There is a growing concern in these times of threat of nuclear war about the effects on children. Children hear their parents and teachers speak of the horrors of nuclear destruction; they watch air raid shelters being built; they see missiles blast off from their launching pads on the TV screens; they are drilled in air raid procedures in the schools; they speak of A-bombs and H-bombs. Parents, teachers and psychologists report that all this is having a very bad effect on children. All kinds of psychological and emotional problems are troubling the younger generation, and some are even in need of psychiatric care. As children grow older the problems increase. Teen-agers are more than ever inclined to take an “I don’t care” attitude. They worry about the kind of world they are growing up in. Their fears are degenerating into a sense of defeat—their parents have already lost the battle of life for them. The result is a dangerous decline in morals. They reason that they might as well get away with what they can, that there is no purpose or goal to their life. They are indifferent to studies, careless in driving cars. They seize upon the state of the world to condone their moral laxity.
According to those who study these problems, this is due to a considerable extent, to the fact that parents are at a loss how to explain these things to children, how to put these things in their proper perspective, and how to give proper answers to their anxious inquiries. Even the disagreement and doubt that parents often show aggravate the anxiety of the children. The end of it all could quite well be that a generation is growing up that is thoroughly irresponsible. The whole problem is of no little concern.
Of course, parents have no real answer to give to their children. One can console them with a cookie (as one psychologist suggests doing to young children); one can explain to them the scientific accomplishments involved in creating these monsters of destruction; one can dwell on the probabilities of there being no war, of the efforts of men to secure peace. But in the light of events, all this sounds pretty hollow. And the fact of the matter is that it is all a thoroughly hopeless business conducive only to despair.
How little sometimes we appreciate the heritage of the truth of the Word of God that we have as our possession. Surely it is true that only the believer has the true answer to these problems—the answer of the Word of God. Christ rules sovereignly over all nations and all men. Nothing can happen without His will. And He works all things for the coming of His kingdom and for the salvation of His people for whom He died.
What a precious heritage this is! How much it means that we can point our children to these truths and assure them that no matter what happens all is well. This is conducive to bringing up a generation of the covenant seed that live in the serenity of their assurance of final salvation and of the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There is a growing feeling among men that the power which labor unions possess is too great. They are in a position to bring to a halt all major industry, transportation and communication in this country. Their power continues to increase and their influence in the country continues to rise.
In a recent article in U.S. News und World Report, an authority on labor law discussed at some length the roots of union power. This was an interesting discussion because it showed just how strong unions really are. He found twelve such roots.
1) The strength of unions lies above all in public sympathy. “One of the ultimate sources of union power is the public sympathy which arose in the early sweatshop days and which has persisted in a large group of the population even though the conditions which originally created unions no longer exist.” This public sympathy is wide spread and is the real basis of all union power, especially in a democratic country.
2) Labor’s strength also comes from its political power. It controls rigidly a large section of the electorate; it has vast sums of money to spend to promote labor causes and campaign for pro-labor legislators on a local, state and national level. In fact, anyone running for public office today in most states must bow to the unions if he expects to make a successful run for office. To oppose the union is political suicide.
3) Governments in the past have brought a vast amount of legislation into being favorable to unions. The laws of the land are stacked in favor of unions and against employers. There are laws that make it possible for unions to insist on a “closed shop” even when almost half the employees oppose it; laws that exempt unions from antitrust actions; laws that put unions above corrupt practice charges; laws that enable unions to spend millions of dollars to promote their own interests; laws that give unions the benefit of the doubt in any strike and violence resulting from strikes. These laws make it extremely difficult and even all but impossible to bring unions before any court of law and make charges of wrong doing stick.
4) The courts of the land, partly because of the laws, have always given unions special treatment. Even law enforcement officers such as the state police, have often ignored outrageous acts of union violence and fraternized with those who are destroying law and order. Especially national labor boards have strongly favored unions. This has become increasingly true since Kennedy took office and gave the National Labor Relations Board a pro-union majority. Courts are reluctant and juries hesitant to penalize any union officials for any sort of crime.
5) The press, radio and TV have always been largely on the side of unions. The result is that mass public opinion is usually swayed in favor of unions by those who control communications and who are themselves members of unions.
6) The right to strike and boycott is always a source of fantastic power. A small minority of workers, with unlimited strike powers, can close down an entire industry. The results of their strike are felt in industries all over the country. There is no way to stop the terrible abuses of unions, no way to curb their power. They usually get what they want.
7) The picket system of unions is another source of power. The picket line has always been and still is a potent means of bludgeoning employers into submission and preventing those who wish to work from going to their jobs. Most people do not want to risk bodily harm, property damage and ostracism by crossing picket lines. The unions will not hesitate to do all this and more. The law stands behind them.
8) The unions have a long tradition of threats and violence. A hard core of dedicated union members can use these as a means of bringing other union members in line. “In many instances, the union threat extends far beyond mere ostracism. Each year there are many strikes characterized by shooting, dynamiting, physical beatings, mass picketing, car rocking, window smashing, paint throwing, and other forms of injury to person and property.” Because of threats of violence, union members are often terrified so that they do not bring their objections up at union meetings.
9) Loyalty of union members is another important source of power. Almost every local has a hard core of members who attend meetings regularly and who sincerely believe in the union movement. With many of these individuals, unionism is almost a form of religion. They deeply believe that unions have advanced the workingman and the employers would exploit workers ruthlessly if it were not for the existence and continued vigilance of labor unions.”
10) Compulsory membership is in effect in two-thirds of the States. This makes mockery of the principle of voluntary union membership and forces an employee to join a union at the threat of losing his job. His dues are, in fact, taken from his pay even before he receives his check, and that by the employer.
11) Unlimited size of unions makes unions doubly strong. They are not composed of small groups of employees bargaining in their own factory. They are instead members of international organizations and can muster the support financially and morally of hundreds of thousands of union members across the country.
12) Finally, the weakness of employers has been a source of union power. Any number of employers, especially those in smaller businesses, have not dared to risk the threats of strikes and violence of unions by resisting their demands. They were unable financially to do this; they were often unconcerned with union demands; they had no understanding of the fine points of collective bargaining—a skill which union negotiators are experts in; they were afraid to fight it out having no stomach for a prolonged struggle.
For all these reasons, the author says, unions have become so strong that it is necessary to curb their power. The public interest can best be served if this is done.
One wonders however, whether unions are not so strong that it is no longer possible to curb their power. Perhaps they are too mighty politically, financially and legally to do anything about it. They may be completely out of hand. They may be in a position to run the country.
The latest statistics put out in the Yearbook of American Churches shows that the percentage of church members among the general population in the United States has decreased for the first time in one hundred years. This does not mean that over-all membership in the churches has not climbed a little. But the growth of the population has outstripped the growth of church membership.
There are, according to the Yearbook, 116,109,929 members of churches today in this country. This is63.4% of the total population. These belong to 258 different church bodies. Roman Catholics now number 42,876,665 members, and are the largest denomination in the country by far. All Protestants total 64,876,966 members.
Over the whole world, Roman Catholics increased by 8,000,000. They now number 558,221,000 members. They claim 18.2% of the entire population of the world. They are numerically stronger than any one country.
Out of all these vast numbers of Church members, how few belong really to the Church of Christ.
New Year’s first service saw a strange sight one evening in the Grace Methodist Church of Atlanta. After the minister was finished preaching his sermon on “You Can Start Right Over Now,” the lights were dimmed, the choir began to sing softly and the members crowded the aisles to come to the front and drop pieces of paper into one of twelve burning urns before the altar. On these pieces of paper were written all the darkest thoughts, the greatest worries, the deepest hatreds and evilest desires that came to the members’ minds during the sermon. This was a symbolic act of destroying them all and beginning the New Year aright. It is such a popular annual ceremony that members of other churches attend this service to take part. People were lined up all the way to the door and an hour was consumed before all the bad thoughts were turned into ashes.
When the calling of believers becomes distasteful to people, they will go to any length to find a substitute. Can burning a piece of paper do what prayer cannot do? Can committing evil thoughts to a pot of fire purge a wicked heart? Can even an impressive and attractive ceremony accomplish more than the blood of Christ?