The Lone Star Steel Company of Dallas Texas, one of the major steel companies of the country, has added a full-time minister to its staff as chaplain for its workers. The chaplain, an ordained Methodist minister, is available to all workers for personal counseling and advice. The company has also constructed an interdenominational chapel for prayer and meditation by any of the more than 4,000 employees of the company.
New York: A new name for the Brotherhood of the United Lutheran Church in America will be proposed to delegates at the organization’s 1957 convention in Pittsburgh, from October 17-19. A change in name, to United Lutheran Churchmen, along with a new constitution and by-laws had their first reading at last year’s convention. The United Lutheran Church in America has reported that it paid a quarterly dividend of 11.8 cents to subscribers to the common investing fun.
The editor of The Christian Century magazine has raised questions about the lasting benefit of crusading techniques like those of Billy Graham. In an article written for the United Press, Dr. Harold E. Fey says, “Mass-produced conversations fail to endure the test of time. On the other hand, the one-by-one conversions which take place through the churches amount to more than 3 million each year, without fanfare or excitement and with a minimum of loss and disillusionment.”
Mackinac Island, Michigan: A Philippine newspaper columnist says moral rearmament (whatever that is) is “the only platform for reconciliation between the Asian countries.” Vicente Villamin of Manila spoke last Tuesday to the Moral Rearmament World Assembly.
Pittsburgh: A segregation law passed in South Africa this month has been described by the Anglican bishop of Johannesburg as, in his words, “a straitjacket of racist ideology.” The Rt. Rev. Richard Ambrose Reeves, speaking in Pittsburgh, said the new law threatens the freedom of assembly for the first time and includes churches. This illustrates clearly that once the people embark upon a restriction of one basic right, such restriction tends to spread until it embraces others, and unless stopped and reversed, ends by turning the country into a concentration camp where no rights exist. We have some in this country who think we can have just a little bit of restriction without harm.
The dean of the Harvard Divinity School, the Rev. Dr. Douglas Horton, has been elected chairman of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches. Dr. Horton succeeds Archbishop Y. T. Brilioth of the Church of Sweden. The bishop of the Church of South India, the Rt. Rev. J. E. Lesslie Newbigin, has moved into Dr. Horton’s former post of Vice Chairman. Delegates to the commission meeting at Yale University Divinity School this week heard their executive secretary declare neither the World Council of Churches nor the Faith and Order Commission has claims of monopoly on matters of Christian unity. But Dr. J. Robert Nelson continued that the commission is unique because it is the only fully international and inter-confessional body that has as its sole purpose the promotion of the unity of all Christian people.
Northern and Southern Baptists have at least their top officers on a remarkably intimate level. Both belong to the same congregation. The Rev. Dr. Clarence Cranford heads the American or Northern Baptist Convention. He is pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. One of his parishioners is Democratic Representative Brooks Hayes of Arkansas, who leads the Southern Baptist Convention. The two church bodies have been rivals in the past, and still are, but the two presidents have a fine working arrangement. Representative Hayes says, “Happy circumstances find us together. The exchange of ideas is very helpful.” Dr. Cranford states, “We can keep each other informed.”
This top executive proximity happens because of a simple but unusual arrangement in the nation’s capital. The 54 Baptist churches in Washington are duly aligned, that is, they are affiliated with both northern and southern groups. No report yet has been received of development of split personalities as a result of this arrangement.
New York’s Francis Cardinal Spellman is reported as mentioned very prominently as a possible successor to Pope Pius as head of the Roman Catholic Church. The information comes from the Vatican-approved biographer of the 81-year-old pontiff. The biographer, Seamus Walshe, also says Archbishop Giovanni of Milan is considered a possible successor to the throne of St. Peter. Walshe has written what is described as a “human and personal” biography of Pope Pius XII. He is in the U.S. for a six-month lecture tour. He is an Irish educator on sabbatical leave from the Notre Dame International School in Rome.
Every minute of every day for the last seven years prayers for easing the problems of the world have been sent up from the Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church in Oklahoma City. The church’s pastor, the Rev. Monsignor John Walde, says that when the prayer vigil began, the Korean War looked as if it might lead to a third world war. There was tension over the whole world. And Corpus Christi Church had its own problems. Vandals had twice entered the church, burned valuable vestments, and ruined sacred vessels. Father Walde adds, “We thought prayer was the answer.” So at least one of the church’s 1,500 members has been in the church praying since that time. But Father Walde sees no reason why the vigil should end. As a matter of fact, no expiration time was set when the praying began.
A subject of basic import to all Americans who cherish freedom, including freedom of religion, is one that receives little attention in the press, namely the serious restraints upon Americans who wish to travel in other countries. As The Washington Post editorialized not long ago, the State Department is now denying to all American citizens, with a few official exceptions, the right to travel in China, Albania, Bulgaria, North Korea, and North Vietnam. Earlier, and for some months, it imposed a similar blanket ban on travel to Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Syria. Moreover, some Americans are denied permission by the department to travel anywhere, Americans, i.e., who are adjudged (or prejudged) by the department as being persons who cannot be trusted, according to the arbitrary standards of the bureaucrats in the Department of State.
Prior to World War I, passports were not required, but in recent years they have become a kind of exit permit without which one cannot leave the country, and while, in form, they are somewhat like birth certificates, i.e., mere documents of identity and nationality, the department uses them as instruments of policy, withholding them whenever and from whomever it chooses. A serious question exists as to whether these restraints on freedom of movement, whether applied indiscriminately to certain areas or discriminatory in regard to all travel abroad of suspected individuals, do not violate the basic American constitutional right.
It is true that there is no explicit guarantee of freedom of movement in the Constitution, but that freedom has been recognized ever since the Magna Carta in the common law of England and in the traditions of the U.S. as a right of free men. In 1948, the United States signed, but the present chief executive has not seen fit to present formally to the Senate for ratification, a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted unanimously by the General Assembly of the United Nations, and which reads in part, “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his own country.” In recent decisions, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has referred to the right to leave the country as “an attribute of personal liberty” and as “a natural right subject to the rights of others and to reasonable regulation under law.”
However, since 1918 it has been a crime to leave or enter the country in time of war without a passport. Congress gave the president authority, in 1941, to make travel restrictions in times of national emergency. In pursuance of that authority, an executive order forbids citizens to go abroad except in conformity with regulations prescribed by the secretary of state, and in this order designates two bases on which passports may be denied:
- That travel by ordinary Americans might adversely affect foreign relations;
- That travel by persons suspected of communist sympathies might impair national security.
Without venturing to comment on the constitutional issue that may be involved here, it is pertinent to question whether, as a matter of national policy, the freedom of Americans should be so drastically limited at the mere discretion of a public official, and an appointed one at that. Power to conduct foreign relations does not mean power to control all acts of Americans which may affect foreign relations. The General Counsel of the American Jewish Congress, Will Maslow, pointed out recently before a Senate committee that American citizens in this country may, by acts or utterances, affect foreign relations more significantly than by routine tourist travel, yet the State Department, thank goodness, has no power to regulate such acts or utterances. The department may rightly warn against travel into countries where danger exists, but to prohibit such travel at the traveler’s own risk is a kind of paternalism – or “father knows best” idea – that is alien to the American tradition. It may refuse protestation; it should not refuse exit.
And as far as suspected security risks are concerned, one cannot help but wonder whether the power to deny passports is not more dangerous to liberty than the travel itself. It is of course true that disloyal persons might serve as communist couriers or might do things abroad that are not to the advantage of the United States. But the danger is hardly as great as reposing in the passport office arbitrary authority to keep Americans at home. Since freedom of travel is a basic human right, it ought to be denied only when the exercise of it would facilitate a violation of law, such as in the case of fugitives from justice, draft evaders, or others seeking to escape their rightful responsibilities. It is more than doubtful that, if they knew the facts, many Americans would subscribe to this paper curtain erected by little men whose egos impel them to tell what other people shall do or not do in the matter of travel; little men who think they know what is good for others and for America. A strong country such as ours needs no such dictatorial nonsense.
These are stirring if not exactly great days, both on the local and national scene. Last Friday, according to eyewitness reports and newspaper comment, a hearing was held for an accused person in Jonesboro, where the atmosphere must have been somewhat like old Roman days where the crowds gathered to see Christians thrown to the lions. At any rate, the climate of the courtroom was far less than decent decorum of judicial proceedings would require. Whether the accused in this or in any other criminal case is guilty or innocent is a matter to be determined in a calm, judicial atmosphere, not the kind that prevailed in this case. The popular curiosity-seekers, the morbid fascination, etc., are all understandable. What is not understandable is that the person presiding would let such a ridiculous situation continue throughout the hearing.
On the national stage it would appear that everything else has to wait while a handful of Southern Dixiecrats kill off, with administrative backing through vacillation, a bill designed to strengthen the enforcement of basic civil rights of all Americans. The House is stymied until the filibuster fanfare is over, and it looks right now as if the civil rights bill may be carried out of the Senate draped under a Confederate flag. It might be appropriate also for those responsible for its demise to get a few Nazi salutes, which would be in keeping with their ideology of racist supremacy and superiority.
All agree that the legislative program of the administration is bogged down and that little if any constructive legislation is to emerge from this session of Congress. The school aid bill was killed in the House this week. The administration blames Congress and the Congress blames the administration. It is likely that if the chief executive would like to know who is most responsible for this lack of achievement on his proposals, he could first meet that person merely by walking to the nearest mirror.