The Charlotte News
Friday, June 19, 1953
Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Robert B. Tuckman, that more than 1,800 additional anti-Communist prisoners of war had escaped from allied stockades this date, causing the number of such prisoners at large, including the 25,000 released the previous day by the South Koreans at the direction of President Syngman Rhee, to reach nearly 26,000, leaving 9,398 anti-Communist North Koreans still in custody, about 1,000 of those released having been recaptured by the other U.N. allies. Such figures differed somewhat from those indicated by the U.N. Command, who stated that their figures were only estimates. Of those escaping from custody this date, 494 had battled U.S. Marines at the Ascom City camp near Inchon on the west coast, where 13 prisoners were killed by gunfire and 17 trampled to death, with ten more dying subsequently of injuries, bringing the death toll to 40. A Marine spokesman said the gunfire had come from a rice paddy outside the prison compound, evidently from Koreans aiding the escape. Two of the Marines had been wounded. About 100 of the escaped prisoners were recaptured, and about 980 remained in the camp during the escape. The Marines had replaced the South Korean guards at the camp the previous day after the release by President Rhee. In addition, about 770 prisoners had escaped from U.N. Camp 4 at Yongchon, others from Camp 5 at Sang-Mudai and Pusan, and a handful from the camp at Tegu.
In Moscow, the Soviet press carried the story under the headline, "Provocatory Actions of the Syngman Rhee Clique", with the story implying collusion between some American authorities and the South Koreans. The Russian newspapers also published the comment by Secretary of State Dulles that President Rhee had violated the authority of the U.N. Command, as well as that of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, deploring the release of the prisoners.
Regarding the truce, the Communists said late this night that they had an important subject to discuss when the truce negotiators met in a few hours in a full-dress session Saturday morning at Panmunjom, which might determine the fate of the armistice. Speculation ran that the Communists might approve the final truce details or might protest the release of the 26,000 North Korean prisoners. The draft of the armistice agreement appeared ready for signature as soon as the translation into Chinese, English and Korean was approved. Observers predicted that the arbitrary release of the prisoners would not block the signing of the truce, but feared that trouble might erupt later when the allies had to account for the Communist prisoners. The U.N. Command had assured the Communists that it was taking every step to recapture the escaped prisoners, but thus far had recovered only a handful, with the task appearing nearly futile as the prisoners had been hidden in homes with the approval of the South Korean Government.
President Rhee disclosed publicly a letter he had written to President Eisenhower on Wednesday, apparently rejecting the President's offer of economic and military aid coupled with a promise to negotiate a security pact for South Korea on condition that it accepted the truce leaving the country divided. President Rhee pleaded with President Eisenhower to find another answer than a "death warrant" armistice.
Far East supreme commander General Mark Clark was dealing with the prisoner situation by way of the general order to maintain the safety and security of the U.N. forces in South Korea, the Pentagon having relied on his political and military judgment, sending him no new detailed military directives to deal with the crisis. The White House and the State Department, with the advice of the Joint Chiefs, were maintaining a close vigil on military matters through reports from General Clark. The Joint Chiefs had met late the previous day for two hours, apparently to consider the military potential created by the actions of President Rhee. There remained the possibility that he might order South Korean troops into action not approved by the U.N. Command, as he had threatened to fight on in the event a truce was signed leaving Korea divided. The military view was that any such action would cause the South Korean forces to be out of the control of the U.S. Eighth Army, commanded by General Maxwell Taylor, and in repudiation of the basic agreement made at the start of the Korean War. There had been discussion within military circles of withdrawing logistical support of the South Korean divisions in that event. But doing so would cause the burden of manning the front to fall entirely on eight U.S. divisions in the Far East, plus the other U.N. allies. Some military officials indicated that they were not completely surprised by the action of President Rhee in releasing the North Korean prisoners, but were caught off guard by the fact that he had not first consulted the U.N. allies before taking the action.
In the air war, U.S. Sabre jets had shot down six enemy MIG-15s and damaged three others over northwest Korea this date.
In the ground war, enemy infantrymen in company strength had jabbed at South Korean positions along the central front, probing for weak spots where a major attack might penetrate. Chinese Communists hit several South Korean-held hill positions along the east-central front, where 30,000 to 40,000 enemy troops had pushed back allied lines as much as two miles earlier in the week in the enemy's concerted offensive, the greatest since the start of the truce talks two years earlier, believed to have been the result of a concerted effort to push back the truce lines, which had since been finalized by agreement.
The Supreme Court, at noon this date, issued its 6 to 3 decision to vacate the stay of the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, originally scheduled for the previous night, allowing the execution to proceed this night. Justices William O. Douglas, Felix Frankfurter and Hugo Black dissented from the decision, but the latter two dissents would not be published until after the executions. Justice Frankfurter indicated that he believed that if the executions were to take place this night, he would favor a stay to permit consideration of the latest clemency plea to the President. The Court also denied a motion to reconsider, pending a final effort to obtain clemency from the President, who had already rejected clemency on February 11. It appeared that the only thing which might cause the President to change his mind would be a full confession from the Rosenbergs, which the Government had already indicated would cause their sentence to be commuted to life in prison. The Rosenbergs had rejected the Government's offer and continued to proclaim to the end their innocence of the charges that they participated in a conspiracy to provide the Soviets with crucial atomic bomb secrets during 1945. A late bulletin indicates that the President had rejected the final clemency plea.
The Court rejected the reasoning on which the stay had been granted by Justice Douglas on Wednesday, to permit consideration of the new question, not previously considered in the case, whether the 1946 Atomic Energy Act penalty provisions, which made implementation of the death penalty optional with the jury, differed from and superseded the penalty provisions of the 1917 Espionage Act, under which the Rosenbergs were convicted and sentenced, which allowed the judge, after conviction by the trier of fact, to determine in his discretion the sentence, Judge Irving Kaufman having determined that because of the enormity of the offense, which could theoretically have led to the deaths of millions of Americans, the death penalty was warranted. The Court reasoned that the primary acts on which the convictions of the Rosenbergs rested had occurred prior to the passage of the 1946 Act, and that, in any event, Congress had not intended that the 1946 Act would in any way supersede the 1917 Act, that absent an express intention by Congress, ordinary construction of statutes required that they be reconciled with all predecessor laws and not be considered in lieu of them. The Court had found that the issue was lacking in substantiality and so, to avoid prolix consideration in the lower courts, immediately decided the issue, despite it finding that the stay petition had been brought by counsel who were not employed by the Rosenbergs and thus were of questionable standing before the Court, having applied as counsel for the "next friend" of the Rosenbergs. The Court, for the first time in its history, had called a special session, after it had adjourned for the summer, to consider a stay of execution of a death sentence. Ordinarily, under such circumstances, the stay would have remained in effect at least through the beginning of the fall term in October, permitting the matter to wind through the U.S. District Court and Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York.
Members of Congress indicated support of the Supreme Court's decision to vacate the stay. Representative William Wheeler of Georgia, who had initiated earlier impeachment proceedings against Justice Douglas, called the decision "fine". Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan said that he was glad that the order had been vacated, suggesting that the issuance of the stay by a single justice without consulting the others had done great damage to the judicial system in the minds of the public. (Actually, Justice Douglas, as he later indicated in a volume of his autobiography, The Court Years, in the excerpt to which we linked the previous day, had consulted with Chief Justice Fred Vinson the night before issuing the stay, with Chief Justice Vinson having attempted to talk him out of it, after the request for the stay had been referred to Justice Douglas by Justice Robert Jackson, who normally would have handled such requests arising out of the Second Circuit in New York, which he oversaw. It was quite typical for a single justice to handle such stays of execution dates in capital cases, arising out of the particular circuit overseen by each justice. Thus, Senator Ferguson was simply dissembling to mislead the public, or was quite ignorant of Supreme Court process.)
At Sing Sing Prison in New York, the
condemned couple were having a meal of fried fillet of fish with
tomato gravy, mashed potatoes and wax beans, when word came over the
radio that the stay had been overturned and that their execution
would be carried out this night. The warden of the prison said that
if the execution were to go forward, a special last meal of their
choice would be provided instead of the ordinary fare of hard-boiled
eggs and macaroni salad. The scheduled time for the execution, 10:00
p.m., would be moved up by Judge Kaufman to 8:00, to accommodate a
request by the Rosenbergs' attorney, Emanuel Bloch, who had sought a
temporary stay until after the Jewish Sabbath, which began on Friday
at sundown. The couple would be electrocuted this night at 8:00
The guilt of Julius Rosenberg as a part of the conspiracy is no longer doubted, but the part in the conspiracy of Ethel Rosenberg, based primarily on her having allegedly typed the atomic secrets provided the Soviet courier, has been disputed, as it was based exclusively on the testimony of Ruth and David Greenglass, David subsequently indicating that he had falsified the testimony, that he had never seen his sister typing anything, though he had been present in the apartment at the time, and said so to accommodate the Government position and solidify his plea deal, after his wife had indicated that she had seen Ethel typing up the information. Of course, under the evidence presented in the case, mere knowledge of the conspiracy and not then reporting it to authorities or attempting to stop it in any way, or at least affirmatively and unambiguously withdrawing from it, would make her subject to conviction as a co-conspirator or aider and abettor.
The primary remaining issue in the case historically is whether it merited the death penalty in hindsight, but the principal focus of Judge Kaufman had been to send a deterrent message to others who might give up similarly important and crucial secret information during the Cold War, and, in that context, especially given that the Rosenbergs could have admitted their part in the conspiracy and had their sentences commuted, leaves little ground for special sympathy, other than the basic human sympathy which ought always be attendant all capital punishments, save by the bloodthirsty misanthropes among us who relish any opportunity for a scapegoat on whom to place blame for their own misfortunes and thus revel in such government-imposed death spectacles.
Mitigating the Rosenbergs' circumstances was the principal fact that when the offense was committed in 1944-45, the Soviets were not only a principal ally of the U.S. in the war, but were a critical ally, without whose resistance to the Nazi invasion of Russia in 1941 and the steady push afterward against the Germans all the way to Berlin by 1945, the result of the war might have been very different, at least certainly quite prolonged beyond April, 1945, without use of the atomic bomb against Germany, obviously a more difficult proposition than against Japan for the logistical necessity of first pulling back all Allied ground troops from the intended target. Yet, the information was highly sensitive and no one had the right to arrogate themselves above the policy of the U.S. Government and provide such critical information to agents of a foreign power, affording the Soviets some time gained in the development of the bomb, most scientists estimating it to have been between a few months and two years before the Russian physicists would have figured out the problem from publicly available information and their own research, apart from the secrets imparted by the Fuchs-Gold-Greenglass-Rosenberg conspiracy, most of which crucial information had been generally known by physicists for years prior to 1945 and most of that which was not having been released publicly by the U.S. Government in a report in the fall of 1945. Legally, there was also the issue of the cruel and unusual nature of the death penalty as applied in the case, based on disproportionality of the crime to the punishment under Eighth Amendment principles. Otherwise, the Federal appellate courts could not question the discretion of the trial judge in issuing a death sentence under the Espionage Act of 1917. And, as Justice Douglas explained in his autobiography, the Federal courts at that time were not engaged in assessments of the cruel and unusual nature of capital punishment per se, generally accepted historically during the era prior to Furman v. Georgia, decided in 1972.
In East Berlin, the declaration of martial law, following riots against the East German Government two days earlier, had apparently cracked the will of the resistance of the workers, after the leader of the riot had been summarily executed the previous day on order of the Red Army commander in the city. A Soviet machine-gun barrier divided East Berlin from West Berlin, but otherwise a semblance of normal traffic of workers was observed coming from the frontier. West Berlin Lord Mayor Ernst Reuter appealed for top-level Allied meetings with the Russians to rescue the Eastern sector from the grip of Red Army troops. The U.S., Britain and France had already demanded that the Russians end their blockade of the Eastern sector. The Western powers also condemned the summary execution by firing squad of the putative leader of the revolt, a West Berlin truck driver, as an "act of brutality which will shock the conscience of the Western world." More than 20 rioters had been killed in the melee, and West Berlin flags had been lowered to half-staff in their honor, with a full day of mourning planned for the following Monday. The U.S. radio station advised Soviet Zone residents to avoid clashes with Soviet troops, indicating that violence would only force the Russians to back up the Communist Government in the long run.
In Cairo, Egypt's military rulers proclaimed the previous night that the nation was a republic, ending the 148-year dynasty of former King Farouk and his forebears, formally installing Premier Mohammed Naguib as the country's first President. The Army Revolutionary Council, which had dethroned King Farouk the previous July and provided the power behind making Maj. General Naguib the Premier, announced that three of its members would take over key Cabinet posts, chief among them being Lt. Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser, Premier Naguib's closest aide and acting Army chief, who had become Vice-Premier and Interior Minister. The Council's proclamation indicated that President Naguib would serve as President and Premier until the end of the three-year "transitional period" set up earlier in the year, and afterward, the people would be able to choose a new president following a plebiscite on the proposed constitution. The proclamation also stripped Fuad II, 17-month old son of King Farouk, of his title as heir apparent to the throne, pending his coming of age.
In Paris, World War I French air ace Col. Rene Fonck died at 59 at his home, with the cause of death not announced. He had been credited with 75 air victories during World War I, in one battle, credited with knocking out six German planes in an hour. In 1926, he had sought to become the first person to fly the Atlantic non-stop, but his plane had crashed and burned on takeoff, with the pilot narrowly escaping death. He had also taken a leading part in setting up passenger airlines in the French North African protectorates of Morocco and Algeria.
In Raleigh, Bishop Vincent Waters this date ordered the abolition of racial segregation in all North Carolina Catholic churches, indicating that, to avoid any misunderstanding in the future, there would be no segregation of race tolerated in any Catholic Church in the Diocese of Raleigh. It was his first public comment on segregation since he had ordered the merger of a white and black church at Newton Grove near Raleigh. In the letter, to be published in the weekly church publication appearing this date, the Bishop had said that pastors were charged with carrying out the teaching of non-segregation and must tolerate nothing to the contrary. He said that all special churches for black parishioners would be abolished immediately as lending weight to the false notion that the Catholic Church, the "mystical body of Christ", was divided. Equal rights, he continued, were accorded to every race and every nationality as proper in any Catholic Church, and within the church building, itself, everyone was to be given the privilege "to sit or kneel wherever he desires and to approach the sacraments without any regard to race or nationality."
On the editorial page, "Eisenhower Opens Information Doors" indicates that the President had shown deep insight regarding the importance of free information in a free society in his enunciated plan for revising former President Truman's controversial security classification order, which permitted all agencies of the Government to classify documents, heavily criticized by the press for enabling agencies to suppress embarrassing information on the basis of supposed security. The new order would strip 29 of the agencies in non-sensitive areas of any power to withhold information about their work, and would reserve the power of censorship only in the top official of 16 other agencies, in addition providing specific rules for declaring information secret.
It indicates that the President ought be commended by all Americans for this new approach, that while there were many areas of Government operations which had to be maintained in secret from potential enemies, it was important to keep such information at a minimum so as to preserve the people's right to know what their Government was doing.
It quotes the editor of La Prenza in Buenos Aires, Alberto Gainza Paz, whose newspaper had been seized summarily by the Government of dictator Juan Peron, telling an American audience recently that the first act of any dictatorship was to suppress freedom of information and that the only way to oppose such evil forces was to defend that freedom, through the press and the people. The piece suggests that the warning had meaning for Americans and all free peoples everywhere.
"On Reporting to Public Shareholders" indicates that recently, a four-page printed folder had come to The News, addressed "to the owners of Carteret County", a simplified version of the financial statement furnished to the Board of County Commissioners by the county's auditor, mailed to all taxpayers along with their 1953 tax statements. The pamphlet gave a brief review of the recent financial history of the county, explaining how the budget was divided, listing the assets and liabilities of the county government.
During the week, the City of Greenville, S.C., had presented an eight-page supplement to the Greenville Piedmont, replete with many charts and pictures, regarding that city's first year under the city manager form of government.
It finds that both reports treated the taxpayers as stockholders in a public enterprise and sought to create in them understanding and support for the financing of needed public services.
It suggests this type of approach to the Charlotte City Council and to the Board of Commissioners of Mecklenburg County.
"Martyr, Exposer, Commentator, Etc., Etc." indicates that press agents had nightmares about such days as that which had just past, with stories coming out of Korea that a truce was imminent, that the Rosenbergs were about to be executed, that riots had taken place in East Berlin against the Communist Government of East Germany, and that "book burning" by the State Department was occurring within the Information Service libraries abroad.
Yet, all of that had not fazed Senator McCarthy. A former FBI agent had appeared before his Government Operations Committee saying that, while he had infiltrated a Communist group in Pittsburgh, he had heard a man threaten to "liquidate" the Senator on behalf of Communism. But the Senator said that he would come to the defense of small businessmen by investigating "gross discrimination" against them. That was so at the same time, according to Marquis Childs this date, the Senator had received a lucrative contract arranged by wealthy oilmen in Texas so that the Senator could appear on television probably on a weekly basis starting the following fall.
It suggests that the events presented the Senator as a martyr, exposer extraordinaire and commentator for the great "unwashed television audience". It made no difference to the Senator that Communists appreciated the aid he provided them, as Herbert Philbrick and others had stated, making the Senator's liquidation by the Communists quite unlikely. The sum total of the matter was that the Senator had found new ways to gain notoriety, "make charges, create doubts, then sweep on to new fields."
It suggests that psychiatrists had
descriptive phrases for such a person, as did the poets, quoting
Shakespeare from Richard II
A piece from the Durham Herald, titled "A Skirmish over Branding Books", indicates that San Antonio was having a battle over books, as some wanted to identify those written by Communists, fellow travelers and persons who had been affiliated with organizations classified by the Attorney General as subversive. Pursuant to the effort, someone had inspected the public library and listed about 600 books whose authors had been mentioned in Congressional investigations as Communists or members of subversive organizations. She had included in her list Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Herman Melville's Moby Dick, because the editions present had illustrations by Rockwell Kent. Also on the list were Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity, Thomas Mann's novels, Dorothy Canfield Fisher's books, and Louis Untermeyer's Treasury of American and British Poetry.
It indicates that if San Antonio insisted on its program of branding books, the campaign would increase the readership of the books branded, as there were many people in the country who would read a book if it were banned, condemned or burned. It suggests that maybe it would get the people of San Antonio to read more, suggests that the public library keep an account of the number of people checking out the branded books versus the books that were not deemed subversive, perhaps leading those who had undertaken the branding to repent of their decision.
It concludes that the effort showed
the thoughtlessness with which some supposedly responsible people
responded to fear, urges that the country and its people recover
their discrimination and sense of values
Drew Pearson discusses the serious hip problem of Senator Taft, which had caused him anemia and deterioration of the thigh bone and hip bone joints—still unknown to the public that the Senator had been diagnosed in early June with cancer, from which he would die at the end of July.
Senators from different points on the political spectrum had met around a dinner table with CIO president Walter Reuther the previous week, producing such agreement that Senator Homer Capehart complained that there was not enough fight, that even the Democrats were not fighting anymore, and that if they did not fight, Republicans could not fight back. There were not only liberal Democratic Senators present, but also conservative Senators Richard Russell of Georgia and Lyndon Johnson of Texas, plus Vice-President Nixon and various Republicans. CIO secretary-treasurer Jim Carey had joked regarding the CIO's former closeness to the White House, as CIO headquarters had overlooked the Truman family laundry in the backyard of Blair House during the renovation of the White House, Mr. Carey indicating that the CIO expected to be close to the White House again. Those present could not tell whether he was complaining about the AFL's inner track based on Secretary of Labor Martin Durkin's presence, former head of the AFL Plumbers Union.
Senate Minority Leader Lyndon Johnson asked Mr. Reuther about reciprocal trade, to which Mr. Reuther replied that it might hurt some industries but would have an overall beneficial effect. The most significant speech had been delivered by Senator Capehart, who, despite always having been a reactionary, sounded nearly like a New Dealer, urging that a standby public works program should be maintained in case the reduction in arms expenditures produced unemployment, a position praised by Mr. Reuther. Vice-President Nixon paid tribute to Mr. Reuther for his leadership in the fight against Communism both at home and abroad, indicating that the organization had spent thousands of dollars in the battle to keep Communists out of the free trade movement, also giving praise to Victor Reuther, Mr. Reuther's brother, for his leadership in building free trade unions in Europe. At that point, the dinner ended, with the CIO leaders and right-wing Republicans exiting together arm-in-arm.
Marquis Childs indicates that Senator McCarthy had arranged, after concluding a contract with a group of Texas oilmen, the terms of which were secret, to appear on a regular basis on the nation's television networks starting the following fall. The Senator would receive a large sum of money for the appearances. H. L. Hunt of Dallas, one of the three or four richest men in the world, with an annual income of more than 20 million dollars, was the principal oil millionaire behind the agreement. Mr. Childs notes that the oil depletion allowance provided a 27 percent deduction for a "wasting asset" for oil and mineral developers. Mr. Hunt had spoken with the Senator several weeks earlier during a visit to Washington, after which the Senator told members of his Investigating Committee that he was going hunting, whereupon he made a mysterious trip to Texas, where he met with Mr. Hunt, Clint Murchison and other wealthy oilmen.
While running for the presidency, General Eisenhower had supported the notion of the return of the title to offshore oil lands to the states, principally California, Texas and Louisiana, with the Congress having since passed that law and the President having signed it, whereas President Truman had vetoed similar legislation, designed to circumvent prior Supreme Court decisions holding that the offshore tidal oil lands belonged to the Federal Government. During the hearings on the legislation, Attorney General Herbert Brownell had testified that a bill which would transfer the oil lands beyond the "historic boundaries" recognized by the states would be challenged in the courts. Those boundaries differed from state to state, limited to three miles off the coast of California, but 10.5 miles off the coast of Texas, where an estimated 80 percent of the oil wealth lay beyond that limit. The same was true of the three-mile limit of Louisiana. Oilmen, working through their lobby, were said to be angered by the Attorney General's position, after having supported the 1952 Republican campaign in many states.
Mr. Childs indicates that the mixing of oil and politics had produced strange results in the past, and with the prospect of Senator McCarthy being added to the mix, "the consequences should be little short of explosive."
Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that those who ought to know asserted that the mood at the White House had been increasingly uncertain and unhappy, despite the President showing a smiling face. Underneath the facade, the President had growing doubts which could lead to a change of Administration course.
During his tour of the Midwestern and Eastern states recently, the change in tone of his speeches demonstrated the division of opinion ongoing at the White House. In Minneapolis, the President had attacked the theory of foreign policy urged by Senator Taft, that the U.S. ought go it alone, apart from the U.N. allies, if a truce were not reached very soon in Korea. At Mount Rushmore, the President had said that the foreign aid program was indispensable to the country's security, obviously contrary to the position of Senator Taft and his supporters, favoring cutting foreign aid severely. In the same speech, the President had remarked that the country had to guard against those who pretended to defend freedom with weapons, "for to defend freedom in ways that destroy freedom is suicide". Members of the President's entourage had gone out of their way to say that the warning was aimed at the methods of Senator McCarthy. Yet, in the same speech, the President had lauded political cooperation and harmony, favoring "patient persuasion, friendly contact". And at Oyster Bay, N.Y., the President had sounded defensive regarding his disinclination to quarrel with other Republicans who differed with him.
A day or so after the Mount Rushmore speech, Senator Taft had said he would give his strong support to the drive to cut the President's foreign aid program. At the Republican state convention in Wisconsin, home state of Senator McCarthy, there was an anti-Eisenhower feeling in the air, with the hero being Senator McCarthy, whose picture occupied the place of honor at the meet. The villain was the senior Senator from Wisconsin, Alexander Wiley, who had consistently supported the President's policies as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. More than half of the delegates to that convention had refused to rise in greeting Senator Wiley when he appeared on the platform, and many of them loudly booed when he was introduced, as well as at the close of his speech. Another speaker had denounced Senator Wiley by name for plotting to admit "leftist voters" to the country, based on his support of the President's requests for revision of the McCarran Immigration Act. After his speech, the Senator was formally censured by a resolution of the whole convention for agreeing with the President's request to oppose the amendment to the Constitution proposed by Senator John W. Bricker, which would limit the President's authority to make treaties, making executive agreements subject to the ratification requirements of the Constitution. Senator Wiley reminded the convention that the main strength of the Republican Party was the popularity of the President. And, indeed, the President's recent trip had been met with vast and adoring crowds.
The Alsops indicate that the President's authority within the party might become increasingly challenged, as ridiculous as that seemed under the circumstances. Yet, they opine, the boldness of those Republicans who hated and opposed him was thoroughly justified in a practical sense. The President had effectively promised his enemies that they could continue to ride on his coattails, which would permit those enemies to continue to kick him until he changed the rules.
A letter writer disagrees with another letter writer who opposed the teaching of religion in the Charlotte public schools. He thinks that since the classes were optional, they would hurt no one and would do a great deal of good to those attending. He asserts that belief in God was the foundation of education and that the purpose of education was to prepare young people to meet the trials and hardships of the world, to make it a better place to live. He suggests that teaching without God was not complete education.
A letter writer commends the 26 Baptist ministers who had sent a petition to the County and City School Boards urging them to end the Bible study program in the public schools. She finds that the ministers cherished the freedoms provided by the Constitution and sought to protect those freedoms from the danger of unconstitutional teaching of sectarian religion in the schools. She asks readers to consider how they would feel if teaching the Bible were sponsored by a predominantly Catholic, Jewish or Unitarian committee.
A letter writer from Hamlet wonders if the ministers and citizens who opposed the Bible study program had considered the fact that thousands of children had parents who did not believe in Christ and would never hear about him in the home or church. She indicates that she would rather have her child stigmatized by Bible instruction than "sent to eternal punishment for lack of Bible knowledge", citing Romans 1:16.
She misses the point. The stigmatization, according to the Supreme Court, applied to the children who would refuse participation, not the other way about, leading to social pressure to participate.
A letter writer cannot understand how a minister could recommend ending the Bible study program in the schools, indicates that he belonged to the Presbyterian Church. He says that he had talked to several people in different walks of life in recent days about the matter and had found no one in favor of eliminating the program.
A letter writer favors the teaching of the Bible in the public schools, at home, in Sunday School and at church, or wherever else the opportunity presented itself. He thinks that since the majority of the people in the community were Protestants, there should be no question as to whether the Bible ought be taught in the public schools. "While Christian people can tolerate unbelief they can in no wise sanction it without fear of eternal damnation."
Thus, by the same logic, in a
community where the majority were devil-worshipers, witchcraft
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