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.