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.