The religious complexion of the Ninetieth Congress will be quite similar to that of the Eighty-ninth. The Roman Catholic plurality, gained during the 1964 Democratic landslide, will remain despite Republican gains in last month’s elections.
Largest numerical gains in Congress went to Presbyterians (+7), the United Church of Christ (+5), Christian Scientists (+2), and the Greek Orthodox (+2). Largest losses were taken by Unitarian-Universalists (-6) and Lutherans (-4). No other denomination gained or lost more than one member. The full House and Senate listings by categories appear to the right.
For the first time on record, the Greek Orthodox and Seventh-day Adventist Churches have representatives in Congress. Orthodox members are Democrats Nick Galifianakis of Durham, North Carolina, and Peter N. Kyros of Portland, Maine; the Adventist is Republican Jerry L. Pettis of Loma Linda, California (see story, page 37).
Several new members of the House are active church leaders: Robert B. Mathias (R-Calif.), who twice was Olympic decathlon champion and has been active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes; Guy Vander Jagt (R-Mich.), lawyer and a Presbyterian lay preacher who holds a B.D. from Yale Divinity School; William Lloyd Scott (R.-Va.), a licensed Methodist lay preacher; and Republican Henry C. Schadeberg, Congregational pastor for sixteen years in Burlington, Wisconsin.
New congressmen also include several Presbyterian elders and active teachers and officials in other denominations. Among incoming Roman Catholics is Charles Whalen, Jr. (R-Ohio), economics chairman at the Jesuits’ University of Dayton.
Clergymen retaining House seats were John H. Buchanan (R-Ala.), and the court-embattled Adam Clayton Powell (D-N.Y.), both Baptists. But Lutheran Walter H. Moeller (D-Ohio) lost his.
A new face among the governors listed on page 37 is Harold E. LeVander of Minnesota, active layman and pastor’s son who served three years as secretary of the National Lutheran Council.
In each category, the Senators are listed first in bold face, then House members.
Roman Catholic (109)
Kennedy (D-N. Y.)
Mclntyre (D-N. H.)
Montoya (D-N. M.)
Pastore (D-R. I.)
de la Garza (D-Tex.)
St. Germain (D-R.I.)
St. Onge (D-Conn.)
United Church Of Christ (29)
Burdick (D-N. D.)
Cotton (R-N. H.)
Jordan (D-N. C.)
McGovern (D-S. D.)
Mundt (R-S. D.)
Byrd (D-W. Va.)
Randolph (D-W. Va.)
Thurmond (R-S. C.)
Anderson (D-N. M.)
Case (R-N. J.)
Ervin (D-N. C.)
Vander Jagt (R-Mich.)
Byrd Jr. (D-Va.)
Pell (D-R. I.)
Van Deerlin (D-Calif.)
Hollings (D-S. C.)
Christian Churches—Disciples (12)
Javits (R-N. Y.)
Latter-Day Saints (9)
Young (R-N. D.)
Williams (D-N. J.)
Churches Of Christ (6)
Christian Science (5)
Not Listed (4)
Reformed Church in America
Sen. Dirksen (R-III.)
Society of Friends
Brethren in Christ
Evan. United Brethren
The Governors—With Georgia In Doubt, The New Religious Categories Are:
Roman Catholic (9)
Episcopal (8 or 9)
(?) Callaway (R-Ga.)
Baptist (5 or 6)
(?) Maddox (D-Ga.)
United Church of Christ (5)
Christian Churches (2)
Latter-Day Saints (2)
Index Of Political Penetration
The 435 members of the U. S. House of Representatives, a rather wide sampling from the American population, exemplify a degree of prestige and social involvement. Thus the religious breakdown of the House indicates something of the political activity and social impact of America’s religious groupings, on a personal basis.
In the accompanying Index of Political Penetration, the figures show the number of House members per 100,000 communicants of various U. S. religious groupings. The well-educated, largely white denominations do the best, with Presbyterians leading among major groups. The more ethnically isolated categories, Lutherans and Eastern Orthodox, rate lowest. There are no congressmen from among the million-plus Pentecostals. No figure is available for Christian Scientists, who keep their membership data secret.
First Adventist In Congress
Many new House members may oppose union shops, but one, Jerry Pettis (R-Calif.), will stand out as a pacifist, vegetarian, and teetotaler who will miss Saturday roll calls. It’s all part of being the first Seventh-day Adventist in Congress.
Through speeches and example, Pettis, 50, hopes to urge others in the often isolated SDA Church to consider public-service careers. A self-made millionaire, he pioneered in public relations and magnetic tape reproduction and is a vice-president of SDA’s Loma Linda University.
A Leash On The Tax Dollar
Public aid to parochial schools and church-related colleges absorbed some hard knocks last month, though the basic church-state issues remain unresolved.
Restrictions on aid to parochial schools were tightened by the U. S. Office of Education in a revised draft of rules that tells local public school officials just how far they may go in giving aid to students in private schools. This kind of aid has provided an extra-legal means of passing federal funds on to parochial schools.
The Supreme Court refused by a 7 to 2 ruling last month to decide whether the State of Maryland’s aid to church colleges is unconstitutional. By so doing, the court let stand a precedent-setting Maryland Court of Appeals decision that such aid does violate the Constitution, even though the funds are used for “secular” purposes, if the college’s “image” is religious.
A week after the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the Maryland case, Samuel Halperin, Deputy Assistant Secretary (for Legislation) of Health, Education, and Welfare, told graduate fellows at the Washington Journalism Center that, barring an actual decision by the Supreme Court, “we will see a great deal more federal aid to church-related higher education in the years to come.”
Halperin said, too, that the saturation point in aid-to-education legislation has not been reached: “I’ll bet there will be more education legislation passed in the Ninetieth Congress than in any previous Congress except the Eighty-ninth … both in dollars and in programs.”
The new Office of Education rules for parochial school aid set no new policy; they are designed to close administrative loopholes. Among other provisions, the rules require public schools to maintain tighter control over equipment loaned to parochial schools, prohibit sending public school teachers into parochial schools to serve students other than “deprived” students who need remedial teaching, and allow aid to parochial school students only on the basis of the number of students needing therapeutic, remedial, or welfare services, and not on the basis of total enrollment.
No one seems completely satisfied with the new rules—not even Education Commissioner Harold Howe II. Howe said in a press conference that although they provide some clarification, they do not “completely settle” the church-state issues.
“It would be helpful to have some cases adjudicated by the courts,” Howe added.
But so far this session, the Supreme Court has refused to hear the church-state cases brought to it. The court may have another opportunity if the suit filed recently in Philadelphia by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, challenging the use of federal funds for teaching music and art in that city’s parochial schools, goes the appellate route.
The Maryland high court’s ban on public aid to church colleges brought an end to a 175-year tradition of state grants to such institutions. The case in point involved grants of $750,000 each to Roman Catholic St. Joseph’s, at Emmitsburg, and Notre Dame of Maryland, at Baltimore, and $500,000 to Methodist West Maryland, in Westminster.
Hood College of the United Church of Christ was involved in the original suit but was allowed to keep its $500,000 grant because the looseness of its denominational ties and the diversity of its faculty and student body gave it a sufficiently non-religious “image.”
EDWARD H. PITTS
Degree Mill To Orphan Mill
Baptist preacher Harold George Martin, founder and chief officer of Christian Homes, Inc., in Dorion, Quebec, has been denied a further hearing by Canada’s Tax Appeal Board, which claims taxes on $350,402 in receipts between 1946 and 1961.
Martin was ordained by the Union of Regular Baptists in 1942 and holds doctorates from two institutions on the U. S. government’s list of “degree mills.” He claimed to provide care for orphans and needy children and to operate children’s summer camps at minimum expense. But the Board of Revenue argues Martin’s enterprise is not a charitable one and is therefore subject to taxation.
The motto of Christian Homes is, “Where no needy child ever knocks in vain,” but these “needy children” have been charged from $20 to $30 per week at the summer camps. The Revenue Board said that if the children didn’t pay these camp fees, Martin’s lawyer “dunned and harassed those responsible for such payments in an effort to collect what was owing.”
The government charged that more than $200,000—much of it donated by “well-meaning persons who assumed it was being spent directly for the care and maintenance of destitute and needy orphans”—had been used for other purposes. The Martin home, situated on a luxurious 160-acre estate, was furnished with wall-to-wall broadlooms overlaid with rich Oriental rugs. Christian Homes bought several cars, and Martin’s son Wycliffe drove one of them, a sports car, while attending college. The estate was sold two years ago for a reported $525,000.
J. BERKLEY REYNOLDS
Baptists Scan U. S. Aid
As Southern Baptists gathered in annual state conventions last month, the most recurring issue was whether their colleges should accept federal funds. Bound up with this issue in a number of states was the question of how the convention should exercise control over its colleges.
The Kentucky Baptist Convention reversed a five-month-old rule that member schools borrow “from private sources only.” The reversal was accomplished through a motion by Georgetown College President Robert L. Mills to reaffirm a 1949 policy entrusting the operation of the convention’s institutions to their own trustees.
Mills warned that accreditation was endangered when college trustees are deprived of the “freedom to use their best judgment,” and he urged “reaffirmation of faith and confidence” in the trustees and administrators. He pointed out that two Georgetown dormitories have been federally financed with “no government interference” and said he would seek other construction loans under the same conditions.
Moderate positions toward federal loans were taken also by the Louisiana and Arkansas conventions. In Louisiana, the decision to accept government loans will be left to the institutions’ trustees, while grants are ruled unacceptable by the convention. The Arkansas decision was similar, but it added that the colleges should accept no interest terms that are more favorable than those charged against secular non-profit institutions.
Blanket prohibitions on the acceptance of government loans and grants were passed by the conventions in Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. The actions in Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas were accomplished by the defeat of formal proposals to allow the institutions to accept some aid under certain conditions. New Mexico, which has no Baptist institutions eligible for federal aid, passed a resolution against it rather perfunctorily.
The Florida convention handled its federal-aid problem ex post facto by cutting in half its appropriation of $300,000 to Stetson University, Deland, because the school had accepted about $800,000 in federal funds last year for a science building and additions to the law school.
EDWARD H. PITTS
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more
More from this Issue
Read These Next
- TrendingWorship Music Is Emotionally Manipulative. Do You Trust the Leader Plucking the Strings?The Spirit is at work, but so are the mechanisms around high-production sets.
- From the MagazineEve’s Legacy Is Both Sin and RedemptionThe first woman tried to get free of God. But when she aligned herself with God’s purposes, she became the ‘Mother of All the Living.’
- Editor's PickI Find Comfort in the Divine WarriorA surprising psalm changed my view on God’s presence during seasons of trial.