Such a lovely room

Such a lovely room

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Do Not Mess With the Woman's Auxiliary!

So, the electric company had to replace three transformers on the pole outside our church this morning.  I was sitting in the dark, reading a 1943 edition of our Diocesan magazine, “Church Life,” like you do.  And I ran across this  letter written to a movie reviewer at the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

June 1943
Church Women Protest Cleveland
Plain Dealer Writer’s Views on
Japanese Children’s Christmas Gifts

Dear Mr. Marsh:

On behalf of, the Executive Board of the Woman’s Auxiliary of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Ohio, I am writing to protest a reference in your recent “Moon Is Down” review in which you spoke contemptuously of people who send toys to Japanese children, as you heard “was done in one place.”

The one place this was done, Mr. Marsh, was the whole United States of America. And while we are a free nation it is the sort of thing that will always be done.

We have no wish to enter into any controversy with you on the subject of hate, though we believe plenty of proof could be brought to the argument for the other side.  As, for instance, the British have stopped the teaching of hate to commandos. We consider it spiritual immaturity to confuse hate of a loathsome disease with hate of those who have it. We recognize the need to exterminate the rabidly infected Nazi-Fascist, Black-Dragon ridden militarists, but we do not consider it necessary to hate each individual of the nationalities most affected.

We are not pacifists nor isolationists, Mr. Marsh, nor soft sentimentalists.  Many of us hated this Thing long before you, apparently, were aware of its menace to us-—in your own words you were a most ardent peace lover “before Germany marched into Poland and . . . . the Japs blasted Pearl Harbor.”  Do you think these were the cause of the war?

Many of us have hated this Thing since it started the downfall of Germany around 1928; through the invasions of Manchuria and Ethiopia, the rehearsal in Spain and war in China; through Munich and murder of Czechoslovakia, our hatred increased until we would go ourselves to fight the ugliness on any battlefront, if such action would help. We hate this cancerous disease wherever it is found--and it can be found even in Cleveland.

It is found, Mr. Marsh, in blind prejudice against children who happen to be born to a race with whose homeland we are at war.

1f you are well informed, you will know that most of the Japanese who were sent to relocation centers are loyal to the United States. Very many were born here and are citizens who surrendered their constitutional rights to protect their country from possible subversive activity by the enemy alien minority they knew existed among them. They gave up homes and means of livelihood and freedom itself to help beat Japan. Many are in the U. S. Army. The F. B. I. has now had time to double check on them and you can if you take the trouble, learn more about them from the War Relocation Authority office here in Cleveland.

The Relocation Centers are not beds of roses, Mr. Marsh. You wouldn’t like having to take your family and live in these barren quarters behind barbed wire and under guard. For the high percentage of professional people especially, life has become a pretty bleak affair. Christmas was coming, and there was nothing to brighten the season for thousands of restless children who had faith in Santa Claus and American Christmases.

The Women’s Department of the Home Missions Council recognized the desperate need of keeping this faith alive, and appealed to women of all Protestant churches all over the United States.  Catholic and Jewish women may have done the same sort of thing. The response was what Hollywood might term colossal. We had feared that the prejudice you reflected might prevent the success of the project. But toys and money poured in, and that Christmas in camp was proof to people in a cage that America is still a healthy-hearted nation. It was a little thing, but it came from countless people who had the vision of the real spirit of Christmas.

Anyway, Mr. Marsh, you may call this soft and pantywaist if you will. It is cheap and easy to lump all these people together and condemn them. The Christian way is harder and takes more courage--but it is the only way to free the future from the appalling effects of a moral sickness whose byproducts are hate and war and eternal tragedy.

We are proud of having had a small part in one action to rebuild hope and faith and love.

With best wishes, believe me

Sincerely yours,

National Executive Board
Woman’s Auxiliary, Protestant Episcopal
Church in U. S. A.


1 comment:

  1. Yes, my kind of Christian, educated, compassionate, fierce and willing to take on a bully in the Editor's office. Well Done. I didn't take part as I wasn't born until 1947.
    The Rev. Sue Haseltine.