The Charlotte News

Wednesday, May 17, 1938


Site Ed. Note: The following letter to the editor came in with regard to "Playing With Fire", May 7, and "Curious Omissions", May 12, upbraiding Cash or whoever the author of the editorials was. (It is entirely possible, of course, too, that some of the editorials, while primarily by Cash, were edited by someone else, interlineating a thought here, a concession there, or vice versa.)

Regardless, in this instance, neither of the editorials attacked Catholics or their faith, as the letter writer assumed. They attacked one and only one thing--the support of fascism, questioning in the one case how anyone in the name of religion could aid in barring free speech because of perceived religious persecution by "socialists" in another country--the ouster from "Haguetown" of Socialist Party head, Norman Thomas, and two Congressmen who came to town to try to speak against the practice being the immediate issue--, and on the other, how anyone could, in the name of religion, support an army such as Francisco Franco's, and by implication therefore, Mussolini's and Hitler's--all obviously in the hope of triggering sensitive thought among sensitive Catholics to alter this position in fact taken by the Pope because of the perceived atrocities by the Loyalists, thought to be communists, to Catholics in Spain. (See, for further elucidation of the issue, with emphasis on Franco's atrocities and Pope Pius XI's implicitly condoning stance, "A Moderate Request", March 24, 1938, but also see, e.g., "A Pope Passes", February 10, 1939)

We might also ask 68 years later rhetorically, for the sake of purely academic consideration, how it was that this letter writer knew enough to write the letter unless he had been to Spain and seen the things of which he implicitly writes, if he was to deny the editorialist the same latitude of being able to write about something as simple as a talk to which the letter writer assumes at least the author did not attend.

Assuming both editorials were by Cash, the letter writer was obviously not terribly familiar with his editorial past, such as that contained in the small town Cleveland Press, while Catholic-baiting Kukuism was alive and well in the campaign of 1928 between Al Smith and Herbert Hoover, and quite alive and well locally, amply demonstrated on the hustings in North Carolina, as Furnifold Simmons, Cash's first subject for the American Mercury in "Jehovah of the Tar Heels", July, 1929, led a revolt from the Democratic Party precisely because of Al Smith being Catholic. (See, e.g., "A Precedent", November 13, 1928, (never minding our spring, 2001 prediction for 2004), among many other editorials of that time.)

Indeed, it pays to have one's facts straight.

But of course the letter writer made his points well and had every right to do so, which is why the editors published it and why we take the time to republish it 68 years later.

Yet, when someone took to task Cash for being a practitioner and believer in such things antithetical to him as Com(mmm)-mu-nism, as did apparently Dave Clark, (though we're still looking for the durned thing, and when we do find it, oh, you just wait for our letter to the editor--), or even something as scornfully despised as jour-na-lismmm, he had, informally or in print, a ready means of reply, one from which this letter writer could have perhaps taken the wiser counsel.


For, at the end of the day, Pilgrim, early or late--albeit some later than others obviously, some to this day, in fact--we've all been persecuted, as individuals or as members of some or another organization, religion, ethnic group, minority, or by ascription of some belief, whether actually held of the moment or not. Hell, else we wouldn't have sailed or run across some border to America with all its manifold problems probably in the first place--though some, it is true, were brought here quite involuntarily and impressed thereafter quite involuntarily, in chains.

Our Remarks On Catholics Draw Retort

Reader Thinks Our Editorials About The Church And Spain Show Marked Bias

Dear Sir:

In less than a week you have published two editorials detrimental and unfair to Catholics. Yet you state in your editorial "Playing With Fire" that you despise anti-Catholic activities and you are not biased. You also have a quotation in the editorial column, "We seek truth that we may follow it;" but after reading your anti-Catholic editorials, what is one to think? It is blind prejudice or you are most lacking in real information.

If you have eye trouble you would consult an oculist, not a chiropodist, would you not? Then when you want the right information about the Catholic Church, go to a Catholic, not an anti-Catholic. Having been a member of the Catholic faith for nearly 50 years, I should know what the church stands for and that it favors fascist regime is not true. We favor no communism, fascism or nazism or any other un-American "isms," but we do stand behind Americanism, Patriotism and Catholicism.

Your "Playing With Fire" editorial would infer that we were lacking in our Americanism, but Catholics have shed their life's blood on American battlefields in American causes, upheld its Constitution and nobly defended it. We always have and always will

You were not present at Dr. Derry's speech, yet you can write an editorial about it. Dr. Derry would prove and back up any statement he made. For you to say that those consecrated to God were not murdered, shows how little you know of the truth. Certainly the Catholic Church is wholeheartedly against communism, fascism, nazism, because they are destructive to human liberties and Christianity.

Catholics are not the only ones against these organizations. Any good American, the Jew, Protestant or Catholic, is ready to defend the United States against any organization that would destroy our Constitution or our rights.

Anyone with common sense knows that communism in this country is hiding behind so-called democracy and fooling the American public with its so-called democracy and spending thousands upon thousands of dollars in propaganda.

We of the Catholic faith have been told by some of our clergy to ignore insults and mud-slinging and to show a spirit of Christian charity, but personally my Christian charity is getting thread bare and I think we have been patient long enough.

I would suggest that before you write any more anti-Catholic editorials, you get the right information from the right source.

I have subscribed to The Charlotte News for over twenty years and I get a great deal of pleasure reading The News, and I must say that some of your editorials are exceptionally good, but I am resentful (rightly so) of your editorials attacking Catholic citizens or their faith.



Hazy Note: All of which causes us to pause to remember that once we had occasion to see a hearing held by the Congress in Lumberton, North Carolina--that's right a Congressional hearing in the small town of Lumberton. They were there looking into some cats' supposed poll abuses allegedly occurring in a contested Congressional election, as we recall, sometime back there in the early to mid-nineties, must have been.

Anyway, we watched the hearing because the building in which the hearing was being held, having been the theater once upon a time, had been where we first saw "Bambi", "High Noon", "Song of the South", "April Love", "Jailhouse Rock", and other such things, as a little tyke--so we just watched and watched and listened and listened.

We don't remember now too much of import from the hearing, it being of little if any impact on us today, our attention mainly being drawn to the theater in which the televised hearing took place. And that it all was quite surreal, as if peering through a warp and woof in time somehow, as we viewed it all from our home in California.

But we do recall, making it the more surreal, there being a presentation by one witness of a statistical analysis of some otherwise dry demographics regarding the voters and voting patterns in the district, prepared by a sociologist: The name of the sociologist, we shall never forget, was either Dr. Dodo (ph. sp.) or Dr. Dodoo (ph. sp.) or Dr. Doodo (ph. sp.) or Dr. Doodoo (ph. sp.), depending on the particular pronunciation of the witness, the good doctor's assistant, at any given stammering moment, doing her level best to maintain her composure through all the dry statistical analysis presented to this Congressional committee set up in the old local theater where "Bambi" and other such presentations had appeared for many decades, and in which, for about four or five of our initial years (maybe a little longer than even that), we had been first ingratiated to the cinematic arts.

Just thought we would pass that on, with obviously no aspersions cast on the good sociologist or his good name--though perhaps there needed to be less poetic stress on his name in his assistant's rendering of his report to the Congressional committee, posited in the theater, studying whether there was ancient and bad stuff going down in that election there in Lumberton.

My gentle harp, once more I waken
The sweetness of thy slumb'ring strain
In tears our last farewell was taken
And nos in tears we meet again.
Yet even then, while peace was singing,
Her halcyon song o'er land and sea,
Though joy and hope to others bringing,
She only brought new tears to thee.

Then who can ask for notes of pleasure,
My drooping harp, from chords like thine?
Alas, the lark's gay morning measure
As ill would suit the swan's decline.
Or how shall I, who love, who bless thee,
Invoke thy breath for freedom's strains,
When e'en the wreaths in which I dress thee,
Are sadly mixed, half flours, half chains.

--Lyric by Thomas Moore, ca. 1798.

A Kingdom of Yes-Men

For it is the day of the Lord's vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion... They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom, but none shall be there, and all her princes shall be nothing.

Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read: no one of these shall fall, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.

And he hath cast the lot for them, and his hand hath divided it unto them by time: they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein.


Some such mournful reflections must have passed through the head of old Senator Cotton Ed Smith when he read yesterday that Olin Johnston, Governor of South Carolina, had come out from a conference which President Roosevelt had sought with him and, grinning like the Cheshire cat, had announced, as everybody thought he would, for the United States Senate. And Cotton Ed knew all too well the potency of that White House blessing and that himself was marked for the slaughter as a judgment for the "controversy of Zion."

Cotton Ed, it happens, is hardly the sort of Senator to be selected as a symbol of independent statesmanship and progressiveness. In fact, Cotton Ed is a bumbler of the first order; but he is an independent bumbler, and that is something. Governor Johnston's sole claim to membership in the greatest deliberative body in the world, the Senate of the United States, is that he has obeyed the first part of that commandment to let his speech be yea, yea and nay, nay.

A Mystery Story

The story thus far is that in 1935 Senator Nye introduced a neutrality bill, which was passed, outlawing entirely the shipment of munitions to nations which the President should define as belligerents, and the shipment of other goods except in foreign bottoms and for cash on the barrelhead. The bill neglected to provide for civil wars, so later it was amended, and the President immediately defined the long, weary struggle in Spain as a civil war, which brought both sides under the ban of this country's neutrality.

But recently Senator Nye had a change of heart. His neutrality-at-any-price, he found, was actually serving to impede small nations, such as Ethiopia, fighting for their lives against being gobbled up by larger nations, such as Italy; and what was worse, impeding the democratic cause in Spain to the advantage of the fascist cause. So he introduced a resolution lifting the arms embargo as applied to the Spanish Loyalists.

Now go on with the story.

Secretary Hull flatly opposes the Nye resolution, for these very good reasons:

"In view of the continued danger of international conflict arising from the circumstances of the struggle, any proposal which at this juncture contemplates a reversal of our policy of strict non-interference... would offer a real possibility of complications."

That brings us up to date, and next week's installment should deal, we think, with the reasons why the President, regardless of the compulsion of the neutrality act, is yet to define the mammoth struggle in China as a war, thus bringing both sides under the proscriptions set forth in that law. The use of one policy toward one set of belligerents and the use of an entirely different policy toward another set of belligerents is not, we submit, under any circumstances to be called strict neutrality.

The Telling Argument

Big Jim Farley certainly picks 'em with a fine impartial hand. The George Earle-Tom Kennedy coalition ticket he proposes for Pennsylvania is a proposal to join directly opposing interests. Earle, who was once the darling of the CIO in Pennsylvania, has now become its bete noire. The union has sworn to get him. And on the other hand, Kennedy, of course, is merely a stand-in for John Lewis.

Yet, the thing may be a good deal less impossible than it looks. Big Jim himself candidly urges it on the basis of purely political considerations. And it is likely that both Earle and Lewis are actively interested in preserving the national harmony of the Democratic Party. Earle's Presidential hopes are deader than a doornail, no doubt, but it is unlikely that he himself knows it. Men who have once been bitten with the Presidential bug never do know when their hopes are dead. And, though Lewis flirts with the third party idea, he probably will be in the Democratic boat in 1940.

But, regardless of their attitude about party harmony nationally, the two are certainly going to have to be interested in it in Pennsylvania. That is, of course, if they land the nominations for the Senate and Governorship, as Big Jim seems to think they will. The two factions may hate each other bitterly, but after all there are jobs at stake, and if they didn't get together the Republicans will get the jobs...

Notes on Justice*

It's a far cry from Uncle Tom's Cabin, this incident that follows, and the Yankees probably won't believe it yet. But it happened.

A white farmer in Mecklenburg swore out a warrant against his Negro tenant, charging assault with a deadly weapon. The case was heard in County Recorder's Court, and during the testimony the Judge--Hunter, by name--discovered to his own satisfaction that the white man had provoked the trouble and had been the aggressor. Summarily, as is the way in these lesser courts, he ruled that the warrant was "frivolous and malicious," and popped a $50 fine on the white landlord for trespassing.

A thing that the Yankees can't understand is that Southern courts, as a rule, will lean over backwards to make sure that in a case involving both races the Negro gets justice. This doesn't mean that the black man will come free in a majority of his appearances, for frequently guilt sticks out all over him. Nor does it mean that the police aren't, all too often, needlessly rough in making arrests, a characteristic which is only partly ameliorated by the unruliness of the kind of colored people with whom they have to deal.

But the courts--those civil and criminal courts above the magistrate courts--take pains to see that the Negro is not victimized by his superiors.

Reminder by a Ship

There was a ship that came sailing into that river 329 years ago next September 3. She was a quaint, big-bellied little tub, and bore the charming name of Half-Moon. Her captain was a certain Henry Hudson, an Englishman in the service of the Dutch East India Company, and he came poking in there in the hope of finding the fabulous Northwest Passage. He didn't find it, of course, but he did observe that the wilderness offered great opportunities for trading in furs, formally claimed the country, and went home and told his masters about it. And so before long there were trading posts at Albany and on the lower tip of Manhattan Island.

Other ships came there after that, some of them bearing the patroons of the Dutch West India Company. And among the lesser of these there was one who bore the odd name of Roosevelt, whose descendants were destined sometime to sit on a mightier throne than even that of William of Orange. There was another shipment that came in there with a new Governor, Peter Stuyvesant, the story of whose peg leg was afterward to fascinate generations of American children. And then one day anchors splashed off the Battery and captain Robert Nicholls had come to make good the claim of the Duke of York. The town surrendered without a shot. But afterward, when there was fighting between England and Holland, the Dutch retook the place, only to have to give it up under the treaty that ended the war.

Probably, it all seemed pretty bitter to the Dutch then. But there was no reproach in the name which the great luxury liner, the Nieuw Amsterdam, came bearing into the river yesterday. Only a pleasant little reminder to New York that once upon a time she was an obscure little Dutch town.

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