For good collateral reading you may take your choice between a jet flight or a haircut. In case there are any female readers of this column, I suggest also a beauty parlor; there you find the happiest way to catch up on all the magazines you don’t want around your house. Nestled as I was on a jet recently, it suddenly occurred to me that the advertising in a magazine is more interesting than the articles. It also occurred to me that statistically, or odds-on, or you would surmise that, the ads ought to be more interesting than the articles, more interesting even than the stories—because the ad writers get paid more. This is a shift in values of which I think we ought to be increasingly aware.

If we can only remember that advertising writing is highly creative, that in itself is our best protection. Instead of worrying about the truth, we can accept this kind of writing for what it is: imagination, invention, and magic. We don’t have to believe it. All we have to do is enjoy, enjoy.

I don’t think our advertisers want us to know this, even though it is for our spiritual health that we do know it. The final blasphemy for which there is no forgiveness is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit, who is the spirit of truth. Such blasphemy is final and damning, because if we learn to call falsehood truth and truth falsehood, then even the word of salvation cannot penetrate, because the good news itself is a lie. How then could we believe the offer of forgiveness?

In his commentaries on the laws of England, Blackstone says, “A lie is the attempt to deceive.” In Milton’s Paradise Lost it was Satan who said, “Evil be thou my good.” We have been doing it to ourselves, and we are doing it to ourselves yet. “Don’t believe that—that’s just newspaper talk,” we say. The only trouble is that after a while we do believe it.



Regarding your … editorial, “Civil Rights and Christian Concern” (May 8 issue), I want to thank you for issuing another plea for Christians to express themselves on this matter. Many more such calls are needed because people who are not directly involved with issues they must face personally must nevertheless become aroused on the basis of moral principles. Until this happens we cannot look forward to adequate progress in righting existing wrongs. This is where preachers and editors in the Christian Church must assume courageous leadership.

The third point of your editorial, “the obligation to respect those whose conscience leads them to convictions different from one’s own,” is restated as “the obligation to respect the conscience of those who differ.…” These are not the same, and the difference is important. Since one’s conscience is subject to all kinds of perversions, I can hardly be called upon to respect the conscience of everyone else. Apparently Eichmann was following his conscience—at least that was his contention—but I cannot be expected to respect a conscience like that. There seem to be some consciences in our own land that are equally perverted.… On the other hand I must, as a Christian, accord to every other person at least the respect that comes from the knowledge that he is a person whom Christ died to redeem, and who is redeemable, however misguided he may be.

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The fourth point disturbs me, not because of what it actually says, but because of what it nearly says and will be interpreted by many as saying. We hear on every hand a standard argument against civil rights legislation that “you cannot legislate morality”.… There is, of course, no question of passing moral legislation. We have had, and still have, a good deal of immoral legislation, some of which actually forbids moral action in the area of civil rights and race relations. It is high time we get some moral legislation in its place. The pending legislation may need modifying in some areas, but it is basically moral legislation, and its passing and enactment is a moral issue.…

Chicago, Ill.


• Our editorial plainly states that the civil rights issue is a moral one and agrees with reader Westberg in support of the pending legislation with modification in certain areas.—ED.

Your editorial on the civil rights issue is tops.…



Eternity Magazine

Philadelphia, Pa.

I especially appreciated your “therefore, Christian concern demands the ceaseless proclamation of the Gospel as the ground of ultimate reconciliation of the racial revolution.” This is the soundest word I have yet seen in the present racial conflict. We have no choice but to “forgive, as God through Christ forgave you” if we try to claim the title or position of Christian.

However, I cannot see this fight as a struggle to get justice for the Negroes. Churchmen are not concerned with justice, except as it is dispensed with mercy (hesed of the Old Testament, and agape of the New Testament). This is the Gospel.

Your closing switches us off the right track. Churchmen are not to be so concerned with “the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution,” but by the fact that our Creator has endowed us with these “unalienable rights”.…

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Presbyterian Church

Dimmitt, Tex.

Your editorial … was great.…



Baptist Student Union

Coral Gables, Fla.

I think you would be first to agree that the position you take is not … particularly novel. However, it was good to see in print a more or less frank discussion of this key issue of our time.

You say that “evangelicals, and indeed the Church as a whole, have lagged in racial relations. Especially has segregation within the churches been a stumbling block.” Yet for three columns preceding this statement you cautiously endorse corrective legislation while voicing many limitations to effective united action by evangelicals. While we need to be reminded that the Christian Gospel made relevant to the racial revolution may bring “ultimate reconciliation,” this approach, I fear, has often led to mere mouthing of an irrelevant Gospel (if it exists) and an utter lack of concrete action.

How refreshing … to read … the excellent news report of the recent assembly of the National Association of Evangelicals. Thank you for printing the courageous statement on civil rights that was adopted. The position is bold and forthright, and while not serving as a substitute for action, it is a solid foundation from which to begin to move. Why have conservative Protestants allowed their more liberal friends to steal their thunder on the very issue [to which] we believe we have a contribution to make?

To my knowledge, there were no evangelical leaders who participated publicly in the March on Washington or gave to the press at that time a statement from an evangelical point of view encouraging the civil rights movement.… We can be heartened by the attention the evangelical press is beginning to give to civil rights. Lead the way!


The General Library

University of California

Berkeley, Calif.

The editorial … is of great interest to us. Would it be possible to have enough copies … to send to our complete mailing list of 840?… We are quite anxious to place this article in all of our church homes.


Coral Gables Congregational Church

Coral Gables, Fla.

This current issue (May 8) impressed me as being unusually interesting, varied, and informative. I refer not least to your editorial about “Civil Rights and Christian Concern”—a subject as difficult as it is vital today. Also to the article of Chaplain Ernest Gordon, whom I have known chiefly through his strong book, Through the Valley of the Kwai.

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Since I have been struggling with Thielicke’s current book, The Ethics of Sex, I was impressed and helped by the current review.… I had known Thielicke as a preacher, notably in his strong and moving sermons, The Waiting Father.

Lakeland, Fla.


The page 47 comments, “Civil Rights Bill—Pro and Con,” in the April 24 issue were interesting.

First, it seems to me it would be wise to stress the fact, “a right always has a parallel responsibility.” “The right to do has a duty to do right as an escort.”

Then the following quote from Gardiner Spring (1785–1873) seems worth repeating: “Never, with the Bible in our hands, can we deny rights to another, which under the same circumstances, we would claim for ourselves.”

Finally, I believe, “the Golden Rule is a natural basis for a peaceful earth.”

Higginsville, Mo.



Since I am a member of the New York Presbytery I read George Williams’s article with great interest (News, Apr. 10 issue).

I appreciate the fact that Mr. Williams was genuinely attempting to be fair and to quote both sides of the issues.… However, I was quite disturbed on the reporting of the closing of the Spring Street Church.… There are a few points made in the article with which I would like to take issue.

1. It was insinuated that the church was closed in order that the presbytery might gain $400,000. You do not say that what motivated immediate action was that the Salvation Army was closing down their building and they supplied the heat for the church. It was estimated that if the church was to continue they would need $100,000 for renovation and $11,000 per year for operating cost. Those who attend (approximately 25) could raise only $5,230 per year.

2. The article gave the impression that many in the church were “fighting to stay alive.” If this is true, then why was the Sunday school closed down? The truth is that no one in the church was willing to teach the seven high school students who were in active attendance in Sunday school. Is this “fighting to stay alive”?

3. It was claimed that there was a “fair prospect that large apartment houses would be built in the area.” At the presbytery meeting Elder Bitner brought in a chart showing apartment houses already in the area. At no time was there any indication that the men and women of the congregation made an attempt to evangelize these buildings. Of what value would new apartment houses be?…

4. The remark that a presbytery official (name not mentioned) said that “the church was closed with the specific aim of scattering its congregation,” was very unfair.… I firmly believe that in this incident the presbytery has acted decently and in order.…

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First United Presbyterian

Queens Village, N. Y.


What may appear to be so plausible in the much publicized lottery proposal for California may turn out to be quite clandestine, as revealed in the experiences of the New Hampshire venture into this same scheme.

State administrators there are discovering that their proposed panacea for their taxation ills has run [afoul of] the United States Postal Code. According to Section 4005, Title 39, mail destined for a scheme may be withheld from the operator of said scheme and returned to sender after having been stamped “fraudulent.” This applies to any lottery whether fraudulent or not.

[A Post Office Department pamphlet (“The Law vs. Lotteries,” P. I. 15) states:] “The explicit language of the lottery statute leaves no room to doubt that Congress intended to prohibit the use of the mails in any way to serve the interests of a lottery or those taking part in it.… It should also be noted that the postal law provides no exception for lotteries conducted by churches, fraternal groups, or any other worthy organizations; nor does it exempt games of chance which are legal under state laws. Many years ago, the postal law was amended so that it would clearly apply to any lottery, whether legal or not. Therefore, the Post Office Department must enforce the statute uniformly and without regard to laws which various states have enacted declaring certain games of chance to be permissible.”

Would not California run into this same snag—if and when it would embark on so foolish a venture?

Pasadena, Calif.



Permit me to take this … opportunity of commending … Dr. Rolston for [his] very fine description of religion in the mountains as it appeared in your March 27 issue under the title, “Appalachia: Mountains of Poverty.” We would concur with the majority of the author’s findings as corroborated by our sixteen months of research here in Kanawha County, West Virginia, which concluded on January 31, 1964. This research, which was conducted under the name of Charleston Youth Community, Inc., was made possible by a grant from the President’s Committee on Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Crime. The research included a section on the role of the church in the life of children and youth.

Action for Appalachian Youth is an outgrowth of these research findings and is a comprehensive demonstration program attempting to speak to some of the urgent needs of our southern Appalachian people.…



Action for Appalachian Youth, Inc.

Charleston, W. Va.

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