Rev. McIntire Flays Visit of 8 Red Clerics at Big Protest Rally
From the Camden County (NJ) Courier-Post of May 5, 1956
The American people were called on Friday night to start a "20th Century Reformation movement which would combat the use of the churches to promote peaceful coexistence with communism."
An audience of more than 1400 in Philadelphia's Convention Hall heard the Rev. Dr. Carl McIntire, president of the International Council of Christian Churches, protest an impending visit of eight Russian church leaders to this country.
In addition, Dr. McIntire, pastor of Bible Presbyterian Church, Collingswood, urged his listeners to withdraw financial support from the National Council of Churches, which, he said, is sponsoring the visit.
Rally First of Four
The protest rally was the first of our planned by the ICCC in cooperation with the American Council of Christian Churches, the Metropolitan Council of Christian Churches and the New Jersey Council of Christian Churches.
Other speakers included the Rev. Leon Zabko Potopovich, pastor of the First Ukranian Baptist Church, Chester, Pa; the Rev. Dr. J. Gordon Holdcroft, of Philadelphia, president of the Associated Mission of the ICCC and the Rev. George Norris, of Fort Worthy, Tex.
The Rev. Mr. Potopovich termed the "religious freedom in the 16 Soviet Republics a demonstration for tourists and Protestant leaders from the United States." He said the Government recently gave permission to print 5000 Bibles, instead of 25,000 as promised last year. These are for use by the more than 200 million persons in the Soviet Union, he added.
"There were more than 3,000,000 Baptists in Russia in the Twenties. Now they can claim only 520,000. Many of them, (the 3,000,000) were shot or sent to Siberia, and most of them were taken by famine in 1932 and 1933," the Rev. Mr. Potopovich charged.
Today every Christian man and woman is under suspicion by the secret police in Russia, he continued.
Cities Warning From Past
Dr. Holdcroft described the overrunning of China by the Communists as a warning from the past. As early as 1923 missionary teachers in mission schools were spokesmen for communism, he stated.
"Christians in China today are underground," Dr. Holdcroft commented, "and tens of thousands of them are probably dead."
The issue is freedom or Communist enslavement according to Rev. Mr. Norris, who said he thought Philadelphia, the city where America proclaimed its independence, was the best place to start a series of rallies to preserve freedom.
"It is stupid to believe that if the city of Philadelphia was Communist-controlled today they would be preaching coexistence," he declared.
The eight churchmen from Russia were called agents of Khrushchev and Bulganin, by Dr. McIntire. Communists seeking world power have won their greatest single victory in the field of propaganda when they use the church and clergy to preach coexistence, he asserted.
"Atheistic, materialistic, anti Christ communism holds in the iron grasp of its fist the churches in the lands which it has conquered, and it is now using them, together with the churches of the West, for its own revolutionary ends."
The eight Russian clergymen are due to arrive in New York June 2. The trip is in exchange for a recent visit to Moscow by nine church leaders from the United States. This delegation was headed by the Rev. Dr. Eugene Carson Blake, president of the National Council of Churches.
The Rev. J. Harland O'Dell, of Canton, O., presided at the demonstration rally. A hymn sing, preceding the event, was led by the Rev. John W. Murray, pastor of the Church of the Open Door, Philadelphia.
Invocation was by the Rev. Dr. William W. Breckbill, and benediction was given by Dr. O'Dell, president of the ACCC.