Neglected Affinities of Church and Labor AUSTIN When I received the note from Ronnie Dugger asking for a column, I immediately signed the card and sent it off with the notation where he asked for the subject: “God knows.” At that time, being a writer of sorts, the problem of finding a subject didn’t really bother me, but in the weeks that have followed, I have brought up and discarded enough subjects to write a year’s series all by myself. Finally I reverted to my original brush-off-a-subject remark. This decision resulted .no doubt from several recent contacts with churches and ministers and the plaguesome question which keeps coming up : “How can a minister, advocating the principles of Christianity, be opposed to the labor movement?” , For the past several years we have sent out to churches all over Texas around Labor Day copies of a “Labor Sunday Message” prepared by the National Council of Churches of Christ for use the Sunday before or after Labor Day. The first time we did this I was somewhat taken aback to receive “hate letters” from some ministers. As the years have gone by, I have come to expect it. I HASTEN to point out that the letters of appreciation for the Labor Sunday messages, along with orders for copies to distribute to congregations, outnumber the “hate letters” a hundred to one. This strengthens a belief I have always had that, by and large, ministers are sympa John McCully Notes on the Author John McCully, public relations director for the Texas State AFL-CIO, is the Observer’s guest columnist this week. Cully was raised in Little Rock and graduated in 1931 from what is now Central High. He mixed a little study at Little Rock Junior College with work as truckdriver, salesman, ‘shipping clerk in the early depression days, spent a couple of years in the University of Texas, worked in Little Rock in political campaigns \(Gov. tonio Light, and worked with Maury Maverick, Sr., in his mayoralty campaign. From late 1939 until January, 1943, he was PR man with the Agricultural Adjustment Administration in College Station. He spent most of his three Army years studying Japanese, which got him a degree from the University of Michigan. He was one of the . who took the plunge with Texas Week, the Time-style Texas newsmagazine which took its own plunge six months later. Then he was a partner in Stu Long’s news service. In 1951 he became public relations director for the Texas State Federation of Labor and has been with the state labor office since then. thetic to the problems of working people. This is as it should he. Yet it is the few hate-labor ones from whom we hear \(and there undoubtedly are many who don’t .me. Jerry Holleman put it into words recently in answering .one such letter we received from aminister. Holleman wrote : “The very basic premise of Christianity is the placing of human and spiritual values over and above property values. It is inconceivable to me that a true Christian could reverse that order.” Undoubtedly those who consider themselves true Christians and yet op pose organized labor do not believe that the labor movement is really beneficial to the human and spiritual welfare of humanity. They obviously have absorbed the propaganda mak-, ing labor unions out as vultures living. off dollars taken forcibly from the workers. It is easy to understand how thiS’ fallacy has taken hold of many good church-goers who perhaps think of their religion and the teachings of Christ only on Sunday mornings, but it is diffictilt to see how a ‘minister., who presumably lives his religion 24 hours a day, can fail to see that the goals of the labor movement fit like,a hand in a glove the principles of Christianity Both are dedicated to helping human beings. Both are based on love of fellow men. Getting more specific, what are some of these mutual goals which the AUSTIN Dear readers, what good is a rash youth if you forget all about it? I was a spy for the FBI before I could tell a communist from an agnostic. Those were the days at the University of Texas, 1947, when about a dozen young communists paralyzed the liberal students with anger \(for they were cheats and liars as a matter of for they turned out for and thus tainted every good cause from the United Fund to laden with medals from my,conquests in high school, a terror at 17, I came upon a seething nest of radicals at the state university. .In the dark one night, between a meeting at which I plotted to become editor of the student newspaper and another at which I agreed to become student president at the same time \(you think you understand sage from, or sent a message to, the FBI. Thereafter I attended a few very murky meetings at which people sat around and sang labor songs and expressed chagrin about the State Department and talked’ about world peace. Knowing nothing about the people or their ideas, I dutifully sent detailed reports to the FBI \(copies to a local newsmancopies for mymonths later, having broken up some worthy cause because a communist was for it too, I was exposed, and my brief play-game as a loyalty detective endedfor me. I’ am told that some good people were hounded a long time, perhaps because of my shrewd reports. I know one thing: I didn’t have any trouble clearing “secret” in Washington, and nobody, but nobody, has ever called me a communist. My ambitious adolescence has had, therefore, to at least this one good result : I can tell you fearlessly what I think of J. Edgar Hoover. THEY MADE America’s No. 1 Cop an honorary Texan the other day. Governor Daniel told him, “We all admire your wonderful work.” Senator Johnson said, introducing Hoover : “I guess he’s the strongest anticommunist in this country . His voice and his writings have done more to influence us than the voice and the Church and the labor movement share or should share? Both are concerned with the dignity of man, and both, accordingly. are concerned, or should be concerned, with such problems as discrimination because of race, creed or economic status, the right to think and’ the right to express one’s thoughts and beliefs, and the many rights and freedoms which are so vital to the individual human being. Both arc concerned, or should be concerned. with improving the lot of the poor and the downtrodden through such things as minimum wages, decent and adequate housing, better and more available educational facilities, more adequate pensions for ‘the aged and the crippled, better medical care. I know that the labor movement as such works toward these goals, although admittedly there are individuals and groups within labor who put hindrances in the way. I know that many churches and church leaders likewise are working toward these same goals, but I can’t say with any certainty that The Church, as a whole and encompassing the great variety of denominations and faiths, is doing SO. , It is at this next point that the writers of hate letters and I part company : I believe that working toward such goals is essential to the implementatiOn of the principles of both the Church and of laborthe principles of helping human beings and loving one’s fellow man. Not only antilabor ministers, but Many others in writings of any single man …. `By personal example he’s raised the standards of American law enforcement to the highest in the world.” And the senator thanked Hoover for coming all the way to Austin “to permit us to look upon one of the greatest living Americans I know.” Never one to fall back from politics just because he’s a civil servant, Hoover corn p l i m e n t e d Johnson’s “great record” in the Congress and said “He is as genuine as gold and just as plain.” Then Hoover reviewed a few of his well known ideasideas which appeal to the radical right in America. ideas which, if carried out, would leave little place in this nation for the forgiveness of sins and the free play of social ideas. “Youthful crime, commonly called by its cover-up term, juvenile delinquency, is a rising national scandal,” he said. Oh, he has no truck with sympathy for “young hoodlums.”, No premise in modern criminology is more false, he said, than the one “that vicious offenders should be shielded from the consequences of their acts on the basis of the fact that they are of tender age.” Hoover is willing to accept the responsibility of encouraging righteousness toward the young in trouble. He can have it. “It is time to end the coddling at all levels, including the level of the courts,” he said. A hired hand. of the executive branch, he proposes “ending” the “coddling” of young offenders by the courts. Does that mean drying up our sympathy for the wayward young? What about rehabilitation ? What about Christianity ? What about allowances for environment ? What about spending enough of our collective resources to give impoverished youngsters a better chance than their parents have given them ? Where does J. Edgar Hoover get off telling judges how much sympathy they should feel for boys and girls in trouble ? THEN he laid into the communist movement in the United States. Everybody f; nows there are some communists in this country, and everybody wants them watched. But J. Edgar Hoover is still preaching the the clergy consider such matters outside their jurisdiction. The argument runs something like. “We arc concerned with the next world, not this one.” THERE MAY BE those who will resent my identification of church and labor. I mean no offense and in no wise do 1 intend to place the labor movement in the same category as a religion or on a par with religion. but I do believe that the ideals of the labor movement go hand in, hand with the ideals of the Church. There are traitors to the ideag of the Church among the avowed practitioners of religion, and, just as I do not want the labor movement condemned for the mistaken actions of a few leaders, I do not condemn the Church for the mistaken actions of a few ministers. I ask that the labor movement be judged, not on the basis of a few, violators of trust but on the basis, of the union people who are dedicated to its ideals. Just so, I will not .judge the Church on the basis of a few violators of Christian ideals but on the. basis of those who daily demonstrate their understanding and love for their fel-_ low men, regardless of whether they are union or non-union. And these, thank God, dwarf in number those who close their eyes to the need of working people for the labor movement. JOHN McCut.t.v doctrine of the radical right that we -should all fall down in fear and trembling. Like Clarence Manion over at the Freedom in Action meeting …. seemingly unable to see how the United States can win. He quotes an American that “conditions are now ideal for the Com b monist Party to assert itself more boldly:” Hoover says this is true because “attacks have decreased” on the Communist Party in America. What does he mean’ by that ? Have you noticed any increase in sympathy for communists around’ y o u. rhouse? block ? neighborhoOd? town ? I have. n’t, either. ‘What he means is that Hero McCarthy is dead and .Americans are again ‘respecting the civil rights of the accused. Where does J. Edgar Hoover get off, a civil servant preaching against “the communists’ slogan, peaceful C,Q existence”? Americans whom the people have honored and revere believe peaceful co-existence to the extent . it can be maintained is the only real alternative to a war of racial suicide. HooVer is up to the old McCarthy trickthe use of the idea. that if a communist favors a program, it’s communist. Dear readers, I used that idea to break up a good cause. too. ButI was 17. J. Edgar Hoover is 64. Fenced Off A USTI N Texas lady has received a letter froni her mother, ‘Mrs. Jesse Brucker, about a visit to Catalina Island. Wrote Mrs. Brucker: “We enjoyed our trip to Catalina on sundav, although let d own about the place. 1 always pictured this island as being something . like Ali:mil. Midi vast whit sand beaches and tropical colors and parks. We found it to be a place occupied mostly by private clubs.fenced off .a very small beach for the Publicno parkjust some benches for the Public use. Not at all what we had expected.” I the promoters have their way about Padre Island. this is the kind of Liter Texans may have to write their children from Corpus Christi or Port taxi. J. Edgar Hoover at 64
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