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.