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Rovere \(Meridlane with the New Yorker reporter. Paper, $1.25. National Security in the Nu clear Age, ed. by Gordon B. Turner and Richard D. Chalsurvey. $6. Send your order for ANY book to DEPT. B, Texas Observer, 504 West 24th St., Austin, Texas. “BOW” WILLIAMS When Your Home Policy Expires, Check With Us About Special Savings On Our Homeowners’ Policy GReenwood 2-0545 624 NORTH LAMAR, AUSTIN Let’s Abolish the Poll Tax! MARTIN ELFANT Sun Life of Canada Houston, Texas CA 4-0686 A DALLAS DEMOCRATIC NEWSPAPER Yes, there’s one outspoken newspaper that voices liberalism and the Democratic Party in ultra-conservative Dallas. Neighbors call the Editor a non-conformist, sometimes a radical, because he has the audacity to speak out on unpopular liberal issues of the day. You ought to subscribe now. Mail $2.50 for the next fifty-two issues to The White Rocker, P.O. Box 18625, NAME ADDRESS CITY AND STATE `Transcending Without Denying Differences’ nation. The fundamental loyalty of both Protestants and Catholics has never been seriously questioned. We vote in the same precincts, pay our taxes to the same treasury, obey the same laws, and die on the same battlefields. As living participants in one national destiny we have a high ground where we can transcend our differences without denying any of them, and where we can live with the tensions which the differences create without being destroyed by them. Why then are so many intelligent, conscientious men and women apprehensive about the possibility of a Roman Catholic ever becoming president of this country? It would be unjust to accuse them of bigotry or blind prejudice. They are not apostles of discord, deliberately stirring up strife and ill will. On the contrary theyare men of good will. I respect their honesty and sincerity, but I believe that their fears are not justified. By injecting into a presidential campaign a religious difference that has been with us all of the time and that will be with us when the campaign is ended, great harm is being done to all of the churches, Protestant and Catholic, and the nation may suffer irreparable damage. How Long Before .. . The issue which we are facing this morning is not which party should be chosen or which candidate elected. I have not the slightest desire to influence any vote. Indeed, I could not possibly have such intention because, as my family well knows, I have not yet decided which way I will vote. It would be a base offense to turn this or any other pulpit into I a political forum for the purpose of influencing votes one way or another. This religious issue can be equally damaging to both parties and already has proven to be embarrassing to all candidates. Mr. Nixon and Mr. Lodge, Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Johnson, all men of stature, have urged time and time again that our religious differences, however important they may be to us, should not be made issues in this campaign. I believe they are right. To make religion an issue in any election is to ignore and deny the clear intention of the Constitution. Article 6, Section 3 states with clarity and force: “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the United States.” When this article was being considered by the Constitutional Convention one delegate from Virginia expressed his doubt that it was necessary because he was sure the issue never would be raised. But the framers of the Constitution were so convinced of the importance of this principle that they put it in and reinforced it with the strongest language possible”No religious test shall ever be required . . .” If the religion of a candidate becomes a vital factor in the decision of the voter, then the principle written into the Constitution has no rootage in his heart. It means that he simply does not believe it. . . . If we do not or if we accept it with any reservations, then we must weigh the alternative very carefully. If we admit any reservations even in our minds and hearts, where are we going to stop? . . . how long will it be until we change the Constitution to read, “No Catholic or Jew or Moslem shall be eligible for President”? When anyone makes religion an important factor in the choice of a candidate, he has already breached “the wall of separation” in his mind and heart. Real Issues Neglected A few months ago this campaign gave promise of being the most stimulating and enlightening forum on public issues that this nation has ever experienced. Now it threatens to degen er ate into a hassel over a religious controversy that has been with us since the beginning and shall remain unchanged no matter who is elected. There are real issues which call for clear and unambiguous ‘statements of policies and programs. Internally we face grave and urgent problems, such as increasing population and growing urbanization, over-crowded schools, the rapidly increasing proportion of old people, the constant danger of inflation, the revolution created by automation, the precarious condition of the farmer. as the nation becomes more and more industrialized, and, of course, the ugly but urgent race problem. These are only a few of the really vital issues. The health and well-being of our nation hinges on the way these issues are handled, and not on the denominational affiliation of the next president. At the international level the issues are even more vital and urgent. The peoples of the earth, stirred with a passion to achieve a destiny of their own, and frightened by the possibility of total annihilation, are looking to us, more than to any other people, for leadership. Our responsibility is awesome. We need to hear and weigh with utmost seriousness what policies and programs the parties and candidates have to offer. At a time freighted with peril and calling for extraordinary political wisdom and skill, it would be pathetic and tragic if a political campaign degenerated into a religious squabble over matters largely irrelevant to the agonies and perils of the world. Exaggerated Fears The deep concern which the religious issue has elicited grows out of an exaggerated and misplaced fear. To the question, Would not the hierarchy likely bring strong pressure on a Catholic president for decisions favorable to their interests and consistent with their convictions? the answer is, Of course they would! A president is always under pressure. Did , we not bring strong pressure on the President to prevent the appointment of an ambassador to the Vatican? The pressures exerted by a highly centralized and authoritarian church would be different from, and more effective than, any pressure that Catholic church is not as monolithic as some people suppose. Priests and bishops have openly declared that they believe in the separation of church and state, not as a matter of temporary expediency, but on principle. When Mr. Kennedy clearly affirmed his commitment to separation, some Catholics high in the line of command firmly condemned him while others approved and commended him. In a democracy we must trust one another even when that trust Sailboat for Sale Imported from Florida to Dallas at a cost of $690, 12-foot sailing dinghy with Dacron sail. In as-new condition. “Half-Fast.” For $297 FOB. 7227 Fisher Rd., Dallas, Ph. TAylor 4-0445. A liberal boat for liberals only. Liberal involves the possibility of a threat to our most cherished convictions. There is no other way for people to live in an open society, for if we expect others to trust us we must trust them. The Nature of Freedom This fear of which I speak stems in the last analysis from a misunderstanding of the nature of freedom. Freedom is always dangerous. It does not call us to make choices in matters which are safe and over which we have full control. It is the very nature of freedom to demand from us choices which are beyond the safety zone. Freedom is a risk; without risk there is no freedom, and man loses his essential manhood. This is man’s miserywhat Balzac calls, “the tetanus of the soul.” But it is also man’s grandeur. . . . Some people never know what it is to be free because they never make choices that carry them beyond the point of no return. Such men are to be pitied, for they have never really lived. This nation was founded and its basic law was fashioned, for freedom. It was not safe at the beginning, never has been safe and never will be. When, for example, we determined to choose our own rulers and at the same time affirmed that “No religious test shall ever be required,” we launched upon a course that carried us beyond the line of safety and out into the danger zone. “Isn’t that dangerous?” someone asks. “Might not some religious fanatic carry us to our doom?” And the answer is, Of course it is dangerous! But that is freedom, and without it there is no freedom. Function of Religion Finally, this anxiety over the religious issue stems from’ a misunderstanding of the function of religious institutions in an open society. The first function of religious institutions is to help people to discriminate between the most important and the less important choices which they must make. Life has many interests, many concerns that call for decision. There are the demands of mint, anise, and cummin. These are legitimate and necessary. But it is the business of the church to make men aware of the weightier matters of the law which must take precedence over the demands of mint, anise and cummin. The weightier matters are the demands of justice and mercy and faith. And then it is the function of organized religion in an open society to strengthen and increase love for God and man in every area of life, in all parts of the world. This fear to which we.are giving way is unworthy of the church. Jim Tucker Insurance Agency Home . . . Business 6511 South Park Blvd. Houston, Texas Phone M 4-1641 It can do incalculable damage. It could lead to hate, suspicion and discord. The nation has a right to expect something better than that from us. We have neighbors and friends and even relatives who are Roman Catholic. Some of you, I know, have grandchildren who are being reared in the Catholic faith. I ask you in all ‘candor, is it fair and just that any doors of opportunity and service should be closed to your grandchild simply because he is a Catholic? Do not justice and fairness lie rather on the side of the Constitution which explicitly declares that “no religious test shall ever be required”? Whenever organized religion becomes a divisive force and not an instrument of reconciliation it betrays the trust which it has from God who was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself and who has committed unto us the ministry of reconciliation. I wish it were possible for us here this morning to put aside the religious question for the duration of this campaign. We cannot bury it and we should not try, because the differences are real, not imaginary. The controversy must go on, month after month, year after year, within the structures provided by the Constitution. We must be alert and diligent at every level, from the local school district to the Supreme Court of the land. But the differences ought to be hammered out not in a presidential campaign but in the courts and legislatures and administrative branches of government, under the Constitution and only by due process of law. If in the critical days that lie ahead of us, the people of this great nation should discover in a crisis that their unity has been weakened and respect and influence abroad have been impaired by a bitter religious controversy and that could happenthen we may be sure that the great body of loyal, concerned Americans would turn against the church and its leadership with disdain and contempt. For our own sakes then, and for the sake of the witness we are called on to bear under God, we cannot afford the luxury of a religious controversy in a Presidential campaign. I shall close with two quotations. One is from Jesus: “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another.” Aid the other is from a man whose life exemplified more perfectly than anyone who has ever lived the spirit of Christa Ro
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