Commentary Magazine

The Churches Admit Failure

To the Editor:

I have read Doctor Konvitz’ article, “Whittling Away Religious Freedom,” with great satisfaction, and find myself in emphatic agreement with his conclusions. I particularly appreciate his discussion of “released time,” and feel that he is right in emphasizing the fundamental importance of this issue. The policy of “re leased time” is not only a wanton violation of the principle of the separation of church and state, but it is a shameless confession of the failure and weakness of the churches.

What the churches are doing in this matter is to utilize the power and authority of the school system to accomplish in the field of education what they have found it impossible to do in their own Sunday Schools. We can’t get the children to come to our Sunday Schools, so we’ll use the compulsory system of the public schools to force them to come! That is what the churches are saying and doing, and it’s a disgrace!

I wish that Doctor Konvitz had included in his article a survey of the relation between the churches and the state during the war period. The way the churches surrender their spiritual freedom to become a part of the military set-up in time of war is another disgrace. If there is any time when the churches should be free, it is when the nation is at war. Churches cannot go to, war without openly betraying the religion which they profess. Hence the scandal of the religious support of the state in time of war.

Johan Haynes Holmes
The Community Church
New York

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