There are matters which we classify as touchy topics. They are matters which are subjects of debate and argument. If we would be known as being tactful and polite, we make it a point not to discuss such matters before certain people or groups of people because they have a tendency to cause an explosion and hard and bitter feelings and even sever friendships. Think for instance of life insurance, union membership, theological points of dispute, etc.
And so also the topic which we wish to discuss for a few moments could be classified as a touchy topic. It was incited by our Synodical Report where, among other things, we read that the sum of $10,000 of surplus denominational money has been invested in government bonds. ‘Carefully we read that minute again and when later we read it in another church paper of our denomination, we reluctantly came to the conclusion that it must be true.
Perhaps, you ask, is that so strange? And we reply, no indeed for other denominations, including those closest to us, have been doing that same thing for some time. Not only denominations but also individual churches which have profited financially from the activities of our international slaughter house.
Our first reaction, of course, after all these materially lean years, is to remark, “Well, well, that surely is nice that we have a little extra money. It seems we’ve always been, so poor and had to have special collections for this and pledges for that and now at last we have the tidy sum of $10,000 to invest!”
And we would not wish to infer that those responsible for this decision nor that those who first proposed it, were not capable, conscientious, far-sighted individuals. Men of sound judgment and a high degree of sagacity. No doubt they were not so naive that they would not view such an action from all angles as well as its implications both now and in the years to come. For it is our belief that this decision has set a precedent and time alone will tell what its repercussions may be.
We would be the last to infer that this august body which we call Synod, would for one moment be influenced by the propaganda which is poured out over the air waves and voluminously rolled out of our printing presses. Such slogans as “Back the Attack” and “Give more than Before” and coarser ones such as “Slap the Jap in the Yap” would have absolutely no determining effect on their deliberations. It is our belief, and we hope to write about it sometime, that Christians are the only “smart” people in the world. Men possessing wisdom which is not of this world and which the world cannot understand will not easily be led to believe that the more bonds we buy,, the shorter will be the war, and the more certain will the victory be for our side! Oh no, you can’t fool a people that easily. Not that people who sing “Not to the strong is the battle; nor to the swift is the race. But to the true and the faithful—Victory is promised through grace!”
No doubt, too, but that the representatives of our denominations are men who are well acquainted with the waste and inefficiency as well as corruption which shields itself so adroitly behind the alibi—“But it’s for defense!” They too must be aware of the thousands of people employed in ordnance work alone and whose chief activity seems to be the winding of red tape around as many things as come through their hands. They must have known that there are approximately 3,500 such people employed in the Detroit Ordnance Office alone. There are seventy two in the plant where the undersigned is employed. And it is perhaps best to quietly pass by their qualifications for the positions which they hold as well as the manner in which they spend their time. For we are eye witnesses to it daily. Is it perhaps for these that we invest our surplus funds?
We don’t actually believe, do we, that money will ever be the determining factor and that without it our boys will not have ships, planes and guns?
Let’s not get so pious about the matter that we call this a righteous or holy war and that the fate of civilization or Christianity hangs in the balance! Maybe they could fool us twenty-five years ago and cry that we had to make the world safe for democracy. They can’t trip up this generation on that one. Now it’s called the war of survival.
And so we wonder why we have made a monetary investment in that by which the world destroys itself. Taxes we must pay, our sons are drafted—but not our daughters—but we are not compelled to invest our church money in such a strange manner.
And, so it seems, there is but one other answer. And that is that we have no other place for it and it gives us a fair return on our investment. Is it possible that nothing less secular needs our aid? Are all our churches debt-free? Do we need no more for Christian School? Has our radio program been extended to the limit of its desirability? Are all our Church Periodicals on a sound financial basis? Have we considered the possibility that acts of mercy and institutions of mercy may need more hard cash after the war? Or would it not be possible to have a fund for those who actually suffer for the testimony of Christ and who for greater or lesser periods are hindered from earning their livelihood because of ungodly organizations?
We are well aware, of course, that there are some who will say, “Oh yes, but we can cash them in at any time after sixty days.” But that is not the intention of our government and we do not believe it would be proper to invest it with such a thought in mind. You are expected to retain them until their maturity and not expected to cash them in any more than a newlywed couple could say, “Oh well, if we can’t make a go of it, we can always get a divorce!”