The Closed Shop.
Because the question of labor unions and the ‘cloned shop’ is a question which is more and more confronting us as believers and as din relies, were much pleased, that us as believers and as churches, we were much pleased that the consistory of Creston called the attention of Synod to this vital question by way of an overture,
Esteemed Brethren in the Lord:
Due to the well-known fact that it becomes more and more difficult for the Christian (who desires conscientiously to live according to the principles of the Word of God) to obtain employment because of the existing ‘closed shop’ and Labor Union domination of places of employment, and believing that the ‘closed shop’ is a violation of the very Constitution of the United States of America, the Consistory of the Prot. Ref. Church of Creston hereby petitions Class’s to overturn Synod to compose a document of protest and pot it ion against, the ‘closed shop’ and other closely related matters which we firmly believe to be an encroachment upon the religions liberty of the individual and a violation of his Constitutional lights guaranteeing him the free exercise of religion.
We further propose that this suggested document he addressed to the proper authorities in Washington, Wishing yon God’s guidance, also in the deliberation of this matter, we remain
Consistory of Creston Prot. Ref. Church.
John D. De Jong, Pres. Stephen Kuiper, Sec’y.
A Letter of Protest.
In re the overture of Creston, Synod decided to send the following letter of Protest, not only to the president, but also to all the members of the Cabinet, of both houses of Congress, and of the Supreme Court. This letter reads as follows:
Hull, Iowa, June 7, 1946
The President of the United States Washington. D. C.
The Synod of the Protestant Reformed Churches, assembled June 7, 1946 in Hull, Iowa, beg to bring to your attention the following matter and request you kindly to give it your most earnest consideration.
The social and economic situation in our land today is such that we are developing fast in the direction of the complete unionization of all labor. And one of the means,—and, indeed, a most powerful one,—whereby the unions seek to attain to this their desired goal is the closed shop. This means that for those who cannot agree with the principles and methods of the existing unions, and who, for conscience’ sake cannot join them, it becomes ‘increasingly impossible to find a job or position in order to provide for themselves and for their families. More and more, the situation arises that one confronts the alternative of permitting himself to be coerced into membership of the union against the dictates of his conscience, or to be expelled from a decent and proper place in the industrial world.
We, the Protestant Reformed Churches, are opposed to membership in the existing unions: because we believe that the principles of the class struggle, dividing society into the two opposing camps of capital and labor, are contrary to Holy Writ and to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; because we cannot agree with the materialistic motives and proposes that so manifestly actuate the unions, but believe that we should first seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness; because we believe that, unionism in often defying authority and taking the law in its own hand, is in conflict with the Word of God which enjoins us to honor those that are in authority over us; because the union seeks its own end through the employment of force and coercion, which militates against the principles and spirit of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in short, because we refuse to affiliate ourselves with an organization whose principles and practices are so plainly in conflict with the teaching of Holy Writ.
But, Sir, we believe that, under the Constitution of our land, we have the right to serve our God according to His Word, and to decline membership in any organization that, according to our conviction, is in conflict with that Word, without being hampered, either by individuals or by organizations, in the exercise of this our constitutional liberty. And this constitutional freedom certainly implies that because of the exorcise of our religious liberty we shall suffer no hardships in looking for and finding a job, and earning a livelihood, such as the closed shop and its related evils would inflict upon us,
It is, therefore, Sir, under the Constitution of our laud, that we appeal to you, the Head of our government, that you may protect, us in the exercise of our liberties, and employ your power and influence to stamp out this evil of the closed shop, and to seek proper legislation whereby this evil, and all methods of coercion may become unlawful, and we may fully enjoy the freedom to which we are entitled under the Constitution.
Once more earnestly petitioning you to give, this our plea your most serious consideration, we beg to remain Most respectfully yours,
The Synod of the Protestant Reformed Churches.
Rev. Gerrit Vos, Pres.
Rev, Martin Gritters, Sec’y.
A Life of Protest.
It is not sufficient, however, that we as churches direct a letter of protest to our government against the evil of the worldly union, and the ‘closed shop’. It is also our calling as Christians to live a life of protest by refusing membership in these worldly organizations. It is becoming ever more difficult for us as Christians to live alone in this world. Yet therein lies our safety as people of God. Any compromise with the ungodly of this world is sure to end in disaster. Let us dare to live by faith, for it is only by faith that we will overcome the world.