November 27, 1955

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


November 20, 1955

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


November 13, 1955

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


November 6, 1955

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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


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

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


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