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Amen Charlie was Carl McIntire's radio sidekick when I frequently tuned in to the program during the 1960s and '70s. Charlie was a man of very few words. His main role was to provide a brief change of pace in the midst of his boss's monologues. McIntire would go on for a few minutes on a favorite topic, and then he would pause and ask, "Isn't that right, Charlie?" And Amen Charlie would reply, "Amen. You're right, Dr. McIntire!"

I was never inclined to second Charlie's endorsements. I listened to the program mainly to keep up on the latest conspiracy theories. Prominent among these theories was McIntire's insistence that ecumenical leaders—in both the National and World Council of Churches—were giving aid and comfort to the enemy when they warmly embraced visitors from the Soviet Bloc's Orthodox churches. "These are agents of the Communist government, folks!" he would insist.

I did not take this kind of thing very seriously. Like the ecumenical leaders McIntire was criticizing, I dismissed his accusations as fanatical rantings.

We have learned a lot about Soviet Communism since those days. Things were much worse than many of us wanted to admit at the time. We also know now that many of those Russian Orthodox leaders were indeed conscious agents of their Marxist government.

On this subject at least, Carl McIntire was issuing some legitimate warnings. To my knowledge, no one in the world of ecumenical Protestantism ever apologized to McIntire for the cavalier manner in which they dismissed his charges. I, for one, believe we owed him an apology. On this particular subject, I do want to add my "Amen" to Charlie's endorsement: You were right, Dr. McIntire!


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May 21, 2002

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