A soldier from Ft. Lewis, Washington state, will be in Korea this Christmas because he knows what it means to be an orphan at that time. Staff Sergeant Rex Richard Gilman says his parents abandoned him and his five brothers and sisters when they were small children. So, Sgt. Gilman and his wife will adopt a Korean orphan – a 29-month-old boy who has been crippled by polio. The soldier explains further, “We chose him because not many people want to adopt a crippled child.”
Again Korea, a Korean-speaking Santa Claus is brightening the season for 150 waifs living near no-man’s-land between South and North Korea. U.S. soldiers from the United Nations Armistice Commission are helping him distribute clothing in four orphanages.
In Santa Fe, New Mexico, a conditional release has been given an artistic convict in time for Christmas. He is life-termer Ralph Dubose Pekor, famed for his painting of a smiling Christ made while he was in a Florida prison. Pekor is dying from cancer.
Chinese and Russian will be among the 25 languages the Christmas message by Pope Pius will be broadcast in today.
Francis Cardinal Spellman of New York is on a Christmas visit with U.S. servicemen in the far north. The Roman Catholic prelate will hold special services for Americans in Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland, and Labrador. U.S. servicemen in Alaska will have the Rev. Dr. Eugene Carson Blake as a yuletide visitor. He heads the National Council of Churches in the U.S.A., a group of Protestant and Orthodox churches.
A leading rabbi says the whole of what is termed “our Christian civilization” is rejecting Christ and his teachings. The statement comes from Dr. Maurice Eisendrath, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. He said if he were a Christian minister, he would lament nothing so much and resent nothing so bitterly as the wholesale turning of such a holy day as Christmas into so heathen a holiday. And many of us can echo a fervent amen to this.
Spot reports from all over the country have indicated more good will and selflessness by working groups this Christmastime. Civilian employees of the Boston Navy Yard used more than $20,000 usually allotted to shop parties to be hosts to more than 1,000 orphans. About $15,000 worth of gifts have been distributed to needy children and to hospitalized veterans by employees of the Republic Aviation Corporation at Farmingdale, Long Island. The Arizona Game and Fish Department has canceled its usual Christmas party in favor of aiding a young Japanese-American widow and her three small children. Her husband was a Game and Fish Department employee who was killed in an automobile accident. The Agriculture Department’s Foreign Agricultural Service will send about 200 toys to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, for distribution among Hungarian refugee children. And a Louisville, Kentucky, Radio Station (WKYW) has adopted a needy family for Christmas day instead of its usual Christmas party. Those are some of the ways with which people are endeavoring this year to remember the birth of the Christ Child almost 2,000 years ago.
Last Sunday I mentioned briefly the 41,000-mile road building program undertaken – to the tune of about $90 billion – by the federal government, and that no provision had been written into the bill regulating billboards along such roads, thus leaving the way wide open for unsightly eyesores along the way and at the same time tending to accident hazards. Some of you listeners failed to see much of religious significance in that item. While I have no desire to argue the point, for one sees religion according to his own conception of what constitutes religion, I might emphasize that saving of lives, as well as saving of souls, is or should be the concern of all religions. Furthermore, two columnists whose writings are nationally syndicated have devoted as many articles to the matter this week, and Senator Albert Gore of Tennessee has also this week told a newspaperman that he will seek to learn what the states are doing to protect their portions of the proposed highway network. Gore, incidentally, favored writing billboard control into the original bill, but apparently the billboard lobby reached enough lawmakers to cause them to threaten the whole measure if any such provision were included.
Did you know that during this past week, we also elected a president of the United States? Last month, you and I, the voters, went out and voted here in Tennessee, not for Eisenhower or Stevenson, but for a number of electors who were pledged to cast their vote for one candidate or the other. Since the first election, in 1788, these electors have, with few exceptions, cast their votes according to the way they promised the voters they would do before the election. It has become part of our political – and moral – mores that such electors are ethically bound to support the nominee for whom they announce.
Down in Alabama this week, however, one elector strayed from the fold, and instead of casting his vote for Stevenson as he had promised, voted for one Judge Walter B. Jones. This was legal, all right, but there are a number of things that are legally correct but are morally wrong. This single act by a wayward Alabama elector signalizes no great menace to the Republic, but his behavior illustrates one way in which the will of the voters can be flouted by our antique electoral college system. It is past high time that we abolish this college outright and let you and me and the Joe Smiths throughout the country vote directly for president and vice president. That way there will be no opportunity for an elector to jump the track, break his promise, and thwart the will of the voters.
As stressed on this program time and again, our freedoms are indivisible. Speech, religion, press, and others are all bound up in a bundle which, if broken weakens the whole structure. Apart of our democratic constitutional system is the rule of the majority, for when a minority can impose its will upon the majority, tyranny results. Moreover, in recent years, all of us have been more and more concerned with economic opportunities, and have relied upon government to protect, and in some cases provide, such opportunities.
One of the most vicious attempts to deny both political and economic opportunities is the so-called right-to-work movement, whereby it would be illegal to require a worker to join a union in order to retain employment in a union shop. Actually it is a union-busting movement masquerading under a more respectable title. How it works is this: Suppose 900 of our 1,000 employees in a given shop vote that a certain union is the one they with to represent them in their bargaining with their employees? A contract is drawn up and signed by both parties whereby the employer may hire anyone he wishes, but whomever he hires must decide within, say 30 days, whether he wishes to affiliate with the established union or to discontinue his employment and find work elsewhere. The so-called right-to-work laws would make such a contract illegal. In other words, such laws would say that one man is stronger than the 900 whose welfare is at stake. Obviously, if an employer wished to break up a workers’ organization, backed by such a law he could specialize in hiring persons who would refuse to be affiliated with the established union until pretty soon the union would be wrecked, and the welfare of the 900 threatened. It is doubtless true that there are unions in this country that have made mistakes. There are also employers who have made mistakes. Two mistakes do not make something right. Our high standard of living for the average worker, about which Fourth of July and Labor Day orators prate much, is due in large part to the collective bargaining carried on in good faith by the employer and employees. Anything that strikes at the heart of family welfare should be of concern to everyone, and the courts have declared that right to organize and bargain collectively is one of our fundamental rights. Thinking citizens will not be misled by movements that are subversive of this right, regardless of whatever high-sounding title they are presented under. A country’s wealth consists not in its gold at Fort Knox but in how well its families are housed, clothed, and fed – and these are the things of concern to religious-minded people, as they were of the Master. They will be less well housed, clothed, and fed, if their economic rights are undermined and denied.
In this season of wishing peace on earth, a statement this week by the secretary general of NATO, Paul-Henri Spaak of Belgium is disturbing, though it is entirely realistic. He expresses the conviction that the United Nations is a dangerous and ineffective instrument in its present form and goes on to assert that unless it is changed it will not long endure. This statement is all the more meaningful when we recall that Spaak is a former president of the U.N. General Assembly, has been three times prime minister of his own country, and four times its foreign minister. And, the statement is all the more disturbing when we place alongside it the stated conviction of our own government officials who assert their complete confidence in the U.N. and say that it is only beginning to show its virtue.
Well, our memory does not have to be very long to recall that it acted decisively when Britain and France invaded Egypt, but that it wrangled and passed a half-hearted resolution of condemnation against Russia at her recent – and continuing rape of Hungary.
Many of us who are familiar with the pattern of performance of the League of Nations throughout its short life fail to see much reassurance about its successor, the U.N., unless something is done drastically to change its structure and authority. Spaak would have modification of the charter to abolish the veto, revise the procedure of voting to make it more responsible, have the charter decree that violators of international law are excluded from the organization, and set up a real international army.
This reporter recommended these and several additional changes more than once on this program. After all, the problem is simple: We either set up an international organization with delegated powers to make and enforce law designed to keep the peace among the nations, or we let the nations do as Russia is now doing – murder innocent people in a neighboring country while the U.N. twiddles its thumbs and wrings its hands wondering what to do. At the risk of being called cynical, I emphasize that this is decidedly not the way to bring peace on earth or good will to men.
An excerpt for Dr. Harold Scott, pastor of the First Unitarian Church in Salt Lake City, seems worth including as a closing item on today’s broadcast. It goes like this.
I’m not mad at anybody but I am sick at my stomach. Among the things that make me that way are:
- The well-meaning mother who works, instead of living on her husband’s income and taking care of the children, so that the children can have the alleged advantage of a subdivision home, a car that isn’t paid for, and $100 worth of Christmas presents apiece. She says, “It’s worth going into debt just to see their little faces light up, and anyway it would be terrible if all their friends got lots for Christmas and they were left with only six or eight things.”
- The childless couple who own two large dogs and engage in esoteric hobbies like jewel-cutting, but cannot afford to put a lawn in front of the two-year-old house that won’t be theirs until they are sixty.
- Automobile commercials that run, “You never looked so good as when you’re in one of our 1957 Junkmobiles. Watch the neighbors stare when you drive past. Bigger than ever – 300 horsepower just straining for action at your command.”
- Mass media that inculcate idolatry of the unreal and morbid in our children. In other countries kids are taught to venerate intellectuals and patriots who lived on this planet.
- Pleasant, sincere, well-educated people who are so afraid of life and of themselves that they cannot bear to be alone for a minute.
Well, these are some of the things about which the good doctor feels less than in the top of condition in the general region of his abdomen. Most of us older ones can remember when the neighbors didn’t look down on people who paid their debts, or stayed out of debt, who minded their own business, and who went to church because they loved the experience, and who looked upon Christmas as a holy day rather than merely a holiday.