Measures designed to make cries of the Church more audible in the political arena won endorsement last month from the National Council of Churches’ 267-member General Board.
Bishop Reuben H. Mueller, new president of NCC, set the mood when he turned the tables on those who occasionally see the NCC leaning to Communism. Mueller stopped short of branding NCC critics as fellow travelers, but not by much. His verbal assault was aimed at those who say, “Let the Church be the Church and stick to religion. Let it be spiritual.” Mueller’s view’ is that “this is a corollary to Karl Marx’s teaching, that ‘religion is the opiate of the people.’ Either way, the intent is for religion to put the people to sleep so they will docilely submit to those who oppress them.” (See editorial, p. 26.)
The General Board, at a four-day meeting in Baltimore, acted upon Mueller’s admonition to “take our knowledge and our experience into the world for which Christ died.” The board called upon churches to “bring before their members the widest possible discussion of the issues and candidates at all levels of our political system.” The Christian citizen, the board said, “must exert his influence toward seeing that the elections result in the emergence of those leaders whose policies he believes best represent the ideals of the Judeo-Christian faith.”
The board also approved significant measures enabling the NCC’s free-wheeling Commission on Religion and Race to involve itself more deeply in civil rights litigation. One action authorizes the commission to file amicus curiae briefs in civil rights appeals cases, though an amendment enacted on the floor ...1
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