Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 4, 1958
NUMBER 18, PAGE 4-5b

"Blind Philanthropic Endeavor"

By Fanning Yater Tant

To thoughtful persons the extent to which the church is at the mercy of skillful promoters and propagandist is simply appalling. Not only do these clever professionals play on the emotions and sentiments of sincere Christians to relieve them of their money; but if they see an threat to their schemes in the attitude of less gullible Christians, they hesitate not a moment to turn brother against brother, church against church, and employ all the evil tricks of their effective propaganda machinery to create prejudice, foment hatred, and split asunder the body of Christ. They do not hesitate to lie against brethren, misrepresent them by shouting "anti", and use all the pressures they can exert to "quarantine" and isolate those who oppose them.

Two examples of this sort of thing are seen in the powerful "parochial school" movement now growing s rapidly among the churches, and in what one child welfare expert characterizes as the "blind philanthropic endeavor" that creates orphanages and institutions o this character which are not only not necessary, but which are a positive detriment and disservice to helpless children.

Have the brethren who are promoting the "parochial schools" studied the question of the worth and value o such schools? Have they read the literature, familiarized themselves with the exhaustive studies that have been made by trained and competent educators as to the relative merit or value of such institutions? Have they considered the ultimate end of the thing they are trying to promote? Have they "counted the cost" to the child to be thus segregated and isolated from the society in which he will have to live, and to be reared in an artificial and unnatural environment during nearly all his growing and formative years?

Of Course Not!

They have no more considered the welfare of the child here than they have in the "blind philanthropic endeavors" of orphanages and such other institutions They are the professional "do-gooders", who seek to ease their own consciences, and satisfy their own desires, and think of themselves as "more noble than other men" because they are "supporting the orphans!"

Brother E. L. Flannery of Bedford, Ohio, sends us the following information about orphanages:

"The modern asylum for orphan care began the latter part of the 17th century. Before 1801 there were only six orphanages in the United States. By 1930 the government reported 1100 orphanages and 4400 benevolent institutions of other kinds. But twenty-six states had no public institutions for orphan care, preferring to use other methods. Of the care of orphans Dr. R. R. Reeder, superintendent of the orphanage, Hastings-On-The-Hudson, wrote:

'Whether a state has many or few orphanages does not depend upon the population or the number of dependent children, but, rather, on the policy pursued in caring for them. If an institutional policy has prevailed, there will be many institutions; if a placing method of care, that is, the placing of dependent children in private homes at board, at service, or by adoption, there will be few institutions. Thus, Iowa with a population of 2,500,000 reports but 12 institutions; while New Jersey with 500,000 less population, reports 46 orphan homes . .. .' ("Education of Orphans," Cyclopedia of Education, Paul Monroe, p. 568.)

About 400 new orphan homes were built between 1890 and 1903. Of this rapid growth of such institutions Dr. Reeder says:

'Many of them, especially those established on ecclesiastical foundations, have had their origin in religious or sentimental impulse, rather than from a clear recognition of the need for such charity. The result of this blind philanthropic endeavor has in some instances been an over-planting of institutions on the one hand, and indiscriminate charitable relief on the other, as shown in the admission of many children whose separation from their homes was merely an economic convenience rather than a necessity.' (Ibid.)

"The last U. S. census estimates that 175,000 children were in foster family homes that year. Three out of five were cared for by public foster care agencies and others by volunteer agencies. There were approximately 95,000 children under 20 years of age in institutions throughout the nation. Public welfare and child experts discourage institutional care except for clinical cases, and those with some emotional disturbance that would make the close relationship of a foster home difficult or impossible for the child.

'A substantial amount of research has shown beyond doubt that institutional care for young children seriously handicaps the development of a normal and healthy personality.' (Helen R. Hagan, "Foster Care For Children," Social Work Yearbook, 1954.)

In view of such impersonal, unprejudiced, and professional judgments as to the evils of "institutional" care, what must be the cruel character of brethren in Christ who will exploit these helpless children, making them the innocent victims of their own warped ego just so they can have the smug self-satisfaction of feeling that they are more charitable, more benevolent, and hence nobler persons than their brethren who do not support the homes? Is their chief interest the welfare of the children? CERTAINLY NOT! For if so, they would desire to do that which long experience by trained and competent workers has demonstrated to be the best thing for the child.

These "blind philanthropic endeavors" are evil and vicious. Quite apart from any scriptural angle involved, these institutions are antagonistic to the welfare of the child. Even if every Christian and every congregation on earth should agree on them, and if the Bible clearly permitted them as now operated, any informed Christian with any shred of decency or honor about him would accept them as a very, very poor substitute, and to be used only as a last desperate resort. Consideration for the helpless children would compel such an attitude.