Little publicized in either legal or church circles is a national society of Christian attorneys who are doing things that may gain for their organization—the seventeen-year-old Christian Legal Society (CLS)—more visibility in both realms in the near future.

Nearly 100 of the 1,800 CLS members met in Arlington, Virginia, this month to study and pray together about the professional and spiritual challenges they face in their practice of law. They discussed and acted on plans for expanding CLS ministries in the coming decade, laying the groundwork for more intensive research and action on a variety of issues. During open-forum sessions, old pros among the private practitioners, government attorneys, corporation lawyers, and religious institutional lawyers interacted with law students about ethics and the troubled state of the profession. (The CLS sponsors several retreats each year for law students in various parts of North America.)

The conferees reviewed test cases involving alleged violations of religious liberty and government interference in religious realms. CLS members have been involved in such cases in the past, and the CLS itself occasionally provides guidelines to religious groups needing assistance in defending their right of expression. Sometimes the CLS sends a representative to appear in a case as a “friend of the court.”

The CLS board gave a green light to a group of its members to undertake a pilot program of Christian mediation services aimed at settling court-size disputes between Christians out of court. The experiment will involve both legal and spiritual counsel in accord with principles outlined in First Corinthians 6:1–8 and elsewhere in Scripture. (Members of the CLS are divided on the issue of a believer taking another believer to court: some believe that no such instance can be sanctioned biblically, others contend that Scripture does not place a universal prohibition on legal actions between Christians.)

Plenary sessions of the three-day CLS conference included messages on spiritual nurture by Lynn Robert Buzzard, a Northern Baptist Seminary faculty member who has served for more than five years as CLS’s part-time executive director at CLS headquarters in suburban Chicago. President M. G. “Pat” Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network, who holds a law degree from Yale, gave a banquet talk on biblical jurisprudence. Former Arizona congressman John B. Conlan discussed current legislative concerns.

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Chairing the conference sessions was CLS president Julius B. “Jay” Poppinga of Newark, New Jersey, who in 1977 won the widely publicized U.S. District Court case against the teaching of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation (TM) in the curriculum of New Jersey public high schools. (That case is now on appeal before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.)

Among projects designated to receive priority attention by CLS planners are clarification of the “Christian lawyer” concept, enunciation of a biblical view of jurisprudence, and prepaid legal services to and through church organizations.

Constitutional lawyer William Bentley Ball confronted what is often the most slippery problem regarding “freedom of religion” suits: “What is religion?” Ball, who has handled more than fifty personal-liberty suits and a variety of Supreme Court cases, is perhaps best known for his successful representation of the Amish in the landmark Wisconsin v. Yoder case. That case secured the rights of the Amish to raise their children in accord with their religious convictions and apart from traditional state educational requirements. He is also known for his involvement in important parochial-school cases.

In his talk, Ball pointed up the ambiguity that plagues both plaintiffs and defendants in many religion-related legal battles and in alleged instances of suppression of the rights of Christian students on secular campuses. “In many situations the content given to the word ‘religious’ is what determines whether, in fact, one shall enjoy ‘religious liberty’ in that situation,” explained the attorney.

Contrasting the amount of current litigation on the subject with that of the previous century, the veteran lawyer said that in the nineteenth century the U.S. Supreme Court processed less than a handful of decisions dealing with religion. In a case tried in 1890, however, the high court defined religion as “man’s relationship to his Creator.” That theistic definition persists, said Ball, but in 1944 Justice Douglas in a significant case stated: “Men may believe what they cannot prove; they may not be put to the proof of their religious doctrines or beliefs.”

Then in 1961, said Ball, the court clearly indicated that non-theistic religions are also covered by First Amendment protection. In that year Roy Torcaso, a candidate for public office in Maryland, challenged the state’s requirement of a religious-oriented oath. The outcome of the showdown was that the Supreme Court disallowed Maryland’s religious requirement, saying that it violated Torcaso’s freedom of belief and religion. And since the court did not disclose that Torcaso had any beliefs or any religion, non-belief and non-religion therefore came under the same “free exercise” clause that protects adherents of any religion.

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The court complicated the question even more by a now-famous footnote to that opinion, which said in part: “Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism, and others.” The definition of “secular humanism” as a religion has produced considerable debate over public school programs whose content, critics allege, is essentially “secular humanist.” Some Christians—including legislators (especially Conlan)—argued with little success that such programs may not be imposed in schools because that would amount to the establishment of a religion.

Ball also referred to court cases in which religion has been more narrowly defined. They include a current one, Caulfield v. Hirsch, involving the effort of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to assert jurisdiction over Roman Catholic schools in Philadelphia (see June 17, 1977, issue, page 38). That case is now in the appeals stage and may be headed for the Supreme Court. The NLRB has taken the position that no “free exercise” claim can be asserted by pastors of the schools, since the legislation at issue does not contradict any “tenet” of the Catholic religion or prevent the expression of any. With such a view, the government can control a church school’s “terms and conditions of employment” so long as it does not contradict a doctrine or bar expression of it, as Ball sees it.

“Lawyers in religious liberty cases must pause to listen to believers,” Ball counseled. “Such cases should be defended on the single ground of liberty of religion,” he emphasized. He warned against misdefining religion by seeing it in terms of only a single facet of its many meanings. He also urged his listeners to recognize the truth of C. S. Lewis’s remark: “There are not ‘non-religious’ activities; only ‘religious’ and ‘irreligious.’ ”

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Ball concluded with an appeal to the CLS participants to defend religious and other human liberties, to be a faithful witness within the profession (“which is indeed in a troubled state and was never in worse public repute”), and to help others become truly Christian lawyers.

Private Education: A Tax Break?

Intense pressure was building up early this month on President Jimmy Carter and Congress over proposals to grant tax relief to parents of students in private schools, most of which are church-related.

The congressional bills would give limited credit toward the income tax of tuition-paying parents, many of them hard pressed to keep abreast of spiraling educational costs. The legislation is backed not only by the Roman Catholic hierarchy but also by many evangelicals who support private schools. Much to the surprise of opponents, the tax-relief concept has already gained considerable congressional endorsement. The best-known of the bills, introduced by Senators Daniel Moynihan and Bob Packwood, sailed through the Senate Finance Committee and was ready this month for action on the Senate floor. Half the membership of the Senate joined in sponsoring the measure, so there is little doubt that it will be passed.

Sermon Suggestions

Applause after a good sermon?

That’s what a Roman Catholic priest, Henry Fehren, suggests in an article in U.S. Catholic magazine. After all, he says, even clergy need audience approval and support “lest their work seem useless or a mere chore.” He thinks preachers would benefit if members of the congregation participated in the sermon preparation process—by contributing suggestions for content, providing reviews and clippings, engaging in dialogue, and the like. He also believes that churches could provide cards on which churchgoers would rate the sermon, comment on what was good or bad, and make suggestions for future talks.

“If the preacher senses from the active involvement of the people that he is communicating with them,” writes Fehren, “he will surely make greater efforts to make the sermon better in content, form, and effectiveness.”

A survey of the magazine’s subscribers showed that 69 per cent agree that applause can have a place in church. More than 70 per cent think the rating-cards idea is a good one.

The poll also found that no one prefers sermons of more than thirty minutes and that only 4 per cent like sermons longer than twenty minutes. Forty-five per cent said they believe sermons should last from five to ten minutes, and 35 per cent favor a length of from ten to twenty minutes.

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In the House of Representatives, which historically has been slower to act on bills giving special tax breaks, hearings were held in the Ways and Means Committee, and chairman Al Ullman announced that he was ready to bring the matter to a vote.

President Carter and cabinet member Joseph Califano, Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, have opposed the Packwood-Moynihan bill. They were backed by an opinion from Attorney General Griffin Bell that questioned the constitutionality of the legislation on church-and-state separation grounds. The Administration wants Congress instead to appropriate more funds for direct aid to students at the college level. (The Packwood-Moynihan proposal includes parents of elementary, secondary, and college students in the tax-credit plan.)

The President’s rejection of the tax-credits proposal has prompted critics to charge that he is not keeping pledges made during his campaign for the White House. “Are your promises mere rhetoric? Have you no intention of making them reality?” asked John Meyers, president of the National Catholic Educational Association, in a letter to Carter.

Meyers, a priest, quoted a telegram that Carter sent to the 1976 annual meeting of the Catholic educators shortly before the presidential election. In it, Carter promised to find “constitutionally acceptable methods of providing aid to parents whose children attend parochial schools.” During testimony on the legislation, Califano—a Catholic—defended his Baptist boss. He argued that Carter is limited by the Constitution in what he can do.

The defense of the President by his cabinet members brought a challenge from Bishop Thomas C. Kelly, general secretary of the U.S. Catholic Conference. He dismissed Bell’s opinion on the constitutionality of tax credits as only one man’s opinion. Numerous constitutional authorities have testified that the plan is constitutional, he pointed out.

Catholic support for the proposed legislation seems to be solid, as it has been in most past attempts to get financial relief for parents of church-school students. A new element is the backing that is coming from other religious groups. Jewish groups, for example, have generally opposed such legislation in the past. The Synagogue Council of America is bound by a rule of unanimity, so it is taking no position on Packwood-Moynihan. Its Orthodox Jewish constituency, however, favors such tax relief. Members of evangelical groups that operate schools—including the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the Christian Reformed Church—have testified on behalf of the legislation. Support has also come from officials of some non-sectarian organizations, among them the Congress on Racial Equality.

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Alarmed by the progress of the Packwood-Moynihan bill, a variety of national organizations put together a coalition to stop tax-credit legislation. About forty groups, including religious, labor, civil rights, and educational organizations have joined the National Coalition to Save Public Education. Among them are Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs.

Letter Writing In a Limousine

A whirlwind tour of four nations in the week after Easter focused world attention on the American president who has made human rights a popular issue. Jimmy Carter’s visit to Venezuela and Brazil was the first of a U.S. president to South America since John Kennedy, and his trip to Nigeria and Liberia was the first official visit by any U.S. president to black Africa.

Although Carter talked about oil, atomic energy, Communist influence, and other international concerns, his agenda also had its moments of religious interest. His host in Brazil, Ernesto Geisel, is the nation’s first Protestant president. Whether they discussed religion was not announced, but the President insisted on seeing two Brazilian cardinals who are critics of the Geisel government. He met for about an hour in Rio de Janeiro with Paulo E. Arns, archbishop of São Paulo, and Eugenio Sales, archbishop of Rio. Religious News Service reported that Arns rode with the President to the airport and received handwritten letters from Carter for delivery to two persons. One was addressed to Pentecostal pastor Manoel de Mello of São Paulo, a World Council of Churches leader who was once arrested by security police. The other addressee was not named, and the content of the letters was not divulged.

There was some speculation that the other letter Carter wrote in his limousine to the airport was intended for embattled Archbishop Dom Helder Camara of Recife, Brazil. While Arns has been called Brazil’s leading human rights advocate, Camara is perhaps the best known cleric outside the country. He has traveled and spoken around the world, particularly in Europe and North America.

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As Carter’s trip began, the American lay-edited National Catholic Reporter went to press with an interview article on Camara. The weekly reported that the archbishop had been ordered by the Vatican to suspend his travels. The paper’s Washington correspondent, Mark Winiarski, said Pope Paul had imposed the ban last November. The Reporter said that Italians in the curia, unhappy with the “red bishop’s” outspoken advocacy of socialist programs, had moved Pope Paul to limit Camara’s wide influence.

As Winiarski was piecing together the story in Recife, Camara got a phone call from a high Vatican official. Cardinal Jan Willebrands, telling him that the ban had been lifted. Other Vatican figures denied that any ban had ever existed. Despite the phone call, Camara told the Reporter that the matter was still unsettled. He also gave the paper a statement in which he criticized the United States as an exporter of torture.

In Africa, Carter went to a service at First Baptist Church in Lagos, Nigeria. That country’s chief of state, General Olusegun Obasanjo, is also a Baptist. The general read Scripture during the service, and Carter led the responsive reading and prayed. In Liberia Carter was welcomed by President William Tolbert, a Baptist pastor and former president of the Baptist World Alliance.

Schism In the Order

More grief than bitterness lingers in the aftermath of a recent schism within the New Covenant Apostolic Order (NCAO), a group founded four years ago by seven former key staff members of Campus Crusade for Christ. There was no uproar attracting public attention to the NCAO split when it occurred, and many of the leaders are unwilling to talk about it to outsiders. Simply put, it was in the end a matter of theological incompatibility among old friends who had worked together in the front ranks of evangelism and church planting.

The seven central figures left Campus Crusade between 1968 and 1970 to develop other ministries. Sharing a common belief that evangelism had to be linked more closely to spiritually renewed churches, they later banded together as the NCAO to establish congregations founded on the principles of theological orthodoxy, historic continuity, and catholicity. They chose churches of the first six centuries as models for government, liturgy, doctrine, and discipline. The goal was to create an ideal New Testament-type church fellowship where new converts could come and be nurtured properly.

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Several of the seven managed to bring their varied ministries into the newly formed group. The movement began with five churches and expanded within three years to nearly 100, most of them small house fellowships scattered in fifteen states.

Explained Gordon Walker, one of the founders: “We don’t see ourselves as a new denomination or a separatist organization, but rather an order in the church catholic (or universal). There have been many honorable orders in the history of the church that have brought her great blessings. We hope we will be another such [order bringing] blessing to the church.…”

Walker, former director of Campus Crusade’s African ministries, is pastor of an NCAO congregation in Nashville and oversees NCAO work in the Southeast. He also was associated at one time with Grace Haven Farm near Mansfield, Ohio, an NCAO collegiate work-study center patterned after the famed L’Abri center in Switzerland. The present director of Grace Haven is Ray Nethery, who formerly headed Campus Crusade’s Asia department. Nethery is the only one of the seven NCAO founders who departed in the schism.

Other NCAO founders:

• Jon Braun, predecessor of Josh McDowell on Campus Crusade’s university lecture circuit; overseer of NCAO’s West Coast congregations.

• Dick Ballew, formerly Campus Crusade’s East Coast director; shepherd of the NCAO churches in the Santa Barbara-Goleta area on the California coast.

• Ken Berven, former Canadian director of Campus Crusade and personal assistant to Crusade president Bill Bright; supervisor of NCAO’s work in the Pacific Northwest.

• Pete Gilquist, formerly Campus Crusade’s Midwest director and editor of Crusade’s Challenge magazine; now an editor for Thomas Nelson publishers, overseer of NCAO’s Midwest work, and the NCAO’s president.

• Jack Sparks, former research director and computer specialist for Campus Crusade, and founder of the Christian World Liberation Front at Berkeley (an outreach group that split up in 1975); dean of NCAO’s Academy of Orthodox Theology in Goleta, a school founded in 1976 “to help equip Christian workers in the theological battles that are presently being fought as well as those yet to come.” (Both Braun and Ballew are members of the academy’s faculty, and both spent a year or more in a sect patterned after Witness Lee’s Local Church movement. About two dozen persons are enrolled in the school.)

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Ballew is 51, Gilquist is 39, and the others are in their forties.

Women In Ministry

Seventy-six of 211 Christian church bodies polled in North America ordain women, according to a survey by editor Constant H. Jacquet, Jr., of the Yearbook of American and Canadian churches. The study also showed:

• Nearly 10,500 women are ordained in the full ministry.

• Women comprise 4.1 per cent of the total clergy force of the groups surveyed.

• More than one-fourth of all women clergy counted in the survey were ordained by the Salvation Army.

• The United Church of Christ has the largest number of women clergy—400—of the major denominations. (The Disciples of Christ have 388, and both the United Methodist Church and the United Presbyterian Church have about 300 each.)

Women account for 40 per cent or so of seminary enrollments across the nation, an increase of 118 per cent since 1972, according to another study cited by Jacquet.

The seven founders and thirteen other “apostles” (as they were known among the western churches) or “apostolic workers” (the designation used in the eastern churches) comprised the NCAO proper. Within the NCAO was a governing General Council composed of the seven founders. The NCAO-spawned churches were divided into a dozen geographical presbyteries. From each were selected elders, about 150 in all, to sit on the Church Council, a sort of governing body over the churches but subject to the NCAO leadership.

(At the time of the split there were about 2,000 adherents. An estimated 500 left with Nethery and two other apostolic workers: Kevin Springer of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Michael Seiler of Columbus, Ohio.)

The NCAO’s strategy was to establish community churches and develop within them indigenous leadership. There are no pastors as traditionally understood. Local boards of elders administer services and programs. Larger congregations are served by ordained apostolic workers. (The NCAO does not ordain women.)

The constituents include a “goodly number of mild charismatics,” according to a member. Most of the people involved in the churches are in their twenties and thirties, a high proportion of them college graduates. Most come from Protestant backgrounds that are not heavily liturgical. There are no blacks, and NCAO leaders express regret about this.

Much good is being accomplished in the local congregations, according to NCAO president Gilquist. He points to marriages and lives that are being healed in the nurture process. (Gilquist declined to comment at length about the NCAO, however, in the context of an article about the recent schism. It is unfair, he suggested, for the press to all but ignore a movement until controversy arises.)

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Theological concerns have occupied much of the attention of the NCAO’s leaders. One of their major concerns is the theme of union: the union of the Godhead, the union of Christ’s two natures, the union of the believers with Christ. The church is seen as the place where union with Christ is expressed. It is effected in baptism and carried on in the Eucharist.

For some time Nethery and his associates were fearful that the other NCAO leaders were moving too far in the direction of Eastern Orthodoxy in their increasing emphasis on sacramental theology and authoritarian government. (Indeed, there were informal contacts with an Orthodox body.) Theology was not a settled matter, it was being developed as the months went by.

The Nethery group meanwhile was moving toward reformational views of doctrine and ecclesiology.

Things came to a head in January when the NCAO ruling-council members met in Goleta and discussed their differences. The meeting took place two days before a theological forum was to be held in Paso Robles, California. Representative scholars of the NCAO had submitted position papers for consideration by the leadership in advance of the meeting. Some of the papers—all from Nethery’s area—took issue with certain positions of the Goleta faculty and with what Nethery’s group felt were “dangerous” directions:

• A position that borders on baptismal regeneration.

• The “binding” of individual conscience to the church leadership.

• The teaching that divine energies are transmitted through the sacraments and the church.

• Emphasis on the incarnation at the potential expense of the atonement.

• Elevating the patristic tradition to the point of threatening the authority of Scripture.

(Gilquist insists that NCAO leaders believe the blood of Christ, not the water of baptism, saves. However, he describes baptism as being ideally “that point at which the Lord comes to live in your life.” On another point, he rejects the conscience-binding charge but does insist that a believer’s actions must be “subject to [the authority of] the church.”)

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When discussion of the issues reached an impasse the majority of the council members suggested that Nethery set up a new order that would have ties to the NCAO but would accommodate the dissenting leaders. This he agreed to do.

Since the council felt that presentation of the divergent viewpoints would prove disruptive, the forum was canceled, and Nethery returned to Ohio. Some thirty individuals, however, did show up at Paso Robles. They reviewed the controversial papers and pronounced them “polemical.” A “prophecy” repudiating the eastern dissenters and challenging their Christian integrity was drawn up and sent to all NCAO-related congregations. Denied the opportunity to defend their views, the Nethery group of twenty congregations and some 500 members withdrew from the NCAO altogether.

In a telephone interview Nethery said he deplored the split, but he added: “We’ve got to be very careful that the tradition of the church doesn’t overpower the voice of Scripture.” Theological differences, not personality conflicts, produced the separation, he emphasized. (In talking with reporters, both Gilquist and Nethery expressed high regard and affection for each other despite the parting of ways; it was Nethery who led Gilquist to Christ.)

Observers say it is too early to predict what will be the ultimate outcome of the schism. The eastern separationists plan a meeting in July to chart the road ahead.


Wilmington Ten: Conscience or Crime?

North Carolina’s natural beauty attracts thousands of out-of-state admirers every spring and summer, but some of the visitors this season will be going to North Carolina to say how terrible they think the state is. In the forefront of those paying their calls this spring will be United Church of Christ executives who are trying to get the nine remaining “Wilmington Ten” prisoners out of jail (see June 17, 1977, issue, page 38). The continuing controversy over the sentences of the men convicted of fire bombing a store in 1971 has been one of the issues bringing the Tar Heel state some attention it does not want. At the center of it all is Governor James B. Hunt, Jr., who does not easily wear the “racist” tag that some critics have given him.

Churches of North Carolina are also wrapped up in the issue. The spring issue of the NCCC Chronicles (of the National Council of Churches) announced that the North Carolina Council of Churches had just been awarded a “national ecumenical service recognition award” by the NCC’s Commission on Regional and Local Ecumenism. Among the cited accomplishments of the winner in the state council category was spearheading “a campaign to mobilize support for the Wilmington Ten.”

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Not all religious leaders in the state are in favor of the campaign, however. Even the United Church of Christ (UCC), whose Commission on Racial Justice has led the national protest, has furnished some opposition within the state. Early this year fifty-eight UCC ministers got together and issued a statement asking the denomination to back off. They said that the denomination had already spent enough money (estimated at more than $500,000) on the cause and that “the divisive and derogatory rhetoric expressed by some denominational officials” was “accusatory and disrespectful of the motives, character, and personhood of others.” They urged that regional, rather than national, officials speak for the UCC in the matter. The UCC national communications office responded with a statement saying that the North Carolina complaint would be taken “very seriously” but that because of the UCC’s polity all churches are independent with “a right to do as they please.” This month the UCC rejected the request of the North Carolina dissidents.

The leader of the jailed men is Ben Chavis, a field worker for the UCC commission at the time of racial strife in Wilmington in 1971. Governor Hunt reduced the sentences of Chavis and the others, but he did not grant the pardons which had been demanded. Because Hunt is eligible for reelection and considered a contender for national office, there has been speculation that his action was politically motivated. One state-wide poll showed 52 per cent of North Carolinians in favor of his decision, 21 per cent who did not want him to make any change at all in the sentences, and only 12 per cent who wanted pardons or further reductions of the sentences. Hunt, generally considered moderate to liberal within the state, has put more blacks in middle-to top-level state jobs than his predecessors.

Chavis, though, argued that he and the other eight still in jail had been “nailed to the cross of racism and political repression” by Hunt’s decision. (A tenth member of the group, a white woman who formerly worked for the federal VISTA program as an anti-poverty worker, was released earlier.)

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Three of the key prosecution witnesses at the original trial have since recanted their testimony (and recanted the recantation in some cases). This has led to renewed cries that there was a miscarriage of justice and that the Chavis ten were imprisoned simply because of their political positions and not because of the crimes for which they were convicted. The court found them guilty of conspiring to shoot policemen and firemen as well as setting the store building on fire. Chavis got the longest sentence since he was considered the mentor of the young men (teen-agers at the time). Under the reduction granted by the governor, he will be eligible for parole in 1980. Such organizations as Amnesty International have helped make the case a world-wide issue, claiming that the men are prisoners of conscience.

The courts have consistently held that there was nothing improper about the trial, and all appeal efforts have failed so far. President Carter, who has been petitioned by a variety of groups to intervene, has said only that it is a state issue. Protests and appeals have been carried to Washington (including one by the National Council of Churches), and the supporters of the Wilmington Ten plan to keep the cause in the headlines.

Among those urging President Carter to take a hand in the matter last month was Philip Potter, general secretary of the World Council of Churches. In a letter to Carter, the WCC leader recalled an appeal made on behalf of the Wilmington Ten to the White House last August by the WCC Central Committee. Potter told Carter that granting a “pardon of innocence” and release of the prisoners “would greatly enhance your moral stance and credibility both at home and abroad.”

An estimated 8,000 rallied across the street from the White House last month, cheered on by such veterans of the protest movement as singer Pete Seeger and Marxist professor Angela Davis. Leon White, director of the North Carolina-Virginia field office of the UCC’s commission, suggested that a rally planned early this month might be the last orderly one. He said it would be one of solidarity and not civil disobedience, but “after April 1, the tactics are open.” Golden Frinks, a Southern Christian Leadership Conference worker who is a veteran North Carolina activist, said he was “prepared to violate some laws” in the continuing protest.

More than the cases of the individual prisoners or the cause of political action in the United Church of Christ is at stake in the case. One of the underlying issues arousing people on both sides is the use of confrontation techniques, including violent ones, to effect community change. The issue is getting fresh national attention because of President Carter’s appointment of Sam Brown as director of Action, the umbrella organization for domestic volunteer agencies as well as the Peace Corps. Brown is a veteran of the protests of the Sixties. Some members of Congress and other political leaders have taken issue with the plans he has for the agency. The fact that one of the Wilmington Ten defendants (the woman who was freed) was a VISTA volunteer in Wilmington has focused attention on use of “outsiders”—whether church-paid or government-paid—to organize community protests.

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Black Muslim Rift: Recalling the Past

Abdul Haleem (formerly Louis) Farrakhan, 44, the man chosen to fill the role of Malcolm X and avert widespread defections in the Black Muslims in 1965 upon Malcolm’s death, has left the movement himself. He announced at a number of recent public appearances his intent to rebuild a black nationalist Muslim faith in accord with the separatist doctrines of the Late Elijah Muhammad, the founder of the Black Muslims.

The break between Muhammad’s son Wallace, who now leads the World Community of Al-Islam in the West (formerly Nation of Islam), and Farrakhan is expected to precipitate hundreds of other defections from the movement. “To this day I have not asked, contacted, or called one follower of Wallace D. Muhammad to leave with me. Nor will I,” Farrakhan asserted at Howard University. “Therefore I can never be accused of being involved in an internal power struggle.”

Nevertheless, a minority of “purists” in the WCIW is known to favor the older, former beliefs proclaimed by Elijah before his death in 1975. They are expected to follow Farrakhan, who also seeks to reinstate all the symbols of the older version, including dress codes, black separatism, the paramilitary disciplining unit known as the Fruit of Islam, and Muslim business enterprises. In addition, Farrakhan’s popularity (he has been called the “most influential” minister in the movement by several Muslim writers) may influence some moderates to leave.

Farrakhan contends that integrationist policies are depriving blacks of the social and economic gains of the 1960s. In an address to about 400 persons last month at Baruch College in New York, he indicated that the remedy lies in a return to the separatist, self-help philosophy of the past.

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The loss of Farrakhan to the older body is viewed as a parallel development to the loss of Malcolm X in 1964 (he was killed a year later). Farrakhan, who was chosen to succeed Malcolm as the national spokesman for Elijah and as leader of the large Harlem mosque, became a regular speaker on the official radio broadcasts of the Black Muslims, heard weekly over nearly 100 stations.

Before Malcolm’s breakaway to embrace a more orthodox Islam (ostensibly the same faith Wallace Muhammad now champions), he and Farrakhan were close friends. Later, however, Farrakhan branded him a “hypocrite and enemy of the black man.”

Relations between Wallace Muhammad and Farrakhan were always strained at best. According to some observers, Muhammad in 1975 assigned Farrakhan to Chicago and later to the West Coast in order to neutralize his influence. A self-imposed moratorium of Farrakhan’s national speaking tours lasted for nearly a year prior to his announced decision to “be silent no longer.”

Questioned about his risking fate similar to that of Malcolm, who was shot to death (allegedly by fellow Muslims, although questions surrounding the event have never been resolved), Farrakhan replied, “He who seeks to save his life will lose it. No risk is too great for the salvation and freedom of black people.”

Wallace Muhammad told a reporter that he is not worried about losing members. He said the sect now has 70,000 members—more than when his father was alive (law-enforcement authorities say membership has never exceeded 25,000). He acknowledged, however, that attendance at services is lower now, mostly because of relaxed discipline. He also insisted that he will not reverse the changes instituted since his father’s death. Farrakhan, he said, is pursuing an “outdated” political, not religious, policy of black nationalism with ties to Africa. Said Muhammad: “I believe in the oneness of God [and] the oneness of man.”

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