August 28, 1955

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

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

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


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

The judge would do well to consider two things:

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

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


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

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

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

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


August 21, 1955

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

August 14, 1955


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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

August 7, 1955

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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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