A CHRISTIANITY TODAY editor gives his “on-the-scene” impression.
Leading the parade was a man without any legs. He was fully uniformed, in the blue suit and white cap of the United States Marine Corps. He proceeded in a wheelchair, and it was plain that in Vietnam he had lost his limbs but not his patriotism. He held an American flag proudly aloft.
Behind the Marine marched unlikely and motley troops. They were not uniformed, and their parade was straggly—two men wide here, four or five wide there. These men were carrying signs, picketing. And they sang. But not soldier songs, not protest songs. Their song was “Victory in Jesus,” chorused hesitantly and a little timidly. Clearly, the marchers had sung the old hymn many times before—but not on the street, not protesting in their beloved America. These marchers, these protestors, were fundamentalist pastors. At the end of their line came a man pulling a cross equipped with a wheel at its foot.
The pastors, coming from more than 30 states, marched in the county seat of Cass County, Nebraska. They were protesting the jailing of Everett Sileven (Sil-e-ven), pastor of Faith Baptist Church, 15 miles away in Louisville. Sileven was in jail because his church continued to operate a private school for 29 children, though it lacked a state license and certified teachers.
Protesting is new for twentieth-century fundamentalists. Blacks, feminists, and antiwar demonstrators all learned two decades ago the skills of protest—marches, sit-ins, boycotts. But most fundamentalists rallied for law and order when blacks took to the streets; they are still opposed to feminism; and they believe the Vietnam War was a mistake only in that it was not fought intensely enough to be won. These conservative ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
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