It has been a long, hot summer for American Baptist Convention headquarters staffers at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Long-simmering liberal-conservative tensions are boiling over, some as an aftermath of a semi-secret communication study. As expected (see June 6 issue, p. 41), the study recommended in part that the denomination’s popular tabloid Crusader and the ailing Mission journal be replaced by a new all-purpose periodical.
Crusader editor Paul Allen says ABC communication executive Dean Goodwin told him that despite editorial seniortiy, Allen would not be named to the top post of the new magazine. Goodwin denies saying this. Allen, increasingly the target of liberals’ fire for his conservative editorials, circulated a counter-proposal that would retain a slicked-up Crusader. At this, Goodwin fired him for “insubordination.” But General Secretary Edwin Tuller next day rescinded Goodwin’s action and instead placed Allen on paid leave. Home-missions chief James Christison and others, angered by Tuller’s intervention, urged the nonplused Goodwin to press his case. Some leaders threatened to quit if Allen were reinstated.
Crusader’s editorial committee virtually upheld Tuller and Allen; members will meet with Goodwin’s other departmental committees this month in Indianapolis to thrash out the issue. Meanwhile, Allen’s assistant put out the September issue. Some officials predicted privately that Allen, still on leave, will resign and return to secular journalism.
Crusader is probably unique among church papers. Its news reporting is fairly objective, and controversial issues get both-sides treatment. With a circulation of 360,000—up 30,000 during Allen’s eleven-year ...1
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