Archive for the ‘Franklin Delano Roosevelt’ Tag

The Seventh Party System   1 comment

Above:  Alexander Hamilton, First Leader of the Federalist Party

Image in the Public Domain

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I am convinced that the United States of America has been in the Seventh Party System since or shortly before January 20, 1993.  As a teacher of U.S. history on the college level, I think about various matters of the past, especially when students’ questions prompt me to do so.

First a brief review of the first six party systems is in order.

The First Party System was the Federalist-Jeffersonian Republican divide, with parties forming during George Washington’s administration.  The national Federalist Party did not field a presidential candidate after 1816, but not all Federalists became Jeffersonians, some of whom had begun to sound like Federalists by that point.

The Second Party System grew up around Andrew Jackson in the 1820s.  His supporters were Democrats, and his opponents merged into the Whig Party in the 1830s.  Before that, however, they were National Republicans and Anti-Masons, the latter of which gave us the presidential nominating convention in 1831.

The Third Party System emerged in the middle 1850s, in the aftermath of the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854).  The Whigs came apart, as did the Democrats to a lesser extent, and the Republican Party emerged with a platform which included opposition to the expansion of slavery but not support for immediate abolition of that damnable peculiar institution.

The Fourth Party System began after the 1896 general election, in which Republican William McKinley won a landslide victory.  The Republicans controlled the presidency for all but eight years (the Woodrow Wilson Administration, 1913-1921) through the end of the Herbert Hoover Administration (1929-1933).

Franklin Delano Roosevelt inaugurated the Fifth Party System, during which the Democratic Party controlled the presidency for all but eight years (the Dwight Eisenhower Administration, 1953-1961).  This system ran its course until the 1968 general election and the election of Richard Nixon, who employed the notorious “Southern Strategy.”  Lyndon Baines Johnson was correct; he gave the South to the Republicans when he signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The Sixth Party System began with Nixon and ended with George H. W. Bush.  Republicans controlled the presidency for all but four years.  Jimmy Carter, the sole Democratic president (1977-1981) during this system, was hardly an FDR-LBJ social programs type.

The Seventh Party System, I am convinced, began with the Clinton Administration or during the campaign of 1992.  This fact has become obvious to me only in hindsight.  (Historical analysis does require the passage of time.)  Here is my case:

  1. None of the presidential elections (1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016) has been a landslide, certainly not in the popular vote.
  2. Regardless of the identity of the President, about half of the population seems to hate his guts.
  3. A vocal proportion of that livid portion of the population entertains unfounded conspiracy theories.  For the record, Vince Foster did commit suicide.  Nobody murdered him, so there was no murder for the Clinton Administration to cover up.  Also, the George W. Bush Administration was not complicit in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011; a hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii, was the birthplace of Barack Obama in 1961; and Osama bin Ladin is dead.  One can, however, find websites arguing against all these propositions.  This means nothing conclusive; once I found the website of the Flat Earth Society.
  4. Vitriol, unvarnished hatred, and unapologetic indifference to objective reality has become increasingly politically acceptable.  The abuses of power (and threats of them) commonplace in third world countries have entered mainstream political discourse in this country.

Also, for the record, Barack Obama is neither a Socialist nor a Communist.  There are Socialist and Communist Parties in the United States, and they do not mistake him for one of their sympathizers.

It is long past time to lower the political temperature and retire over-the-top charges which distract from the serious issues of the day.  We have a nation, one which has lasted for more than 200 years.  Childish antics do not honor the highest ideals upon which our founders created the United States.

How should we, as citizens, respond when the lunatics take over the asylum?  How should we respond when the temporary occupant of the Oval Office spews a combination of venom, rumors, and falsehoods casually, thereby degrading his office and the country, yet labels documented journalistic stories “fake news”?  How should we respond when many of our fellow Americans, members of a cult of personality, affirm  whatever Il Duce with bad hair utters and tweets?  How should we respond to the American Il Duce‘s fondness for authoritarian leaders?

Donald Trump is a domestic threat to the United States.  Trumpism is a domestic threat to the United States.  We should recognize these truths and utilize the constitutional methods available to us to resist both.

I derive some comfort from the realities of demographic changes, which will usher in the Eighth Party System, as soon as more people of certain demographic categories vote in sufficient force consistently.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 4, 2011 COMMON ERA

INDEPENDENCE DAY (U.S.A.)

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Updated on November 7 and 9, 2016

Updated October 9, 2018

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Feast of Mary McLeod Bethune (May 18)   1 comment

Above:  Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial, Washington, D.C.

Photographer = Carol M. Highsmith

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-highsm-12536

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MARY JANE MCLEOD BETHUNE (JULY 10, 1875-MAY 18, 1955)

African-American Educator and Social Activist

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I am my mother’s daughter, and the drums of Africa still beat in my heart.  They will not let me rest while there is a single Negro boy or girl without a chance to prove his worth.

–Mary McLeod Bethune

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Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune left the world better than she found it.

Mary Jane McLeod was the fifteenth of seventeen children in her family.  She, born near Mayesville, South Carolina, on July 10, 1875, was a child of former slaves.  As such our saint learned the value of freedom at an early age.  Her grandmother Sophia, also a former slave, reinforced those lessons.  Young Mary Jane had a great appetite for knowledge in a place and at a time in which many unapologetically racist whites openly questioned the necessity and value of literacy and education for African Americans.

Mission schools of the former “Northern” (actually national) Presbyterian Church in the United States of America shaped our saint.  From the ages of 12 to 18 years she studied at Scotia Seminary for girls, Concord, North Carolina.  The racially integrated faculty impressed McLeod, who took to mathematics, science, Latin, and English with great eagerness.  After graduating from Scotia Seminary she studied at the Mission Training School of the Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois, from which she also graduated.  Then our saint applied to serve as a missionary to Africa, but the Presbyterian Board of Missions rejected her request, citing her youth.

McLeod’s vocation was actually to help African Americans.  She became a teacher at the Haines Institute, Augusta, Georgia.  In 1898 she married fellow teacher Albertus Bethune.  The couple moved to Savannah, Georgia, where they remained for a few years.  Our saint taught at mission schools–the Kendall Institute, Sumter, South Carolina; and the Palatka Mission School, Palatka, Florida–for a year.  Then, in 1904, she founded the Daytona Literary and Training School for Girls with five students and $1.50 ($41.70 in 2016 currency).  Bethune raised funds from the community and from corporate donors, however.  Donors included James Gamble (of Proctor and Gamble) and John D. Rockefeller, Sr.  Before 1919 the school had become the Daytona Educational and Industrial Institute.  In 1919 it changed its name to the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute.  In 1923-1925 the school merged with the Cookman Institute, Jacksonville, Florida.  The Cookman Institute, founded in 1872 and affiliated with the old “Northern” (actually national) Methodist Episcopal Church, trained African-American teachers and ministers.  The merged institution was Daytona-Cookman Collegiate Institution, which changed its name to Bethune-Cookman College in 1931.  Our saint served as the President until 1942 and again in 1946-1947.  She also transferred her membership from the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America to the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Bethune was a civil rights pioneer.  She resisted the Ku Klux Klan and voted despite threats of violence.  Our saint also advocated for anti-lynching laws and for the termination of poll taxes.  She, who knew the stings of racial segregation well, acted to change her society.  This advocacy brought her to the attention of President Herbert Hoover, who invited her to attend a general session of the White House Conference on Child Health and Protection in 1930.

Eleanor Roosevelt was an especially important ally and friend of Bethune.  Through the First Lady our saint gained access to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whom she lobbied on behalf of her people.  Bethune held government positions during the Roosevelt Administration.  She was the Director of Negro Administration from 1936 to 1944.  Our saint also served as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of War and the Assistant Director of the Woman’s Army Corps.  In that capacity she organized the first woman’s officer candidate school.  Our saint also attended the founding conference of the United Nations.

As if Bethune were not busy enough, she did much more.  In 1935 she founded the National Council of Negro Women, an organization she led until 1939.  Our saint, also active in the National Urban League, the United Negro College Fund, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.), served as the President of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History from 1936 to 1951.

Bethune, aged 79 years, rested from her labors on May 18, 1955.

Bethune-Cookman College became Bethune-Cookman University in 2007.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 28, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served,

and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the trouble,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of Walter Russell Bowie (April 23)   1 comment

Above:  The Bowies’ Gravestone

Image Source = Find a Grave

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WALTER RUSSELL BOWIE (OCTOBER 8, 1882-APRIL 23, 1969)

Episcopal Priest, Seminary Professor, and Hymn Writer

Walter Russell Bowie was a Virginian.  He, born in Richmond, Virginia, on October 8, 1882, studied at The Hill School, Pottstown, Pennsylvania, before matriculating at Harvard University.  At Harvard he and Franklin Delano Roosevelt edited The Crimson.  Our saint graduated with his B.A. in 1904 and his M.A. the following year.   Next Bowie attended Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, Virginia (B.D., 1908).  He, ordained to the diaconate in 1908 and to the priesthood the following year, married Jean Laverack (1881-1963) in 1909.  The couple went on to raise four children.

Bowie, a proponent of the Social Gospel, served on the parish level and beyond.  He was Rector of Emmanuel Church, Greenwood, Connecticut (1908-1911); St. Paul’s Church, Richmond, Virginia (1911-1923); and Grace Church, New York, New York (1923-1939), doubling as a hospital chaplain in France during World War I.  His social conscience compelled him to join the anti-xenophobic American Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born in the 1920s.  Bowie lectured at Yale Divinity School (1935) and Seabury-Western Theological Seminary (1939).  In 1939 our saint became Professor of Practical Theology and Dean of Students at Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York.  Then, in 1950, he departed for Alexandria, Virginia, to become Professor of Homiletics at Virginia Theological Seminary.  While at Alexandria, our saint edited The Southern Churchman.  He retired from the seminary in 1955.  During Bowie’s years as an academic he also served on the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches and helped to translate the Revised Standard Version of the Bible.  He was also the Associate Editor of Exposition for The Interpreter’s Bible (12 volumes, 1951-1957).

Bowie was a prolific author.  He published many sermons as well as books.  Audiences ranged from children to adults and genres included biographies, current events, church dramas, and the Bible.  (One can find many of these works at archive.org and Worldcat.)  Bowie also wrote hymn texts, which manifested his social conscience.  Those hymns included the following:

  1. Lord Christ, When First Thou Cam’st to Men;”
  2. Lord, Through Changing Days, Unchanging;”
  3. O Holy City Seen of John;”
  4. God of the Nations, Who, from Dawn of Days;” and
  5. Lovely to the Outward Eye.”

I also found the following text from 1914 and set to the tune ELLACOMBE (“The Day of Resurrection!  Earth Tell It Out Abroad”):

O ye who dare go forth with God,

Behold the flag unfurled

And hear His trumpet’s challenge ring

Across the answering world:

For His great war with sin and shame,

Though coward hearts refuse–

Go draw the sword that in His name

You shall find strength to use.

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The citadels He bids you storm

Are walled with ancient wrong;

The foes He bids you shock against

Are insolent and strong;

Where fleshly lusts and greed for gain

Make dens for souls to die–

For rescue from that poisoned pain

The bitter voices cry:

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The bitter voice goes up to God

From the dark house of shame;

‘Mid iron wheels of driving toil

And from the men they maim;

From ev’ry stricken child who lies

In some foul room and drear;

From those who walk with sodden eyes,

To whom no hopes walk with sodden eyes,

To whom no hopes come near.

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Where sordidness and pain and sin

Cry for th’avenging sword,

Where selfish ease and indolence

Call for the blazing sword,

There God’s clear trumpet summons those

Who dare to face the wrong

And launch against His Spirit’s foes

The strength which He makes strong.

Bowie died in Alexandria, Virginia, on April 23, 1969.  He was 86 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 17, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BENNETT J. SIMS, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF ATLANTA

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF COMPEIGNE

THE FEAST OF SAINT NERSES LAMPRONATS, ARMENIAN APOSTOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF TARSUS

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM WHITE, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Walter Russell Bowie,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of Christian X of Denmark and Haakon VII of Norway (April 20)   1 comment

Above:  The Coat of Arms of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg

Image in the Public Domain

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CHRISTIAN X OF DENMARK (SEPTEMBER 26, 1870-APRIL 20, 1947)

King of Denmark and Iceland

Born Christian Carl Frederik Albert Alexander Vilhelm Glucksburg

brother of

HAAKON VII OF NORWAY (AUGUST 3, 1872-SEPTEMBER 21, 1957)

King of Norway

Born Christian Frederik Carl Georg Valdemar Axel Glucksburg

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RESISTERS OF NAZISM

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Christian X and Haakon VII led their populations in opposing Nazi occupation.

In 1863 the Danish throne passed to the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg.  The new monarch, Christian IX (reigned 1863-1906), eventually became the “Father-in-Law of Europe,” rivaling Queen Victoria (reigned 1837-1901) for the number of royal relatives.  Christian IX’s adolescent son, Frederick, became the Crown Prince of Denmark and, as an elderly man, King Frederick VIII (reigned 1906-1912).

The future Frederick VIII and his wife, Louise of Sweden (1851-1926), daughter of King Carl XV (reigned 1859-1872) and Queen Louise of Sweden, raised eight children, including two kings.  Frederick was a loving father, but his wife was, according to her nieces and nephews, the “Despot.”  Louise was a humorless and Pietistic Lutheran (a “Sad Dane”) obsessed with sin.  Her definition of sin included sleeping on a soft mattress and eating food that was not plain.  On the other hand, Louise taught her children a Bible verse every day and instructed them in memorizing hymns.  The children suffered under the “Despot,” who transformed the future Christian X into a distant, tyrannical father.

Both future kings received military training and served as officers.  According to their father’s insistence, they did not receive any special treatment.  Christian joined the army and rose to the rank of Major General before succeeding his father in 1912.  Carl became a navy man, starting as a cadet at the age of 14 years.

The future kings entered into wedded life.  Carl married Maud, daughter of the future King Edward VII of Great Britain and Ireland (reigned 1901-1910) and Queen Alexandra (daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark and Queen Louise of Hesse-Cassel) at Buckingham Palace, London, on September 22, 1896.  Maud gave birth to a son, Alexander (1903-1991).  Christian married Princess Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwein at Cannes, France, on April 26, 1898.  Their sons were Frederick (1899-1972) and Knud (1900-1976).

Norway regained its independence in 1905.  The Kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden had become united via a series of royal unions, culminating in the formation of the Kalmar Union (1397-1523).  The last Norwegian-born King of Norway had been Olav IV (reigned 1380-1387), who had previously become the King of Denmark.  Sweden had broken away from the Scandinavian monarchical union in 1523, leaving Norway united with Denmark.  Then, after the Napoleonic Wars, Norway had become attached to Sweden.  In 1905, with the restoration of Norwegian independence, sought a monarch.  Prince Carl of Denmark accepted the invitation.  He became Haakon VII and his son, Alexander, became Crown Prince Olav.  Haakon VII was a conscientious monarch in perhaps the most democratic–even democratic socialist–society in Europe.  The King, interested in public and cultural life, never even tried to interfere with government ministers.  The royal family, true to the upbringing of the monarch, lived simply.

Crown Prince Christian became King Christian X in 1912.  He was also a constitutional monarch, although the constitution, as it existed in 1920, permitted him some powers.  In 1920, between parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Theodore Carl Zahle, in office since 1913, lost his majority in the Riksdag.  The monarch invoked his constitutional powers to ask Zahle to resign.  The Prime Minister refused, so Christian X dismissed him.  These actions, allegedly a royal coup, according to certain critics, were within constitutional bounds.  Many Radicals and Socialists threatened a general strike.  Some even spoke briefly of abolishing the monarchy and transforming Denmark into a republic.  The Easter Crisis of 1920 ended in compromise; a caretaker government took office and new elections ensued.  Never again did Christian X intervene in government.

Christian X’s attitude toward his family began to soften in the 1930s.  His daughter-in-law, Crown Prince Ingrid (originally of Sweden), did not shy away from standing up to him.  Many liked and respected her and improved his relationship with her and his sons.  Related to that mellowing was the changing nature of Christian X’s relationship to the people.  He started riding a horse without police escort through Copenhagen every morning.

Germany invaded Denmark in 1940.  Christian X continued to ride a horse through the capital city, with the public as his body guards, until a horse threw him on October 19, 1942.  He spent the rest of his life in a wheel chair and made few public appearances.

A frequently repeated story tells us that Christian X wore the Star of David, in solidarity with Danish Jews.  However, John Van der Kiste, author of Northern Crowns:  The Kings of Modern Scandinavia (1996) and other books about royalty, cites Queen Margrethe II, granddaughter of Christian X, in refuting the story.  Van der Kiste writes that the Nazi occupiers never required Danish Jews to wear the Star of David.  According to Queen Margrethe II, via Van der Kiste, the origin of that popular story was an errand boy in Copenhagen.  This errand boy seems to have remarked,

…if they try to enforce the yellow star here, the King will be first to wear it.

–Page 116

He would have, indeed.

Christian X, King of Denmark from 1912 to 1947 and King of Iceland from 1918 to 1944, died, aged 76 years, on April 20, 1947.  Crown Prince Frederick became King Frederick IX (reigned 1947-1972).

Haakon VII led the Norwegian government-in-exile from England from 1940 to 1944.  He and Crown Prince Olav fled to the homeland of the late Queen Maud (died in 1938) when Nazi forces invaded Norway in 1940.  Crown Princess Martha and her children, in Stockholm at the time, accepted President Franklin Delano Roosevelt‘s invitation to come to the United States.  In Norway the monogram “H7” became the symbol of the resistance.  In 1945, when the royal family returned to Norway, Haakon VII was a national hero.

The aged monarch soldiered on for about a decade before a fall in his bathroom broke his thighbone and made him an invalid.  He died of heart failure at 4:35 a.m., on September 21, 1957.  Haakon VII was 85 years old.  Crown Prince Olav became King Olav V (reigned 1957-1991).

Christian X and Haakon VII were decent and honorable men who opposed tyranny.  They, as constitutional monarchs, were symbols–symbols who grasped the full power of symbolism and used it for positive purposes.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 12, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF DESIDERIUS ERASMUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF JOHN GUALBERT, FOUNDER OF THE VALLOMBROSAN BENEDICTINES

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES RENATUS VERBEEK, MORAVIAN MINISTER AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF PETER RICKSECKER, U.S. MORAVIAN MINISTER, MISSIONARY, MUSICIAN, MUSIC EDUCATOR, AND COMPOSER; STUDENT OF JOHANN CHRISTIAN BECHLER, MORAVIAN MINISTER, MUSICIAN, MUSIC EDUCATOR, AND COMPOSER; FATHER OF JULIUS THEODORE BECHLER, U.S. MORAVIAN MINISTER, MUSICIAN, EDUCATOR, AND COMPOSER

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servants Christian X of Denmark and Haakon VII of Norway,

to work for justice among people and nations, to the glory of your name,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of Paul Jones and John Nevin Sayre (September 4)   Leave a comment

Apotheosis of War

Above:  The Apotheosis of War, by Vasily Vereschchagin

Image in the Public Domain

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PAUL JONES (NOVEMBER 25, 1880-SEPTEMBER 4, 1941)

Episcopal Bishop of Utah and Peace Activist

colleague of 

JOHN NEVIN SAYRE (FEBRUARY 4, 1884-SEPTEMBER 13, 1977)

Episcopal Priest and Peace Activist

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INTRODUCTION

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The Episcopal Church commemorates the life of Bishop Paul Jones on September 4.  On this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, I do the same and add to the feast his colleague and fellow Episcopalian, John Nevin Sayre.

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PAUL JONES (I)

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Jones, born on November 25, 1880, at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, was a cradle Episcopalian and a son of a priest.  After graduating from Yale University he attended the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts.  There, in 1906, Jones heard the Bishop Franklin S. Spalding, of the Missionary District of Utah, speak of the challenges of evangelizing in the Mormon-dominated state.  Our saint volunteered to serve in Utah.  And he did, at St. John’s, Logan.  In 1914 Jones became the archdeacon in the missionary district.  Later that year he succeeded Spalding as bishop.  Our saint built up the diocese well during his tenure (1914-1918).

Jones got into deep trouble for speaking out based on his conscience.  He was a pacifist, for he was convinced that Jesus disapproved of settling conflicts violently.  Jones also argued for recognizing the moral validity of conscientious objection to war.  Both church and society, he insisted, should respect the choice not to engage in violence.  All of this was politically dangerous to advocate for in the United States in 1917 and 1918, a time when much of the population contracted war fever.  In the realm of the ridiculous, Dachshunds became Liberty Hounds, German Shepherds became Alsacian Shepherds, and frankfurters became hot dogs, among other examples of renaming dog breeds and food products.  The city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, banned the performance of the music of Ludwig von Beethoven, who had been dead for 90 years.  Besides, given the composer’s political position regarding Emperor Napoleon I (he considered Bonaparte’s self-promotion a betrayal of principles), would Beethoven have supported German imperialism in 1914-1918, had he been alive?  Reason be damned, this was wartime panic and intolerance.  States and the federal government passed laws suspending the freedom of speech and redress of the government.  Certain opponents of U.S. involvement in World War I went to prison for their nonviolent activities, such as giving speeches and distributing leaflets.  (The First Amendment to the United States Constitution be damned also, apparently.)  Jones had to contend with false allegations of being pro-German and anti-American.  He got off relatively lightly, though; the Episcopal House of Bishops forced him to resign from both the Missionary District of Utah and the House of Bishops.  Years later he got to rejoin the House of Bishops yet without a vote therein.

Jones served as the executive secretary of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, devoted to the nonviolent resolution of conflicts, from 1919 to 1929.  A colleague there was John Nevin Sayre.

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JOHN NEVIN SAYRE (I)

With Paul Jones

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Sayre came from a distinguished family.  He, born on February 4, 1884, at South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was a grandson of John Williamson Nevin (1803-1886), the great German Reformed minister and Mercersburg theologian.  Our saint’s aunt was Alice Nevin (1837-1925), who contributed much to the life of the Reformed Church in the United States and to the civil life of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Sayre’s mother was Martha Finley Nevin (1824-1917), daughter of John Williamson Nevin and sister of Alice.  Our saint’s father was Robert Heysham Sayre (1844-1917), the manager of the Bethlehem Iron Works and the founder of the Sayre Mining and Manufacturing Company.  Sayre’s brother was Francis Bowes Sayre, Sr. (1885-1972), an attorney and diplomat.  Francis Sr. was a professor at Harvard Law School (1917-1923), the Advisor in Foreign Affairs to the King of Siam (1923-1925), the U.S. Ambassador to Siam (1925-1932), the Director of the Harvard Institute of Criminal Law (1932-1933), the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (1933-1939), the High Commissioner of the Philippines (1939-1942), and the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Leadership Council (1947-1952).  In 1913 he married Jessie Woodrow Wilson (died in 1933), daughter of President (Thomas) Woodrow Wilson (in office 1913-1921).  Through Francis Sr. our saint was able to gain access to prominent people, such as President Wilson, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (in office 1933-1945), General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964), and Emperor Hirohito (reigned 1926-1989).

Our saint was a well-educated man.  He graduated from Princeton University (B.A., 1907) and the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts (B.D., 1911).  He also studied at the Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York (1908-1910) and the University of Marburg, Germany (1913-1914).  Sayre also taught at Princeton University (1911-1912) and at Boone University, Wuchang, China (1913).

Sayre became a pacifist in 1914.  He agreed with Jones that warfare was incompatible with the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.  Sayre, Assistant Rector (1915-1916) then Rector (1916-1919) of Christ Church, Suffern, New York, found his congregation to be less than fully supportive of his pacifism.  He resigned and helped to found Brookwood School (1919-1921), where he taught nonviolence for two years.  In 1921, when Brookwood School became Brookwood Labor College, an experimental residential two-year institution for workers, he transferred to the U.S. branch of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.  (He had helped to found that branch six years earlier.)  Sayre edited The World Tomorrow from 1922 to 1924 and served as the organization’s associate secretary from 1924 to 1935, serving under Jones during part of that time.  Sayre traveled the world as he sought to resolve conflicts nonviolently.  In 1927, for example, he, via Francis Sr., gained access to U.S. senators and State Department officials and thereby succeeded in halting the planned U.S. bombing of innocent civilians during a conflict in Nicaragua.

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PAUL JONES (II)

With John Nevin Sayre

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Jones spent his final years as the chaplain of Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio.  He also functioned as a spiritual advisor to students and a member of the faculty, as a well as a traveling speaker.  Other causes for which our saint advocated were economic justice (from a Christian Socialist perspective) and civil rights for African Americans.  In 1939 he and Sayre helped to found the Episcopal Pacifist Fellowship (now the Episcopal Peace Fellowship).  Toward the end of his life Jones helped to resettle European Jews fleeing the Nazis.  He died of multiple myeloma at Yellow Springs on September 4, 1941.  He was 60 years old.

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JOHN NEVIN SAYRE (II)

With Francis Bowes Sayre, Jr.

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Sayre, active in pacifist activism for most of his life, spent most of that life with Kathleen Whitaker, also his partner in activism.  She and her mother, pacifists, had emigrated from England in 1916.  Kathleen became the second Mrs. Sayre in 1922; the marriage ended when Sayre died in 1977.  (Sayre had married his first wife, Helen Augusta Bangs, on June 28, 1910.  She died two years and two days later.)  Other organizations through which the Sayres worked for peace and reconciliation included, of course, the Episcopal Pacifist/Peace Fellowship, the National Peace Conference and the International Fellowship of Witness.  Their pacifism translated, not surprisingly, into opposition to the Vietnam War.

Other favored causes included helping conscientious objectors in Europe and the United States during World War II, sparing the lives and facilitating the release and repatriation of Japanese prisoners of war after that conflict, advocating for civil liberties, and working for civil rights for African Americans.  Sayre died at South Hyack, New York, on September 13, 1977.  He was 93 years old.

A nephew, Francis Bowes Sayre, Jr. (1915-2008), a grandson of Woodrow Wilson, became an Episcopal priest, and from 1951 to 1978, the Dean of Washington National Cathedral.  True to his family heritage, he opposed Jim Crow, McCarthyism, and the Vietnam War.

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CONCLUSION

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As time moved on, so did ecclesiastical institutions.  The Lambeth Conference of 1958 approved the following resolutions:

Resolution 101 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations 

The Church’s Work of Reconciliation The Conference urges all members of the Anglican Communion to further the ministry of reconciliation by: (a) developing deeper understanding and fellowship with churchmen of every land; (b) extending the use of clergy and lay workers in lands other than their own, the exchange of teachers and seminarians, and the participation by lay visitors in the Church life of the countries they visit; (c) the general use of the Anglican Cycle of Prayer to undergird this wider sense of community; (d) participation everywhere in the wider community of all Christian people in the ecumenical opportunities open to them.

Resolution 102 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Christian Citizenship

The Conference calls upon all Christian people to recognise their duty of exercising to the full their responsibility as citizens in the national and international policies of their governments.

Resolution 103 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Christian Citizenship

The Conference calls upon all Christian people to strive by the exercise of mutual understanding, calm reason, and constant prayer, to reconcile all those who are involved in racial, political, economic, or other conflicts.

Resolution 104 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – The Rights of Men and Nations

The Conference declares that the Church is not to be identified with any particular political or social system, and calls upon all Christians to encourage their governments to respect the dignity and freedom of people within their own nations and the right of people of other nations to govern themselves.

Resolution 105 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Sharing Material Resources

The Conference draws attention to the widespread poverty in many parts of the world; it notes with thankfulness the measures taken to help under-developed countries to become self-supporting, and calls upon Christians in more favoured lands to use their influence to encourage their governments in the task of relieving poverty by a generous sharing of their material and technical resources with those in need.

Resolution 106 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Modern Warfare and Christian Responsibility

The Conference reaffirms that war as a method of settling international disputes is incompatible with the teaching and example of our Lord Jesus Christ, and declares that nothing less than the abolition of war itself should be the goal of the nations, their leaders, and all citizens. As an essential step towards achieving this goal the Conference calls upon Christians to press through their governments, as a matter of the utmost urgency, for the abolition by international agreement of nuclear bombs and other weapons of similar indiscriminate destructive power, the use of which is repugnant to the Christian conscience. To this end governments should accept such limitations of their own sovereignty as effective control demands. The Conference further urges the governments of the leading nations of the world to devote their utmost efforts at once to framing a comprehensive international disarmament treaty, which shall also provide for the progressive reduction of armed forces and conventional armaments to the minimum necessary for the maintenance of internal security and the fulfilment of the obligations of states to maintain peace and security in accordance with the United Nations Charter.

Resolution 107 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Modern Warfare and Christian Responsibility

The Conference calls Christians to subject to intense prayer and study their attitudes to the issues involved in modern warfare, and urges the Church to continue to consult regularly with scientists and political leaders about the many problems of ethics and conscience which arise from advances in nuclear research.

Resolution 108 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – The United Nations

The Conference affirms the need for strengthening the United Nations and to this end: (a) urges that serious consideration be given to the revision of its Charter, the more effective use of, and respect for, the existing processes of international justice, and to the creation of adequate means for enforcing its decisions; (b) commends wholeheartedly the work done under the aegis of the United Nations, whereby the skills and resources of member nations are made available for the benefit of the whole of humanity; (c) recommends that all Church people be asked to pray for God’s blessing upon the officers and declared purposes of the United Nations; (d) urges that all Church people be asked to encourage community study regarding the constitution, the plans, and the needs of the United Nations.

Resolution 109 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – The United Nations

The Conference draws attention to the work of the Committee of the Churches on International Affairs (within the World Council of Churches) and urges Anglicans to support its efforts to bring an informed Christian opinion to bear on international issues.

Resolution 110 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Condemnation of Racial Discrimination

The Conference affirms its belief in the natural dignity and value of every man, of whatever colour or race, as created in the image of God. In the light of this belief the Conference affirms that neither race nor colour is in itself a barrier to any aspect of that life in family and community for which God created all men. It therefore condemns discrimination of any kind on the grounds of race or colour alone. The Conference would urge that in multi-racial societies members of all races shall be allowed: (a) a fair and just share in the government of their country; (b) a fair and just share in the control, development, and rewards of the natural resources of their country, including advancement to the highest level of attainment; (c) the right to associate freely in worship, in education, in industry, in recreation, and in all other departments of the common life.

Resolution 111 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – The Church in an Industrial Age

The Conference urges the provinces of the Anglican Communion to give special study to the task, strategy, and ministry of the Church within industrial society, and by the use of bold and imaginative experiments to strengthen the impact of the Christian faith upon the whole life and pattern of industry.

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I am not a pacifist.  I have tried to become one, but I have not been able to, pardon the term, reconcile certain uncomfortable realities with idealism.  Sometimes the best choice is a bad one, albeit the least or lesser bad choice.  I write this post on the anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb in 1945.  As much as I deplore the human costs (including to innocent civilians) inherent in that act, I also know that the human costs (including to innocent civilians) would have been far worse had an invasion of the Japanese home islands occurred.  Forcing Japanese surrender also kept Soviet troops out of Japan.  President Harry Truman made the decision he had to make; he chose the lesser of two evils when no good option was available.  I also recognize the fact that reconciling with, not antagonizing, Japan after World War II made the world a better place for Allies and Japanese alike.  I wonder world history would have been different had the victorious Allies been kind to Germany and nicer to Japan at Versailles Palace in 1919.

Although I am not a pacifist, I refuse to condemn those who are.  They remind the rest of us of the importance of seeking peace–not just the absence of conflict, but the reality of reconciliation.  “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” may have been originally a moral step forward, insofar as its purpose was to curtail violence, but reconciliation is superior.  As Delenn, the Minbari Ambassador to Babylon 5, said in Passing Through Gethsemane (1995), one of my favorite episodes of Babylon 5 (1994-1998), “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” leaves many people blind and toothless.  Is it not better for all of us to retain our eyes and teeth and to strive for peace, or at least the absence of conflict?  Some violence is necessary, sadly, but most of it is morally unjustifiable.  Frequently the motivation for violence is revenge or pride, not self-defense.  Even when violence is in self-defense, it might damage the one who commits it.  Wildred Owen (who died a week before the armistice in 1918, wrote a poem in the voice of two soldiers.  One soldiers tells the other:

I am the enemy you killed, my friend.

I knew you in the dark; for so you frowned

Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.

Let us sleep now….

Also, given the long tradition of people from various religions (including, unfortunately, Christianity, named after the executed Prince of Peace) engaging in violence at the proverbial drop of a hat, from antiquity to the present day, I derive comfort from the fact many faithful people seek to incite nonviolence in the name of God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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Merciful God, you sent your beloved Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near:

Raise up in this and every land witnesses who, after the examples of your servants

Paul Jones and John Nevin Sayre,

will stand firm in proclaiming the Gospel of the Prince of Peace,

our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Malachi 2:17-3:5

Psalm 76

1 Peter 3:8-14a

John 8:31-32

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 561

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Feast of Frances Perkins (May 13)   Leave a comment

Frances Perkins, 1932

Above:  Frances Perkins, 1932

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-USZ62-1132

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FRANCES CORALIE PERKINS (APRIL 10, 1880-MAY 14, 1965)

United States Secretary of Labor

Frances Perkins read, marked, learned, and inwardly directed potent language from Matthew 25:

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat:  I was thirsty, and ye gave my drink:  I was a stranger, and ye took me in:  Naked, and ye clothed me:  I was sick, and ye visited me:  I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee, an hungred, and fed thee?  or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in?  or naked, and clothed thee?  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat:  I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:  I was a stranger, and ye took me not in:  naked, and ye clothed me not:  sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Then they shall also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

–Verses 34-46, Authorized Version

Fannie Coralie Perkins was a native of Boston, Massachusetts.  She grew up a Congregationalist in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Our saint, born on April 10, 1880, was daughter of Susan Bean Perkins (died in 1927) and Frederick W. Perkins (died in 1916), owner of a stationery business.  Both parents were from Maine.  Our saint, with encouragement from her parents, attended the mostly male Worcester Classical High School.  She went on to attend Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts, where she majored in physics and chemistry.  During her undergraduate program she read How the Other Half Lives (1889), by Jacob Riis (1849-1914), the famous muckraking journalist who wrote about, among other things, life in slums.  Perkins graduated in 1902.  For about the next two years she worked for the benefit of her community in Worcester.  Perkins taught part-time and volunteered with social service organizations in the city.

In 1904 our saint moved to Lake Forest, Illinois, to accept a teaching position.  She taught there until 1907 and spent free time in Hull House and similar institutions in Chicago.  On June 11, 1905, at the Church of the Holy Spirit, Lake Forest, she converted to The Episcopal Church.  She also changed her first name to Frances.  Perkins became an Anglo-Catholic mystic whose faith defined her policy positions.  She stood in the tradition of the finest social teaching of Angl0-Catholicism, for she had an active concern for the poor and the downtrodden.

From 1907 to 1909 Perkins studied economics and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.  That program led to her work in New York.  In 1909 our saint, having received a Russell Sage Foundation fellowship, started work on her M.A. degree in political science (Columbia University, 1910).  She surveyed living and working conditions in Hell’s Kitchen.

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The people are what matter to government, and a government should aim to give all the people under its jurisdiction the best possible life.

–Frances Perkins

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From 1910 to 1912 Perkins served as the executive secretary of the National Consumers League.  As she went about her work our saint witnessed the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire on March 25, 1911.  In that infamous and avoidable event employees faced a terrifying choice–to die in the flames or to jump from window ledges.  The incident added to Perkins’s catalog of motivating factors as she strove for social reform.

From 1912 to 1932 Perkins worked in the administrations of Al Smith and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Governors of New York.  While serving on the Committee on Safety of the City of New York (1912-1917) our saint exposed hazardous practices in workplaces.  Starting in 1918 Perkins worked via the State Industrial Board, becoming its chair in 1926.  Then she served as the state’s Industrial Commissioner.

Perkins was a feminist.  Not only did she advocate for women’s suffrage, she decided to keep her last name when she married economist Paul Caldwell Wilson (1876-1952) in 1913.  She had to go to court to defend that.  Nevertheless, the name engraved on her headstone was “Frances Perkins Wilson,” her name on the records of the federal census of 1930.  (The census records of 1920 listed her as “Frances Perkins,” however.)

Our saint had to contend with the fact of her husband’s bipolar disorder.  In that time period the treatment was apparently institutionalization, for Paul was in and out of mental hospitals.  Perkins became the primary wage earner out of necessity while raising their daughter, Susanna Wilson (1916-2003).

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I came to Washington to work for God, FDR, and the millions of forgotten, plain common workingmen.

–Frances Perkins

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Perkins served as the U.S. Secretary of Labor from 1933 to 1945.  She made history, for she was the first female member of a presidential cabinet in the United States.  Our saint was also one of the architects of the New Deal.  Her numerous accomplishments included drafting the Social Security Act, helping to establish the federal minimum wage, being instrumental in fighting child labor, helping to create the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), expanding the roles of women in workplaces, extending the rights of labor unions and their members, and advocating for unemployment insurance.  Our saint’s unrealized goal was universal access to health care, which has been on the U.S. political landscape since at least 1912, when former President Theodore Roosevelt campaigned on the issue while seeking his old job as the nominee of the Progressive Party.  Perkins resigned as Secretary of Labor on July 1, 1945.  Later that year she joined the federal Civil Service Commission, serving until 1953.

Most of the sources I consulted regarding our saint’s life and labors ignored or barely mentioned the influence of her faith upon her public life.  Not surprisingly, religious-based sources provided that information, including the fact that, while serving as the Secretary of Labor, she made monthly retreats with the All Saints’ Sisters of the Poor at Cantonsville, Maryland.

Perkins wrote books, including the following:

  1. Women as Employees (1919),
  2. A Social Experiment Under the Workmen’s Compensation Jurisdiction (1921),
  3. People at Work (1934), and
  4. The Roosevelt I Knew (1946).

Our saint spent her final years teaching at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Ithaca, New York, starting in 1957.  She died at New York, New York, on May, 14, 1965.  She was 85 years old.

Newcastle, Maine, where our saint spent summers with her grandmother, is the site of the Frances Perkins Center.

The Letter of James offers timeless wisdom:

As a body without a spirit is dead, so is faith without deeds.

–Chapter 2, Verse 26 (The New Jerusalem Bible, 1985)

The faith of Frances Perkins was vivacious.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 11, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ONESIMUS, BISHOP OF BYZANTIUM

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Loving God, we bless your Name for Frances Perkins,

who lived out her belief that the special vocation of the laity is to conduct

the secular affairs of society that all may be maintained in health and decency.

Help us, following her example, to contend tirelessly for justice

and for the protection of all in need, that we may be faithful followers of Jesus Christ;

who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 15:7-11

Psalm 37:27-31

Ephesians 4:25-5:2

Luke 9:10-17

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 369

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