Supreme Court decision
By: Earl Warren
Date: May 29, 1961
Source: Braunfeld v. Brown, 366 U.S. 599 (1961). Available online at http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=sear... (accessed February 5, 2003).
About the Author: Earl Warren (1891–1974) was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of California law school in 1912. From 1939 to 1943, he was California's attorney general, and from 1943 to 1953, he served as its governor. Warren was appointed chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1953, a position that he held until 1969. His tenure was noted for decisions in support of civil rights and individual liberties.
Jacob Braunfeld, an Orthodox Jew, closed his retail clothing store in Philadelphia on Saturdays to observe the Jewish Sabbath. Pennsylvania law declared that his store, and similar businesses, could not be open to the public on Sunday, in observance of the Christian Sabbath. Braunfeld, though, wanted to be able to open on Sundays because he was closed on Saturday. He argued that to pay his expenses and make a profit, he needed to be open six days a week. He...
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By: Madalyn Murray O'Hair
Date: August 25, 1962
Source: O'Hair, Madalyn Murray. Address given at the Eighth Annual Convention of the American Rationalist Federation, August 25, 1962. Published as "Atheism" in The American Rationalist 17, no. 3 (September/October 1962). Available online at http://www.americanatheist.org/win99-00/T2/atheism.html (accessed February 5, 2003).
About the Author: Madalyn Murray O'Hair (1919–1995) was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After she served as an officer in World War II, her belief in God diminished and she became an atheist. In a case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, she contended that prayers in public school were unconstitutional. In 1963, the Court ruled in her favor. A controversial person because of her atheism, she founded two organizations: American Atheists and United Secularists of America.
Madalyn Murray O'Hair achieved national attention through a U.S. Supreme Court case in which she asserted that prayer and Bible verse readings in public schools violated the First Amendment of the Constitution. The case, Murray v. Curlett (1963), was consolidated with another case, Abington School...
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Pacem in Terris
By: Pope John XXIII
Date: April 11, 1963
Source: Pope John XXIII. Pacem in Terris, Rome, April 11, 1963. Available online at http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_xxiii/encyclicals/do... (accessed February 2, 2003).
About the Author: Pope John XXIII (1881–1963) was born in Sotto il Monte, Italy, as Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli. He was ordained a priest in 1904 and served as a chaplain during World War I. In 1925, he became an archbishop and served as an apostolic delegate to Bulgaria, Turkey, and Greece. In 1953, he was appointed patriarch of Venice. During his tenure as pope (1958–1963), he summoned the Second Vatican Council.
Pope John XXIII issued "On Establishing Universal Peace in Truth, Justice, Charity, and Liberty" (Pacem in Terris) during the height of cold war tension between the West and the Soviet Union. As the world faced the threat of nuclear war, the pope wanted to play a role in helping to calm people's fears.
The aim of his encyclical was to bring about global stability. In addressing human rights abuses throughout the world, the pope...
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The Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Alabama
"Public Statement by Eight Alabama Clergymen"
By: C.C.J. Carpenter, Joseph A. Durick, Milton L. Grafman, Paul Hardin, Nolan B. Harmon, George M. Murray, Edward V. Ramage, and Earl Stallings
Date: April 12, 1963
Source: Carpenter, C.C.J., et al. "Public Statement by Eight Alabama Clergymen." Birmingham News, April 12, 1963.
About the Authors: The eight Alabama clergymen represented a wide spectrum of religions, including priests, bishops, ministers, and a rabbi from the Episcopalian, Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Jewish faiths.
"Letter from a Birmingham Jail"
By: Martin Luther King Jr.
Date: April 16, 1963
Source: King, Martin Luther, Jr. "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." April 16, 1963. Available online at (accessed February 2, 2003).
About the Author: Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968), born in Atlanta, was ordained a Baptist minister in 1954 and received his doctorate from Boston University in 1955. Instrumental in the founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, he advocated nonviolence in the Civil Rights...
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"Eulogy for the Martyred Children"
By: Martin Luther King Jr.
Date: September 18, 1963
Source: King, Martin Luther, Jr. "Eulogy for the Martyred Children." Delivered at Sixth Avenue Baptist Church, Birmingham, Alabama, September 18, 1963. Available online at (accessed February 2, 2003).
About the Author: Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968), born in Atlanta, Georgia, was ordained a Baptist minister in 1954 and received his doctorate from Boston University in 1955. Instrumental in the founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, he advocated nonviolence in the Civil Rights movement. He served as a major organizer of the Montgomery bus boycott in 1956 and the March on Washington in 1963. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, but four years later he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
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Gaudium et Spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)
By: Second Vatican Council
Date: December 7, 1965
Source: Second Vatican Council. Gaudium et Spes. Rome, December 7, 1965. Available online at http://www.vatican.va (accessed February 4, 2003).
About the Organization: The Second Vatican Council, called by Pope John XXIII, was the twenty-first ecumenical, or general, council of the Roman Catholic Church. Beginning in 1962, one session was conducted each year for four years. Pope Paul VI called the council to closure in the fourth year. A total of 2,908 bishops and others were eligible to attend, and the average attendance at the meetings was approximately 2,200.
At the gathering of the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy at the Second Vatican Council, a multitude of social and moral problems were discussed, analyzed, and debated. The bishops, in conjunction first with Pope John XXIII, then, after his death, with Pope Paul VI, believed that the church had a responsibility to play a more active role in helping meet the needs of people and working toward solutions to pressing social problems. To express this position, Pope Paul VI promulgated "Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World" (Gaudium et Spes)....
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Are You Running with Me, Jesus?
By: Malcolm Boyd
Source: Boyd, Malcolm. Are You Running with Me, Jesus? New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965, 3–8, 11–15.
About the Author: Malcolm Boyd (1923–) was born in New York City. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Arizona in 1944 and a bachelor's of divinity degree at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in 1954. After ordination as an Episcopal priest in 1955, he served in ministerial capacities at several churches and in chaplain positions across the country. A social activist, he has written or edited over thirty books on religion and social issues.
In the 1960s, Reverend Malcolm Boyd found that some church members, as well as others who were in contact with him in his ministerial role, were telling him that praying in the traditional Christian manner was not a personally satisfying way to communicate their feelings to God. They were becoming so discouraged by customary, formulaic prayers that had been employed for centuries that they either prayed less and less or stopped praying entirely. Others continued to pray because they felt prayer was important, but they did so with little emotion, understanding, or conviction.
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What's the Difference? A Comparison of the Faiths Men Live By
By: Louis Cassels
Source: Cassels, Louis. What's the Difference? A Comparison of the Faiths Men Live By. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1965. Available online at (accessed February 4, 2003).
About the Author: Louis Cassels (1922–1974) was born in Ellenton, South Carolina. He received a bachelor's degree from Duke University in 1942 and served as a communications officer in the military from 1943 to 1946. In 1947, he became a correspondent for United Press International. He was a feature writer and author of the popular column "Religion in America" from 1955 to 1974. He was also a recipient of the prestigious Faith and Freedom Award from the Religious Heritage of America.
From his lengthy career as a newspaper religion editor and writer, Louis Cassels developed an interest in the variety of ways people from diverse cultural backgrounds expressed their beliefs about the supernatural and God. He believed that others had a similar interest, so he decided that a book that presented an overview and summary of world religions would contribute to people's understanding. From his research came What's the Difference? A Comparison of the Faiths Men Live By, which summarizes the vast varieties of...
(The entire section is 2925 words.)
The Secular City
By: Harvey Cox
Source: Cox, Harvey Gallagher. The Secular City. New York: Macmillan, 1965, 241–243, 257–258, 264–268.
About the Author: Harvey Gallagher Cox Jr. (1929–) was born in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1951 and a bachelor's of divinity degree from Yale in 1955. In 1963, he received a doctorate from Harvard Divinity School and was appointed professor of theology at Andover Newton Theological Seminary. He joined the Harvard University Divinity School faculty in 1965. An author of several books, he is regarded as one of the most influential Protestant theologians.
In The Secular City, theologian Harvey Cox expressed his view that two critical social changes were taking place in the 1960s: the escalation of urbanization and the crumbling of traditional religion. Urbanization, according to Cox, constituted a massive change in the way people lived together and "became possible in its contemporary form only with the scientific and technological advances which sprang from the wreckage of religious worldviews." Secularization marked a basic change in the way people understood their life together, and "it...
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By: Billy Graham
Source: Graham, Billy. World Aflame. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1965, xiii–xvii, 254–257.
About the Author: Billy Graham (1918–), born in Charlotte, North Carolina, was ordained a Southern Baptist minister in 1939. After serving at the First Baptist Church in Western Springs, Illinois, he became a traveling "tent evangelist" noted for his charisma. He was first vice president of Youth for Christ International from 1945 to 1948 and has advised two generations of American presidents.
Graham's purpose in writing World Aflame was to describe the ways in which the world was "on fire" because of the many social problems consuming the social and moral fiber of America and other nations. A second purpose was to discuss the Christian's role in dealing with these problems in light of biblical teachings. Graham reminded the reader that fire can be used either to destroy humanity or symbolically purify it. He wanted to stir people out of their complacency and into moral action. He pointed out that "Man is precisely what the Bible says he is. Human nature is behaving exactly as the Bible said it would. The course of human events is flowing just as Christ predicted it...
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Humanae Vitae: Encyclical of Pope Paul VI on the Regulation of Birth
By: Pope Paul VI
Date: July 25, 1968
Source: Pope Paul VI. Humanae Vitae: Encyclical of Pope Paul VI on the Regulation of Birth. Rome, July 25, 1968. Available online at http://www.vatican.va (accessed February 5, 2003).
About the Author: Pope Paul VI (1897–1978) was born in Concesio, Italy, as Giovanni Battista Montini. He was ordained as a priest in 1920 and assigned to the Vatican diplomatic service until 1944. He became an archbishop in 1954 and a cardinal in 1958. Elected pope in 1963 after the death of Pope John XXIII, he served until he died in 1978. Pope Paul VI was known for his support of Christian unity and social reform.
Roman Catholic Church encyclicals had always expressed the belief that abortion and artificial means of birth control (for example, sterilization, birth control pills, and other contraceptive devices) were serious sins, violations of the natural law and the will of God. Before Pope Paul VI issued Humanae Vitae in 1968, some Catholics and others expected that the encyclical might include some liberalization of the church's teachings. This expectation was based on the work of a commission of theologians and laymen formed by Pope...
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Epperson v. Arkansas
Supreme Court decision
By: Abe Fortas
Date: November 12, 1968
Source: Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 97 (1968). Available online at http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&n... (accessed February 4, 2003).
About the Author: Abe Fortas (1910–1982) was born in Memphis, Tennessee. After earning his law degree from Yale in 1933, he taught there until 1937. He held several government posts, including undersecretary of the interior from 1942 to 1946. He then entered private law practice. In 1965, he was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he served until 1969.
In 1928, Arkansas passed a statute that prohibited teaching in public schools and universities the theory that humans evolved from other species. Violation of the statute was a misdemeanor and left the teacher open to dismissal. In the mid-1960s, Susan Epperson, a teacher in the Little Rock school system, was assigned a textbook that contained a chapter about the principles of evolution. Since it would have been a criminal offense for her to use that chapter, she brought her case to state court, which declared that the statute...
(The entire section is 2980 words.)