We received the following communication:
Dear Mr. Editor,
We were astonished to read on page 470 of the Standard Bearer of September 1, 1944, what Mr. Richard Tempelman had written to you in a personal letter. He undoubtedly did not intend it for publication. And, Mr. Editor, we were mystified also by your action. What did you hope to gain by the publication of that letter, without having tried to verify its contents? Surely it could serve no good purpose.
As to the contents of the letter: we will answer the charges. We particularly resent the attack upon the Convention procedure and the reflection on the C.L.A. Secretary. It is true that debate on the proposal of Local 12 was limited to one hour. But that was done for no other reason than that time was very limited since we met for only one afternoon in Convention. Mr. Tempelman did not, either at the National Board meeting, held in the forenoon of the same day, nor at the Convention meeting protest about this limitation. He also failed to mention that at the National Board meeting, held in the morning, the question was discussed for more than an hour in his presence, and that the National Board could then already have decided by a large majority to recommend to the Convention not to adopt the proposal of Local 12, but that it did not make use of that prerogative, but instead decided to bring the proposal before the Convention without comment, in order to avoid even the semblance of high pressure tactics.
It is true that the C.L.A. secretary spoke on the proposal ahead of the delegates from Local 12, but that was not intentional. The Secretary was asked by the President to place the proposal before the meeting, in his capacity as secretary, which he did. Pie then stated what the C.L.A.’s position on the strike had always been, that it is the historical position of the Christian labor movement, that the arguments presented by Local 12 were not convincing, and that therefore the Executive Committee was opposed to adoption of the proposal. Instead of taking up the greater part of the hour we will vouch for it that the secretary did not take more than ten minutes! When Mr. Tempelman later stated that he did not like that procedure the secretary frankly stated that he didn’t either, but that it was not improper and that no harm had been done.
That was entirely true. The simple fact is that the delegation that was supposed to defend Local 12’s proposal was confused about the whole thing. Mr. Tempelman himself admits the inability to defend the proposal, but tries to put the blame on the secretary who supposedly “put a rope around the necks” of the Local 12 delegates. Whatever Mr. Tempelman means by that expression, it is absurd.
The brother did not state facts either when he said that Local 12’s delegates tried to get another word for the word “strike” when they realized the hopelessness of getting anywhere with the original proposal. Fact is that in the debate they were led to admit that it was not so much against the use of the strike in principle that they were opposed, but to the use of the word “strike” as used by the radical unions because of its offensive implications. Mr. I. De Mey, of the Tailors Local, who drew that statement from them, was thereupon very quick to point out that then the proposal did not make sense and that it should have dealt only with the substitution of another word for the word “strike.” The delegate from Kalamazoo, Mr. P. Smit, thereupon asked whether such a word could not be found, and the Secretary stated that he too had been looking for another word, and that the best he could think of was “cessation of work.” Others pointed out that a change was necessary but that we would have to instruct the people that what the C.L.A. understands by a strike is something different than that of the unchristian organizations. The delegates of Local 12 were told that if a substitute for the word strike was what they were seeking another proposal to that effect ought to be brought next year. Thereupon the proposal before the Convention was voted down.
That, Mr. Editor, is the true and complete story, to which the undersigned six members of the Executive Committee, outside of the Secretary, attest. If that is not sufficient we are sure that we can get testimony to the truthfulness of it from practically all those who were present at the Convention.
We request that you, in fairness to us and to remove the unfair reflection on the C.L.A. Secretary, publish this letter in the next issue of The Standard Bearer.
Ralph De Groot
Henry C. Van Wyk
- I am sorry that circumstances made it impossible for me to publish the above communication in the last number of our paper. It arrived at my address about the fifteenth of September, though it was dated the eighth. At that time I happened to be in South Dakota, and when I returned it was too late for its publication in the Standard Bearer of Oct. 1. I had left my copy for the last named issue with the printer before I left Grand Rapids, and when I returned that issue was already on the press. This by way of explanation,
- As to the contents of the communication, it is not for me to gainsay or admit the truth of what the brethren write about the procedure at their annual meeting of the C.L.A. with regard to the proposal of Local No. 12. Mr. Tempelman, who supplied the information to which the above communication gives the lie, can have all the opportunity he wants.
- I am, however, concerned with the first paragraph of the communication. The brethren appear to have been somewhat overheated when they wrote that paragraph, judging from the big words and unwarranted statements they use, as well as from the fact that they jump to the conclusion that I must have been motivated by some evil design, when I published the information I received from Mr. Tempelman. They were “astonished,” they were, in fact, “mystified” by my action! They openly state that Mr. Tempelman wrote me a personal letter, which was undoubtedly not intended for publication. And they wonder what I hoped to gain by this publication, but surely “it could serve no good purpose.” This certainly concerns me.
- And then I must kindly ask the brethren, if ever they desire space in the Standard Bearer again, to refrain from such tactics, and to leave all personalities kindly out of the discussion. Our paper is fair to all that desire to use it for the discussion of the truth. I like to give the brethren of the C.L.A. ample space, as the past issues of our paper will abundantly prove. But they must not become personal, must not allow themselves to be astonished or mystified at a perfectly clear and simple matter, and not impute evil motives where there was none. I may also suggest in this connection that it is quite sufficient to sign a communication with one single signature. We do not need a list of names in our paper to fill it. Perhaps Mr. Tempelman will be inclined to send in a communication with eight names to contradict the six. And before long we have ninety two.
- The above brethren write that Mr. Tempelman had written me a personal letter, which was not intended for publication. This is an untruth. In the Sept. 1 issue of our paper. I wrote: “Although the writer, Mr. R. Tempelman, does not state whether or not he intended this for publication, we thought there was nothing secret about the whole matter, and that if was but fair to all concerned that we made it public.” This means simply that Mr. Tempelman did not as!: me in so many words to publish his communication over his own name, although he certainly did not intend it for private use by me, but sent me the information to be used by me as the editor of the Standard Bearer. Let Mr. Tempelman himself testify whether this is not the truth. How then can the above brethren write that Mr. Tempelman sent me a personal letter, not intended for publication at all? They must, indeed, have been mystified!
- Besides, what wrong was there in publishing the information by Mr. Tempelman? To me it seems, first of all, that there was nothing secretive about the contents of Mr. Tempelman’s communication. In fact, had I kept it to myself, I might have left the impression with those who were acquainted with it that I allowed myself to become a party to backbiting. What wrong can there possibly be in publishing someone’s estimate, even though it is unfavorable, of a public meeting such as the annual meeting of the C.L.A. was to a large extent? Do not the brethren of the C.L.A. have the right and also the opportunity to gainsay Mr. Tempelman? And, in the second place, had not the secretary of the C.L.A. openly written that the proposers of “Proposal No. 12” were not able to defend their own proposal? It was to this statement that Mr. Tempelman replied, and which ho meant to explain in his communication. And to do this in public, even through the Standard Bearer if he so desired, he had a perfect right. And he may certainly answer the above communication if that is his desire.
And now: no further personal insinuations. And only one name, please!