paved, my destiny established. I hold the rights of all Americans. I am their watchword, their beliefs, their stronghold. So long as I may ring the words of freedom, I am the basis of their lives, and in me rests the law of a nation.

“A gray, towering spire juts into the sky. Chimes ring through the dusk. From all walks of life come people to this sanctuary … hymns fill the world as their voices echo the truths of peace – voices of the youth, of the aged, voices of America. I protect them in this sanctuary. Through me they may choose their religion –  worship as they please. They may join their fellow man in prayer, and I pray with them, for I am the Soul of America.

“Before the hushed courtroom sits the judge, the jury. It is their job to decide the fate of a man. Their wisdom and judgment will determine his guilt or innocence. Once a man was not given this chance. Once he was thrust into the dank cells of injustice. No one would hear his plea; no one would believe him. He became an outcast of humanity. To a man such as this I have brought justice. I have given him the right of trial by jury. He may stand before the world and be heard. He will be judged in all fairness, guilty or not, and I will stand in his judgment, for I am the Justice of America.

“On the street corners, in newspaper stands, on doorsteps lies the truth of a nation. Gigantic presses work continually to publish the word of the people. There is no one who may say what is to be printed and what is not to be. No one may buy the opinion of America, may bargain with her integrity. Daily, then lines of clear black type bring to every section of this country the news of the world.

“I am a part of every published article and protector of the people’s interests. I am their thoughts, for I am the Truth of America.

“A friend stops his neighbor on the street. An uncensored conversation follows. It may be a discussion of politics, of government, of religion. They talk freely, unafraid of sudden arrest. In many countries of the world a man’s speech is not his own. He may not say what he pleases. He may be incriminated for even the slightest words against his government. Consequently he lives in constant fear. His words are locked behind barred doors and whispered only in the most secluded of places. This is not so in our land. I give to each man the right of freedom of speech, for I am the Voice of America.

“In courts, in churches, in the mouths and minds of America I dwell. My job is the protection of her people. I am their beliefs, their freedom, their future, for I am the Bill of Rights.”

These are the words that interpret the meaning of the Bill of Rights to one high school student. We may well wish, even pray, that it means or comes to mean the same to all young Americans, for it is this insistence upon worth and dignity of the individual, even you and I, that makes our way of life different from that which dictators would impose upon us. Unfortunately, not all Americans would permit these freedoms if they had their way. These are the radicals of the right who would brand as un-American those who invoke these constitutional provisions to protect themselves against arbitrary invasion of their rights by those who would impose their own particular brand of conformity. Those of us who insist that the Bill of Rights be scrupulously observed are the real conservatives, for we wish to conserve that which is best in the history of this country. The Bill of Rights has withstood attacks from little men in the past, and it will do so in the present, for the Bill of Rights goes on in the minds and hearts of the people, while the demagogues of the moment have their day and then pass into the obscurity from which they should never have emerged in the first place.


A few days ago The New York Times carried a dispatch from Guatemala which reported Vice President Nixon, who is currently touring Latin America, as saying that the Catholic Church is “one of the major bulwarks against communism and totalitarian ideas.”

Exception has been taken to this by Dr. John A. Mackay, president of the World Presbyterian Alliance. Speaking before this Alliance in Ottawa, Canada, Dr. Mackay charges, “Two decades ago the Roman Catholic Church made concordats with the totalitarian rulers of Italy and Germany, Mussolini and Hitler. Today, the church has a concordat with, and is the chief supporter of, Franco, the totalitarian ruler of Spain and the most hated man in Spanish history.

“It is also a painful fact that those Latin countries where the … Catholic Church has been the predominant religious influence have been breeding grounds for Communism. This is true of Italy and it is particularly true of lands in Latin America. The consistent antipathy which the Roman hierarchy in Latin America has shown toward democratic ideas and land reform measures in such countries for example, as Guatemala and Colombia, has had two sinister effects: On the one hand, it has promoted communism; on the other hand this attitude has exposed to being labeled as “communists” men and women in the great liberal tradition who have been stalwart promoters of spiritual freedom and social justice.”

Dr. Mackay’s facts are correct; his interpretations are his own. Certainly, these charges come from an individual whose words are due respect because of the position he holds and the perspective with which he speaks. No religion regardless of its denominational label, can retain respect for and support its tenets if its affiliations and program run counter to the universal desire of humankind to better its own living conditions, even if such betterment is achieved at the expense of vested interests with which certain church leaders may be allied.


Unfortunately, one of the subjects to which anyone trying to look at the world about us today, to view it realistically, and to interpret the probable consequences of alternative courses of action must return time and time again is the problem of war. With the news being full of descriptions of the awful potentialities of weapons of destruction, of H- and A- bomb fallout, this problem is one not only of religious concern for the welfare of humanity; it is one of survival itself. In the face of these stark possibilities, it is not only curious but alarming to see and hear the voices of isolation, speaking in terms that might been applicable a century ago, using the same false accusations that were hurled at attempts a generation ago to kill the effort to effect a world organization dedicated to prevention of war, speaking again in terms of bigotry and narrow nationalism, speaking a language that is neither true nor realistic.

One such item, typical of this faction of would-be persuaders, comes from a letter to the editor of The Christian Science Monitor from a Roger Davidson of New York. He says, “America’s strength today is being slowly dissipated, its sovereignty encroached upon and its independence subverted. Through our membership in the U.N., we are bartering our national heritage for so-called security through collective action, associations, and agencies which give claim to protecting those democratic liberties to which we have fallen heir … shall we nullify the great works of our forefathers, sacrifice our nation’s morality in the interest of compromise and concession?”

These are stirring words. The only thing wrong with them is that they are simply not true. Such writers and speakers would try to repeal the 20th century and return nostalgically to some imagined yesteryear when life was much simpler and speculation on the atom was confined to harmless laboratory experiments.

The other side of the story, the real side, is well put in another letter to the editor who quotes Henry Luce, editor and publisher of Time, Fortune, and other similar conservative and staid magazines. He cites Mr. Luce as follows: “Personally I wish that right now the U.S. would be putting herself in the forefront of the great worldwide concern for law and the rule of law. But she cannot be expected to do this unless from the advance guard we get vivid suggestions as to how this ideal can be progressively incarnated. … Let us speak no more then of hopeless roadblocks lying across the path of the future. Peace is our objective; the advancement of the rule of law is the means. We have little time to waste.”

And, I might add, we have even less time than when Mr. Luce uttered these words. 1955 is the year in which attention will be focused on a review of the U.N. charter. It is widely hoped that plans will be presented and executed for making the world organization a truly effective force for the peace by clothing it with limited but adequate authority to make and administer law binding peoples of all nations. Therein lies the road to peace and if there is no such thing as collective security, there simply is no security at all. Thoughtful, objective and informed citizens the world over will recognize this and act accordingly. Let us pray that there are enough of them to crowd out the strident raucous voices of personal self-seekers who would hide our heads in the sand and follow a course that can lead only to destruction, not only of our democratic principles but also to existence itself. It’s about time that the Knowlands, the McCarthys, the Jenners, Dirksens, Brickers, and others of that stripe awakened to the fact that the world of 1955 is not one that can be wafted away by a wand of the 1820s, and it is too dangerous today to permit ourselves the luxury of such a dream world as they are fond of assuming still exists.


This week has been marked by three observances of religion. Midweek saw the start of Lent, observed by Christians as the 40 days preceding the death and transfiguration of Christ.

On Friday of this week was the “World Day of Prayer,” sponsored by the United Church of the U.S. Back in 1887 a small group of Presbyterian women in Brooklyn gathered for a day of prayer and giving for national missions. This began the World Day of Prayer which has been named by many denominations as the first Friday in Lent. The theme this year is “Abide with me.” Prayers have been asked not only for peace, but for faith, courage, and awareness of the needs of all people everywhere.

Today marks the end of Brotherhood Week, which was dealt with in some detail on this program last Sunday.


Speaking before an American Legion meeting that is conducting a “Back to God” campaign, the president said this week that “The first and most basic expression of Americanism is a recognition of God.” With all due respect to both God and Americanism, the American people, at least a goodly portion of them, are getting rather weary of hearing people confuse religion and religious belief with a political system. As emphasized here before, one can be a good citizen without subscribing to any particular brand of religion; conversely, one could conceivably subscribe sincerely to the tenets of a religious faith without at the same time being a patriotic citizen. Following the president’s line of logic, then everyone who believes in God is an American, which is, of course, ridiculous.


At a meeting of interracial and interfaith groups in Houston, Texas, this week, the Rev. James H. Robinson, pastor of the Presbyterian Church of the Master, one of New York’s largest Negro Presbyterian churches, warned that Africa is the next continent which the communists will attempt to propagandize. He said, after having spent last summer traveling in Africa that “The communists are making real headway. We are going to spend millions of dollars in Africa ten years from now to attempt to stop something we could stop now with kindness and faith.”

To which this reporter would like to add a fervent “Amen,” for Africa has yet to learn something which we seem to be only now beginning to learn, namely, that people cannot and will not remain indefinitely submerged simply because of race alone, for all men are brothers in the sight of God, and the sooner we accept that in practice as well as principle, the sooner our upheavals will end over our somewhat vain and egotistical attempts to bolster our own egos by trying to pose as a superior people because of race alone.

February 20, 1955

Beginning today and continuing throughout the week, including next Sunday, is Brotherhood Week. This week has become a great American institution. It is a week that gives us all a chance to focus our attention on the ugly forces of bigotry, intolerance, and prejudice in our educational, civic, industrial, social, and religious life, and by so doing renew our constant fight against these enemies of democracy at home and abroad. Brotherhood Week is sponsored annually by the National Conference of Christians and Jews. The late Charles Evans Hughes, Newton D. Baker, and S. Parkes Cadman founded the conference in 1928 to promote justice, amity, understanding, and cooperation among Roman Catholics, Protestants, and Jews. This year’s Brotherhood Week has the theme of “One Nation Under God.” Stress will be laid on sharing with others the rights and respect we want for ourselves on dramatizing the practical things people can do to promote an understanding and realization of the ideals of brotherhood and on enlisting the support of more persons in year-round demonstration of belief in the brotherhood of man.

We hear a great deal about brotherly love, what does it mean? It is hard to define for all purposes, but if it means anything, it means a healthy respect for our neighbors, for their ideals and background, a willingness to work with them regardless of creed or color, a conviction that everyone deserves the same opportunity to prove himself.

When you were a child, did you ever cut out a colored map of the United States? If you did, you had forty-eight pieces of paper, different colors, shapes, and sizes. Each one separately represented a state. But put all together, they represented a great nation. That is the principle of American democracy. Each person apart is of a different color, different race, different religion, but take all of us together, we’re all Americans. Brotherhood Week is a good time to put this into practice – all of us shedding our bigotry, intolerance, and prejudice, and working together.

A disturbing thing has been revealed by public opinion polls. These polls reveal that a significant number of Americans indicated they might actively support drives to discriminate against their fellow Americans of other races or creeds. An even larger percentage is reported as being undecided. This is serious. A divided America can only weaken us and play into the hands of hostile powers. American can be strengthened through adhering to the ideals of Brotherhood Week. People cannot be standardized, and in America, it is our pride and our obligation to judge them not by any label of race or religion, but as individuals. When the Declaration of Independence was signed, Benjamin Franklin said, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” That is still true today. And today it means that we must all live and work together regardless of race and religion. With the eyes of the world upon us, there is no place in America for group prejudice. Most of us are guilty of intolerance to some degree. During this Brotherhood Week, let’s try to remove prejudice from our lives and our hearts.

Today our country is spending billions to help strengthen the Free World – to help build its resources and educate the people. We undo this good when, here at home, we are intolerant of groups and individuals who differ from us in race, color, or religion. If democracy is to survive, and if our dollars abroad are to do any good, we must end this inequality. It is time to get together and make new friends, to invite these people to our homes so that we can know them better. And what we learn, we can put into practice every day of the year. Our horizons will broaden when we learn to know people of different backgrounds from ours. We’ll be far more tolerant of their problems, and they will be more considerate of ours. Practicing brotherhood can be fun and worthwhile.

No loyal American would set out deliberately to give aid and comfort to the communists. Yet we sometimes do exactly that. The communists would like to divide us, create strife, unrest, and discontent. Looking for defects in our democracy, it pleases them if they hear of a constitutional right being denied a man because of his color or religious belief. Nothing pleases them more than news of an American being denied a job or entrance to a school, hotel, or pleasure resort because of his color, background, or religious belief. Let us not be unwitting tools of the communists. Our country will be stronger if we recognize, believe, and practice the simple truth that all men are brothers.


From New York comes a news item under a religious news service byline that points up the economic cost of prejudice. It asserts that some $30 billion a year is lost in woeful extravagance because of discrimination in employment. This figure emerges from a study by Elmo Roper, well-known analyst of public opinion, marketing trends, and employee attitudes, and is based on 12 years of research. He says that discrimination in hiring wastes $10 out of every $75 paycheck on the phony luxury of indulging our prejudices. “Any firm,” says Mr. Roper, “which does not hire on merit and merit alone is not only guilty of injustice but woeful extravagance as well.”

“By 1980,” he goes on, “industrial concerns will no longer even think in terms of religion, race, or nationality when they hire or promote employees.” “I believe,” he adds, “that our country has the get-up-and-go within itself not to be left stranded as a queer outpost of intolerance in a world which is one-third yellow, one-third brown, and one-third white.”

Evidences of nondiscriminatory policies in employment are cited in the study by four business men: the president of the Radio Corporation of America, the board chairman of Spiegel Chicago Mail Order House, the vice president of the International Harvester Company, and the general manager of Carson Pirie Scott, leading Chicago department store. These four business leaders rest their case for the elimination of discrimination equally on the economic argument against waste, the pragmatic principles of good business, and the appeal to American moral and spiritual values.

Men who are sincerely anxious to see our precepts put into practice will heartily wish that their prediction for 25 years hence will be fulfilled by developments, for we have no room in America for discrimination on any basis other than personal and individual merit.


A severe, but at times apparently justified satirical comment on our political morals as a people comes to us through the columns of The Atlanta Constitution commenting upon “The Inaugural Address That Wasn’t News.” LeRoy Collins, the new governor of Florida, said in his inaugural, “I so anxiously want the people of Florida to understand that progress in business, industry, and human welfare can go only so far with a ward-heeling, back-scratching, self-promoting political system. Our progress is sure to run into a dead-end if our citizens accept the philosophy that votes can be traded for a road, or for a job for an incompetent relative, or for a favor for a friend, or for a handout through a state purchase order. …

“I have no feeling of hate for any man. But I do hate the things that some men do. To fight for right is the easy half of the battle for progress. The hard half is to fight against wrong. But this we must do if we are worth our salt. Over two thousand years ago, by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus taught the people that man cannot live by bread alone….

“Government cannot live by taxes alone – or by jobs alone, or even by roads alone. Government, too, must have qualities of the spirit. Truth and justice and fairness and unselfish service are some of these. Without these qualities there is no worthwhile leadership, and we grapple and grope in a moral wilderness.”

The Atlanta newspaper comments that it was not the kind of speech we have become accustomed to hear: It had no hate in it but a lot of the philosophy we know as Christian. It had a lot of common sense and understanding of the fundamental needs of the human being. It is a pity that this speech did not make the “A” news wires, but then of course there was no news in it.

Is this indictment of the U.S., our reading tastes, our expectations – even desires, from our public officials correct? If so it is about time that we took an inventory of ourselves as individuals and as people. Demagogues can flourish only so long as they have followers; corrupt officials can remain so only so long as a dormant and indolent citizenry will tolerate it; raving and ranting by self-styled orators and sanctimonious will continues only so long as we the people are gullible, mentally inert, and physically lazy about our proper roles as citizens. We have a moral obligation to be alert, informed, and active. When enough of us are, speeches like that of Governor Collins will make the news, because those will be the kind we demand and will get. Until then, we cannot expect any better for we do not deserve any better.


This next item is particularly appropriate at this time of year, for it deals with the matter of taxes, a disagreeable subject with all of us. A research study points out that a man with an income of $4,500 a year has to work two hours and 35 minutes every day to pay his taxes. This sounds terrible, for if we go to work at 8 a.m., we do not begin earning for ourselves until 10:36 a.m.

Well, none of us likes taxes, but there is another way to state this situation. A $4,500-a-year man spends the first two hours and 35 minutes of his work day earning money to pay for police protection, public education, from the kindergarten through the university, for public libraries, slum clearance, highway building, aid to the needy, old age retirement, aid to farmers, care of parks and public playgrounds, welfare services, veterans’ pensions, the building of atomic and hydrogen bombs, support of an army, navy, and air force, and all the other manifold activities of modern government.


Several weeks ago I reported on this program the furor caused in England when Mrs. Margaret Knight, a psychologist, advised over the BBC that parents should straighten out their children on what she called the myths of Christianity. Since then the controversy has raged in the islands. Some have hurled vitriol at the speaker; others have warmly approved of her position on the ground that through challenging our religious assumptions, she has made us seek to ascertain more clearly for ourselves just what we do believe and why we believe it.

Perhaps there is something of grim, if perverted, humor in this for some of us, for about the time we seem to be getting over an acute case of McCarthyitis, our trans-Atlantic ally starts coming down with an attack of religiosity. Be that as it may, a Roman Catholic spokesman makes the heartening statement that Mrs. Knight has really struck a blow for Christianity in Britain, pointing out that “There is much distrust…of what are said to be the reactionary and hypocritical views of professed Christians…. What, positively is needed to re-evangelize Britain? It will be no use to stifle debate … that will merely leave people in the fading light of religiosity in which they are stranded already. We have got to get them arguing…. The great days of the nonconformist chapels and of the splits among Presbyterians in Scotland must come back … the days when it will seem as natural to drop into an argument over theology as over the test match. The first step toward this is to get people to think out their own present position….”

Do we ever try this? Do we subject our own views to rigid examination by applying to our religion the same kind of tests of validity which we apply to our views on other matters? Whatever the outcome, should we try it, it is entirely probable that we would find it a worthwhile venture; for there is perhaps no other area of our existence about which we are so smug, complacent, self-satisfied, unquestioning than we are in our religious beliefs. Yet, nowhere in the Bible do we find an injunction against inquiring, learning, thinking, testing. Only by so doing can we learn the truth, and we do find in the Bible the promise that “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make ye free.”


A Chicago Jewish leader says one of every five U.S. Jews is affiliated with Reform Judaism. Dr. Samuel Hollender explains the belief that Reform Judaism is the ideal for today and tomorrow. Dr. Hollender is chairman of the Executive Board of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. He has also repeated to his board, meeting now in Los Angeles, how Reform Judaism differs from the Orthodox and Conservative branches. Dr. Hollender says the 82-year-old Reform movement believes changes in environment necessitate revisions in ritual, religious forms, and theology.

In this connection, and at the same meeting, Rabbi Hervert Weiner of Temple Israel, South Orange, New Jersey, said the Reform movement would attract a large number of Israeli Jews who in good conscience find themselves incompatible with the rigid tenets of Orthodox Judaism. Dr. Weiner has just returned from a trip to Israel.




February 13, 1955

Time on last week’s broadcast permitted only the mere mention of some evidence that perhaps we are on the road back form the hysteria that for the past several years has eroded the foundations of our democratic system of government and certainly has weakened our moral fiber as a people, as well as presented a ridiculous, and at times disgusting spectacle to the world of a great nation gripped not only in a fear of hateful ideology from without but by suspicion among ourselves within. Developments in this week’s news make this subject even more pertinent.

Since around 1945, and especially since McCarthy’s West Virginia speech in 1950, we have seen five lines of attack upon basic principles of our social order.

  1. Restrictions and assaults upon academic freedom, or the right of the people to have access to knowledge: to think as they choose without fear of penalty: and the right to teach the truth unhindered by those dictators of the mind who look upon nonconformity … as either subversion or outright treason. Teachers’ oaths and other methods to nail down patriotism of teachers have interfered with education and frightened teachers away from controversial subjects in the classroom. An objective study of the results of these restrictions is now being made under the direction of representatives of Columbia University, away from the emotional fanfare of ridiculous television spectacle that arouses much heat but does little to throw any light upon an important subject.
  1. Violation of due process and equal protection of the laws. Citizens have been hauled before investigating committees where the procedure has been more like that of the Gestapo than of a group of elected representatives seeking the truth from citizens in accordance with long-respected constitutional safeguards to individual rights. In this process we have seen individuals branded as subversive, disloyal, traitors simply because they had the temerity to invoke sections of the Constitution that were written specifically to prevent happening what has happened by crusading senators and representatives more interested in promoting their own political fortunes than in getting at the facts regarding a really dangerous situation. The Association of the Bar of the City of New York has undertaken a study by distinguished persons of the government’s security-loyalty program, with a view of pointing up wherein it has operated with more zeal than wisdom. And only this week President Eisenhower has called upon the natural scientists employed by government to make their own evaluation of the program and help work out a security individual system that will protect us from subversion and at the same time safe guard individual rights under the Constitution.
  1. Protection of the rights of minorities. A study is being made now by the American Friends Service Committee, the Catholic Interracial Council of Chicago, and the National Council of Churches of Christ to determine just what is happening in the field of minority-majority relations and what can be done to improve upon these relations. In the meantime, desegregation of schools is going on here and there, without fanfare, but with each accomplishment, however small, bringing us nearer to the Declaration of Independence principles that all men are created equal, and nearer too, to the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court of May 17 last year holding that segregation in the public schools is a violation of our Constitution.
  1. Censorship, boycotting, and blacklisting by private groups. We have seen attacks upon freedom of the press by self-appointed keepers of the public morals as to what the public shall and shall not be permitted to see, heard, read and think. Vigilante committees have been appointed by such groups to do their own snooping and reporting. Moving picture, radio, and television contracts have been cancelled for no other reason than that some private but powerful group disagreed with the public or personal life of the performer. A former editor of Commonweal is carrying on an investigation in the entertainment industry to determine just what has happened, what have been the results, and what can be done about them.
  1. Guilt by association. Far too many examples of this have come to public attention. All of them rest upon the assumption that one cannot have attended a meeting ten years ago of a group now on the attorney general’s black list without having at that time, since then, and now been contaminated by the such association. In some cases, individuals have lost their jobs and their reputations in the community simply because someone spread a rumor or gave testimony that the individual in question was reputed to be in sympathy with a group or organization that is now considered by the attorney general to be subversive. Many times such testimony has been only that of self-confessed communists or other similarly untrustworthy witnesses who, after admitting their own participation in every conceivable sort of nefarious activity, now turn paid informers and are held up before the country as valid witnesses against citizens whose connection with undemocratic organizations has never been proved. Just this week it comes to light that Mr. Matusow and Mrs. Natvig now admit that they lied in the first place – lies which helped send persons to prison and blasted the reputations of others. In one case, a senator and his former chief counsel conspired to suborn perjury, if you can now believe these revolting liars; and in another, accusation is made that a member of the FBI advised her not to admit her former perjury.

Several university professors are now conducting factual investigations into the record of communism in the United States, its impact on civil liberties, and what the Communist Party now amounts to.

These are some of the absurdities in which we have indulged during recent years. The road back to decency and sanity is not an easy one. Already there has been done much damage to our national thinking: suspicion and acrimony recently so rife will doubtless continue for some time. Others will go on equating nonconformity with subversion, and hangovers of various kinds will doubtless continue to plague us. The encouraging thing is that the crest of this excess seems to have been passed, and the possibilities for sanity have increased. Much will depend upon what citizens, you and I, do to let public and private organizations know where we as individuals stand with respect to common decency and morality in these matters. The road back will be much easier if we do.


This week saw the president’s recommendations to Congress with respect to federal assistance to public education. These recommendations are what one reporter called applying a band-aid to a cancer. In brief, they included only $200 million in federal grants to aid in a program that is conservatively estimated to need at least $10 billion immediately. Seven-hundred-fifty million dollars was asked for over the next three years to purchase local community school bonds if such communities are handicapped in selling their bonds at reasonable rates of interest; another $150 million was asked for to match funds put up by individual states to establish school building agencies. And a final $5 million was included for helping bear administrative costs of state programs developed by the states themselves.

Admittedly the school problem is a knotty issue everywhere. Here in Tennessee the education forces have had to resort to the unpopular advocacy of an increase in the sales tax to finance what is the barest minimum needed to hold our own the next two years. Some people regard federal aid as a step toward invasion of states rights, but those same people have no such fears about federal aid for highways, for wildlife conservation, and for other non-human ventures. The fact confronting the schools is simply this: We have a greatly increased school enrollment due to high birth rates during and after the war, and there is no sign of the birth rate decreasing. Those children need the best education this nation can afford; and we can afford the best. That education will not wait while politicians and others quibble over respective rights of the various units and levels of government. Those of us who put human values above property rights and philosophical speculation see only the child who deserves a better break from us than he is getting. We have a moral, religious, and human obligation to provide him with what he needs. The problem is as simple as that. What are we as a nation going to do about it?


This coming Tuesday representatives of two Protestant denominations will meet in Cleveland for further discussion of a long planned merger. The meeting will be attended by executives of the Commission of Evangelism and Stewardship of the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Church. The Evangelical and Reformed president, the Rev. Dr. Wagner of Philadelphia, says a majority of the members of both churches favor the union, but it has been delayed by court action instituted by a congregational Christian group.


A Jewish leader points to religion as one of the foundations of the U.S. Rabbi Maurice N. Eisendrath of NYC says democracy is founded on the concept that the U.S. is a nation under God. Dr. Eisendrath heads the Union of American Hebrew Congregations that begins its 43rd biennial convention in Los Angeles today. Some 2,000 representatives of almost one million Jews in the U.S. are expected to attend. Dr. Eisendrath says Abraham Lincoln knew this nation could not have a new birth of freedom unless it were under God. The Jewish leader adds the U.S. cannot even retain its freedom unless it is under God. Rabbi Eisendrath has praised the Supreme Court’s decision on desegregation. But he adds he would have found the step more welcome if religious groups had been in the lead.


At Cincinnati, a minister has declared that in teaching the Gospel, churches should use language that their parishioners can understand. The Rev. Robert E. Luccock, of the Church of the Redeemer in New Haven, Connecticut, has also asserted teaching the Gospel is difficult because ministers are not clear in their own message. He points to a second difficulty as being that many persons in the world find the Gospel irrelevant because of the dull manner of presentation.


Along the same line, the Rev. Dr. Roy M. Pearson notes that U.S churches have 90 million laymen. He describes them as not penned up in the ecclesiastical headquarters. He goes on to point out that in a day when we make so much of the lack of able ministers, it is the biggest responsibility of the seminaries to train men who can bring to life this tremendous dormant power of the lay ministry.


A Lutheran Minister says the only difference between a city and a country pastor is nervous tension. In the country, he explains, the telephone isn’t ringing all the time. The Rev. A.B. Lentz has been for 25 years in charge of a church five miles from town in the farm country around Plattsmouth, Nebraska. He says his country church has as many working committees and youth groups as any city church. And he believes the reason why so many rural churches close is simply because some pastors want to move to the city. He thinks further that people have confidence in a man who stays. He agrees that it takes a great deal of faith in the persons around the minister to make a go of the country church, but in his area, his parishioners have always lived up to his hopes in this respect.


At Kansas City, former President Harry Truman said this week that human rights and freedom are being deliberately violated. He addressed a National Conference of Christians and Jews there. He said Americans must acknowledge that in the U.S. there are instances of discrimination and injustice because of differences in color, religion, and national origin. He added, “But we are working diligently to overcome these violations of the fundamental faith which holds us together.”

And in London a lively discussion is going on over the number of Billy Graham converts who stay converted. The question arose as Graham prepared for a return engagement to that county. A year ago in a series of evangelical meetings there he drew more than 1.5 million persons to his services and made what were reported to be huge numbers of converts. So-called independent surveys have been published saying only 15 percent of Graham’s converts were active churchgoers a year after making their decision for Christ. However, an assistant of Graham, Lorne Sanny, has replied, “I’d like to know where they get those figures. We have a big statistical department, and it’s all we can do to keep track of converts for three months after they make their decision.” Which leaves us in about as much perplexity over the matter as existed before we read the dispatch.


February 6, 1955

This past week saw the passing of one of America’s greatest church workers, 89-year old Protestant leader, Dr. John R. Mott, who died in Orlando, Florida. Dr. Mott was the only layman of the five honorary presidents of the World Council of Churches. For many years he was a general secretary of both the National Council and the International Committee of the YMCA. Until 1920 he was a secretary of the World’s Student Christian Federation, which he had helped found in 1895. In 1910 he took a leading part in establishing the International Missionary Council, comprising 300 missionary society groups, and he was its chairman until 1942. In 1946 Dr. Mott was awarded the Nobel Prize for his humanitarian work. Sixteen governments had, in recognition of his work, given him medals or decorations of some kind. In his 70 years of travel he had crossed the Atlantic more than 100 times. These facts, i.e., regarding his medals and travels, are not within themselves important, and he surely would not have regarded them to be so. However, they are important for what they signify in the way of his efforts toward Man’s betterment – a long life dedicated to his fellow man. And it is indeed fitting that he will be buried in the National Cathedral, a final recognition of a great American life of service.


In Atlantic City, New Jersey, representatives of some 4.5 million Lutherans met this week. The occasion was the 37th annual meeting of the Lutheran Council. Dr. Paul Empie, executive director of the council, expressed hope that no further dragging of feet, as he put it, will frustrate admission of refugees under the 1953 Refugee Relief Act. He said the act was designed to admit 209,000 refugees and non-quota immigrants during a three-year period, but fewer than 10,000 have been admitted so far.

This reporter checked further on the matter and found out that the law provides the possible admission of 214,000 such refugees by the end of December, 1956, but that only some 12,000 -13,000 have been admitted so far. Part of this is doubtless due to unnecessary red tape and slowness of government agencies; but part of it is due also to the prejudice of late Sen. McCarran of Nevada who wrote the act. McCarran was careful to phrase the act so that certain religious, political, and other groups he did not like would find it difficult to get into this country. Dr. Empie adds “one frequently has the feeling that the national atmosphere in which the McCarthy hearings were conducted may have led some government officials involved to choose to do nothing rather than to risk the granting of security clearances to refugees.” To which this reporter might add he thoroughly agrees, but he would like to add a further prayer that we are over the hysteria that permits such a one-man reign of terror, as was carried on by the now discredited Senator from Wisconsin. Now, none of us wants people coming here who would undermine our security and stability, but it is difficult to see where religion could play a part in this. America has been throughout her history a citadel of religious freedom, and this law that would erode the foundations of this structure should be amended to remove its religious, and perhaps other, prejudice. The Lutherans are to be commended for their action in this matter. We have a humanitarian as well as a religious responsibility as a nation to do our share in offering refuge to displaced and homeless persons of Western Europe, and religious conviction should not be a criterion for admission.

The Lutherans are to be commended also for their action at Atlantic City in making a dramatic break with their own past to open their doors to Negro members. Heretofore the church has maintained separate congregations for Negroes, but Dr. Conrad Heyer told the council that the very nature of the Gospel and the peculiar pressure of our time demand integration of the races within the church.


From New York comes a dispatch along the same line, taken in this case by the National Council of Churches. In a 500-word text and a 16-point anti-bias program sent to the 35 million members of the 30 Protestant and Orthodox sects it represents, the council requested that it be read on February 13, the 33rd Annual Race Relations Sunday. The point of view taken is this, “Racial prejudice in any and all forms is contrary to the will and design of God. It is a sin. Let this teaching be proclaimed. He who wrongs his brother sins against God.” It would be exceedingly difficult to find anything wrong with this sentiment, or successfully challenge it. After all, it is about time we quit talking about different races. There is only one race, the human race, and all human beings belong to it. There are various groupings within the race, groupings that show various different characteristics, only one of which is skin color. Can we square with our concept of the fatherhood of God the idea that this father would make some of his children superior to others and that this superiority is evidenced by such an unimportant trait as skin color alone? Objective students of race and devoted followers of Christ agree that there is no such thing as racial superiority, so it is about time we quit bolstering our ego by proclaiming a superiority that does not exist.


This week for the first time in history, a Turkish official has visited Pope Pius XII. The premier and foreign minister of Turkey called on the pope, leader of the world’s 425 million Catholics. Our news source does not disclose the nature of the visit, but the call in itself, whatever its motive, is a significant one because of this break with the past. After all, the millions of Catholics and more millions of Moslems cannot go on forever acting as if the other did not exist.


Southern Baptists made some significant gains last year. Their convention, meeting in Nashville during the past week, was told by its statistician, J.P. Edmunds, that the church has gained almost 300,000 church members, that its total is now more than eight million, and that 400 new denominational churches were added, bringing the total to almost 27,000. Church contributions rose almost 10 percent during the year, to some $305.5 million.


Unitarians and Universalists have taken another step toward eventual merger. They have just opened a joint public relations office in New York City. The move is part of a program to merge the education, publication, and public relations activities of the two church groups. Eventually they will join together completely as the Liberal Council of Churches.


The president has sent to Congress his recommendations for the nation’s medical services. These recommendations include increase and expansion of federal medical facilities, encouragement of greater state activity in that field, stimulation of private medical insurance plans, a federal health reinsurance service, federal aid to improve state medical facilities for treatment of mental illnesses, a grant to states to aid in programs of prevention and treatment of juvenile delinquency, and increased support to the World Health Organization, a U.N. agency, in order to help promote the health and welfare of regions less favored than our own.

These recommendations will probably arouse considerable controversy during the next few weeks. They are considerably broader than was his program of last year, and that program was denounced by the American Medical Association as “socialistic.” So, it is very likely that we shall see such terms as “socialized medicine,” “the welfare state,” etc., applied again. Such terms are slogans that mean everything or nothing, depending upon what the person using or hearing them has in mind. Actually they are devices to divert people from realistically examining a problem and a proposed remedy to that problem. Amid and above all the name-calling and slogans, several things are clear to most of us:

1. Adequate medical services are beyond the financial reach of the average person;

2. Because of this many of us defer seeking medical aid until we have to do so, and in many cases such aid is too late;

3. There is no alarming scarcity of medical personnel in this country.;

4. Nobody wishes to embark on any program that would lower the quality of professional standards of the medical profession.

On the other hand, we Americans are inclined to look upon any institution as a means of contributing to the well-being of people – the church, schools, government, economic system can thrive and maintain the confidence of the public only so long as the public is convinced that they hold human welfare to be above property rights or vested interests. Religious people particularly are sensitive to human suffering and needs, and they are not likely to put above those needs the special prerogatives of any particular profession or occupation whether it be the medical or any other. Hence, they are not likely to permit slogans and propaganda to divert their attention from the real problem, which is to improve the health and welfare of our people through broader medical coverage at terms that the average person can meet. People of sincere religious convictions believe this and will act accordingly.


The importance of national as well as individual morality has been a matter of comment on this program several times. Certainly there have been ample evidences of both lack of morality and outright immorality in policies, procedures, and personalities on the national scene in recent years. There seem to be at last some signs that we are starting on the road back to sanity and decency, but there are a good many hangover problems. Something of the suspicion and acrimony that have pervaded Washington thinking in many quarters seem to be subsiding. But there are still many victims of character assassination; morale in the foreign service is only beginning to rise; and there seems to be still within the national consciousness a timidity and over conformity – a fact which, incidentally was emphasized by Dr. Robert M. Hutchins in a typically pungent speech delivered before the National Press Club recently. Hutchins points out that there is danger today that the battle cry of the Republic is not freedom but is sometimes what will people say? He points out that while President Eisenhower and many citizens criticized the decision not to permit West Point and Annapolis cadets to debate entry of Communist China into the United Nations, neither the president nor anybody else with authority intervened and that decision still stands. Bishop Oxnam was cleared by the House Un-American Activities Committee, but he was not permitted to speak in a Los Angeles auditorium.

The recent House committee investigations into the activities of foundations was an example of hearing only one side, refusing to permit the other side to be heard, and then issuing a report condemning those same foundations on the basis of only the evidence of the one side.

Despite that, it would appear that these foundations are taking the lead in exploring the way back to national sanity. For example, in reply to the many repeated, and in many cases outrageous attacks upon and undermining the academic or intellectual freedom, a Columbia professor, subsidized by the Ford Foundation, is studying the problems and effects of teachers oaths and other methods to nail down the patriotism of teachers and to frighten teachers away from considering controversial subjects.

Another instance is that of blacklisting in the entertainment industry. Individuals have had radio, television, and movie contracts cancelled, and their livelihood abilities removed, upon no other evidence than that somebody or something had doubts, with no proof offered or permitted, that these individuals were disloyal, subversive, or immoral. John Cogley, former editor of Commonweal, is investigating this for the Ford fund.

The American Friends Service Committee, the Roman Catholic Interracial Council of Chicago, and the National Council of the Churches of Christ, are cooperating in studying rights of minorities, wherein they have been violated, what their status is at the present time, and what can be done to promote greater justice and equality.

Several university professors are conducting factual fund-financed investigations of the record of communism in the United States, its impact on civil liberties, and what the Communist Party now amounts to.

Perhaps out of these studies and inquiries, conducted under the auspices and subsidy of the Foundation, which itself has no axe to grind, we shall eventually find our way back to calm, serious, and sensible consideration of all these problems, uninfluenced by political demagogues, unswayed by self-seeking politicians, and uncoerced by those who define any point of view but their own as subversion, disloyalty, or treason.

Even the former so-called McCarthy Committee has revised its rules to eliminate one-man reigns of terror, to assure that accused shall be informed of charges, have a right to reply, be represented by counsel, and be protected from distorted versions of what happened at meetings being released to the press. Even the condemned Senator from Wisconsin voted for the rule change. It’s about time.

No nation can lay claim to being moral so long as it knowingly violates the basic rights of its citizens, and these rights apply to all without regard to race, color, or religious creed. We seem to be getting back to willingness again to respect those rights, and insofar as we do, we shall have achieved increased moral greatness as a nation.

January 30, 1955

One basic religious aim should be the promotion of brotherhood through elimination of prejudice. Unfortunately it is sometimes difficult to see that people of religious profession are any freer from prejudice than those who make no such profession. An item occurring in the news this week reveals a rather unique experiment seeking reduction and elimination of prejudice. In Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago, a series of eight meetings, called, appropriately enough, Thaws, T-H-A-W-S, is being held this month, sponsored by a local chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. Its purpose is to bring together members of different faiths to discuss varying points of view and through doing so come to understand and appreciate differences among the various groups. It was not so very long ago that Oak Park was almost 100 percent Protestant. Now it is about 55 percent Protestant, 40 percent Catholic, and 5 percent Jewish. Such changes create problems, and it is these problems the people are meeting to discuss.

Representatives of the different groups take turns leading group discussion. Last week the leader was Mrs. Anna Julian, wife of the nationally known Negro chemist, Dr. Percy Julian. Such items as the following were discussed: A Protestant reported he knew of some bias against two Catholics who had sought minor political offices. Another Protestant commented that perhaps this was because they were also Democrats. A Jewish man said the parents of a Catholic girl had ordered her not to attend a social affair at a Protestant church. A Catholic schoolteacher remarked that as she understood it, Catholics were forbidden to worship at other churches. To which a Protestant woman replied she had recently gone to Mass with Catholic friends. And thus it went. Out of such incidental attitudes and behavior, group differences and similarities are brought to light, discussed fully, and, it is hoped a better understanding of inter-religious problems emerges. Meetings are held at homes of members, and a social hour is enjoyed as well as that time devoted purely to local religious, civic, and social problems. This experiment at Oak Park may have some meaning for you and me in our communities. It is a commendable approach to the problem.


Along the same theme of greater cooperation and unity come two AP dispatches this week. One from New Haven, Connecticut, where Dean Liston Pope of the Yale Divinity School predicts that the day is surely coming when Catholic and Protestant churches will work together officially both in matters of social reform and in promoting Christian faith. He bases this prediction on the conviction that they will be brought together “by the pressures of the world, of which communism is only one of many, and by the inherent requirements of the Christian faith. Catholics and Protestants have a lot more in common than they have things that divide them. They both believe in a God revealed by Christ, that God is merciful and just, that faith is the way to the highest truth, and that every man has dignity and worth. They both believe that racial segregation is wrong, that war is wrong, that political totalitarianism is wrong.” He went on to cite many efforts by organized groups to unite all Christian faiths in a common cause – war upon evil, citing particularly the Church Peace Union, the National Religion and Labor Foundation, and the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

The other dispatch has a New York dateline, and quotes Dr. J.A. Aasgaard of Minneapolis, veteran Lutheran leader, commenting on efforts toward Protestant church mergers. “We can’t go it alone,” he says, “any more than nations.”


Way up off the coast of Massachusetts on the island of Martha’s Vineyard comes a reported story of a conversation between a farmer and a little girl, a story that has an important and direct meaning to each of us. The little girl said to the farmer, “They are improving on television and radios and all that such but the one thing that needs improvement, education, is not getting much.” At about the same time this conversation went on, in Washington a speaker was telling the American Council of Learned Societies the same thing in other words: “If constructive criticism of the security program is the most urgent problem in the defense of morality and the intellect, our most serious long-term problem is to reach all of our children with educational standards they will respect.” He went on to describe the situation facing many educators, a situation which all of us who try to teach know about all too well. He said, “Our overworked and underpaid teachers have become sensitive under the barrage of criticism to which they have been subjected … yet no one knows better than they how much we are in need of scholarly and constructive leadership if we are to make the progress now needed to improve the educational standards in our overcrowded public schools.”

Not only the public schools have faced this criticism; in fact, much of this criticism has been directed at higher levels of learning. In the past three years, for example, there have been two major investigations into the activities of philanthropic foundations such as the Rockefeller, Ford, and Carnegie. Ministers such as Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam have been brought before congressional committees for questioning. Proposals have been made to investigate the clergy. (And I might add parenthetically, our own state legislature has had suggested to it by some doubtless well intentioned but equally doubtless uninformed individual that it pass a loyalty oath for teachers. Haven’t we already had more than enough of McCarthyism?)

Yes, there appears to be much time and money to be found to spend on improvement of roads, television, cars, and improvement of livestock handling. But at a time when schools across the nation are in dire straits, we do not have time and money to spend on children of the country. The children of Martha’s Vineyard would not be so important if they were the only ones facing inadequate schools; virtually all American children everywhere are. But when the secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in the president’s cabinet was asked recently by a press reporter what her department was going to recommend toward federal aid for schools, her reported reply was, “That is not on my legislative program at this time.” When will it be? The growth and development of children will not wait until she makes up her mind what to recommend, and Congress can hardly be expected to act without some encouragement from the executive branch.


One of the most precious of our rights, especially in the field of religion, is to think as we please. But it extends into fields other than religion. Americans, I take it, are, as a people, opposed to any form or anything that smacks of thought control. Yet, in a district court in Chicago, there is going on these days a case that may well be decided against freedom of thinking, without which we would have nothing but intellectual stagnation, and as a result of that, nothing but political, social, and economic decadence.

The facts are these: Claude M. Lightfoot, a Negro, is being tried under the Smith Act for two things: 1. membership in the Communist Party; and 2. knowledge of the purpose of communism, which, according to the prosecution, has only the nefarious purpose of overthrowing the government of the U.S. Mr. Lightfoot makes no denial of either of these charges. However, he (at least his counsel)  insists that he has never taken part in any action directed toward conspiring to overthrow the government, and that he subscribed to Marxist-Leninism as a philosophy that would seek a political moral, and social order in which his, and all other submerged races would be given greater equality. The defense goes on to argue that under our system, communism could only come about here through the peaceful, democratic will of a majority.

This reporter is sure that he, along with virtually all other Americans, has no use for dictatorship in any form, whether it be the communist or any other variety. But that is not the point in the case at issue. Among the points that are at issue are these: How far can or must we go in this nation to restrain the communist menace? Is the internal danger from communism so great that membership alone in the Communist Party shall be punished? When in Anglo-Saxon tradition has it been possible to penalize an individual for what he thinks? Criminal acts, not thoughts, are punishable under the First Amendment, and the prosecution in its opening statement indicated that it would not attempt to show overt acts in which Mr. Lightfoot was attempting to overthrow the government. Cutting through all the legal terminology and technicalities, the issue in question is: Can Lightfoot, an admitted communist, who is not charged with any treasonable action, but who admits to subscribing in thought to a revolutionary philosophy, be punished for what he thinks? If he can, then eventually may you and I not be punished for what we think about politics, religion, civic and moral questions? Whatever the decision of the court, appeal will probably be taken to a higher one, and the final decision whatever it is, will be one we could well watch for, since it is on a subject of more than academic interest to all.


January 23, 1955

New items continually appear, in this country and elsewhere, having to do with the importance of maintaining separation of church and state. Many such items have been included for comment on this program. Also, during the last few weeks I have reported as much as the news dispatches revealed regarding the running feud between President Peron of Argentina and the Catholic Church down there. This feud has come to something of a head in that country, and the two items of freedom of religion and church-state rivalry in Argentina come to a focus in this week’s events.

Briefly stated the facts are these. Eight years ago the Catholic Church in Argentina championed the Peronista cause in the elections in return for something of a monopoly of religious education in the nation’s schools. The vote of the church resulted in a Peron victory and his entrenchment as head of the government. Some months ago Peron decided that indoctrination for the new Argentine state must start with the children, and he set out to gain the good will of teenagers, setting up the Union of Secondary School Students, and obtaining for them sports fields, rest centers, and hotels, and finally opened his summer residence as headquarters of the girl’s branch. Speedboats, motorcars, ballet shows, theatrical performances, and balls were provided, all without cost to the children. He not only permits, but also encourages, boys and girls to mix freely at these events. To the Catholics, this was nothing but a return to paganism, and to counteract the President’s influence among the young, it established the Union of Catholic Students.

In the meantime, the Catholics had tried, and to a certain extent succeeded, in building up their own trade unions and getting vacation for workers, as well as other working condition benefits. In Cordoba, their efforts went so far as to establish a basis for a Christian Democratic Party.

Last November 10 was a turning point between Peron and the Catholics. On that day Peron held a regular meeting with the provincial governors and asked them to report on Catholic activities throughout the country. This report has never been published in full, but shortly after the meeting the president made a speech which was duly recorded and broadcast over a national radio hook-up. In it he referred to Catholic infiltration in the Peronista movement, and said, “We shall take steps to see that the authority of the state prevails and expect the church to take measures to make offenders abide by the laws.” He went on to warn that unless Catholic groups conformed to his decrees, the churches would be closed and the members charged with unlawful association.

The church leaders retorted with a pastoral letter read in all churches in which they asked the faithful to adhere to their religious principles. Privately they sent a letter to Peron asking him to present evidence of his charges against them. Two months later it was clear that the government had won and the church had lost. Peron drove through Congress a bill permitting divorce; the police put some 15 priests in prison; such inroads have been made in the schools that religious education there now is all but an empty phrase; and processions and public meetings of a religious nature were banned. And within the last ten days, the Catholic newspaper El Pueblo, the only Roman Catholic daily, has been seized and its editor released on bail. The excuse this time was nonpayment of an employee bonus, which was not yet due at the time of the seizure.

These are the facts, and their implications are clear. The Argentine Constitution declares that church and state there are inseparable, and the result has been a conquest of the church by the state. Our own Constitution declares that church and state shall be separate, and both have flourished side by side under that Constitution for 166 years now, without either coming under the domination of the other. Let us keep it that way. Our system has admittedly not operated perfectly. At times less than justice has been done to unpopular and weak sects; and there are those among us who would inject religious education into public schools. But it would be far better to omit such from the schools at all than to find our whole religious framework under the dictation of the state, as is the case now in Argentina.


Sharing a considerable portion of the spotlight on the news this week have been a barrage of comments on our present so-called security system. People of religious convictions have reason to be concerned about having an effective security program, because religion in this country has had an independence and growth unrivaled by any other country. People of religious interests also have a natural concern about the protection of individual rights within that security system, for among those rights are freedom of speech and religion, both indispensable to religious development.

Out of the welter of viewpoints about the security system, these seem to be the major items: Freedom House in New York wrote the president urging that he appoint a commission to determine whether our security policies and measures are retarding us in our effort to keep ahead of the Soviet technology.

One of Mr. Eisenhower’s appointees to the Subversive Activities Control Board, the former Senator Cain of Washington, issued a statement saying that the security system as now administered fails to balance security and justice, citing the case of ousted Wolf Ladejinksy as an example. (Mr. Ladejinksy’s case was treated in some detail on this program two weeks ago.) Senator Cain used strong language in his indictment of present practices, saying, “The Ladejinsky case points up practically every weakness which we can find or trace in our prevailing security system. It includes evidences of shortsightedness, ruthlessness, smugness, and brutality of bureaucracy at its worst.” He goes on to observe that he cannot see why Ladejinksy could both a risk and not a risk at the same time.

Rep. Frelinghuysen, Republican of New Jersey, asked the president to establish a non-partisan commission to review the whole security program.

The Department of State informed Democratic Senator [?] of South Carolina by letter that none of the persons investigated by the former Tydings Committee have been found guilty of being either communists or disloyal. This is the committee whose work was constantly attacked by Sen. McCarthy, who repeatedly accused the persons mentioned therein and who have now been investigated with being both communist and disloyal. It is apparent that, as usual, McCarthy’s charges far outrun any evidence he had on which to base such charges.

A final item that can be included, though by no means all that are available, is a column the past week by Walter Lippmann, generally friendly to the administration, and widely read by government people. In that column, Mr. Lippmann waxed very critical of the present administration of the program, and he, too, characterized the mishandling of the Ladejinsky case as “cruel injustice.”

To what do all these comments add up? What is their particular significance to people of religion? Several observations emerge somewhat naturally in answer to these questions. All loyal citizens, religious or otherwise, want an effective security system. We believe that we can have one that will protect us from aggression from without and subversion within, and will, at the same time, protect the basic individual rights of the individual. The scrupulous observance of these rights lies at the foundation of our basic moralities and our tradition as a people. When so many people who are of widely divergent convictions about politics and other matters agree upon the weaknesses in our present security system, it is convincing proof that men of good will everywhere should be concerned about the matter. There is nothing moral in injustice, whether it be at the hands of a vigilante committee or of a duly constituted but badly operating governmental agency. We neither need nor want in this country a Gestapo of the Nazi variety nor the purge trials of the Soviet band. Neither will be foisted upon us all at once, but either could easily become a reality if we begin by undermining due process a little here and a little more there until gradually due process and the right to be heard in court by the individual are trampled out in the name of a well-meaning but misguided security board, for security has, in the minds of some, come to cover a multitude of sins.


In his State of the Union message to Congress recently, the president aptly stated that our struggle at the present time is not over forms of government or economic theories but is one of human values, a difference over our conceptions of the true nature of man. In his words, man is “either … the creature whom the psalmist described as ‘a little lower than the angels,’ crowned with glory and honor … or man is a soulless animated machine to be enslaved, used, and consumed by the state for its own glorification.”

This is a definition and a distinction with which most of us, certainly all of religious convictions, can well agree. It was well-stated.

However, in his budget message to Congress this week, the president recommended that we embark upon a 10-year road building program that will mean eventual expenditures of some $101 billion, or over $10 billion a year. That same budget recommended expenditures for slightly more than $2 billion for health, education, and welfare. It would seem, then, that when it comes to glittering generalities, man is endowed with divine attributes, but when it comes to expenditures to nurture those attributes, such as funds to maintain his health, educate his children, and provide welfare for the needy, man rates only about one-fifth as important as highways. This country can afford both schools and highways, and for most of us, if we had to choose one or the other, we would place schools first, for highways can wait, but the education of growing children cannot. Perhaps we little people are not expected to look for consistency between precept and practice on the part of our public officials. If we are, our search in this instance proves unrewarding, and it comes at a time when according to the N.E.A. we have a shortage of 270,000 classrooms and 235,000 teachers, with some one million pupils now in school on a part-time basis because of lack of physical facilities and instructional staff.


To a Roman Catholic priest is due a large share of the praise of ending the three-and-a-half day convict revolt at the Massachusetts State Prison in Boston. The Rev. Edward Hartigan, Catholic chaplain of the prison, spent many hours conferring with the rebellious prisoners, hearing their grievances and trying to persuade them to give up. Father Hartigan also heard confession and gave Holy Communion to the four Catholics among the five guards held as hostages. Also playing a part in the talks was the prison’s Protestant chaplain, the Rev. Howard Kellett. The slim, seemingly tireless Father Hartigan was also a figure in a rebellion at the prison in 1952. Then he stayed all night with the barricaded prisoners, talked with them, and calmed them and helped in the release of two guards as hostages.


In London a radio debate took place between a proponent of atheism and the wife of a minister. The debate came about because Mrs. Margaret Knight advocated morals without religion in two previous broadcasts. These broadcasts caused Britons to boil and bubble as they had not done for years over a religious controversy. The newspapers and churches took up the issue, and there were proponents and opponents among them both. Time magazine treats the matter in some detail in its issue of January 24, in case you wish for further comments that cannot be included here.


Merger of the three main Presbyterian bodies in the U.S. is apparently not hopeless, despite defeat of the union by the Southern Presbyterians this week. A revised unity plan is considered likely for the future. The Presbyterians of the South gave as among their reasons that Northern Presbyterians are too liberal and that their 757,000 membership might be swallowed by the 2.5 million members that comprise the Northern branch. Some observers thought that the issue of segregation would enter into the voting, but South Presbyterians have said it did not. The proposal needed 64 votes, or three-fourths of the 86 districts. It failed of passage by four votes. It was the Southern Presbyterians who initiated the merger talks back in 1938.


The underlying assumption of this program is that many items appearing in the news have religious significance, though they may not be headlined as such, and that religion is a matter of every day practice rather than merely a holy day precept. An opportunity to put it into practice occurred in this section this week, and the station authorities have permitted me to bring it to you. Last Friday the home of Mr. Sherman Carver of the Greenwood community burned down, destroying family belongings, furniture, and everything he had. He and his family have arranged for temporary shelter, but they have use for and will welcome assistance of any kind: financial, household items, or wearing apparel. The Methodist Church of Jonesboro urges any help that you can give. If you wish to contribute money, send it to the church at Jonesboro. If you have clothing or household utensils to contribute, call Mr. Raymond Miller, telephone number Jonesboro 4542, who will call at your home for them. There are eight children ranging in age from 3 to 6 years.


January 16, 1955

The 15th Annual Methodist Convention was held this week in Cincinnati. Twenty-five administrative agencies of the church held sessions during the convention. The delegates represented some 9 million Methodists in the United States. A highlight of the meeting was a plan outlined by Bishop Ivan Lee Holt for a merger of the three great Protestant communions into a United Church of Christ. This would include the Congregational, Episcopal, and Presbyterian. Under the proposed plan, each local church would determine its own mode of worship and administration of the sacraments of Holy Communion and baptism. Bishop Holt said the plan would be submitted for study to the African Methodist Episcopal Zion, Colored Methodist Episcopal, Congregational Christian, Disciples of Christ (Evangelical and Reformed), Presbyterian U.S., and Presbyterian U.S.A.

Most ministers who commented on the sweeping plan agreed with it in principle but were doubtful over its practicality. Dr. Roy Mueller, executive secretary of the Indiana Synod of the Presbyterian Church said, “I don’t see how it possibly can be effected,” while the Rev. Roy Utterback, a Congregational minister, said his church would not consider a merger which “would imperil our deeply-valued autonomy of the local church.”

An AP dispatch reveals that another question has been raised at the conference that would not be understandable were it not for the hysteria of the times. As it is, it is disturbing that representatives of such a large number of Americans, generally considered stable and conservative, should take the approach they have on the matter. The dispatch is as follows:

“A Methodist Church group has asked – but not answered – if civil liberties should be granted U.S. communists. The Board of Social and Economic Relations adds it knows that if the communists came into power they would eliminate those privileges. The group, meeting in Cincinnati, notes that Christians are, of course, unalterably opposed to communism. Yet, it cautions that if civil liberties are expended too long they may be finally lost.”

Civil liberties are simply constitutional rights guaranteed people in this country under the Constitution. To deny constitutional rights to anyone, communist or otherwise, is to violate the Constitution, upon which our whole system of government rests. And that Constitution applies to everyone, whether he be communist, fascist, Republican or Democrat. When we begin denying such rights just a little bit to even a few people, we are opening the hole in the dike that can well loosen the whole structure. There are those in this country who would like to deprive unpopular groups and individuals of those rights. One person has gained a lot of notoriety (one could hardly call it fame) by branding people who choose to invoke their rights under the Fifth Amendment as, to use his choice phrase, “Fifth Amendment Communists.” Of such beginnings is the road to the very kind of dictatorship which we as a nation and a people oppose. Let us get it clear: We cannot save democracy from dictatorship by becoming dictatorial ourselves. And to say that we might, for even a little while, deny communists civil rights because they, if they were in power, would deny them to us, is to make ourselves no better than the very communists we oppose. Today it may be the communists to whom we deny such rights; tomorrow it is Jehovah’s Witnesses; the next day it may well be Baptists or Democrats. It is hoped that the Methodists will see this and answer before they adjourn the question they have asked but thus far have left up in the air.


John D. Rockefeller, Jr. has spared words but not money in a gift to United States Protestantism this week. He used just two sentences to donate $20 million worth of securities to strengthen and develop Protestant theological education in the United States. The money will be handled by the Sealantic Fund, a Rockefeller philanthropic fund set up 15 years ago.


The Cleveland chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews has voted to withdraw from the parent organization. The Cleveland group has long been feuding with the national organization because the parent society wanted to transfer the Cleveland area director, James Nobel. He is expected to be hired as director of the New Brotherhood group when it organizes as an independent unit on January 27. Nobel says that the new interfaith organization will be concerned with educating members individually in better human relations and then applying human relations principles in community projects.


Two famous Americans withdrew from religious activity this week; one by death, the other by retirement. Nearly 75 years ago, while a girl of 17, Miss Mary Virginia Merrick injured her back, and for the remainder of her life was an invalid. But this did not end her usefulness. She founded the Christ Child Society, which has sent thousands of crippled children from city slums to summer camps. Her own convalescent farm near Washington D.C. helped scores of young boys and girls to forget about polio and other crippling diseases and to leave their wheel chairs and to play as other children. Branches of this society she founded have been set up in 38 U.S. cities and one in The Hague, in Holland. Her work brought her many honors of the Catholic Church, of which she was a member. She died this week at the age of 88.

The other famous person who withdrew from active service by retirement was Bernard Bell, Canon of the Episcopal Church. For many years Dr. Bell has served on the campus of the University of Chicago as “Episcopal Representative,” an assignment that was part of his church’s policy of freeing one of its most distinguished writer-preachers from specific duties. At the university, his job was something of an unofficial chaplaincy to the university’s brightest brains, answering questions, enlivening bull sessions, and putting the things of the spirit in terms intellectuals were willing to listen to. His cant-hating, spade-calling honesty brought thousands of clergymen to his lectures, often to hear themselves taken apart. He went blind a year ago, and since then has written little, but one thing even a muffled bell could be counted on was to keep up his sharp talk. This week, when a visitor mentioned the so-called “current religious revival,” he snorted, “Religion has become a fad. There’s an awful lot of people joining the church, but what it means I don’t know. I’m not sure it means anything … it’s too easy to be in the church.”

In his retirement, Dr. Bell will still stay on at Chicago as consultant on Christian education, but it is largely an honorary title, given him, he says, “as a status in the church with no functions at all.”


The top inter-Protestant churchman in the U.S. hopes for a religious revival in this country as one result of military service in the post-Korean War period. The expressed wish comes from the Rev. Dr. Eugene Carson Blake, President of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. He has just returned from a 20,000-mile tour of U.S. military posts in Korea and elsewhere. Dr. Blake says the First World War gave churches a major setback. But he says that after World War II, seminary enrollments doubled, and many other trends became apparent that he describes as reflecting a new note of spiritual and moral interest. He emphasizes that in view of this resurgence of religious interest, churches must develop long-range religious programs that recognize most Americans today will see military service.

This reporter has no desire to add sour note at this point, and certainly under the present circumstances it would appear that such prolonged and indefinite military service is a probability. One cannot help but wonder though how long it will be until, if ever, organized religious forces in this country and others, take a definite, active, and positive stand in a drive for achieving a world order in which the probability of war will be much more remote than it is. The discouraging thing in the present instance is that most spokesmen for the churches, as does Dr. Blake, take it for granted that there is nothing we can do but accept the status quo projected into an indefinite future. There are many of us who do not share that viewpoint. People of religious beliefs, of whatever kind, have a responsibility to assert themselves in helping bring about the establishment and enforcement of law at the world level to replace the present anarchy among nations. When that is done, probabilities of military service on the part of uncounted generations of young men will be far more remote than it is today.


Another noted churchman returning from the Far East has a less hopeful appraisal of what he found there. Francis Cardinal Spellman of New York says he finds a smaller area of the Free World left each time he visits the Far East. He believes, too, the Asian mainland is a volcano that may erupt at any time. Cardinal Spellman terms the Philippines a bright spot in the Asiatic picture. He says the Filipinos are a people very grateful for the independence the U.S. helped them gain.


A unique experiment to determine the role of religion in coping with the problem of juvenile delinquency is underway at the Harvard Divinity School. For the first time a seminar in juvenile delinquency is being offered graduate students, directed by Dr. Richard V. McCann and an assistant. “In the course,” says Dr. McCann, “we talk about communication of religious values in the family, in the community, and in the individual. Juvenile delinquency is a symptom of the breakdown of this communication of religious values in the family.

“In studying the problem,” he added, “delinquency is looked upon as a symptom of an illness. We are trying to decide, among other things, just exactly who the patient is. Is it the individual delinquent, his family, or society? And where can the church help most effectively in preventing the illness?”

As a beginning point, the students are surveying the field to see what has been accomplished. As individuals later going into active ministerial work, they are gaining, it is hoped, an insight into and an understanding of the problem that will be valuable.

Already, Dr. McCann said, the students have found lack of love basic to the problem of juvenile delinquency. “Without intelligent, constructive love received from his parents,” the director said, “the child will grow up deprived of the thing he needs most.” This is something of a sad commentary upon his parents, for love is something that any parent can give his child, regardless of the socioeconomic status of the family.


On the local scene, East Tennessee State College has secured the cooperation of the University Christian Mission for its Religious Emphasis Week, which will begin January 30 and continue through February 4. This is a non-denominational program which will include classroom discussions as they relate to religion. There will be seminars and evening worship services. The roster of participating speakers include Dr. Gresham, president of Bethany College; Dr. Hunter Blakely, secretary of the Division of Higher Education of the Board of Christian Education of the Presbyterian Church; the Rev. Leon Sanbourne, pastor of the Union Church, Berea, Kentucky; and Dr. Travis White, president of Atlantic Christian College, Wilson, North Carolina. The college invites and welcomes the participation of the community in this week of religious activity. The dates, again, are January 30 through February 4.


In New York the highest court of the state has ruled 3-2 that a 12-year-old child is capable and has the right of selecting the religion of his choice. The suit grew out of the desire of a son of a Catholic father to attend a Christian Science Sunday school. Despite a premarital agreement that children would be reared in the Catholic faith, the court ruled that there was “ample evidence to support both the findings that the youngster was old enough to testify intelligently” and that “a child of 12 is competent to make a choice” of selecting his own religion. It is not sure yet whether there are any grounds upon which an appeal can or will be made to the United States Supreme Court in this matter.



January 9, 1955

Among the things that both our religions and our civic conscience hold to be important are such simple things as elementary justice, religious toleration and respect, and the right to be considered innocent until proved guilty. These things, to us, are at the heart of our basic moralities, underlying whatever religious beliefs we may hold.

An incident that has been brewing for some days now seems to put both justice and religious tolerance in jeopardy. Simply stated, the facts are these: Wolf Ladejinsky is a Russian-born Jew who has for years been a naturalized American citizen. He served the Agriculture Department as an attaché in Japan under Gen. MacArthur, and it was due largely to his ability and efforts that fundamental land reform were brought about in that country during early occupation years. He has three sisters still living in Russia. Despite that fact, he has over the years contributed scholarly articles to American journals attacking communism for the deadly thing that it is. Formerly he worked for the Department of State.

Several days ago a zealous security officer in the Department of Agriculture decided that Mr. Ladejinsky, despite his years of meritorious service, is a security risk, and should be removed from his position. This was done at the order of the head of the Department of Agriculture. The only explanation that has been made is that the man has three sisters living in Russia; that he is of Jewish extraction; and that while he has written articles against communism, it is believed by the security officers that these articles are really a blind to his secret adherence to communism. Curiously enough, the State Department still considers him no security risk, and nobody has yet accused the security officer in the State Department of being soft on suspected security risks.

The injection of the anti-Jewish factor was done by the executive secretary to the head of the Agriculture Department, and while Mr. Benson has decried the use of the letter containing the anti-Semitic sentiments, the incident was serious enough to bring protests from our ambassador in Japan, from officials of the Japanese government who recognize the splendid work the man has done there, from politicians as wide apart as Republican Walter H. Judd of Minnesota and Senator Humphreys from the same state.

The letter has been denounced by the American Jewish Congress and the Anti-defamation League of B’nai B’rith. In the meantime, Mr. Ladejinsky has been offered a place in our FOA, who some months ago tried to get him to work in Vietnam to bring about much the same reforms in land holdings that he did in Japan. Also, should he seek employment in the State Department, he would, at present at least, have no difficulty in getting security clearance.

Thus we have the spectacle of one department firing him as a security risk when his job was not sensitive from the standpoint of national defense, while another department is willing to take him when his work would probably be far more sensitive, while still another agency would send him into an area where his opportunity, if he chose to use it, to work with communists would be much greater than it is in Japan.

These are the facts, as thus far revealed. People with religious and moral convictions may well ask themselves such questions as these: Have we come to the place in our hysteria today where not only do we apply the idea of guilt by association, but go even further and insist upon guilt by the simple fact of relationship? Another, is it not curious that one would be considered a security risk, when his whole career has been one of a nature opposed to communism, of which the security officer suspected him? And a final one, since when has mere adherence to a given religion, whether it be Jewish, Protestant, Mohammedan, or any other, become a basis for attacking the good faith and loyalty of a citizen who has shown no evidence of bad faith or disloyalty? If there is such evidence, it should be presented and, if sufficient, should result in his removal. So far that evidence has not been revealed. Mr. Ladejinsky is only one out of 160 million people, a not very significant number as an individual, but his case should remind us of the basic fact that no religion is safe from attack unless all religions are safe; no one can be sure that justice will be done in his case unless every effort is made to see that justice is done in all cases. The public still waits to see what or whether justice will be done in the matter.


The Christian Science Monitor for Wednesday of last week devoted an editorial to what it called “heroes unsung,” and the ideas presented coincide with the basic idea underlying this program, namely, that religion is a matter of everyday practical concern, rather than something merely to be paraded on the Sabbath. An 8-year-old in NYC found two broken parking meters, took out the money and gave it to his mother, who in turn gave it to the city. The mayor had the wisdom and courtesy to thank both child and mother. A famous New York newspaper ran the story on page 1. New services and radio picked up the story and gave it prominence. The editorial goes on to commend the mother for her use of this instance to teach the youngster honesty. Among the other unsung heroes mentioned are those who stop at red lights late at night, even though there are no other cars in sight and the woman who returned the article more expensive than the one she ordered from the department store when it was delivered by mistake. Some may call these heroes “Casper Milquetoasts,” but they are the ones who give honesty an everyday meaning and keep our society fit to live in.


An encouraging report with an Atlanta dateline was released this week showing that the economic gap between Negro and white family income is narrowing and that business men are recognizing the potentialities in the expanding Negro consumer market. Farm mechanization is reducing the low wage agricultural employment, an area where the proportion of Negro workers is very high. The Negro has been migrating out of the South, or, like the white farm worker, has been moving into urban centers in the South, where economic opportunity is greater than it is for him in the country.

This report highlights not only the tremendous changes taking place socially and economically in Southern thinking, but it underscores the fact that we are finally recognizing that we can pull one race up without pushing the other down; that as we provide greater income opportunities for Negroes and whites alike, we are making possible better housing, better health, more purchasing power, and the likelihood of better citizenship and morality. Good citizenship and high moral standards are difficult to maintain where there is nothing but poverty, disease, overcrowding, and illiteracy. These, money can remove, and by such removal make it easier for the individuals affected to lead better lives.


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

Vatican City: Pope Pius XII received his third blood transfusion in ten days yesterday (Friday). The transfusion was administered by a specialist from Rome University. The Pope’s physician says the transfusion is part of the routine treatment prescribed by specialists who have been attending him.


It was Christmas yesterday (Friday) for many Christians throughout the world. They are the members of the Orthodox churches that still measure days by the old Julian calendar, 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar of other parts of the world. Thus, it was Christmas in Russia for members of the Russian Orthodox Church. Americans and other foreigners joined Russian believers in crowded churches for the Christmas Eve Mass observed as midnight tolled on Thursday. Many young Russians, including soldiers, took part in the observance.


Jews in the Soviet Union have become the fifth religious group in Russia to oppose the projected rearmament of West Germany. In a statement published by the government newspaper Izvestia, they call on Jews throughout the world to support the Moscow European security plan. Religious groups in the Soviet Union earlier denouncing rearming West Germany are the Russian Orthodox Church, the Baptists, Moslems, and the old believers, or dissenters from the Orthodox Church.

But in the U.S., a congressional committee has been told that persecution of the Jewish minority continues in the Soviet Union and its satellite states. The House Committee on Communist Aggression notes that twelve Moscow doctors, including some Jews, have been released from charges of murdering high Soviet officials. But the congressmen said that no victims of anti-Jewish measures have been publicly rehabilitated. Hundreds of former Zionist leaders in satellite countries remain in jail.


New York: The Rev. Daniel Poling has left on a round-the-world trip to study the Christian climate in Europe and Asia. Dr. Poling, who is editor of the Christian Herald, will visit Hawaii, the Fiji Islands, Japan, Korea, Formosa, India and Europe. During the trip he will arrange for a conference of religious leaders to be held in Suva (soo’-vah), the Fiji Islands, in July 1956. He also will arrange for a World Christian Endeavor Union Convention to be held in Lebanon in 1957. He is president of the World Christian Endeavor Union.


London: American Evangelist Billy Graham will return to London for a series of religious meetings May 9 -21. The meetings will be held in London’s Wembley Stadium. The evangelist drew a total audience of 1,740,000 persons during a two-month crusade in London last summer.


Nandi (nahn’-dee), the Fiji Islands: President David McKay of the Church of Latter Day Saints is on a 45,000-mile tour of the Church’s missions in the South Pacific. McKay, of Salt Lake City, arrived in the Fiji Islands with Mrs. McKay this week. The plane carrying them was three hours late after having been delayed on Canton Island by a typhoon.


New York: Dr. Francis Carr Stifler is retiring at the end of this month as a public relations man for the Bible. He has served for many years as secretary for public relations of the American Bible Society. As such, he has written pamphlets, books, and magazine articles and made hundreds of broadcasts for the world’s best-selling book, the Bible. Dr. Stifler, who has just turned 70, will retire to his home in Summit, New Jersey.


Rock Island, Illinois: A pulpit campaign against an alleged communist-dominated union has paid off. Employees at the International Harvester Farmall Tractor Works at Rock Island, Illinois, have voted to switch allegiance from the Independent Farm Equipment Workers Union to the CIO Auto Workers. The tally was 1,740 to 760. Catholic priests throughout the area had urged Harvester employees to make the switch in sermons last week. An estimated one-third of the Harvester workers in the area are Catholics.


New York: The nation’s largest Protestant organization is campaigning to put Christianity on a seven-day week. The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. says Americans should practice at work what is preached to them on Sunday. Everyone, says the council, which represents 35 million churchgoers, should work overtime at his religion by taking it to his job. The Rev. Cameron P. Hall, executive director of the council’s Department of the Church and Economic Life, offers this slogan: “Put Christianity to work where you work.”


Washington: Plans for the eventual union of three branches of the Presbyterian Church in this country were discussed this week with President Eisenhower. A group of six Presbyterian leaders told the chief executive of their discussions, which they hope will lead to unity of the three branches. Mr. Eisenhower is a Presbyterian.


New York: Protestant churches throughout the nation will observe January 30 – February 6 as Youth Week. The observance is promoted by the United Christian Youth Movement and the International Society of Christian Endeavor. This year marks the 12th annual observance of Youth Week by the two organizations.



January 2, 1955

An item reported this week almost immediately disappeared from newspapers or other news sources. It concerns our agreement negotiations with Spanish dictator Franco. Sometime ago the U.S. agreed to extend military and economic aid to Franco in return for the right to establish certain defense bases and maintain certain military personnel in that country, an agreement which many people looked upon with no enthusiasm because of the moral principle involved in our accepting as an ally a government that has been fascist from the beginning.

Nevertheless the agreement was reached and now our military people are working out with Franco detailed understandings with regard to our occupying the bases for which we bargained. Among these details is a report that our representatives agreed that marriages among U.S. personnel, both civilian and military, would be solemnized by the priests of the Catholic Church.

Let me make it clear that there is, or should be, no object to having marriage ceremonies performed by a priest of the Catholic faith or of any other denomination, as long as this conforms to the voluntary desire of the two principals involved. However, our Constitution states specifically in the First Amendment that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

If the above report is true, it would appear that our military men, representing the Executive department, are trying to do something that not even Congress can do. Perhaps it would be well for such men to read the Constitution or to take a course in its principles before trying to placate an ally of doubtful morals by committing American citizens, with or without their consent, to the religious preferences of that ally. We wish no combination of church and state, and even the military should finally get around to realizing this.

In regard to the morality of our dealing with Franco, it might be recalled that in two world wars the U.S. insisted, and generally rightly so, that it was not interested in securing by these wars any material advantage, that its sole interest was in achieving peace. If no material gain was our aim, then we must have been motivated solely by moral principles. It follows quite naturally, then, that we should have moral scruples regarding those with whom we allied ourselves. The Nazis were our bitter enemies in the last war, and Franco was a close friend and collaborator with Hitler. Now we apparently have no qualms about doing business with that collaborator, though he has not changed either the purposes or principles of his government. Truly our memories must be short when we make a cornerstone of our foreign policy a rearming of Germany, which in effect means putting our former Nazi enemies into uniforms, and proceed to make a close alliance with Franco. Perhaps we little people are shortsighted, or perhaps our moral scruples are too insignificant to count, but to us it appears that there should be some consistency in the conduct of nations as well as in that of individuals.


Between last week and and this, we have had two three-day holidays for many people. Over the Christmas holiday weekend Americans demonstrated the wrong way to celebrate by piling up some 500 casualties on our highways and in accidents in other ways. That record even went beyond the most feared predictions of the National Safety Council. Statistics are not yet in on the present weekend, because it is not yet concluded. But it is probable that when they are, an equally unenviable record will have been established. Most of the highway accidents are the result of speed, and in many of them drinking is a factor. Speeding and drinking stem from no statistical phenomena. They are the products of personal violation to a high degree, and both individuals and society must take the blame. War is indeed a terrible scourge, but we do not as yet have control over it. The speed at which we drive our automobiles and the physical condition of our bodies at the time are matters under our control, and we should be more conscious than we apparently are of this high toll of deaths that is entirely within our power to prevent, for we kill more people in this country with automobiles than have been killed in the wars we have fought.


We hear much today of the influence of reading matter upon the habits of people. Specifically, a hue and cry is raised that comic books cause delinquency. Whether that is true or not has yet to be proved, but an interesting experiment in newspaper publication was carried out in Klamath Falls, Oregon, recently. During the week before Christmas, the Klamath Falls Herald and News devoted its whole front page to constructive news, relegating stories of crime and scandal to inside pages.

The reaction of the public was astounding. Telephone calls came in from Houston, Texas, from New York City, and from Arizona, as well as many from nearer home. The newspaper made arrangements to keep track of the first 1,000 persons in the subscriber area who telephoned in, but it was soon swamped with calls and no tabulations were made of the entire number. Without exception, these calls were heartily in favor of a newspaper with only constructive news on page one. Some of the papers which specialize in highlighting revolting crimes or scandals in box car type on page one, and which at the same time are decrying the admittedly tragic rise of delinquency might stop contributing to this delinquency by ceasing their spotlight displays of the very kinds of crimes they so prominently feature for the front page of their papers.


In religious life, the New Year’s holiday is perhaps evidenced mostly by “Watch Night” services on New Year’s Eve. Sometimes church services are held on New Year’s Day. The church uses the occasion to emphasize to members the time for a new leaf – a new life – in a new year. It seeks to strengthen those good resolutions so boldly made. “Watch Night” goes back a couple hundred years to the Wesleyan Methodists, who held a monthly devotion lasting until after midnight. Later they and other denominations began holding watch night on the last night of the year.

New Year’s itself has religious background. January 1 as the start of the year began when Caesar adopted the Julian calendar. That moved the holiday from December 21. In medieval days, most Christians observed March 25 as the year’s first day. But Anglo-Saxon England used December 25 as the start. Then William the Conqueror ordered the year to being on January 1 – doubtless because he was crowned that day. Still later, England joined other parts of Christendom and adopted March 25 as the annual beginning. When the Gregorian calendar was brought in in 1582, January 1 was restored as the year’s initial day. All Catholic countries adopted the new date at once. Germany, Denmark and Sweden accepted it about 1700. But England waited until 1753 to again have New Year’s Day on January 1. In the Middle East, many Orthodox Christians still use the Julian calendar. For such as the Greek Orthodox, the ecclesiastical New Year thus falls on January 13.

Most Christians in Egypt are not celebrating New Year’s today. Many of those in the Nile valley are Copts, who have New Year’s on September 11, 12, or 13. They date their calendar from “the year of the martyrs,” some 700 years ago, when the Emperor Diocletian massacred the Christians.

For Jews, New Year varies between September 6 and October 5, because their calendar is a compromise between a lunar and a solar year. The Jewish calendar, by the way, is dated from the “creation of the world.”


The year just past has witnessed the world’s religious forces moving closer together. In the U.S. and abroad, various branches of various denominations have found they have common enough beliefs to cooperate and to merge.

The most vivid, and stirring, show of the shift to greater solidarity in 1954 was the assembly of The World Council of Churches, at Evanston, Illinois. Representatives of 161 Protestant and Orthodox denominations in 48 nations found and demonstrated the value of solidarity based on Christ.

U.S. church bodies that took steps toward mergers in the past year have included three Presbyterian churches, four Lutheran ones, the Unitarian and Universalist churches, and the Congregational Christian and Evangelical and Reformed Churches.


For Roman Catholics, the greater part of 1954 was the Marian Year, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Tens of thousands traveled to Rome for services and audiences with and blessings by Pope Pius XII. Millions of Catholics were pilgrims to other shrines to pay homage to the Virgin Mary.

For the Catholics, 1954 was also the year in which their Pontiff twice made miraculous recoveries from death. Once again Pius is convalescing, although still ill and weak. But his faith and vigor are such that within days of his more recent critical illness he has been up and about for short walks.

Vatican City: Pope Pius XII hopes to read his delayed Christmas message in person next Wednesday. In addition to the traditional appeal for peace, the 4,000-word address to Catholics is expected to announce a consistory to name new cardinals to the Roman Catholic Church. The Sacred College has been reduced to 64 members from its full strength of 70 because of deaths this year. The Pope’s doctors have opposed his plans to read the Christmas message in person. But Vatican sources say that if he should prevail, his voice would be recorded beforehand in several sessions.


Washington: A World Assembly for Moral Rearmament opened a 10-day session last week in Washington. It is being attended by 500 delegates from 23 countries. Among the chief speakers at the early sessions was a member of the Indian Parliament, N.P. Rajabhoj (razh’-ah-bozh). John McGovern of the British Parliament told the Assembly that co-existence with Russia is like trying to co-exist with a lion in a jungle. Yakubu Tali (yak-koo-boo-tah’-lee), the chief of 1.5 million Moslems on Africa’s Gold Coast, said moral rearmament is doing for Africa “what Abraham Lincoln did for this country.”

New York: The Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada has branded the Conservative Rabbinate’s revised Jewish marriage contract a “heresy.” More than 200 members of the Orthodox group, meeting this week in a special session, adopted a resolution on the subject. It warned Jews not to “consult the so-called beth din”… or Rabbinical tribunal … “of the Conservative Rabbinate on any matters pertaining to marriage or divorce, or any other religious question.”


Philadelphia: The National Council of Presbyterian Men has announced it will hold three meetings in 1955, instead of one, because of the rapid expansion of the Presbyterian Church. The Council said it will hold meetings February 11 ,in Sacramento, California; February 25, in New York; and March 18, in Chicago. All will be for two days.


Okinawa: Francis Cardinal Spellman, Catholic vicar for the United States forces in Korea, is on Okinawa. Yesterday (Friday) and today, he is conducting four masses and two benedictions for air force and army troops.


Chicago: A sociologist has suggested that Catholics might reduce Protestant antagonism by not throwing group support behind a political figure simply because he is a Catholic. The suggestion was made by professor Gordon Zahn of the University of Loyola in Chicago before the 16th annual convention of the American Catholic Sociological Society.


U.S. Jews also can mark Gregorian 1954 as a big period. Last September, at the start of their new year, they began an 8-month observance of the 300th anniversary of Jewish settlement in America.


From a poll of its member radio stations and newspapers, the Associated Press found evangelist Billy Graham with the most votes as the “Man of 1954” in Religion. His most spectacular program last year was 12 weeks of successful revival meetings in England. British ministers and lay people mostly welcomed the Rev. Graham. They saw in him and his work a revival of their own churches.

The U.S. evangelist followed his English success with a short, and also successful, revival series in Europe. But the heavy schedule broke his health. However, now the Rev. Graham is again on the circuit.

The AP editors also picked, by the way, as their foreign affairs “Man of the Year” one who has had close connections with Protestant church affairs all his life. That’s the U.S. Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, a Presbyterian, a minister’s son, and one-time head of the old Federal Council of Churches of Christ.