Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 30, 1953

Investigate The Churches? Why Not?

Claude B. Holcomb, Corsicana, Texas

Within recent weeks we have listened to discussions, pro and con, concerning Congressional investigation of the churches to determine the extent of Communistic trends within religious circles. Why should this not be done? If Communism uses the cloak of religion to hide its subversive activities, why not look within those ranks to discover and control the undermining influences? If other evils sink so low as to corrupt religion by using it as a disguise, why not Communism? Is it not the common practice of Communism to appear in sheep's clothing? If our government feels the responsibility of locating and controlling subversive elements in this country, and if there is any evidence of such elements within the ranks of religion, why not investigate such evidence? Religion should be anxious to get rid of undermining influences. If there is no ground for suspicion in any of these circles, why the violent objections? An innocent suspect is anxious for facts to come to light in order that suspicion might be removed. Truth and righteousness have no fear of investigation, but rather welcome it. Investigation provides for truth an opportunity to advance its cause. These raucous objections hurled from pretentious piety help to provide retreat for subversive elements, where they can continue their corroding activities toward the destruction of our foundations of freedom.

The cry has been heard that it is unconstitutional to investigate churches, because our Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. Does not the same Constitution guarantee freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of political thought? If such an interpretation is to be placed upon the Constitution then the principle should be followed consistently. Thus the government should keep hands off Communism in political circles, in the press, the radio, or wherever it is found. But such cannot be the tenor of the Constitution, because in guaranteeing freedom the government must provide protection against those things that destroy freedom. How can freedom be guaranteed to any group if Communism is to have free rein within that group? Is not protection against Communism one of the best guarantees of freedom? Freedom of religion would be destroyed by Communism therefore, the provisions of our Constitution for religious freedom demands that our government give us protection against those elements that would rob us of that freedom. As a matter of fact, it is "unconstitutional" for the government to refuse to give religious protection against subversive elements in this country. When Communism takes hold on any group within religious circles, then that group should be investigated and controlled. Communism has no more right under the Constitution to corrupt religion in this country than it has to corrupt the government, the press, the radio, or our educational institutions. Are the objectors trying to say that religion should serve as a refuge for subversive systems?

If there is any evidence that Communism is infiltrating the ranks of the churches, then such evidence ought to be investigated. That there is reason for concern in this matter is clearly seen in some of the published statements a certain religious leaders in this country. Here are some startling examples:

"When the Western World was floundering in an unjust and competitive order . . . God reached out and put his hand on the Russian Communists to produce a juster order and to show a recumbent church what it has missed in its own gospel... I am persuaded that the Russian experiment is going to help — and I was about to say force — Christianity to rediscover the meaning of the Kingdom of God on earth." (Dr. E. Stanley Jones, "Christ's Alternative to Communism," p. 224)

"There are many hateful and un-Christian things in Russian Communism, but there is at least something in a society in which youth is brought up to serve the community rather than to seek success in the form in which we commonly think of it in America today." (Bishop Parsons, quoted in The Christian Beacon, August 15, 1940)

"It is difficult to find youth anywhere in this world more devoted to the cause of Christ than you'll find in the youth of Russia devoted to Stalin and his new social order." (Dr., Ivan Lee Holt, quoted in The Christian Beacon.)

These are just a few of many statements that might be found which gave rise to the suggestion that it may be that churches should be investigated for evidences of Communistic trends. WHY NOT?