Rockefeller Internationalist - Emanuel Josephson

Rockefeller and Religion —
Federal Council of Churches in America

"The Christian Church. What of its future? It would be the Church of the living God"—John D. Rockefeller

The role of religion in clothing the ruthless activities of John D. with sanctity and enhancing his reputation as a worthy citizen, anteceded that of "philanthropy" by several decades. For pious hypocrites a religious pose was in America of the latter part of the 19th century as important a business asset as is now a Dun and Bradstreet rating. The pose of "a God-fearing man" bolstered credit and repute. In addition, churches were in those days almost the only social organizations in the primitive communities, and rare diversions in an otherwise drab, hand-to-mouth existence. Church-going afforded those who sought them social and business contacts that were enhanced by active participation in church affairs. Nevins, in his biography of Rockefeller reports:

". . . still another preoccupation was religion. Cleveland was a highly religious community, full of churches . . . Evangelistic emotion pervaded the public schools of Cleveland. Prayer meetings were frequently held in the schoolroom after hours and were led by ministers and teachers . . .

"Perhaps John D. Rockefeller had his share in some such wave of revivalism. At any rate, he and Will continued the steady churchgoing which they had begun in Owego, becoming regular attendants at the Erie Street Baptist Church.

"And vigorously did John give himself to its work .. . John was publicly baptized in the fall of 1854 . . .

"Not long after John was made clerk of the church, an unusual responsibility for a mere youth, and indicative of the impression of maturity and responsibility that he gave to others. Before many years passed he was teaching one of the largest classes in the Sunday school." (JDR, v. 1., pp. 88-89)

"As a bright high-school graduate, a faithful attendant, a most staid and responsible young man, John soon took a prominent part in all church activities. He threw himself into them with characteristic single-mindedness. As we have said, the church offered this unemotional youth an outlet . . . while it also offered his mother, brothers and sisters the best part of what social life they enjoyed.

"Indeed it is difficult now for many Americans to realize how important a social institution the church—with its two Sunday services, its midweek service, its suppers, men's societies, sewing clubs—then was in most towns of thirty thousand." (id. p. 119)

However, as Nevins relates, despite the devotion, the tithes-giving and the intense church activity, John D.'s character cleaved sharply into the temporal and the spiritual; and he did not permit the charity of the latter to spill over into the former, a characteristic that distinguishes the family. It is probably erroneous to assume that his religiosity played any role in his "philanthropic" activities, which were largely business ventures profitably engaged in for the specific purpose of redeeming an evil reputation acquired in spite of religious pose.

John D. Rockefeller Jr. followed in his father's footsteps in the field of religion. He likewise taught Sunday school to the accompaniment of considerable publicity. But he came under the influence of the school of "higher criticism" of the Bible at Brown University and veered away from the Fundamentalist faith of his father. About 1919 he shifted "in religious attitude toward the 'new' or 'liberal' theology which pragmatically decried fundamentalism and sectarianism in Protestantism. Fundamentalist ministers such as John Roach Stratton accused him of seeking to standardize education and religion through GERMAN RATIONALIZATION". (Your Life Is Their Toy, Chedney Press, 1940, pp. 75-76)

Stratton was shrewd and discerning, and perceived the influence of Bismarck's Germany, and of the Marxism which he fostered, as a dominant factor in John D. Rockefeller Jr.'s thinking and action. John D. Jr. had come under the influence of the made-in-Germany "social sciences," and became a powerful factor in swinging both churches and community to the left, both through subsidy of lay and religious education, and through grants to political organizations and movements.

It is notable that with the exception of grants to mission colleges, more particularly in China, and a hundred thousand dollar grant to Riverside Church in N.Y.C. Rockefeller Foundation made no grants for religious purposes until 1947. This contrasts sharply with the steady flow of large sums into the subsidy of the Marxist "social sciences" and "internationalism". Indeed all grants given since 1947 have been either for the support of "higher criticism of the Bible," or for the promotion of "internationalism" and the "social sciences" in church circles. They are reported in the Rockefeller Foundation annual Reviews as follows:

Rockefeller Foundation
Appropriations For Church Affairs

1947 Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, New York. Expenses of preparing for holding international conferences $15,000
1948 Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America. Program of its Department of Church and Economic Life $100,000
1949 Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Expenses involved in organizing a cooperative Critical Apparatus of the New Testament $12,500

The Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America has been used most regularly by the Rockefellers personally to further their interests in church circles. John Foster Dulles, their kinsman and Number 1 agent, for many years has dominated the Council, as is attested in the resolution adopted by the Executive Committee on September 20, 1949.

The same FCCCA report lists a grant of $30,000 from the Rockefeller Foundation "for the Study Project of the Department of the Church and Economic Life"; a $500 grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Inc. for general purposes and another $500 for "International JUSTICE AND GOOD WILL-COMMITTEE ON POLICY" and a $500 grant from the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith "for general purposes".

The extent of personal activity of the Rockefellers in the FCCCA is out of proportion to their meagre personal financial contribution. For many years no conference or meeting of the Council was complete without an address by Dulles or one of the Rockefellers. In one such address before the Protestant Council, New York City, on January 31, 1935, John D. Jr. suggested that the future of the Christian Church is the Buddhist and Roman concept of "the Church of the Living God", with an intimation that he would make a good god.

But few of the matters advocated by the Rockefellers in the Federal Council were of the religious category. Most of them have been political and characterized by efforts to shield with a cloak of sanctimony, and to convert to holy causes and "Crusades" current political and commercial ventures extending the realm of the Rockefeller Empire; or to further the interests of the Rockefeller-Soviet Axis. Thus under the Rockefeller-Dulles domination, the FCCCA slavishly endorsed their New Deal, their World Wars I and II Crusades, higher taxes, their United Nations, their UNRRA, their Marshall Plan, the use of the atom bomb, the support of the Korean War, and their program of appeasement of Soviet Russia. Dulles has openly advocated submission to Russia and bowing to Stalin's dictates in addresses to the Council's meetings and to the Rockefeller Foundation subsidized International Church Conferences.

Most recently, on April 25, 1951, Nelson A Rockefeller addressed the Buck Hills Falls conference of the Council, as chairman of the International Development Advisory Board, in support of the Rockefeller Empire's latest scheme for looting the American taxpayer and the U.S. Treasury for its commercial and political interests, the Point 4 Program. He presented this commercial device as

"A Crusade," an attack "on the global scourges of hunger and disease". . . "Hunger poverty, disease and ignorance", he said, "constitute a far more lasting threat than the aggression of Soviet imperialism."

The Council adopted a resolution advocating the program.

The Rockefeller Empire is an old hand at using religion and missions in promoting its commercial interests. It was highly successful in so doing, for instance, in China. Religion is merely another, but very powerful, propaganda device that can be used to delude the "peasants" and to profit themselves.

It really matters not what is the religion, provided that it has a sufficient following. At a special thanksgiving convocation of the Jewish Theological Seminary, on October 21, 1950, Nelson Rockefeller, Attorney General J. Howard McGrath and Roger W. Straus, co-chairmen of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, received honorary Doctor of Laws degrees. Rockefeller called on religious and educational leaders to supply the moral urge for the peace drive and to support the UN. (New York Times, Nov. 22, 1950)

Like Rockefeller's Institute of Pacific Relations and most other Rockefeller dominated organizations Rockefeller's Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America has been branded repeatedly by government agencies, subversive and a Communist front. Thus the Intelligence Department of the U.S. Navy reported on April 1, 1935, as follows:

"From a comprehensive survey of Communist activities in the United States at the present time, a classification of organizations active for the Communist cause is as follows: . . .

"C. Organizations which while not openly advocating the 'force and violence' principles of the Communists give aid and comfort to the Communist movement and party. Among the strongest of these are: . . .

"(b) The Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America: This is a large radical, pacifist organization. It probably represents 20,000,000 Protestants in the United States. However, its leadership consists of a small radical group which dictates its policies. It is always very active in any matter against national defense." (C.R., Aug. 17, 1935, p. 13053)

At about the same time the following sworn testimony was given before the Dies Committee:

"The radical affiliation of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ is a subject of extensive discussion. Apparently, in lieu of primarily promoting Christianity among its several members it more represents a huge political machine and appears to meddle in radical politics. Its directorate indicates that it interlocks with many of the most radical organizations".

How mild and charitable this testimony was, is indicated by the appended chart of officers and leaders of the Council, and the following quotations from publications and literature.

The views expressed and published by many of the past presidents of the Council have been far to the Left. Thus Rev. Albert W. Beaven, in 1933, signed with 44 others the letter of the National Religion and Labor Foundation to President Roosevelt urging him to socialize America. It read: "We hold that there can be no recovery so long as the nation depends on palliative legislation inside the capitalistic system". He also sponsored the Emergency Peace Campaign.

Dr. Ivan Lee Holt, in 1936, earned the commendation of the official Communist paper, the Daily Worker, in the following terms: (Jan. 7, 1936, Memphis headline)

"The Methodist Young People's Conference, with 5000 delegates in attendance, took a sharp turn to the Left in its closing sessions. The Soviet Union was highly praised by Ivan Lee Holt, president of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America.

"Dr. Kirby Page, noted fighter for peace, told the convention that young people should resist the compulsory Reserve Officers Training Corps— even if it means expulsion from college.

"Dr. Holt defended the Soviet Union from attack. He declared that the aim of the dictatorship of the proletariat in Russia was the establishment of a better life. The Russian government does not purport to do this through exploiting someone else, but through raising the general level of all. It is difficult to find youth anywhere in this world more devoted to the cause of Christ than you'll find in Russia devoted to 'Stalin and his new social order \

"He warned the older generation that 'amongst most of the youth of the world today there is a desire for a change, many preferring revolution. Youth is willing to die for a new order. We adults have made our mistakes. We have given youth a broken-down machine and no tools.'"

In many official pronouncements, the Federal Council has attacked free enterprise, capitalism and the American way of life, and has baldly advocated Socialism.

A large number of the clergy affiliated with the Federal Council constantly preach that Communism is an advanced form of democracy; that it is the desirable next step in the forward progress of our society; that Communism and Socialism are the "new social order" and express more nearly than capitalism the true brotherhood of man; that they bring us closer to the realization of the ideals expressed by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount; that Russia is the land where all social and economic problems have been solved, where inequality, poverty and want have been abolished.

While some affiliated with the Federal Council are undoubtedly members of the Communist Party, most of those who have been actively aiding and abetting Socialism and Communism are fellow travelers rather than actual members of the party.

However, it must be remembered that fellow travelers are more dangerous to America than outright Communists. It is generally they who lend an air of respectability to the vicious, debased movement that is Communism, and it is they who bring into Communist fronts the innocents and dupes without whose aid, encouragement and financial support the front could not exist. It has been well said that a fellow traveler is a Communist without courage—one who believes in the principles of Marxism but lacks the intestinal fortitude publicly to join the party.

Under our code of laws one who aids and abets a criminal is just as guilty as the one who commits an overt crime. Any one, be he minister or layman, who knowingly aids and abets the God-hating enemies of America and Christianity is just as guilty and just as un-American as a Communist.

The following are representative views expressed by FCGCA leaders:

"Is it not probable that the greatest event of the 20th Century thus far is the Soviet Revolution and all it has meant to human welfare?" (Prof. Jerome Davis, long-time member of the Federal Council inner circle.)

"When the Western world was floundering in an unjust and competitive order . . . God reached out and put his hand on the Russian Communists to produce a juster order and to show a recumbent church what it has missed in its own gospel." (E. Stanley Jones, Federal Council-sponsored preacher and speaker.)

"The Christian religion is not a suitable religion for today." (Eduard C. Lindeman, Federal Council Commission on Research, and editor 1939 and 1940.)

"The Soviet Union is progressing and growing up economically and politically since the time of the Czars, while capitalist society is starving and going down." (Harry F. Ward, broadcast May 21, 1946.)

"Denominationally, I am a Presbyterian; religiously a Unitarian; and politically, I'm a Communist. I'm not preaching to make people good or anything of the sort. I'm in the church because I can reach people easier that way and get them organized for Communism." (Rev. Claude C. Williams, a confessed Communist Party member, Director of People's Institute of Applied Religion, and intimate of prominent Federal Council personalities.)

Rev. Harry F. Ward is an outstanding exception among the ministry of the FCCCA. He has the full courage of his convictions. He has been a steady contributor to the columns of the official newspaper of the Communist Party in the U.S., the Daily Worker, and has hewed close to the Party line, and has been claimed by them as one of their own crew. In his position of Professor of Christian Ethics of the Union Theological Seminary, New York, he was in a position to subvert several generations of the American ministry with his pro-Soviet teachings.

A sample of the "religion" of the minister of the gospel who accepts Marxism as his creed, is Thomas A. Bisson cited by Sen. Joseph McCarthy {CR. 3/30/51, p. 4454) as follows:

"He writes to the head of a Protestant missionary council advising against giving aid in . . . 'rehabilitating the Red-ravaged districts.'"

"In a postscript he wrote, 'I would strongly advise every prospective missionary to China to read Chinese Destinies by Agnes Smedley' (notorious Communist agent and spy)."

So notorious have the Communist activities of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America become that the organization and its membership found mistrust rendered their propaganda ineffective. Following the habit of the Communists, who adopt aliases and change the names of their organizations when they are exposed, on November 28, 1950, the FCCCA changed its name to the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and issued a false statement to the effect that a new organization had been formed. Unfortunately, it is a case of "a rose by any other name."

The $100,000 grant made by the Rockefeller Foundation to the FCCCA for its Department of Church and Economic Life, coupled with the previous $15,000 grant for international church conferences, were designed to carry the churches involved even further into politics and to the Left. Under the tutelage of Nelson Rockefeller and John Foster Dulles it has served that purpose. This is made clear by the press release of The American Council of Christian Churches—an organization of Protestant churches that seeks "to offset the modernist socialist influence of the FCCCA", headed by Rev. William Harllee Bordeaux—on the second conference on the Church and Economic Life held, with Rockefeller financial support, at Detroit in the spring of 1950. It read as follows:

"Radicals among churchmen and labor leaders had their way at the second conference on the Church and Economic Life sponsored recently in Detroit by the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America. Conservatives, who constituted a very small minority among the 460delegates attending, battled against the powerful drive of those who would take us closer and closer toward a 'Welfare State', but after four days of futile struggle they abjectly surrendered—without even bringing in a minority report.

"Economic proposals which came out of the study section were approved in plenary session by a vote of 202 to 15. Few voted against Welfare State proposals as: 1. Federal aid to public education everywhere in the U.S. 2. Socialized medicine. 3. An increase in Social Security payments. 4. Tax regulation as a major measure to achieve equitable division of income. Strong sympathy was shown for Cooperatives, and it was further approved: 'We also suggest the study of such government cooperatives as TVA, as one method of utilization of our national resources'."

The FCCCA presents the usual pattern that prevails wherever Rockefeller influence gains predominance, i.e. interlocking with the Foreign Office of the Rockefeller Empire—the Council on Foreign Relations. Only three of their number are dignified with membership in that top agency. They are:

  • Rev. Reinhold Niebuhr, Professor of Applied Christianity and Dean of the Union Theological Seminary; and editor of the periodicals Christianity And Society and Christianity And Crisis.
  • Rev. Henry P. Van Dusen, Professor of Systematic Theology and President of Union Theological Seminary, of Associated Board of Christian Colleges in China, of American Association of Theological Schools and of Union Settlement Association; chairman, Study Committee of World Council of Churches; Trustee, Princeton University, Ginling College, Nanking Theologic Seminary, Yenching University, Milbrook School, Smith College, Little School; director, United China Relief, Freedom House, Council For Democracy and many others of the same brand.
  • Rev. Walter Van Kirk, Federal Council Secretary, radio commentator on Religion and the News, consultant to American Delegation to United Nations Conference, San Francisco.

Though Rockefellers' religious activities have been largely or exclusively in the field of fostering in religious circles the very Marxist and Communist causes that aim to destroy religion, they are nevertheless regarded as "good Christians". This reputation for religiosity which they have intensively fostered, has served to shield them completely from exposure and condemnation for their anti-religious work in fostering Communism and for their other malodorous activities. This has happened despite the fact that they have made no effort to hide their support and sponsorship of subversive agencies and their complete aversion to patriotic, nationalist activities, as contrasted with their wholehearted endorsement of "internationalism". Thus Elizabeth Dilling pointed out the Rockefeller Red activities in the 30's in her books, The Red Network and Roosevelt Red Record and Its Background. In the latter volume she reported:

"Because of its sinister activities and close connections with the Roosevelt regime, the Socialist-Communist League for Industrial Democracy, of which the Worker's Alliance is a section, is of interest . . .

"The L.I.D. National Advisory Council on Radio and Education is financed according to the current report of the Council by John D. Rockefeller Jr. and by the Carnegie Foundation." (pp. 21-22)

But her attitude toward Rockefeller's key activities in the support of Marxism, Communism and other subversive movements is revealed on page 166 in her discussion of subversive activities in International House, which reads, it was "donated by 'sap' John D. Rockefeller Jr.". She fails to list Rockefeller among her key supporters of Communism in America. If Rockefeller is merely a "sap" for financing and fostering the rise and spread of Communism, why stigmatize and prosecute Hiss and other agents of his as traitors? Under the law, an accomplice before the fact is as guilty as the perpetrator of a crime. Rightly President Truman labelled Hiss a "red herring". Senator Truman once had the courage to label the Rockefeller-Standard Oil crowd as traitors; and he well knows that Alger Hiss was merely their agent.

It is unfortunate that too many folks who pretend to defend the Constitution, and human freedom that is bound up in it, are more interested in venting religious bigotry, and profiting from it, than they are in the great cause to which they render lip service. For otherwise their forces would not be diverted by the cry of "good Christian" and a display of religiosity, to the mere chasing of "red herrings". The battle for Constitution and Republic can only be won if the cloak of pious sham and hypocrisy assumed by the conspirators is tom aside, and the arch-traitors are exposed, divested of their powers, and prosecuted to the full limit for their nefarious activities. Many tens of thousands of lives and endless human misery would be spared thereby.


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