The Charlotte News
Saturday, June 27, 1953
Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Robert B. Tuckman, that South Korean President Syngman Rhee had been described as "very happy" this date following a 40-minute secret conference with Assistant Secretary of State Walter Robertson, who had flown to Seoul to deliver personally a letter from the President, urging President Rhee to cooperate in the truce. There was speculation that he might accept the truce. No new conferences were scheduled and most members of the South Korean Cabinet had gone into closed-door session immediately after the conference with Mr. Robertson. Members of the U.N. delegation to the truce talks met at the U.S. Embassy. High sources had indicated that President Rhee might agree to the truce, provided the U.S. gave him a pledge to come to South Korea's defense in the event of a fresh Communist attack. U.N. supreme commander General Mark Clark had flown to Seoul from Tokyo to join Mr. Robertson in the second meeting with President Rhee at his hilltop mansion. A source had indicated that the talks had gone well thus far and that the mission might not have to remain in Korea much longer. This date's crucial second session lasted 40 minutes during the afternoon.
The truce talks at Panmunjom had been suspended indefinitely since June 19 at the request of the Communists, following the release by President Rhee of 27,000 North Korean prisoners of war who did not desire repatriation. This date, Communist loudspeakers on the battlefront broadcast a new date for truce signing, July 3. The same loudspeakers had previously predicted a truce signing on June 20, and then again on June 25, the third anniversary of the start of the war.
In the ground war, at least two Chinese Communist divisions, consisting of more than 20,000 troops, attacked a 13-mile front on both sides of the Pukhan River on the east-central front the previous night, pushing back South Korean troops, in a renewal of the two-week old Communist offensive, designed, in part, to teach the South Koreans a lesson for defying the truce, and in another part, at least believed to be an effort to push back the final truce line, though that was established by agreement shortly after the start of the offensive. South Korean soldiers on the west side of the Pukhan River were reported to have captured "El Paso Hill" or "Lookout Mountain", at the junction of the Kumsong and Pukhan Rivers, as well as another nearby height during a mid-morning counter-attack.
In the air war, U.S. Sabre jets shot down two enemy MIG-15s and probably destroyed a third. At dawn, waves of allied fighter-bombers hit enemy fortifications with 500-pound bombs and bullets.
In London, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, 78, was ordered by his doctors this date to take a complete rest for at least a month, prompting the third postponement of the projected Big Three meeting of the heads of state of the U.S., Britain and France, set for Bermuda on July 8, already having been postponed from mid-June because of the French Chamber of Deputies vote of "no confidence" for the former Premier Rene Mayer, having been replaced since by Joseph Laniel.
The House Appropriations Committee this date voted to cut more than 1.3 billion dollars from new funds recommended by the President for the Defense Department, representing a total of nearly 6.3 billion dollars cut from the recommended budget of President Truman before he left office in January. The President had recommended 35.7 billion dollars and the Committee approved 34.4 billion. The total allotment for the Defense Department was 12.75 billion less than in the present fiscal year. For the first time since the fighting had begun in Korea, the Department appropriations bill provided funds for the war, in excess of two billion dollars, as previously the cost of financing the war had been appropriated separately. The Committee stated that the funds could be withdrawn if a truce were finally reached in Korea.
The President was reported to be planning a last-minute written appeal to the House to support the extension of the excess profits tax for another six months from its scheduled expiration date of June 30. The letter was to be read on Monday morning as the House was scheduled to begin debate on the matter, after the House Rules Committee would likely vote to remove the bill from the Ways & Means Committee, where chairman Dan Reed had maintained the bill, not allowing it to proceed to the floor for a vote.
Rowland Evans, Jr., reports that Senator Taft had indicated this date that the President might have to resolve differences between two of his Cabinet members, Secretary of Labor Martin Durkin and Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks, regarding proposed amendments to the Taft-Hartley Act, as the two men were still at odds on some of the proposals. Senator Taft had been meeting with both men, as well as with the chairmen of the Congressional Labor Committees, Senator Alexander Smith and Representative Samuel McConnell, as well as Bernard Shanley, special counsel to the President. The committee was believed to have reached agreement to increase the NLRB from 5 to 7 members, to allow the AFL building trades unions to write special union shop contracts compelling workers to join the union after the seventh day on the job, to permit strikers to vote in elections for union representation even if they had been permanently replaced and either to extend the current Act's non-Communist oath provision to employers or to eliminate it completely as being ineffective. Currently, the Act required only union officers to take the oath, failing which, the union would not be able to partake of NLRB services in collective bargaining.
Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson spoke this date before the American Cotton Congress in Lubbock, Texas, ensuring cattle ranchers and other farmers beset by drought conditions in the Southwest that the Government would act to save their cattle needed to maintain the foundation herds for future beef supply. He said it would be a calamity if the foundation herds were forced into liquidation, that they needed feed and the Government would help them to get it. The President, the previous day, had declared areas of Texas and Oklahoma major disaster areas, making them eligible for Federal relief grants. There was no indication whether it would be extended to Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico, where there were also drought conditions. Secretary Benson did not outline the specific drought aid program, but said certain types of aid were under consideration.
From Tokyo, it was reported that the most disastrous flood faced by modern Japan had left nearly 1,000 persons dead or missing, as waters covered whole villages and forced thousands to the hills and rooftops on the southern island of Kyushu. No American casualties were reported and there had been only minor damage at three U.S. air bases. U.S. military units provided manpower, medicine, planes and boats to help feed and evacuate some 610,000 inhabitants of the flooded area.
In Boston, Dr. Frank Lahey, an internationally famous surgeon and founder and director of the Boston clinic bearing his name, died at age 73 at the New England Baptist Hospital, which he had entered the previous week, a few days after assisting in an operation on British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden.
Tom Fesperman of The News reports that seven banks in Charlotte had established new business hours, for only five days per week, staying closed on Saturday this date for the first time in the history of the state. Some residents had walked up to bank doors and sought entry, only to find signs indicating that the banks were closed. To compensate, the banks would remain open from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Fridays, in addition to usual hours. Mr. Fesperman provides some reactions of customers surprised by the bank closure.
In Enid, Okla., a 27-year old housewife who sleep-walked at midnight when the moon was full, was found nude early this date picking leaves from a tree 20 feet off the ground, still asleep. Police were summoned by her distraught husband who had been unable to find her. The fire department was summoned and rescuers, working quietly so as not to disturb the woman, stretched a life net under the tree, whereupon her husband climbed up, carefully wrapped his shirt around her and gently awakened her. She then fell into the net. The husband reported later that his wife was extremely nervous but uninjured. He said he would keep a closer eye on her henceforth when the moon was full.
On the editorial page, "What Industry Found at Sevier" tells of the dedication the prior Tuesday of the American Thread Company's new plant at Sevier in McDowell County, where there had been, according to the 1950 census, 9,352 persons employed and only 408 unemployed, which might have suggested to any industry planning to locate there that there would not be a readily available labor force. Yet, when the company had established its plant, it was flooded with applications and in little time, 550 workers were employed, most of whom lived in the county. For every worker hired, nine applicants had been turned away. A management representative said that those who had been turned away were only less competent than those hired, but not unqualified.
It gleans from the facts that the potential labor force in the state was much higher than the unemployment figures indicated and that labor potential was greater in the state than in most other states. That was a result of the large rural population, ranking only behind Texas. The farmers living near a plant were willing to work a shift, and the American Thread plant hired a workforce comprised of about half women, and so had no problem attracting employees. Such an arrangement enabled the rural families to maintain their independence while also working at the factory.
It indicates that such a stable and capable workforce would attract industries from the North to the state, where the workers, taxes and available water were favorable to industry.
"Willis Smith Served His State Well" laments the death the previous day of Senator Smith of North Carolina at age 65 from a coronary thrombosis suffered the prior Tuesday. He had impressed his colleagues with his intelligence, diligence and zeal. It indicates that he was an intense man and concentrated on objectives and worked toward them energetically and persistently.
Early in his Senate career, he had become interested in the investigation of U.S. Communism and served on a Judiciary subcommittee working in that area, setting an example for less responsible Senators in handling witnesses fairly and with dignity. He had worked hard as a Senator, perhaps too hard, it suggests, taking seriously the demands that an unthinking public placed on public officials. It had been reported that he had made 24 public appearances during the 20 days prior to his illness and death, including several airplane trips to his home state.
During his tenure as a member of the North Carolina General Assembly in the 1920's, he had established a good record of accomplishment, including the Workmen's Compensation Act, the McLean School Act, the State-supported six-month school term, the County Finance Act, and the consolidation of the Greater University of North Carolina. Later, he had served as president of the American Bar Association, as a member of the Presidential Amnesty Board, and as an observer at the Nuremberg trials. He had also been chairman of the Board of Trustees of Duke University, his alma mater. In the meantime, he had also built a successful law practice and raised a family.
It expresses regret at his untimely death, a loss of a "useful and influential life".
It refrains, of course, in such a
tender time, from mention of his Red-baiting, race-baiting campaign
during the Democratic runoff primary with Senator Frank Porter Graham
in June, 1950, that scurrilous campaign in large part having been
attributed to Jesse Helms, to become his administrative assistant
after he had become a Senator, remaining in that position through the
time of the Senator's death, having been quoted in the press accounts regarding his
condition and death during the previous two days. For allowing that
to occur, Mr. Smith deserved condemnation, which the newspaper had not
refrained from providing at the time—at least, perhaps, except on Saturdays—, though his victory on June 24,
1950 was overshadowed by the invasion the following day of South
Korea by the North Korean Communists. He had therefore died just one
day after the third anniversary of the start of the war and two days
after that of his primary victory over Senator Graham, who had won the initial primary handily, while former Senator Robert Rice Reynolds was in the race
"Must the Milk Can Defer to Progress?" tells of the many accouterments of the old dairy farm gradually disappearing, the sire of the herd with the ring in his nose being no longer evident, with the trend toward artificial insemination, and the milking stool being replaced by the milking machine. Now, even the milk can appeared on the way out as dairy farmers switched to bulk tanks to hold the milk, making it easily accessible to the delivery truck.
The piece registers an objection to the disappearance of the milk can, as its appearance had always served as a sign of economic well-being among the dairy farmers. Everyone on the route knew when a particular farmer had been out partying and had not finished his work in time to put out the cans for the milk truck. The cans, themselves, served as a water receptacle when the well went dry, and at picnics, held the lemonade and served as stools at the table.
It concludes that with all of the modernization of dairy farming, it would soon be difficult to find two persons arguing over the relative merits of milking with the thumb in or the thumb out, and they might finally develop a cow which provided cream and the choice of whole, skim or homogenized milk.
A piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "Dirt: The Latest Thing", indicates that Australians, on the advice of a Government bureau, had built 10,000 houses made of earth, referring to the structure as pise de terre, a euphemism for dirt house.
For centuries in the Southwestern area of the U.S., adobe houses made of sun-baked brick comprised of mud and straw had been constructed, adobe meaning in Spanish "to plaster". In early Kansas, the settlers lived in sod dugouts, half above and half below the ground, with the dirt dug out forming the walls above. In one such hut had lived Dr. Brewster Higley, who in 1873 had written "Home on the Range". Several of the sod huts still stood on the prairie, and an engineering building at the University of Kansas was constructed of rammed earth, as a modern tribute to history and practicality.
It indicates that modern architects were finding what man had learned over thousands of years, that earthen houses resisted moisture and termites, were warm in winter and cool in summer, and were cheap to construct.
"As Pogo's Uncle Baldwin said, no house can be without it," that is, dirt.
Drew Pearson indicates that when President Eisenhower had first heard that President Rhee had released the North Korean war prisoners who had resisted repatriation, he had called General Joseph Collins, chief of staff of the Army, and bawled him out. General Collins had served under General Eisenhower during the Normandy invasion in June, 1944, and was responsible for the capture of Cherbourg in France. Yet, the President had talked to him as if he were a drill sergeant bawling out a rookie. He told him that the release of the Korean prisoners had been tantamount to another Pearl Harbor. He was actually aiming his remarks at General Mark Clark, U.N. supreme commander, General Collins serving only as the convenient scapegoat. General Clark was also a friend of the President, having been the U.S. leader in the invasion of Italy in 1943 and 1944, ultimately carrying the Allies all the way into Rome, just on the eve of D-Day. General Collins and General Clark had been classmates at West Point and had competed with each other for military honors, and so it was ironic that General Collins had to receive the ire of the President meant for General Clark. The President immediately sent General Collins to Tokyo to communicate the President's views to General Clark.
On June 19, the Joint Chiefs had met in the morning to draft a proposed policy to guide General Clark in the matter, even recommending deposing of President Rhee if necessary. It advised first to reason with him, but questioned whether his word could be trusted. General Clark had assured the Pentagon that the 12 South Korean divisions at the battlefront would remain loyal to the U.N. Command, thus enabling the Chiefs to recommend deposing of President Rhee if necessary. General Clark was not as certain about the three divisions behind the lines, but he believed that it would only be a question of removing the division commanders in those divisions. The State Department, however, balked at the suggestion of deposing President Rhee, saying it would look bad to purge heads of state in the same manner Moscow replaced the heads of state of the satellite nations. The State Department urged trying to reach an agreement with him, recommended suspension of the truce negotiations indefinitely, if necessary, until the troubles passed.
Later that night, the President agreed with the State Department advice and so the stern instructions which had been drafted for delivery to General Clark by the Joint Chiefs were never delivered. Thus, the letter which Assistant Secretary Walter Robertson delivered to Korea was the offer of a new mutual security pact between the U.S. and South Korea, with Mr. Robertson authorized to act fully for the President. General Collins had accompanied Mr. Robertson to provide a stiff talk to General Clark, the Joint Chiefs wanting the latter to keep an eye on Mr. Robertson to ensure that he would not be wishy-washy with the cantankerous, patriotic President Rhee.
Former Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson, during his round-the-world tour, had visited the Philippines, where he was taken to the mountain summer capital at Baguio by U.S. Ambassador, Admiral Raymond Spruance. Early the following morning, the Governor had accompanied the Ambassador on a walk into the hills. The Ambassador said that it was good that they were not down in muggy Manila or their tongues would be hanging out. Governor Stevenson had remarked in response something—which, unfortunately, is cut off the end of the page. You will have to find it elsewhere.
Joseph & Stewart Alsop address the truce dilemma in Korea, regarding the refusal of the South Korean Government to adhere to any truce which would leave Korea divided. Assistant Secretary of State Walter Robertson had been sent to Seoul to deliver a personal message from President Eisenhower to President Syngman Rhee, urging cooperation in the truce.
President Rhee had been captured by the Japanese when he was much younger and they had been unable to break him with bamboo rods breaking his knuckles. The State Department and the White House were maintaining a façade of confidence that Mr. Robertson would succeed, but President Rhee had more power at his disposal than either Mr. Robertson or U.N. supreme commander General Mark Clark. The British had been urging force, as they had used in the Egyptian crisis during wartime, surrounding the palace of King Farouk with tanks, but President Rhee would not so easily be cowed by the threat of force and the relative strength of the South Korean and other U.N. forces was much greater than had been that of the Egyptian division and the British Army in those earlier days. General Clark had advised the Pentagon that a South Korean division was presently equal to an American division, and there were 19 such divisions against only six U.S. divisions. Moreover, President Rhee had the South Korean forces completely under his control and ready to obey his orders.
In addition, the primary bargaining tool which Mr. Robertson and General Clark were presumed to have, the threat of cutting off supplies to the South Korean forces, was not as strong as supposed. The South Korean Government had been permitted to accumulate 45 days worth of supplies for their troops, per the standard military protocol. That would provide ample time for President Rhee's strategy of fighting on against the Communists until U.S. forces were inevitably again involved.
President Rhee, brave, obdurate and nearly 80 years old, would not be easy to persuade away from his fixed idea of a unified Korea. One of the Alsops had spent a couple of hours with him during the fall of 1950, when victory seemed imminent, following the invasion of North Korea by way of the landing at Inchon by General MacArthur. But even then, the President had continued to belabor the terrible mistake made by President Benes of Czechoslovakia, that if he had defied Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain at Munich in September, 1938, and continued to fight Hitler, rather than agreeing to the cession of the Sudetenland to Germany, then France and Britain would have been forced at that juncture to join the war and Czechoslovakia would have survived. He believed that the continued partition of Korea would only produce the same results as had the partition of Czechoslovakia at Munich.
They find that perhaps Mr. Robertson might succeed, but that if he failed, there would be no truce possible without South Korea's cooperation and any attempt by South Korea to fight on alone would lead inevitably to a major disaster in Asia. They suggest that a lesson should be taken from the episode, regardless of the outcome, that people meant what they said, even if it made no sense.
Marquis Childs tells of Atomic Energy Commission chairman Gordon Dean preparing to retire, to be succeeded by Lewis Strauss, former member of the Commission, a New York financier and Rear Admiral in the U.S. Naval Reserve. Mr. Strauss had served as the liaison between the AEC and the President when he was a member. Mr. Childs views him as a fortunate choice for the position for his experience, not needing months to catch up, as would a newcomer. He was also close to President Eisenhower, enabling a new start on atomic policy.
A top-secret document, referred to as the Kelly report, had recommended, according to a digest released publicly, a greatly accelerated program to build defenses which would give the country a better chance for survival. Mr. Strauss could take a badly needed first step in lowering some of the barriers of secrecy so that the public could understand the truth about atomic energy. At that point, the President ought disclose the facts to the American people, a requirement if the drift toward atomic war, capable of wiping out Western civilization, was to be scotched. Such information was urgent, as within about two to three years, it had been anticipated that hydrogen bombs of various types would be available for use.
A letter from Bob Cherry, Jr., responds, predictably, to a letter from a minister who had decried capital punishment in general, and as specifically applied to Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, saying that, in the eyes of the minister, Mr. Cherry must be one of "those plain ignorant 'panic patriots'" who firmly believed that "the two drank from the cup of their deservings." He says that he envied the patriot who had thrown "the switch that fried the traitorous vultures to a crisp!" "Let the fate of the Rosenbergs stand as a warning to others among us who—to paraphrase Omar Khayyam—would drown American patriotism in a shallow cup and sell America's security for a despicable ideology."
A letter from the chairman of the Official Board of Stewards of Dilworth Methodist Church provides a resolution passed on June 12 endorsing the teaching of the Bible in the City schools and hoping it would be continued.
Recently, 26 Baptist ministers in the community had issued a resolution to the City and County School Boards, expressing the desire that the program be ended as a violation of the principle of separation of church and state, as embodied in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
A letter writer indicates that a challenge had been issued to parents, whether or not the Bible teaching program would be continued in the public schools. She agrees that it was the duty of the home and church to teach religion to the children but wonders how children who were born into "self-centered homes instead of God-centered homes" were going to be reached. Since children were forced by the State to attend school, she finds it no problem to provide Bible instruction in the public schools. She suggests that it was considered undemocratic to refuse to put Communist literature on the library shelves, and that some had suggested a course in same so that the children could decide the type of government they liked, and so finds no inconsistency in putting the Bible in the schools.
Communism is not a religion, but a form of shared-wealth economy, based on no government, at least in its ideal form, obviously not coincident with that being practiced at the time in the Soviet Union and in Communist China, which were totalitarian states. The ideas about teaching of Communism would be no different than the idea of teaching of religion, to enable understanding, in the one case of what the country was battling to prevent world domination, and in the other, to become more aware of how various religions were similar, as well as how some differed in certain respects. But just as no one was proposing the actual teaching of Communism in the schools, neither should Christianity, per se, be taught in the public schools, because, in the latter case, the Constitution forbids the state establishment of a religion.
A letter writer indicates that she was graduating from a Charlotte high school and believed that the Bible study program should be taught in the high schools and elementary schools, that she had taken the course in the 10th and 11th grades and gotten more from the courses than she could have ever learned in Sunday School. The courses were electives. She asks the Baptist ministers who had petitioned the School Boards to end the program whether they had sat in on a Bible class and observed the procedures, that the students did not know the denomination of the teacher. She believes it was a form of free speech and freedom of religious belief.
Again, she misses the point, regarding the Establishment Clause, and its reasoning by the Founders.
A letter writer indicates that the Bible was not the church and the church was not the Bible, that at the time the Bible was written, inspired by the Holy Spirit, there had been no church. The church used the Bible as a guide but did not own it. The Bible was for all of the people, not just the church. He therefore believes that when the principle of separation of church and state was discussed, the reference regarded the situation where the church was controlling or attempting to control the government politically, which he indicates was not being done by teaching the Bible in the schools. He believes that the better the Bible student, the better the citizen and that it would be well to visit the Bible classes and hear the lessons taught than to bar it from the schools. He indicates that the Bible was used in various government functions, for taking oaths and the like, and that it was the basis for chapels and chaplains in the military. The reason why, he offers, was that they knew it paid.
He also misses the point about the Establishment Clause and why it was included in the Constitution in the first place. It was not designed to be utilized only where a church was attempting to take over the government, but was designed to stop the government from establishing a state religion in the first instance. Face the fact that if children are either not inclined to attend Sunday School or are not attentive enough therein to obtain religious instruction, they would not be any more so inclined by the fact of the instruction in the public schools. And given the Charlotte and Mecklenburg County crime rates at the time, there is little evidence that the Bible teaching program in the public schools had done a lot of great good in the community, as the program had been in existence since the 1920s, while Charlotte led the nation for a time during the 1930s and early 1940s as the murder capital, per capita, of the entire nation. Perhaps reading of all that murder and mayhem in the Bible got their jolliwogs all abuzz, at least those who were predisposed anyway to murderous or violent tendencies. There was nothing wrong with teaching Bible history as history, maintained in the perspective of the overall society through time, but to teach it as instruction in a particular religion was what was at issue in terms of separation of church and state.
If the public school system teaches Protestant Christianity, as the Charlotte program did, and offers no course in Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism or the great variety of other religions and religious doctrines across the world, which, as a practical matter, no high school likely would be equipped to do in any meaningful manner, it runs afoul of the Establishment Clause, and even if it does teach all religions practiced in a given community, it is still engaged in teaching religion, rather than about religion, and thus violates the Clause. It is really, in practice, not very complicated. Keep religion in the church. No one is stopping anyone else from praying in school when they feel the need to do so, especially before tests, as long as it is not a disturbance to others, which then becomes a matter of proper school conduct rather than any issue of free speech or freedom of religious belief, just as no one is preventing the student who wishes to proselytize other students who are willing to listen during lunch breaks or study halls. But the school, itself, cannot so engage in instruction of a particular religion.
Moreover, if one is wise in selecting from an available curriculum in the history and English departments of a high school, to the extent such choice is permitted in the particular school system, one can glean a fair history of religious practices, the more relevant subject for academic study regarding the pros and cons through time of various forms of religious beliefs, regardless of the particular sect or religion practicing the particular beliefs and rites, discerning thereby the impact of religion and religious practices on given cultures and societies through time, whether it be of primitive societies or those of the 15th through 19th centuries after the invention of the printing press, allowing for widespread dissemination of ideas, not any longer reliant on monks as scribes and word of mouth, including the more advanced culture of Revolutionary America and France in the latter 18th Century, and onward into modern times.
In any event, we are getting tired of this topic appearing repeatedly on the pages of late and hope that the letter writers will soon shift gears and move on. It does get a bit redundant. We think we have heard adequately from all sides now, save, perhaps, the Devil, himself—who, no doubt, will demand equal time for a course in witchcraft and Satanism, another problem occasioned by the attempt to teach a particular religion in the public schools. It is true, however, that the Klan has not yet, officially at least, weighed in on the subject.
While on the subject of religion and its teaching, we think that the president of Liberty University should not be forced to resign over a gag picture of himself with his zipper partially down and a drink in his hand with his arm around a similarly situated young woman, who was a person, pregnant at the time, on his wife's staff, posing deliberately for the picture, presumably to mock those who actually engage in such loose lifestyle, as many in the South are wont to do on occasion, especially in Beach City. We do not agree with anything Mr. Falwell says, at least nothing we have heard, regarding politics, and have long felt the intermingling of politics with white Protestant religion, which first began in earnest in some of the evangelical ministries during the mid-1970's, coincident with the appearance in most markets of cable television, enabling such ministries to gain traction with tv viewers, was in reaction to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950's and 1960's, which had its origins in the church, that substantial part of it at least which was led and inspired by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. The evangelicals of that earlier time, in the mid-1970's and 1980's, appeared to be rooted, sub silentio, by the fact of the political causes, issues and politicians embraced, in the segregationist past, seeking to undo advances made through time toward integrating society and making it truly color blind, as well as eliminating discrimination based on national origin, ethnicity, religion, sex and other characteristics on which discrimination had been practiced systemically in the past, whether in the United States or elsewhere in the world, a more ecumenical approach to society in general, using ecumenical in its most universal sense, not confined only to religion, in short a more diverse approach, best represented by the diversity in the U.N. All of that, it seemed to us, was being hailed by many of the evangelicals as a form of devil-worship, anti-Christian, as they saw it. Viewed through that lens, it was at once repulsive, and caused many, seeing the same, to turn away completely from any form of religion, unfortunately bedraggled by the tv preachers, who were hardly representative of the ordinary non-tv oriented churches around the corner.
But, having said that, we again stress that we do not believe Mr. Falwell should be forced to resign over a gag picture, any more than we thought that Senator Al Franken should have been forced to resign his seat in 2018 over a gag picture taken with a Playboy model, snapped during a USO trip a couple of years before he entered the Senate, or that Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia should have been forced to resign a year or so ago when a yearbook photo surfaced of someone in blackface, next to his yearbook photo—about as flimsy an excuse for resignation, based entirely on political opposition, as it gets. We were happy to see Governor Northam stand his ground. If such things were ground for resignation, then surely the current occupant of the White House should have been ousted on day one—though in his case, there were more serious problems than grabbing kittycats, but we refrain from beating a dead horse.
Yet, with regard to Mr. Falwell, if it is true, as many students and graduates of Liberty University contend, that he has led the University in a way which does not support diversity within its student body, then, on that basis, and that basis alone, perhaps, he ought be forced to resign as president, though given his name, he would likely continue in some significant capacity in that University, founded by his well-known father in 1971. Perhaps, to enforce the point, other schools ought begin to cancel athletic events or other forms of intercollegiate activities and refuse henceforth to schedule such activities with Liberty, if the charge is ultimately shown to be true and not just randomly anecdotal, at least until a positive change is evidenced with respect to diversity in the student body. We do not extend that to the curriculum offered at Liberty as it is a private University and can therefore teach whatever it wants to teach, while students there must also realize the inherent limitations occasioned by a strictly Bible-based educational framework where all the courses, according to Liberty's website, "are taught from a Christian perspective" and all faculty members regard themselves as "mentors", presumably in Christianity—quite distinct, as we understand it, from such schools as Duke University, founded by Methodists, and Wake Forest University, founded by Baptists, which have respected Divinity Schools, but, while not neglecting basic Judeo-Christian principles of fair play and justice, also provide a complete curriculum otherwise in the physical and social sciences, humanities, and general liberal arts studies, with no particular religious instruction or religious bias required for continued study and graduation, though any such liberal curriculum at any college or university would always be entirely consistent with the Biblical blessing in Proverbs of the "liberal soul".
We also have to wonder about Mr. Falwell's slow, seemingly slurred speech, as to whether it is the result of a medical condition, merely a characteristic which he has always had, a function of physical exhaustion of the moment or something else, but perhaps we are being unduly picky on that point. He could be a moron, and, if so, we apologize in advance.
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