Topics in the News
The Arab-Israeli Six-Day War, 1967
On 5 June 1967 the developing military crisis in the Middle East exploded when the Israeli air force launched lighting raids against the Egyptian troops which had recently reoccupied the Sinai Peninsula. A United Nations emergency force had served as a buffer force in the Sinai since the clash between Israel and Egypt in the Suez Crisis of 1956 but withdrew at Egypt's request. Cairo also announced it would close Israel's access to the Red Sea through the Gulf of 'Aqaba.
Anticipating an Arab war against the Jewish state, Israeli forces struck. In less than a week they first destroyed the Egyptian forces in the Sinai, then drove the military of Jordan from the west bank of the Jordan River, and finally crushed the forces of Syria and occupied the Golan Heights in southern Syria. In the process the Old City of Jerusalem was seized and annexed by Israel.
The Balance of Power.
The extraordinary success of the small but highly equipped and trained Israeli forces against the combined armies of three Arab states changed the balance of power in the Middle East for the coming decades and created diplomatic problems that still echo.
Israel and American Jews.
The threat of the destruction of Israel had...
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The Assimilation of the Jews
Decline of Anti-Semitism.
The postwar expansion of the American economy and the movement to the suburbs coincided with a decline in anti-Semitism. Jews, almost all now in their second or third generation in the United States, were able to move up professionally and out geographically. Their success made them the model ethnic group, offering other immigrants an example of what could be done in the United States. In spite of Zionist hopes, few Americans chose to go to the new Jewish state of Israel. By the 1960s many were Americans who happened to be Jews, and successful Americans at that.
While they were a successful group, what did it mean to be a Jew in America? Very little, some Jews feared. By 1964 surveys indicated that weekly religious attendance at synagogue or temple was only 17 percent, compared to the 42 percent weekly church attendance among Christians. Some Jewish observers wondered if those figures reflected the weakness of the Jewish faith and culture. They noted that Hanukkah, a minor Jewish holiday, had become the most celebrated holiday among Jews, and even the High Holidays did not attract significant numbers of worshipers.
The Problem of Assimilation. In
The Dilemma of the Modern Jew (1962) Rabbi Joachim Prinz warned that the danger to Jews...
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Manifesto of Revolution.
In May 1969 James Foreman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) presented the "Manifesto to the White Christian Churches and the Jewish Synagogues in the United States of America and All Other Racist Institutions" to the New York meeting of the National Council of Churches. The manifesto, adopted earlier by the National Black Economic Development Conference, was a combination of Marxist ideology and black power rhetoric. As Foreman said in his introduction, the aim was "to bring this [American] government down … [and] liberate all the people in the U.S. and … the colored people the world around.…Racism in the U.S. is so pervasive … that only an armed, well-disciplined, black-controlled government can insure the stamping out of racism."
Image Pop-UpJames Foreman reads the demands of the Black Manifesto at St. George's Church in New York.
The manifesto demanded that the religious bodies of the United States provide $500 million in reparations for their implication in the "capitalistic and imperialist power structure." Two days later, in what became an ongoing practice through the year,...
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In the early part of the decade the news media paid increasing attention to what they called the Black Muslims, members of the Lost-Found Nation of Islam, headed by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Muhammad insisted that early in the century he had come into contact with a mysterious W. D. Fard, who was later identified as Allah himself. When Fard disappeared in 1933, Muhammad took control of his organization and its Detroit mosque. Muhammad's ideas rested on a foundation of black separatism with trappings of Islam. Blacks were the original people. Whites were devils who became the oppressors of blacks. Islam was the true religion and the natural religion of blacks. They should leave the slave religion of Christianity and separate themselves from the larger white culture.
Muhammad served a brief prison sentence for encouraging his followers to refuse the draft in World War II. On his release he began to rebuild his movement from his new headquarters in Chicago. One of his most astute moves was to recognize the potential of a recent convert, Malcolm Little, who had taken the name
Image Pop-UpThe Greatest Story Ever Told was one of few...
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Books and Movies
A Lean Decade.
There were few successful movies or novels with explicitly religious themes during the 1960s. In 1961 a remake of King of Kings, a life of Jesus, was released. Nicholas Ray directed Jeffrey Hunter and Siobhan McKenna in this CinemaScope version, which was better received by the critics than by the audience. In 1965 George Stevens directed another version of the life of Jesus, The Greatest Story Ever Told, starring Max von Sydow and Charlton Heston. This version was filled with famous stars in cameo roles. John Wayne played a Roman officer supervising the Crucifixion of Jesus. The next year John Huston tackled the first twenty-two chapters of Genesis in a film called The Bible. The film was not a success with either the critics or the public. Huston himself made a passable Noah. Critics believed the best of the biblical films to appear in the United States during the decade was Pier Posolini's Gospel According to St. Matthew, which was released in the United States in 1966. This moving, simple telling of the story of Jesus was warmly received by critics and audiences in large cities, but it had limited impact on general or religious audiences because of difficulties with commercial distribution of a foreign film.
Criticism of Religion.
Reflecting the declining power of religious censorship,...
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Catholics and Politics
In 1960 John Fitzgerald Kennedy became the second Roman Catholic to be nominated for president by the Democratic party. In contrast to the failed campaign of Al Smith in 1928, Kennedy was successful, but his success raised questions about religious tolerance in the United States.
Kennedy attracted attention as a possible presidential candidate when southern Democrats supported his nomination for vice-president in 1956. By 1960 his two years of effort had created the most-effective campaign organization of all the Democratic contenders. But his religion was an issue that worried his friends and supporters. He quieted much of that apprehension when he easily won the primary in West Virginia. If he carried this largely Protestant state, perhaps sectarian animosity was declining.
But opposition remained. In May the Southern Baptist Convention objected to electing Roman Catholics to office, noting "When a public official is inescapably bound by the dogma and demands of his church, he cannot consistently separate himself from these." Herbert S. Mekel, the retiring president of the conservative National Association of Evangelicals, insisted that a Roman Catholic president would lead to suffering and the persecution among...
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The Rise of Pentecostalism.
During the 1960s Pentecostalism began to move into traditional Christian denominations. Pentecostalism, the baptism by the Holy Spirit as described in the second chapter of Acts, appeared in various areas in the South in the late nineteenth century. But the revival of the black evangelist W. J. Seymour on Azusa Street in Los Angeles in 1906 began the spread of Pentecostalism throughout the United States.
Working Class Support.
The phenomenon quickly spread in working-class white and black communities, particularly in the South and West, but was rejected by traditional Protestant groups who believed God had already spoken through the Bible and Catholics and others who believed that God spoke through the Church itself or through tradition. The increasing number of charismatics were dismissed by traditional groups as Holy Rollers, people who not only spoke in tongues but even indulged in more-bizarre practices, such as spiritual healing and handling serpents. But Pentecostal churches such as the Church of God, the Assemblies of God, and the Full Gospel Church were firmly established by midcentury. As these believers moved into the middle classes in the expanding economy of the postwar era, Pentecostalism became more socially respectable. The Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International established branches...
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A series of church unions took place in the 1960s. While most of these mergers were between like-minded groups, they stimulated a belief in ecumenicism. The decade began with the creation of the American Lutheran Church by the union of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the American Lutheran Church, and the United Evangelical Lutheran Church. In 1962 the United Lutheran Church in America, the Agustana Evangelical Church, the American Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church united to form the Lutheran Church in America.
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Civil Rights and the Churches
Preachers and Civil Rights.
The goals of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s were achieved in large part by African-American preachers who led black southerners in a successful effort to secure the rights guaranteed to them in the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments. While the drive for this social revolution came from the black community, its success depended upon the support of whites at a time when the federal government had moved slowly to protect the rights of blacks in the South. A major factor in persuading whites to support these changes came from the ability of the civil rights workers to appeal to the religious and moral values of the nation.
In February 1960 white and black Americans were stunned by the sit-in demonstrations at the Woolworth's dime store's lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, which...
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Communism and the Churches
Although the anti-Communist hysteria of the McCarthy period had weakened by the beginning of the 1960s, charges of Communist influence and infiltration of the society in general and Protestant churches in particular continued. These charges found support from ultraright religious leaders, who in turn gained support from the military.
In 1960 the U.S. Air Force released a training manual that charged there was "overwhelming evidence" that Communist fellow travelers had infiltrated churches and educational institutions. Further, the manual charged, thirty of the ninety-five people who translated the Revised Standard Version of the Bible were "affiliated with pro-Communist fronts, projects, and publications."
In the face of sharp protests the training manual was withdrawn, but public debate continued when it was revealed that Fred C. Schwarz, president of the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade, joinedE. Merrill Root, author of Collectivism on Campus: The Battle for the Mind in American Colleges (1955), and Herbert Philbrick, author of I Led Three Lives: Citizen, "Communist," Counterspy (1952), in a seminar, Education for American Security, at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Glenville, Illinois. Critics of these programs...
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Consultation on Church Union
On 4 December 1960, on the eve of the triennial convention of the National Council of Churches of Christ in America, Eugene Carson Blake, the stated clerk (chief executive officer) of the United Presbyterian Church (Northern), gave a sermon at Grace Cathedral (Episcopal) in San Francisco. The sermon, entitled "A Proposal Toward the Reunion of Christ's Church," launched a movement toward a merger of the leading mainline Protestant denominations that lasted through the decade. In his sermon Blake proposed that the United Presbyterian, Episcopal, and Methodist churches and the United Church of Christ commit themselves to official consultation toward a merger despite their varying forms of governance and crucial doctrinal divisions.
Consultation on Church Union.
Other denominations joined in the program, officially called the Consultation on Church Union (COCU), in the course of the decade. They included the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); the Evangelical United Brethren (which later merged with the Methodist Church); the African Methodist Episcopal Church; the Presbyterian Church, U.S. (Southern); the African Methodist Church Zion, and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. If all the members of these denominations had joined there would have been a total membership of twenty-five million.
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The Death of God
God Is Dead.
In October 1965 Time magazine stirred up a tempest among the general public with a cover story called "Christian Atheism: The 'God Is Dead' Movement." The story focused on recent developments in Christian theology in which academics discussed the need for society to recognize that it behaved as if God were no longer active in the world. They claimed that modern man functions without the need for some transcendent explanation of life, and theologians had difficulty in finding words to describe God. The argument went as follows: what could theology say about religion when God, as Friedrich Nietzsche said, is dead? The God of the Christian past no longer served a function.
The movement got its name from the title of Gabriel Vahanian's book The Death of God: The Culture of Our Post-Christian Era (1961), but the controversy was stirred by the work of Thomas J. J. Altizer, The Gospel of Christian Atheism (1966). The movement attempted to create a theology which recognized the futility of using the traditional definitions of God, yet it accepted that the historical Jesus spoke to man in his current context, a context of a culture where mankind created a life defined in the secular. One had to discern the profane form of Jesus's presence in the world and live with the world's...
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The Importance of Music.
The civil rights movement depended upon commitment from small groups of people in situations that were filled with tension and frequently with violence. Drawing on the experience of the labor struggles of the 1930s, music became a way to maintain the spirits and sense of community of the participants. Because the church was the center of the black community in the South and frequently the force behind the civil rights movement, religious songs were often adapted for the situation. With topical lyrics adapted for the changing situations, these spirituals and gospel songs encouraged the activists and brought reassurance to the singers. In time they became the way mass demonstrations expressed their moral hopes. One of the early favorites was "We Shall Not Be Moved," which spread from the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee, one of the early training centers for movement activists. The anthem of the movement was "We Shall Overcome," which became a way of ending meetings both large and small. In 1965 President Lyndon Johnson used the phrase "We shall overcome" to conclude his proposed legislation which became the Voting Rights Act. The freedom songs were a way the community held itself together in the bitter days of the civil rights struggle.
Sing for Freedom: The Story of the Civil...
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On Human Life
The Question of Contraception.
By the early 1960s new contraceptive methods, particularly the birth-control pill, and growing concern about an exploding world population led some participants at the Second Vatican Council to raise the question of the church's traditional opposition to artificial birth control. The topic seemed ready for debate in the now-open climate of the church. But responding to conservatives in the Vatican, Pope John XXIII instead created a separate papal commission to review the issue. Pope John XXIII was succeeded by Paul VI in 1963, who was more responsive to conservative opposition to changes in traditional church teachings on sexual matters. In 1967 reformers were heartened when a draft report from the commission was leaked, saying that limiting the size of the family was the responsibility of the couple involved.
But when Pope Paul VI released his encyclical Humanae Vitae in 1968, he reasserted the church's traditional ban on artificial birth control. American Catholics, particularly women, responded with disappointment and anger. Most ignored the ruling. By the end of the decade 70 percent of Catholic women were privately using artificial birth control.
The clergy was more public in its opposition. When...
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The Mod Church
As the cold war moved into its third decade, cultural currents were changing, particularly among young people. Most continued to share and operate out of the values of their parents, but a significant group, located in large cities and around college campuses, began to reflect behavior that would be called counterculture. They left traditional religion behind them. In the face of the growing attraction of aspects of this set of attitudes, there were a variety of efforts to make religion more relevant to the needs and interests of the young. Malcolm Boyd's Are You Running with Me, Jesus? (1967) was one of the most dramatic evidences of these efforts.
Conservatives complained bitterly about the trendiness of religious leaders who seemed too willing to abandon old forms simply to reach young people "where they were at." As the Roman Catholic church modified the centuries-old forms of service, it also attempted to speak to the young in their own language and joined other liturgical churches celebrating folk masses. Many older members were offended. They had lost the beauty and mystery of the traditional Latin mass; now they were losing the music and structure too.
Closing a Magazine.
The United Methodist Church closed motive, its magazine...
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As usual the Bible remained the best-selling book during the 1960s. While Protestant traditionalists continued to rely on the King James Version, others turned to new translations. In 1961 the New Testament was published in the New English Bible translation. Nearly seven million copies were sold by the end of the decade, when it was announced that the complete New English Version of the Bible would soon be available. In 1965 a Catholic version of the Revised Standard Version of the New Testament was published, and the following year the Jerusalem Bible, the first Roman Catholic Bible translated from the original documents into English, was published. In 1965 the Anchor Bible translation began with each book coming out on a regular basis.
In 1963 a new translation of the Torah based on Masoretic (traditional Hebrew) text was published by the Jewish Publication Society of America. This translation did not depend on other Christian or Jewish translations.
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Religion in the Schools
As late as 1962 twenty-four states permitted or required children to begin the school day with prayer. One such state was New York, whose board of regents devised a prayer seemingly innocuous enough to avoid offending any of the variety of religious believers in that state. The prayer read as follows:
Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country.
On 25 June 1962 in Engel v. Vitale the Supreme Court in a six-to-one decision overturned lower-court rulings that said states could require prayer in schools if individual students were permitted to remain silent. Justice Hugo Black, speaking for the majority, ruled that any required prayer was a violation of the separation of church and state:
There is no doubt that a daily classroom invocation of God's blessing… is a religious activity. …It is not part of the business of government to compose official prayers for any group of American people to recite as a part of a religious program carried out by government.
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The Second Vatican Council and the American Church
As one observer noted, by the 1960s Catholics in the United States had won their struggle to discover what it meant to be American. But after Vatican II they had to struggle with what it meant to be Catholic.
In 1959 the newly elected (in October 1958) pope, John XXIII, announced an ecumenical council to bring the Catholic church up to date (aggiornamento). The council, the first in nearly one hundred years, opened in 1962 and was conducted in four sessions before closing in 1965, with Paul VI now the pope. Americans were active at the council, both Catholics as participants and Protestants as observers. Americans such as John Courtney Murray, Francis Cardinal Spellman, and Joseph Cardinal Ritter of Saint Louis played important roles in framing the documents of religious liberty, the absolution of the Jews for the death of Jesus, and the changes in the liturgy.
Vatican II did not create the explosion of activity that characterized the Catholic community in the last half of the decade. The tensions and desires were there waiting to develop; now they were allowed into the open. The Mass was given in English, and the priest faced the congregation, who participated fully in the service. The rigid separation from other religious groups had...
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Vietnam and the Clergy
Clergy Opposed to War.
One of the centers of opposition to the American involvement in the war in Vietnam was the clergy. From the beginning, pacifists, such as A. J. Muste of the Committee for Non-Violent Action (CNVA), and antiwar organizations, such as the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Quakers, and the American Friends Service Committee, raised questions about the U.S. support for the regime of President Ngo Dinh Diem of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam).
Minister's Vietnam Committee.
In September 1963, in the wake of Buddhist protests against the Diem regime's oppression, Rienhold Niebuhr and Harry Emerson Fosdick joined ten other clergymen to form the Ministers' Vietnam Committee, which took a full-page advertisement in The New York Times to protest American support for the repressive South Vietnamese government.
After President Diem was toppled by the military, the situation in Vietnam deteriorated, and the question of America's role in the region became an election issue in the presidential campaign of 1964. While the crucial issues in the campaign between President Lyndon Johnson and Republican candidate Barry Goldwater were domestic, Goldwater's militaristic views on the war helped lead the traditionally nonpolitical journals Christian...
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Bennett, John Coleman 1902-
PRESIDENT, UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY,
Christianity and Crisis.
John Coleman Bennett was born in Canada to American parents. In 1943 he became the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York; subsequently he was named dean of the seminary and then president in 1964. He was coeditor of the journal Christianity and Crisis and served as the vice-chairman of the Liberal party in New York City from 1955 to 1965. He spoke out extensively on issues of church/state relations, civil rights, and war. Among his publications are Christian Social Ethics in a Changing World (1966) and Foreign Policy in Christian Perspective(1966).
Robert Lee, The Promise of Bennett: Christian Realism and Social Religion (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1969).
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Blake, Eugene Carson 1906-
GENERAL SECRETARY, WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES
By the middle of the decade Eugene Carson Blake was sometimes laughingly referred to as the "Protestant Pope." He seemed to be everywhere. In 1956 he was elected stated clerk (executive officer) of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. (Northern), the largest Presbyterian body in the United States. He served in that position until 1966, when he became the general secretary of the World Council of Churches in its Geneva office.
National Council of Churches.
He served as president of the National Council of Churches from 1954 to 1957. Not only was he one of most prominent church bureaucrats of the period, he wielded significant influence among American Protestants. His sermon proposing a consultation on church union among the mainline Protestant churches set a decade-long ecumenical dialogue in motion. He was active in the civil rights movement and was a featured speaker at the Great March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August 1963. He became a major voice criticizing the continued U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam.
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Boyd, Malcolm 1923-
THE ESPRESSO PRIEST
Malcolm Boyd was ordained to the Episcopal ministry in 1951 after abandoning a promising career as a packager of shows for radio and television, during which he had served as the first president of the Television Producers Association of America, His studies included a year at Oxford and a year at Union Theological Seminary, where he studied under Reinhold Niebuhr. As the Protestant chaplain at Colorado State College, at the end of the decade he aroused controversy when he took himself and his message into the coffeehouses in Fort Collins because, he said, that was where young people who needed religion were. He resigned and moved to Wayne State University, where he again attracted notoriety with plays about social issues which he wrote and staged. His critics charged that they were obscene. In 1965 his eighth book, a collection of prayers called Are You Running with Me, Jesus?, became a best-seller. Boyd then moved to a new audience, reading his prayers and meditations in night-clubs such as the Hungry in San Francisco and to Charlie Byrd's jazz guitar music at both the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and the Broadway United Church of Christ in New York. He was committed to the civil rights movement and from 1964 to 1968 he functioned as "chaplain-at-large" to American universities.
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Graham, Billy 1918-
Image Pop-UpBilly Graham (1918–) has preached his biblical message to more than 100 million people throughout the world, more than any other Christian in history.
Billy Graham entered the decade as the most famous Protestant preacher in the world. His swift movement from tent revivals to huge stadium events around the world, his effective use of radio and television, and his organization that was able to coordinate his activities as well as maintain his financial integrity made him consistently one of the most admired men in the nation. Graham continued his crusades, as he called his revivals, speaking in London, Tokyo, Yugoslavia, and Latin America, as well as in Canada and the United States. Like the Vatican, Graham had a pavilion at the New York World's Fair (1964-1965).
World Congress on Evangelism.
One of his important activities was working with the World Congress on Evangelism, which met in Berlin in 1966. The congress, reminiscent of the great evangelistic conferences of the turn of the century, brought together representatives from around the world and reinvigorated the actions and growth of...
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King, Martin Luther, Jr. 1929-1968
CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER
Symbol and Leader.
Martin Luther King, Jr., became the symbol of the civil rights movement after leading the Montgomery bus boycott (1955-1956), which attracted the nation's attention to the growing dissatisfaction of southern blacks with the system of legal segregation. Along with a group of black Baptist preachers he helped form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and in his books and sermons he laid the foundation of nonviolent direct action as a way of securing for southern blacks their rights guaranteed in the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments.
When the SCLC joined the campaign to desegregate Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963, King's presence attracted the television and news cameras which recorded the shocking violence of the police toward the demonstrators, including children. Those displays of racism aroused the nation and forced the Kennedy administration to introduce a civil rights bill that became the...
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Malcolm, X 1919-1965
BLACK MUSLIM LEADER
Image Pop-UpBorn Malcolm Little, civil rights leader Malcolm X (1925–1965) advocated violence as a means for change. He later amended his position to include peaceful relationships with other races.
Malcolm Little was born to a father who was both a preacher and a follower of the black nationalist Marcus Garvey. His father died in mysterious circumstances when Malcolm was young, and after his mother was placed in a mental institution in Michigan, Malcolm, at age fifteen, dropped out of school to live with his half sister in Boston. After a criminal career on the streets on Boston and New York, he was arrested and was sentenced to ten years in prison for robbery.
Nation of Islam.
While in prison Malcolm came into contact with the writings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam, often called the Black Muslims. Malcolm was converted and replaced his "slave name" of Little with the letter X. After his release from prison in 1954 he joined Muhammad and quickly proved his ability as a preacher and an organizer. He was placed in charge of the New York mosque and within a...
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O'Hair, Madalyn Murray 1919-
The Problems of Atheists.
Madalyn Murray O'Hair called herself "the most hated woman in America." Although School Board of Abbington Township v. Schempp is usually cited as the case through which the Supreme Court ruled that public schools may not require Bible reading, the second decision on that issue was a case filed in 1959 by O'Hair and her son, William J. Murray (Murray v. Curlett). The decision was handed down in 1963. As atheists they protested the Baltimore school board's requirement that the public school day begin with prayer or Bible reading. Murray, as she was named then, attracted notoriety by organizing the American Atheist Center (1959), American Atheists, Inc. (1965), and the Society of Separationists (1965). Her American Atheist Radio series was broadcast on over four thousand radio stations. She had a talent for attracting attention as, for example, when she issued statements that she planned to sue to stop governments from giving tax exemptions to places of public worship and other religious organizations. She also announced she would sue to remove the phrase "In God We Trust" from the currency. After being arrested for attacking Baltimore police, she fled to Hawaii and eventually settled in Austin, Texas, where she and her new husband established the American Atheist Association. During the 1960s the American...
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Roberts, Oral 1918-
EVANGELIST, FOUNDER OF ORAL ROBERTS
Oral Roberts began his evangelistic career in 1947, after a brief ministry with the Pentecostal Holiness Church. At the beginning his primary emphasis was on healing services, and he attracted huge crowds in the 1950s with his tent revivals. His largest tent could seat 12,500. He soon recognized the usefulness of radio, eventually having over three hundred radio stations in the United States carrying his messages and shortwave radio beaming his program to the rest of the world. Most Americans outside Pentecostal circles grew familiar with him through the television programs he began in the mid 1950s, edited from his tent revivals. Many jeered at the healing lines he still used and scoffed at the "prayer cloths," pieces of cloth two and a half inches by five inches that he said he personally prayed over. He did not charge for these prayer cloths but maintained a list of supporters who were asked for regular contributions.
Moving to the Center.
Roberts became more respectable in the 1960s, moving toward the center of the...
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People in the News
Muhammad Ali defeated Sonny Liston on 25 February 1964 for the World Heavyweight Championship. He then confirmed rumors that he had converted to the Nation of Islam. He was stripped of his title in 1967 when he refused induction into the military for religious reasons. The Supreme Court overturned that conviction in 1971, stating that he had been improperly drafted.
In 1966 Thomas Jonathan Jackson Altizer of Emory University published The Gospel of Christian Atheism.
In 1961 Jim Bakker married Tammy Faye La Valley. They joined Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcast Network in 1965 and in November 1966 began their successful religious talk show on that network.
In 1967 David B. Berg, operating originally out of the Light House Mission coffeehouse near the pier in Huntington Beach, California, began to convert the hippies in the area. He later turned his mission into the Children of God, one of the Jesus People groups.
In 1961 William R. Bright, organizer of the Campus Crusade for Christ, established the center for his national movement at Arrowhead Springs, California.
In 1967 William Sloane Coffin, Jr., Yale University chaplain, offered his chapel for draft resisters. He joined in issuing "A Call to Resist Illegitimate Authority." He was later...
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Bruce Barton, 80, author of best-selling religious books in the early decades of the century, 5 July 1967.
Smiley Blanton, 84, cofounded with Norman Vincent Peale the Religio-Psychiatric Clinic at Marble Collegiate Church in 1937, 30 October 1966.
Francis Cardinal Brennan, 74, the first American member of the Sacred Roman Rota, the highest Roman Catholic court; named cardinal in 1967, 2 July 1968.
Frank N. D. Buchman, 83, founder of the Oxford Group Movement (later Moral Re-Armament) in 1921, an effort to organize a "God-guided campaign to prevent war by moral and spiritual awakenings," 7 August 1961.
Father Major Jelous Devine, 88, religious-social leader who in 1942 incorporated his following as the Peace Mission Movement, 10 September 1965.
Harry Emerson Fosdick, 91, the most popular Protestant preacher in the nation and one of the country's leading liberal churchmen, 5 October 1969.
Franklin Clark Fry, 67, one of the organizers of the World Council of Churches in 1948 and the National Council of Churches in Christ in 1950, 6 June 1968.
Charles E. Fuller, 81, the most successful radio evangelist of his day, 18 May 1968.
Sweet Daddy Grace, 78, founder of the House of...
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John W. Bachman, The Church in the World of Radio-Television (New York: Association Press, 1960);
John Cole man Bennett, Christianity and Communism Today (New York: Association Press, 1960);
Bennett, Foreign Policy in Christian Perspective (New York: Scribners, 1966);
Bennett, Nuclear Weapons and the Conflict of Conscience (New York: Scribners, 1962);
Daniel Berrigan, Consequences: Truth and… (New York: Macmillan, 1967);
Berrigan, Love, Love after End: Parables, Prayers, and Meditations (New York: Macmillan, 1968);
Berrigan, They Call Us Dead Men: Reflections on Life and Conscience (New York: Macmillan, 1966);
Philip Berrigan, No More Strangers (New York: Macmillan, 1963);
Berrigan, A Punishment for Peace (New York: Macmillan, 1969);
Malcolm Boyd, Are You Running with Me, Jesus? (New York: Avon, 1967);
George Arthur Buttrick, Biblical Thought and the Secular University (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1960);
Tom Driberg, The Mystery of Moral Re-Armament: A Study of Frank Buchman and His Movement (New York: Knopf, 1965);
A. N. Gilkes, Faith for...
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Important Events in Religion, 1960–1969
- The Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America is created to coordinate actions among the various Eastern Orthodox groups in the United States.
- On January 9, the Protestant Episcopal Church approves the use of artificial birth control.
- On April 28, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U.S. (Southern), declares that marital sexual relations without the intent of procreation are not sinful.
- On January 20, President John F. Kennedy is inaugurated; he becomes the first Roman Catholic to hold the office.
- From January 22 to January 23, the National Council of Churches meets and decides to approve the use of birth control and family planning.
- On May 29, in Two Guys from Harrison—Allentown, Inc. v. McGinley the Supreme Court rules that a Pennsylvania law, as presently written, that requires businesses to close on Sunday does not violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment since the law is secular in intent and is aimed to provide workers with rest and to prevent unfair competition.
- On June 19, the Supreme Court unanimously rules in Toresco v. Watkins that the state of Maryland cannot require candidates for office to swear they believe in a Supreme Being. This is...
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