PROTESTANTISM DEVOLVING INTO SECULARISM
"Can Protestantism win America?" is the title of a collection of articles written by Charles Clayton Morrison while editor of The Christian Century, that are of interest. They cause many Protestants to ask "Can Protestantism hold America? though it is not a question of holding, but rather of winning a bridgehead," said a reviewer of them.
The articles awaken a prayerful wish that this frank, fearless and facile writer were as competent to evaluate Catholicism as he evaluates present-day Protestantism. His analytical judgment of the Catholic Church is greatly diminished by his fear of "Rome," which he holds to have a more effective appeal to baffled and weary citizens, intellectual and non-intellectual, than does Protestantism. He envisages the Catholic Church as an intriguing, dangerous, anti-democratic organization with growing power in politics, the press, the movies, and economic institutions.
There are three forces that are contending for victory, says Dr. Morrison, namely: "Roman Catholicism, Secularism, and Protestantism." He holds the Protestant clergy to have capitulated before the enemy, and to be worshipping at the altar of secularism. He further holds that they have led Protestants into a Christianity which is not Christian at all, but secularism. As a result, joining a Protestant church has no more significance than joining a service club, or a kid's club which meets in a shack behind a barn.
Why this author, who "fears Rome's final victory," should expect anything else of Protestantism, save its devolution into secularism, is surprising considering that its churches operate with "authority usurp'd, from God not given;" and with the members thereof guided by the divisive principle of private, instead of God-instituted authoritative, judgment. Protestantism, with its 250 and more denominational divisions, demonstrates the wisdom of St. Matthew, who said that "the house divided against itself shall not stand" (12:25).
Doctrinally, Protestantism is like the pantaloons offered for sale by the Yankee peddler in Lincoln's story, "large enough for any man, and small enough for any boy." Writing of PROTESTANT INCONSISTENCIES, Marilyn Woods, of Washington, D. C., said in a letter sent to The Christian Century:
"I can't figure out why Protestants stir up a hornet's nest over a few Nuns teaching in public schools lest Protestant children learn to regard the Pope as head of the Church, or start praying to Saints, then get behind getting 'The Nation' into public schools regardless of the fact that the magazine attacks papal infallibility and prayers to the Saints; why they teach that miracles related in the New Testament actually happened, then denounce all miracles as unscientific, particularly those happening to Catholics; why they talk liberty, and deny Negroes entry into hundreds of their churches; why they denounce birth control as godless in one decade, then proclaim it as Christian in the next; why they teach that the Bible is the Word of God, then allow their ministers to perform marriages between divorced couples; why they recite the Apostles' Creed, 'I believe in the Communion of Saints,' then poke fun at Catholics for 'mumbling meaningless prayers'; why they go to church on Sunday with Bibles under their arms, then cannot agree as to the meaning of its contents. You figure it out; it's too much for my poor weak brain."