In New Orleans this week, on the second anniversary of the Supreme Court decision outlawing racial segregation in the public schools, a cross was burned on the grounds of the residence of archbishop of the New Orleans Diocese. The cross was soaked with gasoline and propped against a wire fence in front of a building adjoining the archbishop’s residence. It was quickly extinguished by the fire department, and apparently police have not discovered who put it there or ignited it. Archbishop Rummel has been under fire from some laymen’s groups recently for his opposition to segregation, and for indicating that its end was in sigh in parochial schools. More recently still, he ordered the pro-segregation Association of Catholic Laymen, Inc. to disband. As reported last week, the group agreed to the order but announced it would appeal to the pope over the issue.
For the first time in 50 years, church leaders of Russia began a visit to this country on Friday of this week, making the religious traffic between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. a two-way street. Last August, Baptist leaders from this country were guests in Russia. Included in this first group of religious representatives are five Russian Baptists. Scheduled to arrive on June 2 is a larger, nine-member group representing the Russian Orthodox Church and including high-ranking leaders of all the major bodies of religion in Russia. This second group will be returning a visit made to their country early this early this year by a delegation representing the National Council of Churches, which includes 30 church denominations with some 23 million members.
Both Russian delegations will visit churches, schools, seminaries, and other religious centers across the country. The Baptist group that arrived Friday will attend the Southern Baptist Convention in Kansas City, May 30 to June 2.
One interesting and fruitful development of activities by churches is the effort on the part of many priests, ministers, and rabbis to aid in promoting better labor management relations. In fact many of these people are devoting full time to it. The Rev. Dr. Clair M. Cook, associate director of the National Religion and Labor Foundation asserts that activity in the field is a growing concern among Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish groups. In many places throughout industrial areas in this country, clergymen have become familiar figures at conference tables and among both employers and employees, helping iron out disputes by acting as consultants, conciliators, and arbitrators. Nearly all the principal denominations in this country have some sort of social relations committees that give special attention to labor questions. Catholics alone are now operating more than 100 labor schools. The Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. has industrial relations institutes in Pittsburgh and Chicago, while three years ago the Methodist Theological Seminary in Boston set up a similar summer program to help deal with labor management problems. The Lutheran Church last year set up a church industrial relations department to conduct seminars for both ministers and labor leaders across the country.
And along the same subject it should be observed that the blinding of Victor Riesel, labor columnist, a few days ago has evoked from a plea for a federal investigation of labor racketeering which, he says, infests labor unions. Now several things should be kept in mind regarding this tragedy. Many unionists, including this reporter, have found much in Reisel’s column over the years with which they disagreed. But that is no reason why he should not have a perfect right to say what he pleases. Moreover, doubtless there is racketeering among some unions. Indeed, it would be astonishing if there were not, considering the relative youthfulness of the labor movement, its rapid expansion during recent years, and the possible opportunities for unscrupulous men to capitalize upon the confusion inherent in such rapid growth. But none of these excuses anyone, including a union racketeer – if such were the agent who did this – of the dastardly act of poison-throwing. Men of good will and sincere intentions, both within unions and without, will condemn this for what it is: cowardly, immoral, and illegal. Perhaps there is no other field in which ministers of all faiths could better direct their efforts than toward improving labor-management relationships, for labor is here to stay and so is management, and they must learn how to get along with each other.
A report as to how the U.S. Protestant minister spends his time comes from a study made by Samuel W. Blizzard, Jr., sociologist at Pennsylvania State University, with funds granted by the Russell Sage Foundation. The report tries to get at an understanding of the requirements of the modern ministry. Blizzard found that the average minister spends 26 percent of his time on pastoral duties; 19 percent as preacher; 12 percent as organizer; and 5 percent as teacher. He points out further, that most ministers have what he calls a “theological concept” of the church.
Most frequent theme for sermons was man’s spiritual obligation to the deity; with some 51 percent. Forty-four percent of the sermons were devoted to the value of religion to society, while 23 percent dealt with the value of religion to the individual. Thirty-six percent of the ministers felt that they needed more time for reading, study, and private devotions. Thirty-eight percent felt that the minister should have an unusually radiant personality – whatever that means. Eleven percent were bothered by conflicts. Despite their avowed desire to know all kinds of people, ministers tend to associate with leaders of the community. And more than a third of them admit that their effectiveness is impaired by a failure to maintain a fellowship with all groups.
A topic dealt with here more than once is that of conformity versus individual thinking, and the occasion for this reference to the subject is a passage from a sociology text just off the press and which came to me yesterday. It says, “The older American vocabulary of exhortation – “work hard, lead, strive, stand out from the crowd, and take your stand against the whole world if need be” is being encroached upon by the new vocabulary of “fit in, adjust, don’t stick your neck out, take the other’s point of view. “How does he get along with his associates,” it says, is now a standard item on all recommendation forms. That question, the author goes on, fits perfectly the requirements of a bureaucratic social order. Opposed organizations may conflict, but membership within each organization must increasingly accept and adjust.”
If all this is true, what is happening to the historical, traditional individualism so widely praised as one of the American virtues? Is there no longer any place for the Jeffersons? The Schurzs? The Debs? One who believes in the doctrine of revolution embodied in the Declaration of Independence, in true individualism in thought, can read the above only with a feeling of nostalgia. For if those words are correct, something fine and unique has gone of out the American sense. Now this reporter has no desire to go around arousing unnecessarily the ire of those with whom he does not agree. On the other hand, he has no intention of being overtly concerned with keeping “adjustment” as his primary aim. On the contrary, he has no intention of adjusting any more than he has to do so in order to be law-abiding and respond to the common amenities of living. The path of adjustment is a monotonous, dreary one that does little to encourage not only original thought, but thought of any kind. James Russell Lowell put it pretty well, when he said:
They are slaves who fear to speak
For the fallen and the weak;
They are slaves who will not choose
Hatred, scoffing and abuse,
Rather than in silence shrink
From the truth they needs must think;
They are slaves who dare not be
In the right with two or three. (“Stanzas on Freedom”)
And Lincoln put it even more forcefully in his first inaugural when he said, “If by mere force of numbers a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might, in a normal point of view, justify revolution – certainly would if such a right were a vital one.”
Vatican City: Pope Pius has given qualified approval to the grafting of corneas from dead bodies to the eyes of blind persons. The pope said the Roman Catholic Church has no moral or religious objection to cornea grafting as such. But he warned that operations should be performed only if the cornea is willed by dead persons with the consent of relatives, and that donating a cornea should not be presented as an obligation.
And from Los Angeles the president of the International Council of Christian Churches has charged that clergymen from Moscow are agents of the secret police. Dr. Carl McIntire, of Collingswood, New Jersey, says the Reds are using the church simply as a tool in the Cold War. Dr. McIntire and other church officials came to Los Angeles to conduct a series of rallies to protest against the visits of Russian clergymen. Other such rallies are scheduled for New York and Chicago.
From Newton, Massachusetts comes the item that a Negro minister next month will become the first clergyman of his race to have two white congregations. The Rev. Joseph Washington, son of a retired Baptist minister, has accepted a call to Newfield, Maine. There, beginning June 3, he will serve as minister of the Methodist Church of Newfield and the Congregational Church of West Newfield. The Negro clergyman is not being sent there; he was called by the congregations themselves after they had heard of his work during the past two years as associate minister of a Baptist church in Woburn, Massachusetts.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a defrocked Lutheran minister has lost his first fight for reinstatement. A five-man committee of the Northwest Synod of the United Lutheran Church rejected reinstatement of the Rev. Victor K. Wrigley, pastor of a church at Brookfield, Wisconsin. He had been convicted of heresy charges last November and was defrocked in January. But his congregation has refused to dismiss him. Church officials say the Rev. Wrigley will have another chance to appear before the committee next January.
Some Americans in the Near East have a unique Sunday school class. They travel to the scenes of their lessons. The Americans in Amman, Jordan, can do it because they work and live not far away by automobile from many biblical localities. So far, the 25 – 30 in the class have visited scores of places, such as Jericho, Elisha’s well, Joshua’s tomb, Hebron, Mt. Nebo, and the site of Christ’s baptism. They also have seen the Mount of Temptation, where Satan offered Jesus all the cities of the earth. The American Sunday schoolers have visited, too, the remote Essene monastery, where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were recovered a few years ago. The call serves the double purpose of making the Bible more real and of giving the Americans a better understanding of Jordan. And it gives Jordanians the opportunity to know the Americans better.
Some U.S. rabbis plan a trip to the Soviet Union soon for the purpose of renewing broken spiritual ties with the Russian Jewish community. The Americans will include Rabbi David Hollander of New York, president of the Rabbinical Council of America; Rabbi Samuel Adelman of Newport News, Virginia; Gilbert Klaperman, of Lawrence, New York; and Emanuel Rackman and Herschel Schacter, both of New York City. Rabbi Hollander says the U.S. delegation will try to reestablish relations broken 30 years ago and develop means of stimulating a Jewish religious revival in Russia.
Former President Harry Truman has told a news conference in Rome that he still favors establishing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the Vatican. He says he has always favored it. Truman has described himself as a good Baptist, but says he thinks it would help the peace of the world to have U.S. – Vatican diplomatic relations. The former chief executive is to have an audience with the pope today.
And the Vatican on its part has praised the U.S. Fulbright educational program as a maintainer of the proper balance between the spiritual and the material. Pope Pius made the remarks this week at a special audience of 86 U.S. professors, researchers, and their families.