Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 4, 1962
NUMBER 34, PAGE 8-9,12c,14b

News And Views

Charles A. Holt, 4662 University, Wichita Falls, Texas

"Something To Think About"

Oft times we find ourselves so prejudice against someone, some teaching, or some organization, that we can't see any good in any thing they say or do. This is not an endorsement of denominationalism. I doubt if many could be found that condemns such any more than I do. However, we should all admit that they do many things from which we, the members of the church of Christ, could learn some good lessons. Below is a good example:

Church Burns Items Found Objectionable CHATTANOOGA, July 18 (AP) — The congregation of a downtown Baptist Church took literally a Bible passage and sent up in smoke those things which they felt were separating them from God, their Pastor said today.

Included in the conflagration yesterday on the grounds of the Haynes Memorial Baptist Church where a television set, roulette wheel, cigarettes, dice, playing cards, rock 'n' roll records and about 100 PAIRS OF WOMEN'S SHORTS. (Caps mine. WHL)

Asked about the burning of the women's shorts, the church pastor, the Rev. Ed. Taylor, said, "Our ladies decided it would be better for them to wear dresses."

Rev. Taylor said he advised the man who burned the TV set that it would be permissible for him to sell it and give the money to the church. But, he said, the advice was rejected with the comment, "I think it will be better to burn it."

The basis for the congregation's action, the pastor said, came from Acts 19:18-20, to wit:

"And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together and burned them before all mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed." Lewis' Comments: Usually when such things are condemned by "yours truly" people get angry with him instead of stopping their sinful ways. To all Christians there should be no doubt about the wisdom of these people in doing what they did — even to the burning of the TV! Unless there is a drastic change in the programs that we now have on TV (which is not likely), it would have been better for all humanity had the thing never been invented!

— William H. Lewis, Knoxville, Tennessee * * *

Pat Boone's Example

Pat Boone is a man who has been idolized by millions of teenagers. On his road to fame he made his religious convictions conspicuous. When he stood up for these convictions he gained many admirers and received an abundance of good publicity. Now that the inevitable change has come, he is reaping some adverse publicity.

Promoters among us exploited the fact that Pat Boone is a member of the Church of Christ. They used his fame in an attempt to gain prominence for the church. He was set forth as an ideal for teenage Christians. Some became so intoxicated by his fame that they proclaimed him the greatest influence for good among teenagers in the church today.

The Methodist Challenge, a publication of the Methodist Church, made these comments about Pat Boone in its June issue of 1958: "He is a very promising young movie star by the name of Pat Boone who refused to quit school in order to make a picture, although it may have cost him two million dollars. He shows a degree of independence altogether unexpected on the movie lots of Hollywood. Moreover, he refuses to kiss the actress even in rehearsal, giving as his reason the fact that he is an active member of the church of Christ, which forbids such promiscuous kissing. He also refuses to play the part of an alcoholic or dope addict on the screen or television, if required to take a casual drink or to smoke a cigarette. His religion demands that he be a total abstainer and turn thumbs down on the personal use of cigarettes or any form of narcotics. Boone contends that what he does in a picture is what he would do in real life (Emphasis mine, DH), so he tries to be a gentleman on the screen, just as he is at church. You can take a fine-tooth comb and rake Hollywood to the scalp without turning up enough Pat Boones to be exciting. What's more, this popular young actor is a first class advertisement for the church of Christ. A church that can establish in its youth such ideals and convictions as have shown up in Pat Boone is not to be laughed at." (This article was reprinted in the Hampton Place church bulletin, Dallas, Texas.)

Then the change began. Evil companionship corrupted good morals, just as God declared. (1 Cor. 15:33) The first time this became evident was in a movie called "Mardi Gras..' In this movie Pat engaged in ballroom dancing. This caused quite a stir among those promoting him in the church. Teenagers were asking, "Isn't Pat Boone a Christian? Why is it right for him to dance but wrong for other Christians?" Letters were written to Pat and his replies appeared in a number of church bulletins. The Southside church bulletin from Amarillo, Texas printed this letter addressed to Mildred Rutledge of Oklahoma City: "I am sorry that your daughter and niece were misled in the fact that I danced in 'Mardi Gras.' I am sure you know I do not dance and do not believe that dancing is in harmony with living for God. At the time the picture was made I thought that since I was portraying a character in a story that I could do what he would have done without saying that I would do the same thing. I now realize, however, that many people do not understand this point (Emphasis mine, DH) and have supposed that I have changed my views concerning dancing. For this reason, I regret very much that I danced in this picture and do not intend to do so again." The University Boulevard church bulletin from Denver, Colorado printed a letter from Pat addressed to David Malone. Here is a portion of this letter: "As perhaps you have read elsewhere by now, when I made the movie 'Mardi Gras' I was convinced I could play a part on the screen whose actions would not necessarily represent those of my own personal life. For this reason, I agreed to dance in the movie. I now realize that people are unable to separate the character which we play on the screen from our own personal lives (Emphasis mine, DH) and that it was a mistake for me to dance in this movie. I therefore have determined that I will not do this again, for I certainly do not want to imply to anyone that I approve dancing."

These letters were written in 1959. You will note that Pat Boone recognized that what he did on the screen implied approval and influenced those who saw him. Now read some of the press clippings about movies made since then:

Time Magazine, April 14, 1961: "In his first two movies, Hero Boone righteously refused to kiss the heroine. In his third, he gave her a shy peck on the cheek. In his fourth, he actually kissed her on the mouth — though, as one moviegoer saw it, the kiss was not so much a kiss as an 'oral handshake.' But after seeing this film, Mama Boone's hand may well reach instinctively for the Singer." (He was "spanked by his mother with a sewing-machine belt until he was 17.") "Pat Boone kisses the leading lady with his mouth wide open. What's more, in view of those millions of suggestible young people to whom he has preached 'the teen commandments,' Pat pats her pretty little derriere. 'With each picture,' says Pat, 'I get a little closer.' Closer to what? Certainly not to an Academy Award."

Dallas Morning News, December 11, 1960: "The Dallas located film, 'State Fair' will see a new kind of Pat Boone. Clean-living Pat, who once nixed anything off the straight and narrow in his films will have drunk scenes in 'Fair.'

Long Beach Press-Telegram, November, 1961: "Pat Boone needs no crystal ball to see that fans will be surprised, some perhaps indignant, at what he's planning to do with his career. Upcoming: a drunk scene in a movie and an engagement at Las Vegas. The young singer calls it a part of the maturing process.... In 'State Fair,' Pat has one scene where a frustrated romance drives him to drink.... Boone always has been besieged with top money offers to appear in Las Vegas. The new Pat Boone may do just that next year. 'For a long time,' explains Pat, `I thought negatively about Las Vegas and then I made 'my first trip there to see the Crosby brothers at a dinner show. I was amazed to see how many families were in attendance with their children and realized that this city is one of the biggest holiday vacation spots in America. To go there with a wholesome family show is a positive good.' "

Los Angeles Times, November 27, 1961: "BOONE WILL STAR WITH NANCY KWAN. HE'LL DO DOWNBEAT DRAMA" by Hedda Hopper. "Pat Boone and this may startle his fans — will play opposite sexy looking Nancy Kwan in a love story called 'Maria,' about two young, rootless people adrift in the post-war era. The partnership of 7-Arts and Anatole de Grunwald will roll the cameras in Europe right after the holidays. Boone has had such terrific success and has been such an influence for good on youth that I wonder if he's wise to tamper with the image the public has of him. In 'State Fair,' he has some red-hot kissing scenes and even takes a few nips. He defends his branching out with: 'You can't remain on top of this profession on a one-dimensional note'."

We are never happy to detect spiritual decay in anyone, the great or the small. There is not the slightest doubt that Pat Boone honestly thought he could enter the Hollywood atmosphere and maintain his high ideals. But there is no congruity between Christianity and the world. As indicated by the newspaper articles, Pat has realized that he can't be "on top" of the movie "profession" by portraying only a "one-dimensional" Christian. So in spite of his recognition that "people are unable to separate the characters which we play on the screen from our own personal lives," he has accepted roles requiring him to perform acts that are incompatible with a godly life.

Paul teaches us to mark both the faithful and the unfaithful as examples. (Phil. 3:17-19) What has happen to Pat Boone should serve as an example of warning to all Christians. You cannot sow to the flesh without reaping corruption, nor can you make yourself "a friend of the world" without becoming "an enemy of God." (Gal. 6:8, James 4:4) Therefore, "Beloved. I beseech you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul." (I Pet. 2:11) — David Harkrider, via Rose Avenue church bulletin, Bellflower, California.

* * *

Time Magazine, April 14, 1961: "In his first two movies, [sic]

It would be impossible and impracticable to attempt to correct, through this medium, all of the misrepresentations and deceptions that have erupted on the benevolent society issue. It is needful, however, to keep the record reasonably straight, and to keep basic issues and Bible truths in clear focus.

The July issue ('61) of Childhaven News carried an article entitled, "For They Say And Do Not," by Guy N. Woods. The crux of the article had to do with the availability of orphans but the lack of homes for them. It is deception.

Let the sound, bedrock principle be kept in mind in objectively considering the serious charge, however. That is, that God's word is the standard, and no failure to live up to it justifies a substitution for that standard. Indeed, any system, regardless of how plausible and meritorious it might otherwise be, it is vain in pure religion, except it be authorized in God's book. And so it is that, with respect to Childhaven's printing of the article, a question a professor asked a classmate of mine at Freed-Hardeman comes to mind. The boy raised his hand, was recognized, and then proceeded to speak from his seat in a bubbling, rambling fashion — a final gusto, and he was suddenly through! Then a long pause; pensively the professor intoned, "And? — the point?"

And we now ask, sincerely — the point? What if all members of the church of Christ are hypocrites? will that justify Roman Catholicism? What if there were no private homes available? would that justify benevolent societies in church budgets? If not, then, "the point?" Don't be carried out to sea, brethren, on the tidal wave of prejudice! Some would create with half-truths, or with argument that (even true) provide no authority for what the argufirer wants!

So even if the Childhaven article is true, it does not justify the liberals. At best, it only means that the "antis" do not live up to the principles they preach. And, for a fact, there are many instances in which our practice betrays our principles; but is it not a fact that in such instances we must raise our practice conform to principle rather than compromise principle to the low level of practice?

Furthermore, Woods' Childhaven article is deceptive. Woods quotes Louisville, Kentucky Courier Journal newspaper — The item said:

"There is a tragic number of children available for adoption in Kentucky, the State's Child Welfare commissioner told a group of citizen here Monday.

"As late as last week 313 Kentucky children were ready for adoptive homes, with only 75 prospective places for them, according to the Commissioner...."

And now, the whole truth.... The Courier-Journal reported a few days later, the Director of the Family and Children's Agency Inc, had received many calls; many couples wanted to adopt some of that "tragic, number" of adoptable infants, only to find that Kentucky's (as Alabama's) 'adoptive agencies have the continuing problem of more applications to adopt white infants than the number of such children available." (via A. C. Grider, Gospel Guardian). As for the children that the commissioner referred to, they were (1) older, (2) handicapped, and (3) of a minority race (negro).

Get it! Childhaven and other trouble causing benevolent societies will not take negroes, nor the handicapped! What they want is healthy white children, the churches' money, and everybody's praise. The same children, were such institutions but to release them, could have a "mother and daddy." This is the real tragedy, children being deprived of a mother's love, churches being split, as fat and wealthy institutions advertise their halls as hallowed and make merchandise — or have you never seen a sweet little face plastered all over a "Fifth-Sunday" letter? And the point? Just this — human warmth and humanitarianism ultimately reject the institutional system. The ones who need professional, institutional care are the demented and handicapped. Those able should be permitted a mother and daddy. "Our institutions have it in reverse on the social level.

And they have it without authority on the Bible level!

— Jere E. Frost, Birmingham, Alabama