Bigotry Recrudescent

Although Eutychus constantly strives to display good taste and to avoid descending into the arena of animosity, many correspondents have reacted so harshly to his modest lines in favor of religious liberty (“A Low Blow Against Religious Liberty,” June 7 issue) that it seems necessary to take up the cudgel again.

The correspondents generally do not dispute the contention that the widespread condemnation of bribery in American society originaliy derives from the Bible. But that gives the game away. Once it is admitted, one can no longer deny that the feeling against bribery is a form of religious prejudice. The Bible is certainly religious, and what is prejudice if not to condemn some practice (e.g., bribery) in advance without pausing to reflect on the particulars of the situation and the persons involved? In the case of bribery one must take into account the persons’ life-styles, the cost of living that their social position may impose on them, and the fact that in accepting bribes they may really have the greatest good of the greatest number at heart. It would be a kind of moral judgment on our part to suggest that any leader or official would ever accept a bribe on beha’f of something that he really thought to be wrong. And if he is only accepting a gratuity for doing what he believes to be right, can we find fault with that?

Well, our correspondents argue, if the feeling against bribery is to be dismissed as resulting from mere religious prejudice, and as incompatible with the Supreme Court’s view of the absolute separation necessary between church and state, what about all the other things that the Bible forbids? How can we reasonably insert any biblical commands into public law?

They do have a point. Because of the great strength of residual religious feeling in this country, however, Eutychus did not dare to speak of this inevitable future consequence of our present public policy. And the outcry against his argument in favor of a moderate abuse (bribery) has shown just how strong that residual feeling still is. Imagine the fervor of the reaction had he pointed out that the laws against kidnapping, murder, and rape also have their origin in sectarian Judaeo-Christian tradition and thus also represent a transgression of religious liberty! Does it not stand to reason that in a pluralistic society, religious liberty demands that everyone be free to do as his conscience dictates, or, in case of a conflict of conscience, as he chooses?

The vehemence of the reaction in favor of religiously inspired laws has been so great that we must hasten to remind our readers that we never suggested that anyone offer bribes, or even accept them. However, it is impossible to deny that if we want to be rigorous in our commitment to the total separation of church and state, we have no choice but to legalize or even promote everything prohibited by the Bible.

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Fortunately our high courts have shown themselves in this, as in so many other things, to be far more cunning than the general public. Hence we can confidently predict that the remaining links between Christianity and what we call civilization will be severed. Of course, many will be displeased at this, but, to paraphrase a noted ecclesiastical spokesman, “Who is to say what is right and what is wrong?” Who indeed?


Life At Issue

I would like to express my appreciation for your recent editorial entitled “Strange Bedfellows” (May 10) and others concerning abortion and the whole issue of human life. You have been consistent in spelling out the implications from the Supreme Court decision of January, 1973. While many of us have been decrying the movement away from a biblical ethic to a disregard for the value of life, from abortion to letting infants die in hospitals to euthanasia, there seems to be a growing awareness of and abhorrence to groups in and out of the church who have lost sight of the value of human life.

Thank you again for putting this issue of life before your readers.


Beverly Heights United Presbyterian Church

Pittsburgh, Pa.

Time To Transfer

I was excited by the editorial “Needed: A Strategy For Academia,” and especially by Ronald Sider’s article, “Christian Cluster Colleges—Off to a Good Start,” in the May 24 issue. I firmly believe the “cluster College” idea is a healthy answer to many of the Problems that relate to Christian Colleges. As effective as our Christian schools are in many ways, they still are able to affect the lives of only a very small percentage of our young people. If the money and effort now expended to build and maintain Christian Colleges were transferred to “cluster Colleges” on state university campuses, a far greater percentage of our youth could be offered Christian training, direction, and fellowship, perhaps in an even more effective way.


Washington Heights Baptist Church

Ogden, Utah

No More Revision

In the light of your editorial, “Off on the Right Foot” (May 24), about the statement on Scripture adopted by the joint Committee on Merger Exploration of the Wesleyan and Free Methodist churches, you will be interested in the statement as it was amended and finally adopted by the joint boards of administration of the two churches for presentation to the respective general conferences:

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We believe the Holy Scriptures are God’s record, uniquely inspired by the Holy Spirit. They have been given without error, faithfully recorded by holy men of God as moved by the Holy Spirit, and subsequently transmitted without corruption of any essential doctrine. They are the authoritative record of the revelation of God’s acts in creation, in history, in our salvation, and especially in His Son, Jesus Christ.

The above statement is the final revision of the paragraph which you quoted. The second paragraph of the statement remains unchanged.


General Superintendent

The Wesleyan Church

Marion, Ind.

The Model For Cable

Thank you for your part in encouraging evangelical Christians to consider the outreach potential of cable TV (“Cable TV: Churches on the Wire,” June 21). At TV workshops at our Founder’s Week Conference and Pastors’ Conference, ministers were requesting advice and programming suggestions for cable TV opportunities that have been presented to them.

I was surprised that your article did not mention the national policy proposal for cable television released on January 16, 1974, by the White House Office of Telecommunication Policy (“Whitehead Report”). As reported in the New York Times (Jan. 17, 1974), this report “calls for the virtual removal of Government regulation over it, in order to give cable television the same freedom-of-the-press status as books have under the First Amendment.… Print and not television should be the model for cable”.… This stance by a cabinet committee has strategie implications for churches, Christian schools, and organizations who want to communicate Christ to specific audiences. Complete freedom of content presents an unbelievable challenge. I pray that we will penetrate this medium vigorously before the opportunity slips away.



Communications Department

Moody Bible Institute

Chicago, 111.

Awake Or Asleep?

“A Low Blow Aganist Religious Liberty” (“Eutychus and His Kin,” June 7), touched a new area for Eutychus—absurdity. Like his biblical namesake, he apparently fell asleep in the window and temporarily (we hope) suffered from the fall. It is true that the Judeo-Christian heritage addresses itself to the offense of bribery among those who occupy positions of leadership. Apart, however, from the fact that much of our law may be rooted in this heritage, purely ethical considerations on a practical level make the idea of bribe-taking reprehensible. To suggest that “this vestige of church-state tyranny from law” be removed is to discredit the concern of thinking people against bribery, because the Bible also is so forthright in its denunciation of this evil. From this perspective, there is no basis for labeling anything wrong or corrupt since the Bible might also have had something to say about it in condemnation. Poor Eutychus. We wish him a speedy recovery from his fall and the hard bump which developed when he hit his head on landing.

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Associate Professor of Sociology

Andrews University

Berrien Springs, Mich.

• Eutychus used satire in that column, as he does in his column in this issue. Satire is a literary form using “trenchant wit, irony, or sarcasm to expose and discredit vice or folly.”—ED.


This Cartoon was printed with an incorrect caption in the July 5 issue.

A statement in the lead news story on Chad in the June 21 issue should have read: “So far missionary visas are not being refused.…

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