Religious tensions rose in New York City as Christians moved to support Negroes against the Jewish-dominated teachers’ union in the school decentralization controversy.

Vitriolic charges and countercharges of Jewish “racism” and Negro “anti-Semitism” and the distribution of hate literature made the situation more ugly.

The teachers’ union, largely white and two-thirds Jewish, defied widespread criticism and continued its third citywide strike since school began. They were demanding reinstatement of 83 teachers ousted by the governing board of the city’s first neighborhood-controlled school district, the mainly Negro and Puerto Rican Ocean Hill-Brownsville section in Brooklyn. More than one million pupils were affected by the strike.

President of the neighborhood school board in the battle is United Presbyterian minister C. Herbert Oliver, a graduate of Nyack Missionary College and Wheaton (Illinois) College.

Outright condemnation of the strikes and support for decentralization of school control came from top officials of the National Council of Churches, United Presbyterian Church, the city’s Protestant Council, United Methodist Board of Missions, and United Church of Christ. Protestant and Roman Catholic clergy participated in a city hall demonstration in favor of decentralization.

A statement by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, famed minister of Marble Collegiate Church and president of the Protestant Council, was typical. He said the union’s “intransigence” was the only barrier to getting the schools functioning again. “The due process cry of the teachers’ union has a hollow ring when they themselves engaged in an illegal strike.” He called for union support of decentralization as stipulated in its contract with the city. “That would be real due process,” he said.

Mayor John Lindsay, who has led the way in decentralization, and the board of education have held illegal both the strikes and the local board’s arbitrary transfer of 83 teachers out of the district. In a test of its power which sparked the current controversy, the board claimed that the dismissed teachers opposed community control and asserted its right to hire teachers it felt were tuned to its pupils’ needs.

Local officials became increasingly concerned as the school dispute fed these tensions, and Lindsay met privately on the matter with a number of Jewish leaders. But it exploded in the mayor’s face when a crowd at a Brooklyn Jewish center, bitter at Negro charges of racism against Jewish teachers who had taught many years in the inner city and furious at Lindsay’s efforts to end the strikes, shouted him down during his speech. And Jewish crowds heckled one of their own, New York Sen. Jacob Javits, the next day when he tried to defend the mayor. “It is unacceptable, this Jewish backlash,” Javits told them.

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Virulent anti-Semitic and anti-liquor feelings showed in a Washington Post interview with blacks who claim to have set a series of fires during that city’s April riots.

The historic “identity of interests” may be questionable now. Developments cited recently by the New York Times seem to have made a clash of interests inevitable:

• The move by black militants to control the direction of their own movement excluded many whites. This included many liberal Jews who felt snubbed after their extensive efforts for equal rights.

• More black militants have recently joined the Muslim faith, which carries a traditional antagonism between Arab and Jew. Jews felt more threatened when these militants supported the Arabs in their war with Israel.

• The teaching and social service professions, heavily saturated with Jews, are the two biggest areas where Negroes are demanding control “to teach our own, take care of our own.” With civil service and merit hiring, these fields were open to Jews while others were closed.

• Negro migrants to the city have settled in areas most recently occupied by Jews. Jews still own land and shops there. “In this conflict situation, the symbol of white ‘oppression,’ the slumlord, the overcharging of shopkeepers, was the Jew,” said an American Jewish Committee official. For this reason, many say that Negro anti-Semitism is mainly a spin-off of a general anti-white mood among black people.

At any rate, the school conflict reveals a break-up of the old liberal coalition of labor unions, Jews, Christians and Negroes. Jews who think of themselves as “liberals” find themselves allied in reaction with unions, while Christians seem to side with blacks in their struggle for self-determination. Jewish and Negro leaders who hope to close the gap wonder if they can control their alienated constituencies.


Czech aftermath: The Soviet-leaning Christian Peace Conference headquartered in Prague will continue its work despite deep differences over the Soviet invasion. Professor Amedeo Molnar of the Comenius Faculty of Theology, Prague, says a new element in Czech reaction was rejection by statesmen and citizens of the use of violence—even in self-defense. A Lutheran World Federation observer said Czech churches are working freely under the new situation. A statement from Hungary’s Roman Catholic bishops appears to support the Warsaw Pact invasion, but Austrian Catholic newsmen fear the Czech regime will try to regain control of church appointments and policies. Eurovangelism Director Dave Foster reports Czech evangelicals, who have been witnessing to some of the Soviet soldiers, also fear stringent controls are ahead.

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Responding publicly to a circular from Reinhold Niebuhr, John C. Bennett, and Rabbi Abraham Heschel seeking endorsements for Hubert Humphrey, ex-President Howard Schomer of Chicago Theological Seminary said the “best witness” for clergy is to refuse to vote for any of the three presidential candidates.

A straw poll among Missouri Synod Lutheran seminarians went: Nixon, 378; Humphrey, 117; Wallace, 27; with 37 favoring “an alternate Democratic candidate.”

A straw poll among readers of the Camden, New Jersey, Roman Catholic weekly went: Humphrey, 303 votes; Nixon, 296; Wallace, 274, with Wallace leading within the city itself. At St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, Wallace edged out Humphrey for second place in a student straw poll.

The U. S. Supreme Court held only a thirty-minute hearing on the suit challenging constitutionality of the Arkansas law against teaching Darwinian evolution. Justice Potter Stewart asked the state spokesman if the law was designed so that teaching “would not collide with the Bible story” of man’s creation, and was told the state merely seeks “neutrality” to “keep the religious question out of the school system.”

More than 7,000 persons, half of them Marines from a nearby base, attended the final meeting of evangelist John Haggai’s two-week crusade, sponsored by 125 churches in the San Diego area.

A hand grenade thrown into a crowd of worshipers in Hebron during the Feast of Tabernacles injured four dozen persons, eight of them seriously. The area came under Israeli control during the 1967 June war.

A legislator from Denmark’s People’s Socialist Party proposed new marriage laws to legalize polygamy, marriage between siblings, and marriage between homosexuals.


W. KENNETH WAGGONER, 34, Assemblies of God missionary pilot, whose plane crashed into the Atlantic off the coast of Liberia at night. On board were visiting Texas pastors James Parsons, 46, and B. J. MANLEY, 42.

DAVID H. JOHNSON, 74, general director emeritus of The Evangelical Alliance Mission; of a presumed heart attack at TEAM’s Wheaton, Illinois, offices.

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ROBERT H. H. GOHEEN, 88, pioneer Presbyterian medical missionary in India for four decades; father of Princeton University’s current president; in Princeton, New Jersey.

ELDER LIGHTFOOT SOLOMON MICHAUX, 84, one of the nation’s best-known freelance Negro religious leaders; founder of the Gospel Spreading Association of the Church of God; “Happy Am I” radio preacher; pioneer in church housing developments and use of showmanship and gospel songs; in Washington, D. C., of a heart attack.

Church Panorama

In a 43–20 vote, Asheville (North Carolina) Presbytery decided only contributions designated for specific agencies will go to the national denomination. All undesignated gifts will go to presbytery or synod causes. The move is interpreted as a protest at liberal agency trends in the Southern Presbyterian Church.

The Southern Presbyterian education board approved joint long-range planning with the United Church of Christ, United Presbyterian Church, and Episcopal Church. Episcopal Presiding Bishop John E. Hines will file a “friend of court” brief on behalf of the Southern Presbyterian suit to the U. S. Supreme Court against breakaway churches.

The Protestant-Catholic worship committee said that in its new text for the Nicene Creed (October 25 issue, page 42), brackets should appear around “and the Son,” in the statement that the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son.” The phrase was a major factor in the Eastern Orthodox-Catholic schism.

First Baptist Church of New Orleans, after a fifteen-minute discussion at Sunday worship, reaffirmed affiliation with the local church federation. Pastor J. D. Grey, former Southern Baptist president and head of the city crime commission, supported the church federation.

A New York Times survey found many churches in Greenwich Village, New York City, have suffered such theft and desecration that they have had to lock up in off hours, install burglar alarms, and cancel evening meetings.

The Washington (Episcopal) Cathedral claims a loss of $11,000 last year in sale of Christmas cards through theft by postal workers.

The Los Angeles Times reports Jehovah’s Witness publications are increasingly hinting that the end of the world will come in 1975. The group’s prediction of the Second Coming for 1914 once caused considerable theological reshuffling.

Project Equality closed its regional office in Los Angeles because of lack of church support. National director Thomas Gibbons, Jr., blamed the Protestants. Protestants blamed the Catholic archdiocese.

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The Rev. Adam Clayton Powell told his Harlem congregation in a sermon that James Earl Ray—scheduled for trial this month—“didn’t kill King,” and that this murder was part of a racially motivated “conspiracy” linked to the deaths of John and Robert Kennedy.

The Rev. Homer Tucker, urban-work director for the New Jersey Baptist Convention, is the first Negro chairman of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs.

Editor Norman DePuy of the American Baptists’ Mission magazine praised evangelist Billy Graham for “taking sides” by befriending Richard Nixon in the 1968 elections, and supported announcing of political opinions from the pulpit.

Resigned Episcopal Bishop James A. Pike—who has helped create a “find your date by computer” service—will be honorary pastor at small, pacifist oriented Mount Hollywood Congregational Church in California, and preach at least four times a year.

A U. S. attorney charged Catholic Father Robert Niklibore, president of Boys Town of the Desert in Banning, California, with living a double life as a layman in nearby Palm Springs and failing to file taxes on $119,960 income over three years.

United Church of Christ minister Oscar Remick will be vice-president of Assumption College (Roman Catholic) in Worcester, Massachusetts. And the Milwaukee Catholic archdiocese named United Church layman Kenneth Burgess, Jr., 49, as it first full-time financial administrator.

The Rev. Ben Mohr Herbster, 64, said he will retire as president of the United Church of Christ in a year. His successor will be elected at the June General Synod in Boston.

Missing, since October 13: a single-engine plane in dense rainforest in the northern Congo. Aboard: Disciples of Christ missionaries Max L. Myers, a pilot, and Mrs. Harrison Goodall, a surgeon’s wife; and Mrs. Mary Hoyt, a Roman Catholic missionary nurse.

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