The Charlotte News
Monday, June 15, 1953
Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via George A. McArthur, that 30,000 Communist troops had hit allied lines this date, with up to two-mile breakthroughs at points, in the largest enemy offensive during the prior two years, since the start of the truce talks. Two South Korean divisions on the east-central front had buckled under an assault by two fresh Chinese divisions, consisting of about 20,000 troops. A few miles to the west, another 10,000 enemy troops pierced allied lines in several places before being halted in trench fighting by U.S. Third and South Korean Ninth Division infantrymen. The Communists took "Capitol Hill" and "Outpost Texas" and caused the South Korean Fifth and Eighth Divisions to reel south toward the Pukhan River. South Korean troops undertook a counterattack at the eastern end of the main Communist attack line, forcing the enemy from an outpost at "Anchor Hill". The South Koreans also repulsed a Chinese attack on "Christmas Hill", further east. The new offensive was apparently aimed at obtaining for the Communists as much ground as possible to establish the final truce line. Some allied officers viewed the offensive as a punishment for the South Koreans, for their Government having threatened to drive to the Yalu River if a truce were signed leaving Korea divided. The possibility existed that the enemy also wanted one final victory before the truce, for morale and prestige purposes. There were no casualty reports by the allies regarding the new fighting, but it was assumed that Communist losses had been heavy.
In the air war, U.S. planes dropped more than 2.2 million pounds of bombs along the 40-mile stretch of front where the battle centered.
South Korean President Syngman Rhee called off demonstrations against the armistice this date, following five consecutive days of such marches in Seoul, Pusan, the temporary capital, and elsewhere across South Korea, but there was no indication that the Government had relented in its opposition to the armistice and its threats to continue the war on its own, if the truce left the country divided. One thousand South Koreans met in a park in Seoul on the previous day for prayer and a mild protest against the truce, adopting a resolution which said: "We Christians want peace more than anybody else. But we simply cannot accept any truce which we are sure will not bring about peace at all."
Lt. General Maxwell Taylor, U.S. Eighth Army commander, went to the front for a first-hand inspection, following a broadcast on Sunday warning his troops that the impending armistice would not, in itself, necessarily mean an end to the war, urging them to be prepared to fight at any time if the enemy were to break the armistice. That and other signs around Panmunjom, site of the truce talks, indicated that the prospect of the truce was higher than ever, despite the new enemy offensive, which had baffled observers at the truce site.
Representative Daniel Reed of New York, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, predicted this date, in an interview published in U.S. News & World Report, that if taxes were not cut during the year, the Democrats would win back control of Congress in the midterm elections in 1954. He said that the promise to cut taxes was one of the mainstays of the Republican campaign the prior fall and that people resented the failure to keep the pledge. During the weekend, House Speaker Joseph Martin stated that he was aware that a majority of the 15 Republicans on the Committee were prepared to bring to the floor of the House the six-month extension of the excess profits tax, as favored by the President, which otherwise would expire at the end of June. But Mr. Reed said that all of the Republicans on the Committee, save perhaps three, wanted the tax to expire as scheduled. He also disagreed with Mr. Martin on the stated belief that the extension of the tax would pass in the House.
A House Judiciary subcommittee voted this date to invite Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark to appear before it in a public hearing, regarding investigations of the Justice Department during the Truman Administration, when Justice Clark had been Attorney General through August, 1949, primarily concerned with the Kansas City vote-fraud case and other matters.
The Supreme Court this date denied a request for stay of the execution of convicted and condemned atomic spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, also refusing for the fourth time to review the case. Justices Felix Frankfurter, Harold Burton and Robert Jackson favored holding a hearing before the full Court regarding the request for stay of execution. The Court also summarily denied leave to file an original habeas corpus petition in the Court, with Justice Hugo Black dissenting without opinion, and Justice Frankfurter indicating that because the issues had already been determined adversely in the U.S. District Court and Court of Appeals, he would set the matter for oral argument the following morning. The couple were set to be executed in the electric chair at New York's Sing Sing Prison on Thursday night. Their attorney, Emanuel Bloch, said that he would make a last-minute effort to obtain executive clemency from President Eisenhower, who had previously rejected clemency on February 11. Several thousand persons demonstrated near the White House the previous day, urging clemency. Among the demonstrators were the two sons of the Rosenbergs, ages ten and six, and Julius Rosenberg's mother. By the time the Court convened this date, only 25 persons continued the White House vigil. A law prohibited such demonstrations in front of the Supreme Court. The Rosenbergs, through their lawyer, had recently stated that the Government had offered to spare them the death penalty if they admitted their role as spies, but they had refused, continuing to proclaim their innocence.
A story by Arthur Everett, Associated Press correspondent, recaps, in the first of a three-part series, the trail which had led to the arrest of the Rosenbergs, starting with the February, 1950 arrest in London of Dr. Klaus Fuchs, who, in 1945, had worked at Los Alamos, New Mexico, on the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb, and, after his arrest, confessed his part in the spy plot to provide the atomic secret to the Russians. Dr. Fuchs admitted that he had been a Soviet agent since 1939, continuing through his time as a member of the team of scientists working on the bomb. He had been sentenced to the maximum term under British law, 14 years in prison. From him, the FBI traced the conspiracy to Harry Gold, a Swiss-born chemist living in Philadelphia, who had dabbled in small-time espionage for years before delivering the atomic secret to the Russians in 1945. He was arrested on May 23, 1950, pleading guilty, and was presently serving a 30-year prison sentence, following his cooperation with the Government, such that the FBI was able to continue along the trail of the conspiracy, leading, three weeks later, to the arrest of the brother of Ethel Rosenberg, David Greenglass, who had been stationed as a wartime Army sergeant at Los Alamos and implicated the Rosenbergs in the plot.
The Supreme Court also held this date, in Barrows v. Jackson, 346 U.S. 249, that a homeowner could not be sued for violating a racially restrictive covenant at the time of the sale of the property. The covenant in question had prevented the occupancy of property in a Los Angeles neighborhood by anyone "not wholly of the white or Caucasian race". The homeowner in question had not included the restrictive covenant when she sold the house, and seven months later, a black family had moved in, prompting the suit by three neighbors who claimed to have suffered damages by loss of property value. California courts, citing Shelley v. Kraemer, decided by the Supreme Court in 1948, allowing racially restrictive covenants to exist in contracts but holding that they could not be enforced in courts as constituting State action prohibited by the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, had dismissed the suits. The Court relied on Shelley in its ruling this date. Justice Sherman Minton delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Justices Stanley Reed and Robert Jackson took no part.
The Supreme Court also reversed the perjury and conspiracy convictions of Harry Bridges, the West Coast longshoremen's union leader, and directed that the 1949 indictment against him be dismissed. He had been convicted of perjury based on a statement at his 1945 naturalization hearing that he was not a Communist, and was sentenced to five years in Federal prison, with his U.S. citizenship revoked. Justice Harold Burton, delivering the opinion of the Court, said that the statute of limitations had already lapsed by the time of the indictment. Justice Stanley Reed wrote a dissenting opinion, joined by Chief Justice Fred Vinson and Justice Minton.
From Belgrade, it was reported that Moscow named an ambassador to Yugoslavia for the first time since 1948, when the Cominform had split from Yugoslavia regarding Tito's independence from Moscow. Yugoslavia agreed to reciprocate. The two countries had never completely severed diplomatic relations, continuing them on a chilly basis through charges d'affaires. Tito had stated in a speech the previous day that the exchange of ambassadors did not indicate normalization of relations between the two countries, or improvement of relations, vowing that Yugoslavia would never trust the Russians completely.
In Haifa, an Israeli fishing vessel, pock-marked by bullets, returned from a fishing trip 15 miles off the Turkish coast this date, reporting that it had been attacked by Arab fishermen.
From Cairo, it was reported that weekend fires in seven villages in various parts of Egypt had killed 24 persons and left 67 injured, with 668 houses destroyed.
In the vicinity of Belfast, Northern Ireland, at Newry, a time-bomb exploded on the balcony of a motion picture theater, which had advertised films of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, to be shown the following week. Police believed that the bombers had attended the theater the previous night, and had hidden themselves in the building at closing time. A post office letterbox, bearing the insignia of Queen Elizabeth, had been blown up in the same town two days prior to the coronation on June 2. Three Nationalist chairmen of local councils, favoring unification of Ireland, had returned coronation medals which had been sent to them, sending letters along with the medals, saying that they could not accept them while Ireland remained divided.
In Santa Fe, N.M., prisoners at the New Mexico Penitentiary, armed with meat cleavers and knives, seized the deputy warden and nine guards as hostages, delivering a note to the warden demanding that the deputy warden and six prison guards be fired. Homer Lee Gossett, notorious for his Houdini-like escape attempts, was said to be the leader of the uprising. Three months earlier, he had been convicted and sentenced to a second life term for murder in the slaying of a prison guard during an escape attempt in June, 1952. Seven months earlier, the same prison had been the scene of another riot when 14 convicts seized eight guards at knife-point and demanded that they be allowed to escape, the riot having been quelled after 20 hours. The inmates demanded to talk with the Governor and a spokesman of the press. The warden told them that they could only talk to the Governor if they laid down their weapons and talked "like men".
In Waterville, Me., a Colby College senior, 21, conferred with her parents and counsel this date, instead of preparing for commencement exercises, as she faced arraignment on a murder charge, following her arrest after the discovery the previous day of a decomposed body of a baby within a stored trunk bearing her name. The County Attorney quoted the young woman as saying that she had given birth to the baby girl on her own in her dormitory room, and then placed the infant in a trunk stored in the dormitory basement. There was no indication when the child had been born or when it had died. When found, the infant's body had a rawhide cord of the type used for shoelaces wrapped around its neck. A janitor had discovered the body while tracing the origin of an unpleasant odor in the basement. The student had missed only one day of classes, the day the child was born, and had gained only seven pounds during her pregnancy.
The case presents one of the myriad
of practical reasons for the sound
In Charlotte, City police said early during the afternoon that a man had shot himself to death while talking with his wife on the telephone, the man's body having then been found by police in the living room of his home. His wife worked for a law firm in the Law Building, where she was employed at the time of the phone call.
In Longview, Tex., a City commissioner had been named at a drive-in theater as the winner of a $275 prize, but was not present to receive it, while on the same night, had been named the winner of a $100 award at a club of which he was a member, also not in attendance, instead having attended a Commission meeting, for which he was not paid.
Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield intended to seek an increase in the postal rates, as part of the effort to eliminate the more than 594 million dollar deficit of the Post Office Department. House Speaker Martin said that the probable increase which Mr. Summerfield would recommend would likely be from the present three-cents to four-cents in the cost of mailing a first-class letter, and that similar increases would be sought for all other classes of mail.
First thing you know, you won't be able to afford even to send a letter. You'll just have to yell out your back door, and hope that the echo carries far enough for the intended recipient to hear.
On the editorial page, "America's 'Soft' Policy in Germany" indicates that a few years earlier, a person who traveled through the American Zone of West Germany could not help but be impressed on entering one of the U.S. Information Service libraries, where young and old Germans alike could be observed reading American books which had been denied them for many years. Former High Commissioner of the U.S. Zone, John J. McCloy, had, in his final report the previous summer, stated that one of the basic tasks of those libraries had been to combat the intellectual stagnation during Nazi rule, to counteract "the effect of 12 years of isolation and one-sided information."
The new High Commissioner, James B. Conant, had expressed a similar faith in intellectual controversy, in providing his last report as president of Harvard, stating that "the freedom to disagree, to quarrel with authority on intellectual matters, to think otherwise" had made the country what it was, that industrial society had been pioneered by those "who were dissenters, who challenged orthodoxy in some field and challenged it successfully", that the global struggle against Communism turned on that very point. The President had voiced a similar view in a letter to a Texas friend prior to his presidential nomination the previous summer.
Yet, the piece comments, those views
were not being implemented by the U.S. Government libraries in
Germany, where books by Vera Micheles Dean, Walter Duranty, Richard
E. Lauterbach, who had written These Are the Russians,
Theodore H. White
It concludes that the U.S. had adopted one of the practices of the Nazis which the nation had fought to destroy, practices it continued to fight in its battle against Communism. It wonders what the "soft and ineffective policy against Communism" was, inviting the world to practice democracy and read conflicting viewpoints, then think them through, or, in "totalitarian fashion", seeking to forbid the world from knowing that Americans could think independently and disagree with one another.
"No Reason To Delay School Bond Vote" indicates that several members of the General Assembly had been reportedly urging delay of the 50 million dollar school bond issue until after the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education on public school desegregation. Governor William B. Umstead had stated that he wanted to study the matter and confer with a number of people before deciding whether to schedule the election during 1953.
The piece indicates that it did not understand the connection. The Assembly had authorized the election because it believed that additional school buildings were needed for children of both races, as well as the fact that some counties were unable to provide needed classrooms, thus requiring State aid. While the newspaper was not necessarily supportive of the precise formulation for division of the bond money, it was quite clear that the additional classrooms were needed immediately, regardless of whether segregation remained or was struck down. "The kids must have some place to go to school."
It indicates that the segregation issue had arisen because facilities for black schoolchildren throughout the South had been deemed woefully inadequate. North Carolina, it asserts, had made tremendous progress toward equality of facilities, but the objective had yet to be reached, and the present was not a time to slacken the efforts toward that goal. It suggests that it was a time to redouble the efforts, as without equal facilities, segregation could not possibly be justified, legally or morally.
It therefore favors Governor Umstead calling for the election, as he was authorized to do, leaving it up to the people to decide whether the State should aid the building of schools, which had been a local responsibility prior to 1949.
We'll just go out and study in the park. We don't need no building. We ain't got to have no building. We don't got to show you no building.
"Worthwhile Changes in Veteran Policy" indicates that the House Appropriations Committee was standing up to the powerful veterans lobby fairly well, that on the prior Thursday, the Committee had proposed a Veterans Administration budget of just over four billion dollars, reducing the final Truman proposed budget by over a half billion dollars, and the proposed budget by the President, by over a quarter billion. The Committee had, however, voted to recommend more money than either of those budgets had requested for VA hospitals.
It made some strong recommendations which the piece believes were long overdue, recommendations which other Congressmen had refrained from making because of fear of the powerful veterans lobby. It authorized the VA to determine whether veterans with non-service connected disabilities could afford non-VA care, whereas, at present, the veteran's statement alone sufficed for eligibility. But a recent GAO study showed that many veterans could afford their own care for such disabilities, despite swearing that they could not. The Committee wanted the VA to make full use of available beds in hospitals owned by other Government agencies in certain parts of the country. It also voted to reduce the VA's out-patient dental care program and to eliminate from the G.I. Bill of Rights the provision to veterans of $160 to aid in payment on the first year of interest on a home, farm or business loan.
Members of the House were now facing great pressure from the veterans lobby to restore the cut programs. But many individual veterans who thought for themselves, instead of listening to the lobby, were concerned over abuse and waste within the system, and it urges those veterans to let their thoughts be known to their Congressmen.
"Roland F. Beasley, Editor" laments the death of the editor of the Monroe Journal, whom it regards as a "student, historian, thinker, philosopher", who had brought an understanding coupled with "tolerance, and whimsical sense of humor" to his front-page editorials. It suggests that he had a "deep faith in the traditional human liberties" and a "quiet confidence that human civilization" was always moving forward. It attributes that tendency to his religious philosophy and his painstaking analysis of the evolution of secular institutions, as well as his comprehension of the frailties and eccentricities of human nature. It indicates that Monroe, Union County, the state and the nation were richer because of his "full and productive life" and that he would be sorely missed in the "turbulent days ahead".
Candidly, we always read him as pretty much a traditionally paternalistic sort of individual with regard to the race issue, on which he occasionally commented, very typical of the generation into which he was born, just a few years after the Civil War, thus coming of age during the turbulent and troubling period of Reconstruction in the South, likely shaping his world view, which, at best, was only grudgingly modern in its approach. But, the editors of a newspaper which had occasionally reprinted his columns, a newspaper which found nothing wrong with continued segregation as long as the facilities in question existed on a truly equal basis, would not make those kinds of critical assessments right after his death at age 82.
Drew Pearson indicates that Prime Minister Winston Churchill had met in private with the other ministers of the British Commonwealth to discuss the affairs of the Empire. Prime Minister Nehru of India, who had previously insisted that new Russian Premier Georgi Malenkov be invited to the upcoming Bermuda conference of the Big Three leaders, had been equanimous on this occasion, advising Mr. Churchill to invite President Eisenhower to join in a subsequent Big Four meeting with Mr. Malenkov, but that if the President declined, that Mr. Churchill ought meet bilaterally with Mr. Malenkov.
Mr. Churchill had revealed that Soviet Ambassador to London, Jakob Malik, had come to see him with a message that Premier Malenkov would be perfectly willing to meet him outside Russia during the summer, preferably in a Scandinavian country. He also advised that the Bermuda conference not produce a hard and fast commitment for any subsequent Big Four conference.
Mr. Churchill had provided to the Commonwealth ministers a pessimistic report on the European unified army, indicating that it would not be ratified. The Prime Minister had not been in favor of the concept recently anyway. He was more optimistic regarding the desire of Russia to get along with the rest of the world, indicating that the Chinese Communist invasion of Laos in Indo-China had been initiated without the foreknowledge of the Soviets. Following that invasion, Mr. Churchill indicated, he had communicated with Moscow and was able to obtain a commitment by the Kremlin to withdraw Chinese Communist troops.
White House chief of staff Sherman Adams and other advisers had been telling the President for some time that he would never be able to placate American labor, until a "new face", other than that of Senator Taft, took charge of the Administration's labor program in Congress. The advisers recommended instead Congressman Samuel McConnell of Pennsylvania, chairman of the House Labor Committee, who, as a liberal Republican, got along with both the AFL and CIO, and was far more acceptable than Senator Taft to Secretary of Labor Martin Durkin. Later, the previous weekend, the President had handed the ball to Mr. McConnell, in a meeting so secret that the latter left by the White House backdoor, to avoid questions posed by reporters. Mr. McConnell was instructed by the President to begin talks with labor and business leaders in an effort to eliminate disagreement on revision of Taft-Hartley, and second, to draft legislation on labor-management relations which both sides could accept, though tailored to meet first the public interest. It was not determined whether the bill would provide a completely new program of labor relations to supplant Taft-Hartley or simply amend it, the President leaving that decision to Mr. McConnell. The President indicated that there was no need to hurry, that it could be done in the 1954 session of Congress. Mr. McConnell agreed on that timetable, and informed the President that the differences between management and labor were not as great as some people believed, that both sides would be reasonably cooperative when it was time to start selling the legislation to be drafted.
Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that the State Department's "book-burning" program abroad within the U.S. Information Service, undertaken in fearful response to the campaign of Senator Joseph McCarthy, was proceeding apace, even if making the country an object of derision all over the world.
They cite the example of the books banned from the Information Service libraries in Calcutta and Bombay. In Bombay, the list included Washington Witch Hunt by Bert Andrews, chief Washington correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune, quite anti-Communist and conservative, having been responsible for bringing to light the facts which led to the perjury conviction of Alger Hiss, as Mr. Andrews had worked closely with Congressman Richard Nixon when the latter served on HUAC in 1947-48, at the time in August, 1948, when Whittaker Chambers made his allegations of Communist Party membership of Mr. Hiss—though not suggesting Mr. Hiss as a Soviet spy until later in the fall, after Mr. Hiss had sued Mr. Chambers for defamation for having asserted in a radio program that Mr. Hiss was a Communist, thereby deliberately losing his cloak of Congressional immunity to defamation in response to the dare to do so by Mr. Hiss. The book of Mr. Andrews was banned for "bias", and the Alsops indicate that it could not be denied that the book revealed a certain bias against the persecution of innocent people.
Other books banned in the Calcutta and Bombay Information Service libraries included Mission to Moscow, by former Ambassador Joseph E. Davies, Union Now, by Clarence Streit, The Stilwell Papers, by the late General Joseph Stilwell, all of which, they assert, might properly be criticized for "fatuity or tediousness". But they regard it also as difficult to understand how those books could adversely influence the minds of English-speaking residents of Calcutta or Bombay.
Other banned books included the admirable The Loyalty of Free Men, by Alan Barth, an editor of the Washington Post, Robert and Helen Lynd's Middletown and Middletown in Transition, and A Rising Wind, by Walter White, the anti-Communist executive secretary of the NAACP. The Alsops find consequently that, presumably, recognition of the existence of a race problem in the U.S. constituted evidence of harboring dangerous thoughts.
In addition, selected works of Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense, credited with providing the ignition for the American Revolution, had been banned, because they had been edited by the "boring left wing" novelist, Howard Fast. Isaac Deutscher's biography of Stalin was also on the list, as was As We See Russia, by the members of the Overseas Press Club, and a number of books by Nobel Prize-winner Pearl Buck.
The Calcutta mission had reported to the State Department that two magazines, The New Republic and The Nation, had been removed from the Information Service library, and, the office had promised, it would continuously subject to close scrutiny The Reporter as well.
Two American diplomats had protested the banning of the publications, one being James Conant, U.S. High Commissioner to West Germany, former president of Harvard, who, when he received the State Department directive to ban the use of material by "controversial figures, Communists, fellow travelers, et cetera", had replied that the Department needed to define "et cetera". Former Ambassador to Czechoslovakia and present Ambassador to South Korea, Ellis Briggs, had communicated a longer and more passionate protest against the policy, in which he recalled his own first-hand knowledge of the slave state, warning that the State Department's banning of books was a betrayal of everything for which America stood.
The Alsops suggest that other Americans ought become equally incensed at this policy, which stood for banning of publications containing views or facts which might conceivably irritate Senator McCarthy or his admirers. "A little more of this cowardly knuckling under to the political yahoos, and the same standard will no doubt one day be applied in the United States as well."
As a postscript, we would be remiss not to clarify, so that the reader, immersed in the myth that Thomas Wolfe wrote only autobiographically, will not mistakenly believe that deep in the dark recesses of his college past at Pine Rock, also known as the "Magical Campus" or Pulpit Hill, as the case might be, there was lurking a mischievous episode involving hazing, turned deadly in the space of a mere ten minutes, that the incident recounted in You Can't Go Home Again, to which we link above, actually occurred, though not anywise involving Mr. Wolfe, as he was only a boy of eleven at the time, on Friday, September 13, 1912, when the tragedy took place—five months after the Titanic struck the iceberg and four years before Wolfe entered the Rock Pit to begin doing his Time on the River at age 15. It was publicized to shocked readers of newspapers all over the nation, including the Altamont newspaper, and obviously left an indelible impression on the author—as it likely would anyone at that tender age were they to read of such an incident happening in one's home state, just as we still recall vividly reading and hearing of an incident involving the death of two students in their dormitory at Pulp Rock from cyanide poisoning in 1961, just six days before President Kennedy spoke in William Rand Kenan Stadium on University Day, October 12, the poisoning incident subsequently determined by the local Solicitor to have likely been the result of the actions of one or both of the students, but not a third party. Well, one has to bear in mind that the Carolina blue derives, undoubtedly, as we have previously related, from the French blue of the Hope diamond of Marie Antoinette, who lost her head by the guillotine four days after the cornerstone was laid for the first State University in 1793. Come to think of it, we think we may have seen Marie one late night wandering on campus, searching for her misplaced appendage.
Marquis Childs indicates that in his Minneapolis speech to the Jaycees, the President had developed a theme which had long been uppermost in his thinking, the conviction that the U.S. had to accept responsibility for sustaining freedom in the world. He indicated in the speech the country's need to receive from abroad such essentials as manganese, cobalt, tin and tungsten, without which the country's economy could not function, and so it was of utmost importance to maintain the sea lanes of trade open to commerce.
Mr. Childs suggests that the President might not have realized that members of his own party disagreed on that matter, indeed, a member of his Administration, Assistant Secretary of Interior, Felix Wormser, having taken the opposite stance just a few days earlier in a commencement address at the Montana School of Mines in Butte, stating that there was no need to worry about running out of metals and minerals, that such a time was a long way into the future, as the country's mineral resources were "virtually inexhaustible". He thus expressed his opposition to international agreements seeking to achieve price stabilization on imported commodities, indicating that the international wheat agreement, which Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson had entered, had cost the U.S. over 600 million dollars, adding that he believed it fortunate that the trend in that direction had been checked, though he was not certain of the fact, as the U.S. was still participating in the international metals conference, designed to allocate the production of scarce metals and minerals to whatever country the conference desired to distribute them.
A letter from a physician finds that the petition of the local Baptist ministers, calling for the City and County Boards of Education to remove the Bible study program from the public schools, was a "reassuring sign of tolerance and freedom of thought", showing that the Baptists, while convinced of their own creed, were wise enough to understand that the opportunity to choose a religious belief was more important than the majority opinion of a community. He congratulates the ministers on their public statement, asserts that the world presently needed tolerant understanding.
A letter writer asserts that she had been helped more by her single year of Bible study in the public schools of Charlotte than any other elective subject she had taken, and is therefore against elimination of the program. She says she learned more about the spiritual and educational knowledge in the Bible and how to apply it and its meaning to daily life than she had ever learned in regular attendance at Sunday School and church. She thinks that if the Bible were removed from the schools, many students would never "feel the nearness and closeness of a Heavenly Father, for if their home has failed and also the church, how will they be reached?"
Not by a breach of the Constitution, right?
A letter writer from Mt. Holly indicates that as a Unitarian, whose 13-year old child had for seven years been "subjected to orthodox Christian prayers and Bible stories in the public schools", she completely approves of the Baptist ministers' resolution to end the program. It had been her experience that the Bible could not be taught without bias, even if unconsciously held and communicated. She would favor teaching of comparative religion in the schools, but warns that orthodox Christian teachers would find it also difficult to maintain objectivity in the comparison of the beliefs of others with their own. She indicates that there was illiteracy regarding the history of the orthodox Christian churches and the beliefs of other peoples, producing intolerance. She asserts, in answer to those who would suggest that students who did not want to participate could simply leave the classroom, that a lone Jewish, Catholic or Unitarian child, in a room of 30 or more Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists, would feel social pressure to remain, despite realizing that the views being taught might conflict with those of church and home. She congratulates the Baptist ministers on their stand.
A letter writer, commenting on the editorial on the Bible study program in the public schools, finds that because it was an elective subject which students could either take or not, and because the teachers of the subject were highly qualified, students whom he knew having learned more of the Bible in a single year of the program than in 17 years of teaching from the church, there was no problem with it continuing. He indicates that he had four sons who attended the Baptist church regularly and were active in it, but he hopes that they would not miss out on the public school Bible course. He believes that teaching religion in the home and church would never be realized until "every parent has become Christ-minded, which cannot be possible unless our children are taught to live in a manner pleasing to God."
He forgets that half of the Bible is
the Old Testament, and that there are religions across the world
which do not accept Christ
We note that the above-cited compilation of the early Congressional debates prepared in 1856 by former Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton, incidentally once an early student of Pulpit Rock, based on the earlier available compilations but eliminating the tedium and arcana of relatively unimportant matter to enable more compact publication and accessibility by the public, curiously omits the June 8, 1789 resolution introduced to the House by Representative James Madison of Virginia, setting forth his reasons for proposing certain amendments to the Constitution, initially proposing that his amendments be taken up by the entire House, ultimately agreeing that they would be referred, along with the proposed amendments from the states, to a select committee of the House, comprised of one member from each state. Thereafter, in August, the amendments recommended by the select committee were taken up for debate on the floor, where Mr. Benton's compilation regarding the amendments begins. The omission of the report of the June 8 resolution may have been based on Mr. Benton's determination that it had been compiled from newspaper accounts, as some of the early records of debates were, and so was less reliable; surely it was not omitted for its lack of germaneness to the amendments, themselves. In any event, the amendments proposed by Mr. Madison on June 8 were only recommendations to the House select committee, and were wanting at that stage of any debate on the subject matter of the amendments, rather the colloquy having been limited only to whether the amendments should be considered at all at that time and also whether it was appropriate to refer amendments proposed by the state ratifying conventions to a select committee of Congress rather than voting on them as a whole body.
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