The secretary of state’s political views are rooted in his religion. Tell that to the leaders of his faith.
Before entering politics, Secretary Dulles was a prominent layman of the Presbyterian Church and active in The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. As Secretary of State he has placed great stress on “moral and spiritual values” in foreign relations. But several denominations, including his own United Presbyterian Church, have sharply criticized his international policies–precisely on moral and spiritual grounds. Resolutions passed by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church at Pittsburgh last June contained, as Time remarked, “some remarkably tough criticism of Presbyterians Eisenhower and Dulles.”
Although one timid delegate objected that “people will think we are pinko,” the churchmen voted overwhelmingly for “coexistence.” Mr. Dulles regards this as a dirty word, even, when prudently linked with the adjective “competitive,” as approved by President Eisenhower. The Presbyterian Assembly said bluntly:
A false and baneful doctrine is being persistently proclaimed, namely, that in the present world situation there are only two alternatives, either victory over the new Communistic powers, or the annihilation of the traditional democracies. There was a time when Christians and Moslems fervently held that one group or the other had to be totally vanquished by force. But eventually they learned to live in the same world. At a later period in history, Protestants and Roman Catholics thought that one side or the other had to be wiped out. But the time came when they, too, learned to coexist as they do today… So, while still striving for the freedom of all men, we today must coexist with Communist nations. In this nuclear age, the only alternative to coexistence is coextinction.
The resolutions did not refer directly to a summit meeting with Russia, but the wording left no doubt that the Assembly favored it:
Wisdom teaches that in the pursuit of human understanding there can be no substitute for personal encounter. Estranged people must meet one another; they must talk to one another and strive to understand one another. They must probe the causes of their alienation. They must overcome enmity and distrust by the sharing of goods, knowledge and human resources for the welfare of mankind. When men who profess the Christian religion make no adequate provision for a face-to-face encounter with their enemies, they betray the religion which they profess. Yet in human tensions today, nations continue to talk at one another and about one another, instead of talking with one another. This is one of our greatest perils.
The assembled Presbyterians accused the United States Government of “international hypocrisy [which] should be abhorrent to Christians…”:
Our fathers’ concept of freedom is also being debased… We must be deeply disturbed by the contemporary myth of the free world. This nation counts among its allies some nations which are in no sense free. By our actions we proclaim to the world that lands where human freedom is utterly dead can qualify for membership in the free world simply by supplying military bases or strategic commodities. This kind of international hyprocrisy should be abhorrent to Christians, and in its presence the Church dare not keep silent. In the effort to achieve a posture of power, our nation must not ignore the suppression of God-given human rights in any land. We call therefore for a reappraisal of the current concepts of freedom and the free world.