Parents, school officials, and church leaders across America are following with interest a textbook controversy that centers in Charleston, West Virginia. The uproar that erupted there last month may spread elsewhere; the basic classroom and supplemental textbooks involved (mainly literature anthologies) are used widely in schools throughout the nation, and parents from other states have been calling protest leaders to get more information.

The dispute has its roots in decisions last spring by Kanawha County school personnel and the five-member county school board, okaying use of certain textsThe text s are anthology volumes in these series: “Communicating” (published by D. C. Heath); “Man” (McDouglass-Littell); Interaction” (Houghton-Miffiin); and “Man in Literature” and “Galaxy” (Scott Foresman). in the county’s schools. (Charleston, the state capital, is located in Kanawha County.)

School-board members did reject eight suggested volumes that they felt contained the most objectionable materials, including Eldridge Cleaver’s Soul on Ice and Freud’s Character and Anal Eroticism.

Later, after examining what had been approved, school-board member Mrs. Alice Moore—wife of a Church of Christ pastor in St. Albans and mother of four school children—mounted a campaign to rescind the decision and rid the schools of offending books. The books, declared Mrs. Moore, not only contain four-letter language but also teach questionable moral values, undermine religious faith, and subvert family relationships. Through pamphlets and press interviews Mrs. Moore publicized the content of the books, and a 13,000-name protest petition was presented to school officials.

When action was not forthcoming, angry parents launched a school boycott in early September—an action Mrs. Moore did not approve. Nearly 20 per cent of Kanawha County’s 44,000 students stayed out of school. Mrs. Moore’s children, ranging from grades two to eleven, did not participate in the boycott.

The boycott spread to neighboring counties where the textbooks were not used (one picket told reporters the action was intended as a warning to officials who might be thinking of using the texts).

Thousands of coal miners and other workers in three counties staged sympathy strikes. Mines were closed, work was halted on three express highways, Charleston’s transit system was shut down, and an electrical power station was picketed. Violence flared up: rock-throwing, slashed tires, broken windows. Two men were shot, one critically, and another was severely beaten. Government officials said the violence was related more to labor issues than to the textbook matter. They indicated that the miners were using the school issue as a ruse to deplete coal stockpiles and thus provide more leverage in pending contract negotiations. (A union report said the strike was causing a daily loss of 500,000 tons of coal and $200,000 in wages. By the end of last month, most of the strikers had returned to work.)

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Kanawha County school superintendent Kenneth Underwood, a central figure in the dispute, closed the schools and worked out a compromise with the mainstream protesters led by Mrs. Moore. The agreement called for the books to be withdrawn for a thirty-day period, during which the boycott would be lifted and a fifteen-member citizens’ panel would review the contested books and others—400 in all—and make recommendations. Each board member was to select three persons for the panel. (Observers say the board is split two and two on the books, with one middle-of-the-roader still unsure this month which way he leans.)

A minority group, however, led by four pastors, rejected the compromise. Demanding permanent withdrawal of the books, they held demonstrations in front of the state capitol and school-board offices in violation of a court order. Three of the ministers were arrested, fined from $250 to $650, and sentenced to thirty days in jail. They are: Pastor Ezra Graley of the Summit Ridge Church of God in Lincoln County, Pastor Charles Quigley of Charleston’s independent Cathedral of Prayer (which operates a Christian day school), and Pastor Avis Hill of the independent Freedom Gospel Mission in St. Albans. They were released on $2,500 bond.

Earlier, the fourth minister, Pastor Marvin Horan of the Leewood Freewill Baptist Church, dropped out of active leadership of the protest, citing exhaustion. At one point he fired a rally audience, declaring, “We could use a big book-burning right here.” Later he admitted to reporters he had not read the texts himself but had nevertheless demanded their removal because of what he’d heard about them. In a rally late last month, Horan and Hill conceded that court action against the board would be more effective than protest demonstrations. Said Hill: “I went to jail and the books are still in, so I don’t think we’re going to achieve anything this way.”

Meanwhile, students at Charleston’s George Washington high school staged a walkout in support of the textbooks.

Another snag developed when Mrs. Moore declined to name her three selections to the review panel. She said it would only be a waste of their time because the work of the review committee would have no effect on the board’s eventual decision on whether to remove the books permanently.

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The controversy has divided church members throughout the area. The Charleston Ministerial Association called for “reasonable” discussion of the disputed reading selections but did not take a stand on either side. But the West Virginia Council of Churches issued a statement interpreted as support of the administration. It warned that imposition of a particular ideology or religious idea on public institutions is “antithetical to the very concept of religious freedom.” West Virginia Episcopal bishop Wilburn C. Campbell and other Episcopal leaders voiced support for the right of the school board to approve texts for its schools. Rector John Lewis of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Charleston lashed out at the demonstrators in a Sunday sermon. He chided “Bible-carrying” demonstrators who in the name of protection of their children from “godless anarchy” were themselves in the streets “breaking the very laws they pretend to uphold.”

(Lewis and Pastor Ronald English of Charleston’s First Baptist Church are steering-committee members of the newly formed pro-textbook Citizens Concerned for Quality Education.)

Nazarene and United Pentecostal ministers in paid newspaper advertisements criticized the “violent insurrection” and “mud-slinging campaign” but also voiced objection to the disputed books, calling for a “proper investigation” to remove “unworthy materials” from the schools.

Some citizens allege that the controversial textbook selections reflect Communist influence aimed at demoralizing pro-American attitudes; they believe some of the racial-oriented materials are designed to spread the unrest in northern cities to the small working-class communities of America’s hinterland.

One demonstrator told a Washington Post reporter: “I think there is something here to try to stir up racial troubles. The relations between black and white in this country improved for a time, but now they’re going down. They’re trying to say all white people are your enemy.”

Among the demands of some protestors was one asking for Superintendent Underwood’s dismissal. A United Methodist layman who came to West Virginia from North Dakota, Underwood at first vowed angrily that he would remove no books. He likened the situation to the book-burning days in Nazi Germany.

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Mrs. Moore believes parents should take a more active role in the education of their children instead of leaving full control in the hands of professional educators. She feels her cause is just, and she hopes the excesses and extremist viewpoints of some of her backers do not cloud the existence of a serious issue that demands a responsible response. She points, for example, to a series of elementary school books that “undermine parental authority and tear children away from their dependence and reliance on their parents.” One assignment in a book entitled Write On!, she says, asks children to tell classmates how their parents interfered in their private lives. “It puts the kids in the position of being critical of their parents,” she explains.

A third-grade text, she adds, asks children to determine when it is right to steal and cheat—“probably the first time he’s thought of stealing as being right.” In a second-grade teacher’s manual, even the perennially favorite fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk” is subtly shown to approve stealing, Mrs. Moore charges. “This sort of thing has no place in the school. It has no right to indoctrinate my children that way.”

Others object to alleged anti-Christ poetry. Included is a poem by black poet Gwendolyn Brooks:

I think it must be lonely to be God.

Nobody loves a master.…

But who walks with Him?—dares to take His arm

To slap Him on the shoulder, tweak His ear

Buy Him a Coca-Cola or a beer

Pooh-pooh his politics, call him a fool.…

Parental ire was also raised over Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “Christ Climbed Down”:

Christ climbed down

from His bare tree

this year

and softly stole away into

some anonymous Mary’s womb again

where in the darkest night

of everybody’s anonymous soul

He awaits again

an unimaginable and impossibly

Immaculate Reconception

The very craziest of Second Comings.

The textbook publishers say they are surprised by all the fuss. A D. C. Heath spokesman said the company’s books are being used without incident by school boards across the nation, and he estimates that more than 500,000 children are using the books. A Scott Foresman spokesman said it is difficult to collect anthologies that meet with everyone’s approval. Both the firm’s “Galaxy” and its “Man in Literature” series have been sold “in the hundreds of thousands,” he said.

Whatever the outcome of the citizens’ review of textbooks in Kanawha County, one thing is certain: not everyone is going to be pleased. And given the nation-wide publicity of the dispute, the unrest is likely to spread.

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A county judge in Greenville, Ohio, fined six couples $20 each for sending their children to an unaccredited school opened a year ago by God’s Tabernacle Church in nearby Bradford. The children may remain there pending appeal. One of the parents is Levi W. Whisner, pastor of God’s Tabernacle and principal of the school, which meets in the church basement (a new building is under construction). Whisner says the parents feel their children should have a Bible-oriented education.

In Good Hands

“My surgical skills are a gift from God. Thank him for them.”

That’s how Chief Surgeon C. Everett Koop of Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia often responds to grateful parents whose little ones he has helped. Koop, 57, world renowned for his surgical techniques on infants born with congenital defects in their gastro-intestinal tracts, is an elder at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, a leader in the Christian Medical Society, and board vice-chairman of Medical Assistance Programs (MAP), an evangelical relief agency based in Illinois.

Last month his skills were applied in one of the most dramatic medical events of the year: separation of thirteen-month-old Siamese twin girls Clara and Altagracia Rodriguez of the Dominican Republic. Koop led a team of eighteen doctors and five nurses in the day-long series of complex procedures (Dr. Louise Schnauffer, Koop’s first assistant surgeon on the team, and Dr. Gene Betz, head anesthetist, also attend Tenth Presbyterian). The hospital and the medical team donated their services.

The girls were born connected at the waist and abdomen. Without surgery they would have survived, says Koop, but they would never have been able to walk or sit independently. They had two hearts, four kidneys which had been linked to each other’s bladders, and a shared intestinal tract. Koop’s team gave the existing tract to Alta and constructed an artificial waste system for Clara. Only three of six known previous attempts to separate similarly joined Siamese twins have been successful, and these have had colostomies. If Clara’s operation withstands the test of time, she will be the first such patient to have a “normal” elimination system. Both girls should also be able to bear children, says Koop.

Through a relative’s maid in Puerto Rico, Mrs. Diana Zimnoch of Warrington, a town north of Philadelphia, heard of the Rodriguez children. She learned that their parents were poor Catholic peasants who lived in the Dominican Republic, working a one-acre farm without electricity or plumbing. Mrs. Zimnoch telephoned Children’s Hospital and asked if anything could be done, a contact that eventually led to Koop. Meanwhile, the thirteen-family “Community of Christ”—an evangelical Catholic fellowship to which Mrs. Zimnoch belongs—chipped in enough money to fly the girls and their mother to Philadelphia.

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Other churches (including Tenth Presbyterian) and groups also lent a hand. A Catholic church held a special mass attended by 2,000 to raise funds for the girls’ future education.

Koop says he believes “in the sovereignty of God over all circumstances and events.” He acknowledges candidly that he “doesn’t know why children are taken from the world or why they suffer.” Yet, he believes, “God never makes a mistake.”

God works through natural laws established in the development of a baby before its birth, says Koop. “Other laws, however, may upset the orderly consummation of the development of a child,” he adds. ‘This is no more difficult to believe,” he says, “than seeing a man fall on the sidewalk and fracture his wrist. I would no more berate God for a child born with a congenital defect than to rail at God for a crack in the sidewalk.”

Koop offers parents spiritual counsel when the opportunity arises, and he makes a special effort to speak with parents whose child has died. Many of them express their gratefulness in Christmas greetings year after year.

Whether he applies scalpel or spiritual salve, say Koop’s friends, his patients are in good hands.



Many ministers are hurting financially as inflation spirals upward faster than increases in traditionally low salaries. In a recent study that confirms those low salary levels, the National Council of Churches found pastors are getting along on an average of $7,700, with other income sources such as housing and utilities allowances bringing the median equivalent to about $10,350—about half of what a comparably educated attorney, accountant, or personnel director earns.

Of those pastors in nineteen Protestant denominations who were surveyed, 14 per cent reported over-all salaries of less than $6,000, while 11 per cent reported pay in excess of $15,000, including benefits.

The study, financed by a grant from Ministers’ Life and Casualty Union of Minneapolis, shows many lack fringe benefits common in other vocations: only 67 percent of the ministers have any kind of pension plan, only 55 per cent are covered by health insurance, and only 15 per cent are compensated for Social Security payments (ministers, as self-employed persons, must pay the entire employment tax—which has been increasing yearly—out of their own pockets). Fully 65 per cent of the 4,635 pastors polled said their income was not adequate for family and personal needs.

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A Winner

“Gift of Tears,” an episode in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s “This Is the Life” television drama series, won the only 1974 Emmy Award for religious programming given by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Questioning The Validity

Since the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church in mid-August ruled that the ordination of eleven women to the priesthood was invalid (see September 13 issue, page 68), several proponents of female priesthood have questioned the validity of the bishops’ ruling. John Lathrop, rector of St. George’s Church in La Canada, California, thinks the ruling violated the canons (laws), a reason given by the bishops for declaring the renegade ordination invalid. The bishops, he maintains, can only declare an ordination “invalid” after a local-diocesan-level, canonical trial has taken place.

Meanwhile the eight-member standing committee of the Washington, D. C., diocese has asked its bishops to work for a special convention in 1975 to decide the issue of women’s ordination. (Bishop William F. Creighton voted for the bishops’ ruling, while Suffragan Bishop John T. Walker abstained.) With a vote of 7 to 0 and one abstention the committee (which is the highest elected body of lay and clergy in the diocese, without whose consent the bishop cannot ordain) requested “positive action” to ordain “qualified women to the priesthood and episcopate at the earliest possible moment.”

Lonesome For Love

Lonesome Stone. A symbol. A person. A rock musical. And this fall it’s rolling through some small American cities in the Midwest, declaring that “Jesus is just all right with me.”

Lonesome Stone had its American première with a four-night stand in Toledo, Ohio, last month (it was also scheduled for Duluth, Minnesota; Kansas City, Missouri; and Sioux City, North Dakota). Most of the some 1,200 in the opening-night audience at Masonic Auditorium were under twenty and, according to producer Jim Palossari, non-Christians.

Palosarri, once a bartender in San Francisco, was an early Jesus-movement convert. He headed a 600-member Christian youth group and commune in Milwaukee until two years ago, when he moved to the London area and organized a ministry called “The Jesus Family.” The musical was an outgrowth of this work. It played for weeks at a London theater, then went on the road last year to other United Kingdom cities and to cities on the Continent. Just before its American debut the show played at two U. S. military bases in Germany in connection with drug-rehabilitation programs run by chaplains.

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Many in the international thirty-six-member cast plus crew were formerly dope users or pushers; they come from America, France, Sweden, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The production is sponsored by the Gloria Deo trust, founded by London-area real estate man Kenneth P. Frampton, a member of a Plymouth Brethren chapel.

The musical’s story—based on actual experiences of the cast—is framed against the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco in 1967, the place and year of the start of the Jesus movement. A drug user and dealer known as “The Bear” gets arrested and sent to jail, where he becomes a Christian. He returns to his friends with the Gospel. They are looking for love, but only a handful turn to Jesus.

If the audience is receptive—as it was in Toledo (the crowd was still shouting “more, more” when the house lights were turned on)—the cast and the band, “The Sheep,” give a brief Christian rock concert at the end of the musical. The audience is invited backstage to talk with the cast or to ask questions about the show’s theme. While no formal “altar call” is given, Palossari says his intention in conceiving the show was to build a good “mouse trap,” not necessarily to create “Christian art” (he thinks the term is a misnomer, anyway). Judging by the response in Toledo, he has succeeded.


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