Supreme Court decision
By: Charles Evans Hughes
Date: April 28, 1930
Source: Cochran v. Louisiana State Board of Education. 281 U.S. 370 (1930). Available online at http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=case... ; website home page: http://www.findlaw.com (accessed February 14, 2003).
About the Author: Charles Evans Hughes (1862–1948), born in Glens Falls, N.Y., was governor of New York from 1906 to 1910. During the presidencies of Warren G. Harding (served 1921–1923) and Calvin Coolidge (served 1923–1929), Hughes was secretary of state. As chief justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1930 to 1941, his positions on issues of civil liberties and civil rights anticipated the Court's future actions. Noteworthy is his strong stance in favor of free speech, free press, and equal protection of the laws.
In 1928 Louisiana passed legislation that permitted the use of state funds to purchase secular, or nonreligious, textbooks for all schoolchildren. This legislation, which applied to both public and private schools, prohibited the purchase of...
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By: Pope Pius XI
Date: December 31, 1930
Source: Pope Pius XI. Casti Connubii. Rome, December 31, 1930. Available online at http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xi/encyclicals/docum... ; website home page: http://www.vatican.va (accessed February 9, 2003).
About the Author: Pope Pius XI (1857–1939) was born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti in Desio, Italy, and ordained a priest in 1879. A superb scholar, he committed most of the next 43 years to work as a church librarian. In 1918 Pope Benedict selected him for diplomatic service and dispatched him to Poland as an apostolic visitor. Three years later Ratti returned to Italy and was appointed the cardinal archbishop of Milan. He was elected pope by the College of Cardinals in 1922 and served until his death in 1939.
Pope Pius XI addressed three major issues facing Roman Catholics in his encyclical Casti Connubii (On Christian Marriage): birth control, abortion, and eugenics (the scientific and social control of human reproduction). Since the opening of the first birth-control clinic in the...
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Roosevelt and/or Ruin
"Roosevelt or Ruin"
By: Father Charles E. Coughlin
Date: November 27, 1933
Source: Coughlin, Charles E. "Roosevelt or Ruin." National newsreel broadcast, November 27, 1933. Available online at http://www.pbs.org/greatspeeches/timeline/index.html#1930; website home page: http://www.pbs.org/greatspeeches (accessed February 10, 2002).
"Roosevelt and Ruin"
By: Father Charles E. Coughlin
Date: June 19, 1936
Source: Coughlin, Charles E. "Roosevelt and Ruin." National radio address, June 19, 1936. Available online at http://www.pbs.org/greatspeeches/timeline/index.html#1930; website home page: http://www.pbs.org/greatspeeches (accessed February 10, 2002).
About the Author: Charles Edward Coughlin (1891–1979), born in Ontario, was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1916. From 1926 to 1966 he served as pastor of the Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak,...
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Letter to the Nation's Clergy and Their Responses
Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Nation's Clergy, September 24, 1935
By: Franklin D. Roosevelt
Date: September 24, 1935
Source: Roosevelt, Franklin D. Letter to the Nation's Clergy, Washington, D.C. September 24, 1935. FDR Library. President's Personal File. Entry 21. Box 1. Reproduced as "Letter to the Nation's Clergy, Franklin D. Roosevelt" in the New Deal Document Library. Available online at http://newdeal.feri.org/texts/394.htm; website home page: http://newdeal.feri.org (accessed February 11, 2003).
About the Author: Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882–1945) was born in Hyde Park, N.Y. He became assistant secretary of the Navy in 1913 and governor of New York in 1928. He is the only U.S. president to have been elected four times (in 1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944). He died during his fourth term on April 12, 1945. Many historians consider him one of the most successful American presidents. He is noted especially for his leadership during the Great Depression, World War II, and for the establishment of the United Nations.
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By: Dorothy Day
Date: May 1936
Source: Day, Dorothy. "Pacifism." The Catholic Worker, May 1936, 8. Available online at http://www.catholicworker.org/dorothyday/daytext.cfm?TextID... ; website home page: http://www.catholicworker.org (accessed February 11, 2002).
About the Author: Dorothy Day (1897–1980), born in Brooklyn, New York, was a noted social reformer and activist. A dedicated Marxist in her youth, she later experienced a change of heart and converted to Roman Catholicism in 1927. Five years later she cofounded the Catholic Worker Movement. For more than four decades she guided this Catholic social activism movement in the areas of peace advocacy,...
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By: Pope Pius XI
Date: March 19, 1937
Source: Pope Pius XI. Divini Redemptoris. Rome, March 19,1937. Available online at http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xi/encyclicals/docum... ; website home page: http://www.vatican.va (accessed February 9, 2003).
About the Author: Pope Pius XI (1857–1939) was born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti in Italy. Ordained a priest in 1879 and known as a brilliant scholar, he devoted most of the subsequent 43 years to work as a church librarian. He was selected by Pope Benedict for diplomatic service and sent as an apostolic visitor to Poland in 1918. He returned to Italy in 1921 and became cardinal archbishop of Milan. He was elected pope in 1922 and served until his death in 1939.
Pope Pius XI wrote an encyclical, or letter to leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, on Atheistic Communism in 1937 to warn the world that Bolshevik and atheistic communism threatened the basic social structure of Christian civilization. Pope Pius accused communist authorities in the Soviet Union of directing this struggle against...
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"The Guiding Principles of Reform Judaism"
By: Central Conference of American Rabbis
Source: Central Conference of American Rabbis. "The Guiding Principles of Reform Judaism." Columbus, 1937. Available online at http://uahc.org/ccar/platforms/columbus.html; website home page: http://www.ccarnet.org (accessed February 10, 2003).
About the Organization: The Central Conference of American Rabbis, established in 1889, assists rabbis and their congregations in the practice of Reform Judaism. At a major meeting in Columbus, Ohio, in 1937, the Conference produced "The Guiding Principles of Reform Judaism." Also known as "The Columbus Platform," this document served as a guide to progressive Jewish beliefs and practices.
The history of Reform Judaism begins with the experiences of Jewish German immigrants who started coming to America in the mid-1840s. These new arrivals clung to the traditional Judaism of their European background. Life in America, however, presented significant cultural, social, and economic differences. These differences, coupled with the scarcity of trained Jewish religious leaders in the United States and the lack of contact with European...
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"Civilizations Have Perished"
By: Father Divine
Date: June 1, 1938
Source: Baker, George. "Civilizations Have Perished." Speech delivered at Father and Mother Divine's International Peace Mission Movement. New York, June 1, 1938. Transcript available online at http://www.libertynet.org/fdipmm/word1/38060113.html; website home page: http://www.libertynet.org (accessed February 9, 2002).
About the Author: Father Divine (c. 1880–1965) was born George Baker in rural Georgia and became a noted African-American evangelist. He organized a religious movement called the Peace Mission and served as its director from 1915 to 1965. He built a large following among African Americans, especially in New York and Philadelphia. In addition to his spiritual mission, he was also a strong advocate for racial equality.
Baker's ministry began in 1899 in Baltimore, Maryland, where he taught Sunday school and preached in storefront churches. Around 1912 he went back to Georgia to establish a new ministry. A few years later he returned to New York City and assumed the name Major J. Divine. He established a communal home in Brooklyn, New York, in 1915 and then moved...
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"Coughlin, the Jews, and Communism"
By: William C. Kernan
Date: December 17, 1938
Source: Kernan, William C. "Coughlin, the Jews, and Communism." The Nation, December 17, 1938. Reproduced in American Journey. Available online at (accessed February 10, 2002).
About the Author: William Charles Kernan (1900–??) was ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church in 1926. After several years of ministerial work, he became pastor of St. James the Lesser in Scarsdale, N.Y. In 1938, he grew so upset with Father Charles Coughlin's radio sermons criticizing Jews that he decided to write a response to them. In 1952 Kernan renounced his Episcopalian ministry of 26 years and sought admission to the Roman Catholic Church, believing it to be the one true Christian church.
Kernan's article, "Coughlin, the Jews, and Communism," published in The Nation in 1938, focused on a criticism of Father Charles E. Coughlin's position concerning Jews and communism. Father Coughlin, called "the radio priest" because of the weekly sermons he broadcast during the 1930s, had made some extreme statements about alleged connections between Jews and Communists.
Since The Nation, founded in 1865 as an independent magazine, was dedicated to...
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Federal Writers' Project Interviews on Religion
By: Wayne Walden; J.F. Ariza; Ruth D. Bolton; Robert V. Williams
Source: Walden, Wayne. "Big Fred Tells a Tale: A Baptism that Didn't Take." Interview with Fred Roys, New York, October 30, 1938. Ariza, J.F. "Jesus Will Save an Irishman." Interview with Colonel John W. Foulkes, Seattle, December 19, 1938. Bolton, Ruth D. "Life History of Rev. Harden W. Stuckey." Interview with Rev. Harden W. Stuckey, South Carolina, June 23, 1939. Williams, Robert V. "Shouting for Heaven." Interview with Brother Fisher (Rev. W. M. Stallings), Charlotte, North Carolina, January 20, 1939. Reproduced in "American Life Histories: Manuscripts From the Federal Writers' Project, 1936–1940." American Memory digital primary source collection, Library of Congress. Available online at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/wpaintro/wpahome.html; website home page: http://www.memory.loc.gov (accessed February 12, 2003).
About the Organization: The Federal Writers' Project was funded by the Works Progress Administration, part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's (served 1933–1945) economic and social recovery program known as the "New Deal." The project provided jobs for an assortment of unemployed...
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A Guide to Understanding the Bible
By: Harry Emerson Fosdick
Source: Fosdick, Harry Emerson. A Guide to Understanding the Bible. New York, London: Harper & Brothers, 1938. Available online at ; website home page: http://www.religion-online.org (accessed February 10, 2003).
About the Author: Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878–1969), was born in Buffalo, New York, and became a Baptist minister in 1903. After a professorship at Union Theological Seminary, he served as pastor of Riverside Church in New York City from 1925 to 1946. During his tenure at the church he influenced the development of Christian theology and became a well-known author, lecturer, and religious radio broadcaster. His liberal theology at times brought him into conflict with more orthodox Christians.
The "Idea of God" is the title of the first chapter in Fosdick's book A Guide to Understanding the Bible. In this chapter he carefully examines the Jewish conception of God as presented in the Old Testament of the Bible. He then leads the reader to a new conception of God, based on the early Christians' understanding of Jesus Christ, as found in the New Testament.
Fosdick wrote A Guide to...
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"The Rising Tide of Anti-Semitism"
By: Alvin Johnson
Date: February 1939
Source: Johnson, Alvin. "The Rising Tide of Anti-Semitism." Survey Graphic, February 1939. Available online at http://newdeal.feri.org/survey/39a01.htm; website home page: http://newdeal.feri.org (accessed February 11, 2002).
About the Author: Alvin Saunders Johnson (1874–1971) was born in Homer, Nebraska. He earned a Ph.D. in economics in 1902 and then taught at several universities. In 1917 Johnson was appointed editor of the magazine The New Republic. He remained editor until 1923, when he assumed the directorship of the New School for Social Research in New York City. There, during the 1930s, he provided a home for refugee scholars from Nazi Germany.
Very much concerned about the presence of anti-Semitism, or prejudice against Jews, in America during
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"This Is My Task"
By: Aimee Semple McPherson
Date: March 12, 1939
Source: McPherson, Aimee Semple. "This Is My Task." Sermon delivered at Angelus Temple, Los Angeles, March 12, 1939. Transcript available online at ; website home page: http://www.libertyharbor.org (accessed February 12, 2003).
About the Author: American evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson (1890–1944), a popular preacher in the 1920s and 1930s, was a nonbeliever until the age of 17 when she met a Scottish evangelist, Robert Semple, who helped to convert her. They married in 1908 and he died shortly after. In 1913 she married Harold S. McPherson. Five years later that marriage ended in divorce and McPherson began her life as a lay—untrained and unordained—evangelist and conducted many revivals.
McPherson, one of the most famous and celebrated Pentecostal preachers in America, turned to the ministry after a near-death experience in a hospital. In the spring of 1913, the 23-year-old was rushed to the hospital suffering from appendicitis and nearly died. In later sermons she emphasized the importance of that sickroom incident to her ministry. She preached that she heard a voice asking her if she were willing to go. The mysterious...
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