The National Council of Churches’ policymaking General Board, meeting in San Diego February 20–22, shifted into high gear to drive conciliar churches into deeper participation in political, social, and economic affairs. Occupying the NCC presidential driver’s seat, former HEW secretary Arthur S. Flemming called for “a crash program” of involvement in the racial crisis. “The Church should become more and more involved in political action,” he said. “We’re going to push hard on this one.”

The meetings were highlighted by passage of an unprecedented, sweeping executive order to implement immediate church action in the racial conflict and a host of liberal resolutions on international and economic matters. All this gave further evidence of the NCC’s intention to view the mission of the Church as political in character.

The board gave “highest priority” to an action program devoted to “the crucial struggle for justice in the nation.” It called for churches to work with the council in: development of a communications network to respond to the outbreak of racial conflict, replacement of regular adult Christian education curriculum materials with NCC materials on racial issues for the April–June quarter, increased support of poverty/rights action groups by Church Women United, and financial backing and involvement by churches in the National Urban Coalition.

Local churches were called upon to provide “funds for local black groups to strategize for the summer,” to support “inclusion of black-power and black-nationalist organizations in local task groups seeking action and solution to problems,” and “to develop strategies to counter white racism, backlash, and repressiveness” (including observation of police behavior and reporting of ...

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