How does President Johnson’s record federal investment plan for education square with the American principle of separation of church and state?

While he does not refer to parochial schools as such, either in his State of the Union speech or in his special message to Congress on education, the President obviously tries in his proposals to meet Roman Catholics half-way in their demand for a share in federal aid to education programs. The means he uses are tantamount to a wholehearted federal endorsement of the shared-time concept, wherein parochial and other independent school students take some of their classes in public educational facilities.

“I propose that we declare a national goal of full educational opportunity,” Johnson said. “Every child must be encouraged to get as much education as he has the ability to take.”

Observing that “nothing matters more to the future of our country,” the President went on to outline his recommendation for a budget on education totaling $4.1 billion for the next fiscal year. This figure includes $1.5 billion he is requesting for new programs.

Administration sources have been quoted as saying that youngsters in parochial and other independent schools would benefit from about 15 per cent of the overall federal outlay requested for education. That percentage was said to have been chosen because it is thought to represent the number of non-public-school students in the total school population.

Ultimate distribution of the money will vary according to implementation of the aid program at state and local school-board levels. To some extent, Johnson may be seeking to avoid the constitutional issue in public funds for parochial schools by leaving the decision up to the states. He also attempts to get around the problem by specifying aid to the students of nonpublic schools rather than to the schools themselves.

It is understood that students in religious elementary and secondary schools would be eligible for public school books purchased with federal funds. A total of $100 million is projected for books during the first year of the program.

Another $100 million is being sought for “supplementary educational centers and services” which public and nonpublic school children would share. It is in this program that the concept of shared time or dual school enrollment gets its first measure of federal support.

An administration spokesman contends that if a child has a right to full-time attendance in a public school, he certainly has a right to attend part-time or to receive services.

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The President has in mind that “supplementary centers” can provide such services as:

—Special courses in science, foreign languages, literature, music, and art.

—Programs for the physically handicapped and mentally retarded.

—Instruction in the sciences and humanities during the summer for economically and culturally deprived children.

—Special assistance after regular school hours.

—Common facilities that can be maintained more efficiently for a group of schools than for a single school—laboratories, libraries, auditoriums, and theaters.

—A system by which gifted persons can teach part-time to provide scarce talents.

—A means of introducing into the school system new courses, instructional materials, and teaching practices.

—A way of tapping the community’s extra-curricular resources for the benefit of students—museums, concert and lecture programs, and industrial laboratories.

The new education plan would also step up the federal college scholarship program and would increase the number of grants and loans to colleges and universities, including those that are church-related, for specialized studies.

The biggest new educational expense proposed by the President, however, is the $1 billion he wants for public school districts serving economically needy children. All these funds would be spent according to plans devised by local school boards. A stipulation is that they be used “for the benefit of all children within the area served, including those who participate in shared services of other special educational projects.” This has been authoritatively interpreted as meaning that local school boards will have the responsibility of getting a portion of the money channeled to benefit students in parochial and other private-schools in their area. The plan thus seems to invest a measure of jurisdiction upon local school boards that they do not now possess.

Significantly, because of the effort to alleviate poverty, Southern and Bible-belt states would get the lion’s share of federal educational funds under the President’s proposal. Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, South Carolina, and South Dakota are slated to receive more than $10 per capita. By comparison, Connecticut and New Jersey would get less than $4 per capita.

Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State has expressed some misgivings about the advisability and constitutionality of shared time. A special committee is to report on a study of shared time at POAU’s annual convention in Philadelphia in February. POAU is now supporting a lawsuit that challenges a shared-time arrangement in Chicago to determine its constitutionality.

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Some evangelical and other Protestant leaders, however, see a need for an expanding Christian day-school movement in the United States and feel that shared time tends to encourage it. Shared time transfers the most expensive phases of a school’s curriculum to the public sector. Under shared time, Christian day schools could use public school facilities such as gymnasiums, laboratories, and vocational training shops.

It may be that the Supreme Court decisions on prayer and Bible reading are leading to a multiplication of religious schools. Whatever the reason, the rate at which they are being established is climbing. The National Association of Christian Schools reports that during the last nine months of 1964 it received inquiries from sixty-nine groups who desired assistance in establishing new Christian day schools. That total was four times the number received in the comparable period in 1963.

Criticisms of shared time by some Protestant leaders revolve around the argument that it tends to fragmentize elementary and secondary school education and that it would benefit Roman Catholics more than Protestants.

A Hopeful Start

Optimistic plans for a Baptist International University with a graduate level curriculum were made public in Washington, D. C., this month. Schools of government, religion, law, journalism, and medicine are envisioned. Opening of classes is scheduled for the fall of 1967.

Lawrence H. Harris, a foreign service officer, said support is expected from major Baptist denominations. But spokesmen for the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs and the D. C. Baptist Convention said they knew of no plans for such support.

Clergymen On Viet Nam

More than 100 clergymen in the Washington, D. C., area signed a statement last month asking President Johnson to initiate action leading to a cease-fire in the Vietnamese war.

In an open letter, they also called for an investigation into “inhuman methods” reportedly used by the South Vietnamese, including bombing of villages, use of napalm, and torture in the questioning of prisoners.

The letter was circulated among 705 religious leaders in Washington and its suburbs. It was prompted by the “Washington Committee on Vietnam,” the Washington Ministers’ Association, and the Council of Churches of Greater Washington. About 105 replies were received.

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Among the signatories were forty Methodists, nine United Church of Christ and Congregational ministers, nine Baptists, six rabbis, six Christian Churches clergymen, six Church of the Brethren ministers, five Presbyterians, and one Catholic priest—the Rev. Ronan Hoffman, professor of missiology at Catholic University of America.

No Protestant Episcopal clergyman signed the petition. Among several ministers who refused to sign was Dean Francis B. Sayre of Washington Cathedral, who said he did not feel competent in the field to urge such a course of action.

Moratorium On Debate

Archbishop Leo Binz of St. Paul, Minnesota, was the first Roman Catholic prelate to acknowledge intervention in a proposed television series on birth control planned by the National Council of Catholic Men. Showing of the four-part, two-hour series was scheduled to begin January 3 over “The Catholic Hour” on some 100 NBC stations. Binz revealed he had been in telephone conversation with NCCM executive director Martin Work, who was persuaded to withdraw the series.

The content of the programs was not immediately divulged. Reasons given for the cancellation pointed to the fact that birth control is under discussion at the Vatican Council and that Pope Paul VI has sought to minimize public debate until Council Fathers arrive at an official conclusion.

Exploring Cooperation

Representatives of six denominations sharing the evangelical Wesleyan-Arminian tradition met at Winona Lake, Indiana, last month to discuss possibilities of a joint program of publishing. Sunday school materials were the main topic of consideration. A second meeting is scheduled for Indianapolis, February 16–17. Participating in the talks are official representatives of Nazarene, Evangelical Methodist, Free Methodist, Pilgrim Holiness, United Missionary, and Wesleyan Methodist churches.

Christ On The Screen

The Greatest Story Ever Told, a 3½-hour motion picture based on the life of Christ, opens in New York on February 15.

A Swedish actor, Max Von Sydow, portrays Christ. Gary Raymond of Britain plays Peter. The rest of the cast reads like a Hollywood Who’s Who.

The film, produced and directed by George Stevens, utilizes Technicolor and an improved type of single-lens Cinerama.

Life With A Clergyman

The complaints of an Anglican rector’s wife won international attention this month, and a host of rebuttals. Mrs. Brenda Wolfe of London said in an article in Prism that being a clergyman’s wife “is a lousy job.” Soon after, Religious News Service carried a story out of Minneapolis quoting a number of Lutheran ministers’ wives who disagreed sharply with Mrs. Wolfe. In Washington, Mrs. Edward L. R. Elson, wife of the minister of National Presbyterian Church, told newsman Robert Tate Allan that “perhaps the husband has lost his sense of humor.”

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The Church Membership Tally

The 1965Yearbook of American Churchesshows a record 64 per cent of the U. S. population as members of a church or synagogue. The total of 120,965,234 encompasses reports from 253 religious bodies and reflects a 2.6 per cent increase over the previous year. The figures are mainly for the calendar year 1963 or for a fiscal year ending in 1963. The National Baptist Convention, U. S. A., Inc., which has been credited with a membership of 5,000,000 for a number of years, reported a total 500,000 over that figure, and this difference accounted for about one-fourth of the 3.2 per cent Protestant increase.

The yearbook, published by the National Council of Churches, gives the following membership totals: Protestant, 66,854,200; Roman Catholic, 44,874,371; Jewish, 5,585,000; Eastern Orthodox, 3,094,140.

Relative numerical strengths of the large Protestant denominations did not show much change. Here are totals for the top fifteen:

Seminary Roundup

Fuller Theological Seminary plans to initiate two new doctoral programs in the fall of 1965. One will offer the doctor of theology (Th.D.) degree and will require about three years’ work beyond the B.D. degree. It is designed to prepare men and women to teach religion at the university or the seminary level and to enable them to pursue independent scholarly research.

The other program, involving a year of supervised field work and advanced study beyond the B.D., will offer a professional degree for ministers (D. Th. Past.). A seminary “core” curriculum, introduced on Fuller’s Pasadena, California, campus last fall with a emphasis upon integration of English Bible throughout nine quarters of seminary study, is expected to lend itself to the new professional program.

A statement issued jointly by the chairman of Fuller’s board, Dr. Harold John Ockenga, and three board members, Dr. Charles E. Fuller, Dr. David A. Hubbard, and C. Davis Weyerhaeuser, affirmed that the new programs would be carried out in the spirit of Fuller’s historic commitment to the full inspiration and authority of Scripture as the infallible written Word of God.The statement also called attention to a passage in Fuller’s statement of faith: “The books which form the canon of the Old and New Testaments as originally given are plenarily inspired and free from all error in the whole and in the part. These books constitute the written Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.” The board members’ statement added that “we face so seriously our belief in the authority of the Scriptures, that we insist the Bible stand as judge over all theological statements, even our own statements about the Bible.”

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A noted seminary in the East, meanwhile, announced a major curtailment in its graduate program. Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, acting upon the results of studies that were conducted by its own faculty and by a team from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, is discontinuing all doctorates. A master’s program in practical theology is also being discontinued, this to strengthen all phases of the seminary’s undergraduate program in this area.

At Wake Forest, North Carolina, the resignations of two key faculty members at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary were made public. Dr. R. C. Briggs, professor of New Testament, and Dr. Denton R. Coker, professor of religious education, both cited effects of a protest by other faculty members against higher critical interpretation of the New Testament.

Coker is now a dean at Brunswick (Georgia) College. Briggs said he also hopes to remain in the educational field.

The protest, described by Briggs as dating back to 1960, reportedly was aimed at himself and two other faculty members, Dr. William C. Strickland, professor of New Testament who is now studying abroad, and Dr. Harold H. Oliver, associate professor of New Testament interpretation who resigned last summer.

According to a Raleigh newspaper, the announcement of Briggs’s resignation elicited a strongly worded statement from Coker. He charged that the trouble began when “six or eight seminary faculty members alleged that Dr. Briggs and two of his fellow teachers of New Testament were disciples of the German scholar, Rudolf Bultmann, and protested their use of his historical-critical method of New Testament study, a method approved by all reputable New Testament scholars today.”

Issues Of Identification

Transition from cultural isolation to creative involvement was the theme of the annual convention of the American Association of Evangelical Students, attended at Bethel College, St. Paul, Minnesota, by thirty-five delegates from ten church-related campuses. Speakers were Dr. Timothy Smith, professor of social history at the University of Minnesota; Dr. Philip Hinerman, minister of Park Avenue Methodist Church, Minneapolis; and Editor Carl F. H. Henry of CHRISTIANITY TODAY.

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Smith warned that, in the absence of evangelical initiative, blatantly secular and radically irreligious students are seizing on good causes as a matter of image-building.

Hinerman scored the Freudian ascription of neurotic disorders to sexual repression. “The problem in American society today is hardly one of sexual repression; yet that society is embarrassed by the abundance of neurotic personalities and twisted souls,” he remarked. He pleaded for a “life of transparent honesty” including repentance, restitution, and holy love.

Henry said that Christians are called to identify themselves, not with the social customs, social vices, or social discontents of “the outsiders,” but rather with modern man in his survival needs. Such needs, he indicated, are not merely material but include social justice and spiritual redemption.

A Door To The East?

The year 1965 may see an important if limited evangelistic thrust into Eastern Europe on the student level. Delicate groundwork is under way to bring students from Hungary, Poland, and Czechoslovakia to a training course to be conducted this summer by the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students. “The plans are quietly being made,” says Dr. C. Stacey Woods, general secretary of IFES, “and we hope that some will come. Our prayer for 1965 is for an open door to the east.”

Dead Sea Scrolls Display

Fourteen priceless Dead Sea Scrolls will be put on display in the United States this year. Exhibits are scheduled in six cities.

Included in the display will be the twelve-foot “Psalm Scroll” and a scroll inscribed with the Ten Commandments. All are being dispatched to the United States under a special agreement with the Jordanian government. Jordan also is sending the containers in which the scrolls were found, coins current at the time they were stored, and other artifacts.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are one of the most significant archaeological finds of all time. They were unearthed in the late 1940s and traced back to the Qumran community of the first century before Christ.

Here is the U. S. exhibit schedule: Washington, D. C. (Smithsonian Institution),

February 28-March 21.

Philadelphia (University of Pennsylvania), April 3–25.

Berkeley, California (University of California), May 8–30.

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Claremont, California (Claremont College), June 12-July 5.

Omaha, Nebraska (Joslyn Art Museum), July 17-August 8.

Baltimore (Walters Art Gallery), August 21–September 19.

Following the American tour the artifacts will be shipped to Canada and then on to Great Britain.

Many Cold, Few Frozen

“It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the freezer,” could be the adapted scriptural motto of the Life Extension Society, which is dedicated to the idea that dead people should be quick-frozen and stored at absolute zero for possible reanimation when science learns how to cure all diseases and reverse the aging process.

At the second annual LES “Freeze-Wait-Reanimate Conference” in Washington, D. C., this month, sixteen persons contemplated such papers as “Anticipated Psychological Response to the Prospect of Immortality,” “Scientific Reincarnation,” and “Reanimation and the Law.” The participants included such apparently earnest persons as two professors, an accountant, a patent researcher, and a legal adviser whose bid for Congress last year failed in the primaries despite inclusion in his platform of a plank on freezer funerals.

Keynote speaker was Professor Robert C. W. Ettinger, whose book, The Prospect of Immortality (Doubleday), is in its second edition and has had several translations in the year since its publication. His address dealt with the practicalities of getting the program of deep-freeze death into practice and accepted by the public. Acceptance will come, Ettinger believes, with the successful freezing of the first person who “wills his body to himself.” To break the ice, Ettinger has collected in the basement of his suburban Detroit home the equipment needed to chill that first body.

Ettinger contends that while the present state of scientific achievement falls short of sustaining human life indefinitely, there is much reason to hope that science in the future could undo death; everyone who dies, he says, should have his chances insured by freezing. With public acceptance Ettinger foresees radical changes in laws, customs, and institutions by a state willing to extend its protection beyond the grave for the masses in the cold, cold ground. He visualizes the use of social security taxes to pay for democratically administered freezer-care programs—and thus, with unintentional humor, the ultimate victory of the state over man in a world where death was not inevitable but taxes were.


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