Christianity in the World Today

Two young women learned that the “best” literature in the nation’s capital is readily available to them, even though they are ministers’ daughters.

On a special research project for CHRISTIANITY TODAY, they found easy access to the magazine stocks of three newsstands in downtown Washington. One of the girls is the daughter of a Dutch Reformed minister, the other the daughter of a Presbyterian clergyman.

Within three blocks of the White House, they were able to buy:

—The May issue of Hush-Hush, which features “the inside story of the nude model who pinch-hit for Princess Meg.”

—The April issue of Ace, which includes the story of “a voluptuous wench.”

—The spring edition of Sunbathing Review, with more than 85 pictures of nude women and children. One series of photographs portrays the activities of two teen-aged girls in a California nudist camp.

—The March edition of Night and Day, carrying several advertisements that offer by return mail pictures of women posed to order.

—Three undated publications, all of which have pictorial sequences of nude women. In one publication, the sequence is in full color and runs next to a fictional description of brothels in Algiers. Another depicts an “actress model” in her bath and performing “the neatest trick of all … (bra-ing that 38-caliber bosom).”

The magazines were purchased two days after “Sex and Smut on the Newsstands” (CHRISTIANITY TODAY, Vol. II, No. 10, Feb. 17, 1958) was incorporated into the Congressional Record (Vol. 104, No. 125, Feb. 19, 1958) by Democratic Representative John Dowdy of Texas.

The first newsstand, just around the corner from New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, was crowded with men. One of the inquiring young women pointed to a group of magazines and inquired of a clerk, “Are these the best sellers?”

“They’re the best read,” the clerk replied.

The question was repeated. This time the clerk answered:

“Let’s just say they’re the best.”

At a second stand, this one across the street from the Treasury Building, magazines were stacked on boxes on the sidewalk. Only at one of the three stands did a clerk show any misgivings about selling indiscriminately to a nattily-dressed young woman. The elderly man behind the counter “didn’t know whether she would want to buy that type of magazine.” He sold it anyway.

A CHRISTIANITY TODAY reporter also discovered that indiscrimination extended to Sunday sales policies among literature sellers of the Washington area. The last Sunday in February he found available in a drugstore within sight of the White House such pocket novels as Peyton Place, Deer Park and Erskine Caldwell’s Place Called Estherville.

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The first Sunday in March, he visited a newsstand along a main thoroughfare in suburban Arlington, Virginia. The proprietor was counting change when the visitor picked up a copy of Sir Knight (Vol. I, No. 1, undated) and asked, “Is this a good one?”

“Uh-huh,” answered the proprietor.

“Is it the best one?”

“It’s as good as they come.”

Here are introductory “greetings” from Sir Knight:

“Here, in his first appearance, is the Collector’s Edition of Sir Knight, a brand-new, adult man’s magagazine [sic] dedicated solely to fostering the proposition that every male with corpuscles pink and surging in his veins has the right to pursue all the happiness he can grasp for himself in this time of external tensions and uncertainty.

“The single constant in the constantly changing world of today, is the enchanting biological relationship that has existed between men and women since long before the dawn of known history.” Sir Knight embarked on its maiden voyage containing such themes as “Outhouse Art,” “Four-bill Date,” “First Night” and “Hollywood Heat.”

Lack of discrimination is even more evident among pornography peddlers of the mail-order variety. Mailing of obscene matter to teen-agers is currently of chief concern to post office inspectors. Here is an excerpt from an advertisement (found in the possession of a minor) for slides and movies of nudes: “The censors say we have blown the lid off and may have stepped out of bounds. Because of this situation, it may become necessary to destroy our negatives. We, therefore, urge you to order immediately.…

“Because of the torrid quality of this merchandise, it may become necessary at no extra cost to you to ship your order by means other than the United States Post Office.… After you have placed your order, please destroy this letter.”

The following is taken from another advertisement that gives the appearance of being a hand-written note signed by a model:

“I know exactly what you want (all of you men are alike), and I’m one of the few gals you’ll find who enjoys pleasing you all the way.”

Legal Counteraction

Legislation to crack down on the spread of lewd reading material is under consideration both in the Senate and in the House. Hearings on one such bill were scheduled for this month.

A spokesman for the Churchmen’s Commission for Decent Publications reported a wave of indignation among ministers over the recent lack of restraint in publishing. He said that in two weeks following the date of publication of “Sex and Smut on the Newsstands” the commission received more than 200 inquiries, many from clergymen who stated a desire to take action through local ministerial groups.

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A Roman Catholic priest has suggested that Communists are behind the rash of indecent publications and objectionable comics. The Rev. Joseph P. Lamanna of Delhi, New York, said the association has been brought to light in the testimony of former Communists before closed Congressional hearings.

Editorial Apology

The publisher of a Vermont newspaper apologized for having run an advertisement for the film “Peyton Place” in a Sunday edition.

William Loeb added in a signed front-page editorial:

“One of the terrible things in these days is the filth that passes for literature. For weeks Peyton Place stood at the head of the best seller list of the United States. Such writings have always existed but generally they were confined to scribblings on bathroom walls.”

Publisher Loeb, a Protestant, said the money charged for the ad would be donated to the diocesan office of the Legion of Decency, which makes moral evaluations of current films for the guidance of Roman Catholics.

Catholics In The News

The beginning of March found Catholic leaders in headlines throughout the world in a variety of developments:

FLORENCE, Italy—Bishop Pietro Fiordelli was convicted of defaming a couple married civilly. The husband in the case is an ex-communist who renounced Roman Catholicism and now professes to be an atheist.

VATICAN CITY—Pope Pius XII named Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago, to the newly-created office of Pro-Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, then suspended the nineteenth anniversary celebration of his own coronation as head of the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope, who was 82 March 2, was reported grief-stricken over Bishop Fiordelli’s conviction.

VATICAN CITY—Vatican Radio reported that the Holy See has officially recognized the new United Arab Republic.

HAVANA, Cuba—Roman Catholic leaders appealed for President Fulgencio Batista to form a national union government to include some of his opponents. Batista rejected the appeal and sources close to him were reported to have accused the church officials of “direct, glaring intervention in Cuban political affairs.”

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina—President-elect Arturo Frondizi paid a courtesy call on Coadjutor Archbishop Fermin Lafitte, encouraging Catholic hopes for fair treatment from the 49-year-old lawyer swept into office with votes from communists and Peronists.

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NEW YORK—Fordham University, a Roman Catholic institution, acquired a two-block plot of land from the city at marked-down prices. Court appeals claiming the transaction illegal still are pending.

Salesman Of A Sort

Evangelist Billy Graham received the “Salesman of the Year” award from the Sales Executive Club of New York. The citation honored him for “selling religion to millions of people throughout the world.”

Graham is scheduled to deliver an address at the National Association of Evangelicals convention in Chicago April 14–18. His eight-week San Francisco crusade opens April 27.

The evangelist said total decisions in Latin American rallies numbered 20,700.

More Rsv Rights

Starting in 1962, at least four publishing firms besides Thomas Nelson and Sons of New York will be authorized to print the Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

The National Council of Churches’ Division of Christian Education, owner of the RSV copyright, announced the names of the new publishers at its annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.

Thomas Nelson and Sons have exclusive RSV publishing rights until 1962. At that time the rights will also be distributed to William Collins and Sons of New York, A. J. Holman Company of Philadelphia, Oxford University Press of New York, and World Publishing Company of Cleveland. A contract is being negotiated with a fifth publisher, Harper and Brothers of New York.

It was reported that nearly 6,000,000 copies of the RSV Bible have been sold since 1952, plus an additional 3,500,000 copies of the RSV New Testament.

Hour Of Sharing

Overseas relief agencies are making a special appeal for funds to help the needy.

Last week Protestants observed “One Great Hour of Sharing,” with offerings in many churches going toward relief work.

More than 100,000,000 needy persons abroad received help during 1957 from religious relief agencies. Food, clothing, medicine and tools were sent to ease suffering.

A “United Jewish Appeal Rescue Fund” also is conducting a relief campaign.

People: Words And Events

Deaths: Methodist Bishop Frederick Deland Leete, 91, in St. Petersburg, Florida; Dr. H. Crawford Walters, 69-year-old former president of the Methodist Conference of Great Britain, in Eastbourne, Sussex.

Appointments: The Rev. Alex E. Dandar, as field director of the Religion and Labor Foundation; Dr. Walter W. Leibrecht as director of the Evanston Institute for Ecumenical Studies; the Rev. Arnold A. Dallimore as editor of the Canadian Fellowship Baptist.

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Publication: The first complete and unabridged edition of The Works of John Wesley to be released in nearly 100 years, by the Zondervan Publishing House, starting in May.

Resignation: After 20 years as pastor of the First Covenant Church of Minneapolis, Dr. Paul S. Rees, to return to evangelistic work.

Results: Of a 10-day Methodist evangelistic crusade in Cuba, 2,357 persons enrolled in training classes for church membership.

Fire: At Montreat College, Presbyterian school for girls in North Carolina, caused $250,000 damage, no injuries. Merchants and townspeople freely replenished girls’ personal effects.

Matriculation: At Georgetown University, the Rev. Paul Adenauer, son of West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. Adenauer, 35, is a Roman Catholic priest studying American small business.

Service: Commemorating 200th anniversary of the death of Jonathan Edwards, held at First Church of Christ in Northampton, Massachusetts, March 9. Edwards served as pastor of the historic Congregational church for 23 years.

Trend To The Modern

Church buildings of contemporary design have won all except one of fourteen awards bestowed by the Church Architectural Guild of America.

This year’s winners in the annual competition sponsored by the guild were announced at the National Conference on Church Architecture held last month in Detroit. The conference, also annual, is co-sponsored by the guild and the National Council of Churches’ Department of Church Building.

The delegates to the conference heard a warning from Dr. George M. Gibson of McCormick Theological Seminary, who said that a church building “may be well planned as a work of geometry and well built as a fabric, yet through ill-considered furnishings, symbolism and decoration may falsify the message of the church.”

Many of the new churches built during the last 30 years are “virtually denying in their architecture what they are saying in their doctrine,” Gibson said.

Meanwhile, Architectural Forum magazine predicted that church construction will soar for the next ten years. The magazine predicted that United States churchgoers will spend $920,000,000 in 1958 on new religious edifices, a gain of 6 per cent over last year’s record.

Ncc Commitments

Dr. Edwin T. Dahlberg, president of the National Council of Churches, called for stepped-up non-military aid to help disperse the misery which “hangs like a fog” over Africa and Asia.

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The Religious News Service reported that Dahlberg spoke on behalf of the Council in calling upon major political parties to “rise above party alignments and provide for the basic needs of our own people and the world’s people” through mutual aid programs.

Dahlberg made his remarks to a Conference on the Foreign Aspects of U. S. National Security, sponsored by the International Advisory Board in Washington.

In New York, a resolution supporting non-military mutual aid programs and reciprocal foreign trade agreements was passed unanimously by the NCC’s 250-member policy-making General Board.

Action For Peace

The presidents of the American and Southern Baptist conventions say they will propose the establishment of committees to further the cause of world peace.

Democratic Representative Brooks Hays of Arkansas plans to introduce the idea for a peace committee when the Southern Baptist Convention meets in Houston, Texas, May 20–23. Dr. Clarence W. Cranford is to draft a similar proposal to submit to the American Baptist convention at Cincinnati, June 12–17.

The function of the committees would be to set up a world-wide prayer chain and a suggestion program. Missionaries would help implement the program to pray for peace while soliciting suggestions from various peoples as to how peace can be achieved.

Representative Hays and Dr. Cranford also have announced plans to visit Moscow Baptists next month if they can obtain Soviet approval. Hays said he did not hope to preach in the First Baptist Church of Moscow, but added, “I’ll testify if they want me to.”

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