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April 26, 1959 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1959-04-26

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Relig ous

Interest Declines
d In Group Activity

Academic Aspect Stresse


Daily Staff Writer
THE RELIGIOUS roots of the
University are carved in a not-
able sentence on Angell Hall, from
the Northwest Territory Act of
Religion, M(orality, and
Knowledge being necessary to
good government and the
happiness of mankind, schools
and the means of education
shall forever" be encouraged.
The University of Michigania,
forerunner of the University of
Michigan, received its charter
from the above Northwest Terri-
torial Legislature in 1817. The new
state of Michigan formally char-
tered a university in 1837, its two
professors were both clergymen
and chapel attendance was re-
Although the University is the

first state university founded
which continiually maintained its
freedom from sectarian domina-
tion soon eliminating compulsory
chapel, recent decades have been
marked by renewal of attention to
A LOOK AT activities on cam-
pus for the past few weeks alone
reveals five faculty members offer-
ing divergent views on religion in
modern society but none denying
its existence, campus student re-
ligious leaders from several Mid-
western schools convening to
strengthen interfaith co-operation,
and 77 per cent of University stu-
dents indicating religious pref-
erence in the second semester re-
ligious preference survey.
Although none of these occur-
rences indicate the intensity of
religious belief, they nevertheless

Faiths Color Politics

Sixty-Ninth Year
Truth Will Prevail" STUDENT PUBLICATIONS BLDG. * ANN ARBOR, MICH.' Phone NO 2-3241
Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.

Daily Staff Writer
A COMMON denominator in the
study of religious influences
on politics is that the influence,
while it exists, is extremely diffi-
cult to isolate. Religion, in a word,
is only one of many conflicting
factors working on men's minds.
Religious ideas have played a
role in United States policies
though not as an extension of a
particular denominational creed.
John Foster Dulles, ,an extremely
staunch fighter against atheistic
communists described the whole
ideal of the nation. "Our founders
represented many creeds but most
of them took a spiritual view of
the nature of man. They believed
that this nation, had a mission to
help men everywhere to get the
great opportunity to be and to do
what God designed." Dulles used
this principle as a guide for his
policy in the long generally suc-
cessful years as Secretary of State.
* * *
THE QUESTION of denomina-
tional groups in domestic politics
has been recently brought to the
fore by the prominance of a
Catholic, Sen. John F. Kennedy
(D-Mass.), as a candidate for the
Democratic Presidential "nomina-
tion. The usual accusations that
the Presidence will become an of-
fice of the Vatican if a Catholic
is elected are being revived in
some quarters. +
Though hypothetical the ques-
tion may be, Sen. Kennedy, as a
man, cannot help but be influ-
enced by the moral code of his
faith, as indeed are all other re-
ligious men.
, Support of such movements as
Prohibition and anti - gambling
acts are generally Protestant in
origin. Other acts, such as support
of the banning of giving contra-
ceptive information in New York
public hospitals and public funds

for parochial schools are dis-
tinctively Catholic.
One thing that must be estab-
lished, Prof. Alexander K. Leslie
of the history department em-
phasized, is that there is no strict-
ly religious "point of view" on
politics. He pointed to a predomi-
nantly Protestant belief in a
"Catholic political stand," labeling
false the assertions made by Paul
Blanshard and others that Catho-
lics are aiming to take over the
country and make it an outpost
of Rome. Catholicism, or any other
faith, he said, does not color,
Americans' political views to this
PROF. Gerhard E. Lenski of the
sociology department added that
is is good that the issue has been
brought to the attention. Such
emotional issues are serious and
should be aired, he maintained.
In the American religious con-
text, the doctrines of the three ma-
jor faiths all affirm loyalty to the
secular state, though it must be
pointed out that this is more em-
phasized in Protestantism. He
added that Protestants, and Jews,
support most actively the separa-
tion of Church and State, while
Catholics, in their tradition of
Establishment and the "doctrine
of the two swords," the spiritual
power being above and beyond the
secular, feel the separation most
consciously. Still, he pointed out,
this does not mean that Ameri-
can Catholics are generally in-
terested in altering the country's
constitutional balance.
Whether or not there is another
"Popish Plot," something which
may be seriously doubted, there
can be no denial that religion will
continue to color man's political
views as long as it exists for men.
It influences their minds, and since
politics is largely a function of
men's minds, it will continue to
do so.

point to religion as an important
element in our culture, and, as
such, one deserving a significant,
place in every curriculum of lib-
eral studies.
* * *
ON THE BASIS of a visit to 20
state universities, Herman E. Wor-
nom, general secretary of the Re-"
ligious Education Associate, said
here last November that many
state universities either have no
policies for offering religion as an
academic subject or fail to rec-
ognize it as a fully legitimate aca-
demic subject.
Many fear law suits based on the
principle of separation of church
and state, as a doctrine which
raises a critical issue about the
place of religious courses in state
universities. According to Wornom,
the doctrine has two different and
often confused expressions, one
being legal and the other residing
in educational philosophy.
In most cases, constitutional law
does not prevent including courses
in religion in the curricula of state
universities. Education or political
science instructors, however, in ad-
vocating the doctrine of separa-
tion, will assume legal sanctions
for their philosophical opinions.
NEEDED ARE conditions in,
which the state university recog-
nizes itself as an agency of the
state for providing an education to-
those who want it, an organ which,
to fully inform its students, must
offer courses which deal adequate-
ly with religion and other ultimate
attitudes and beliefs. Further, re-
ligion should be dealth with aca-
demically in terms of the plural-
istic status of religion in America.
Granted that religion is an im-
portant part of human life, who
then, the question is raised, is
competent to teach it? Prof. Mar-
vin Fox, of the philosophy depart-
ment at Ohio State University, ad-
vocated here last November that
one need not be committed to a
particular faith in order to be a
sound student of that faith.
* , ,*
THE CONCERN with religious
education here at the University
is presently localized in a proposed
graduate program in religion,
brought before the literary college
curriculum committee by the
Committee on Studies in Religion.
The proposal seeks to expand to
th'e graduate level an already ex-
isting undergraduate cencentra-
tion program encompassing the
religious aspects of history, an-
thropology, psychology, sociology,
philosophy, fine arts and litera-
Although the first steps have
seen taken, the state university in
general and the University in par-
ticular have yet to give religion
the same curricular status as any
other discipline, both for teach-
ing and for research, and to pre-
sent it pluralistically. Any univer-
sity approaching religion in line
with the above two goals will be
making a significant contribution
to its students and to the Ameri-
can community.

Daily Staff Writer
THE GENERAL decrease in in-
terest in religious affairs on
campus is "probably no more than
the total of campus apathy in
other secular and religious groups,"
the Rev. Eugene Ransom, director
of the Wesley Student Fellowship,
This pattern is similar to that
of recent, low Student Government
Council voting turnouts, he said,
and can probably best be attrib-
uted to the simple fact that the
average student is "getting over-
loaded activity-wise. He must
therefore be more discriminating
in joining activities," Mr. Ransom
To alleviate the decrease inin-
terest, he favors reaching students
in more creative ways, rather than
through organizational groups.
"This could be done along lines'
in which students are involved in
religion as related to the Univer-
sity, c: Christianity as related to
world affairs," Mr. Rasom sug-
His solution? More classes in re-
ligion, such as comparative reli-
gions or the history of a religious
movement, without any thrusts for
religious commitment.
"This is one of the functions off
the University-to teach religion
as another phenomenon of the.
world," he maintains.
* * 4' -
ON THE other hand, the Rev.
Dr. Henry 0. Yoder, pastor of the
Lutheran Student Center and

ways, te a place for religion on
campus. The program will not
grow unless there is an attempt on
the part of the religious organi-
zations to deepen their programs,
though," he cautions.
The future will be "very briht"
if religiousrganizations under-
stand the campus and the needs of
the students and set up rograms
in an appropriate manner, ac-
cording to the Rev. Edward Roth,
Episcopal chaplain.
"Most of the religious organiza-
tions on campus are successful in
what they're trying to do, but I
would question Just what some are
attempting," Mr. Roth said. "We
must keep reviewing what our pur-
pose should be in, order to-meet
the needs of a greater number of
the students," he added.
Discussing the recent trend to-
wards atheism and agnosticism on
campus, he says, "Im not sure
just what they're fighting-nor are
* * *
ANOTHER of the ministers in-
terviewed claims: "My own feel-
ing is that there is no such thing.
Atheism is a theism of the ego."
Trends of development in ithe
B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation "de-
pend on the way American Jewish
life influences the student in the
matter of categorizing Jewish life
into national, cultural and philan-
thropic aspects," director Herman
Jacobs maintains.
Actually, speculating on future
trends in the Jewish religion and
thus in Hillel Foundation'. is a
"moot queston" because of still
changing conditions,'he claims.
While Jewish life ip America is
developing in many directions, it
is only on the threshold of finding
its place here," he said.
"As new things are -rooted in
our culture, they will have cer-
tain values. If, for example, it
should come to pass that the re-
ligion should be less traditional"
Dr. Jacobs said, this will bee-
flected in the behavior and atti-
tudes of the students."a
Hillel Founation is "not Just a
church group," Dr. Jacobs says.
"In our case, many Jewish stu-
dents do not feel obligated to par-
ticipate in religious Activity:
"A good deal of their motivation
is strictly sociological and they, are
identified simply by joining Hillel,'"
he continued.
* * .,
C. GREY AUSTIN, assistant co-
ordinator of religious affairs and
author of the historical study "A
" Century of Religion at the Uni-
versity of Michigan: A Case Study
in Religion and the State Univer-
sity," has noted several trends,
Statistics recently compiled by
the Office of Religious Affairs re-
veal the religious preference': of
19,997 students. Of these, 13.8 per
cent are Catholic, 13 per cent
Jewish, 10 per cent Methodist, 9.5
per cent Presbyterian,.6.2 per cent
Lutheran and 5.8 per cent Episco-
No religious preference was re-
vealed by 22.8 per cent, Austin
said. He recognized that some of
these students may be atheists or
In fact, "a lot of people. seesu to
be talking like agnostics-not sure
that they can find the answers to
ultimate-type questions," he said.
Another trend noted was the
increase in the number of Catholic
students, until they have become
the largest religious group on cam-
He also attributes the "great
reverence for a higher education"
among 'Jewish people to the fact
that "anti-Semitism'in this coun-
try means that the Jews, by and
large, have been 'driven 'to get a
higher education. There are more
Jewish students of college age in
college than any other group," he
' *~ * *

rNDAY, APRIL 26, 1959


OFFEE.. . BLACK By Richard Taub

[OW BIG is too big? This is a question which
is commonly asked about the University.
ad the answers seem to vary from "The Uni-
rsity has been going straight to Hell in a
tcket ever since it left behind those good old
ys with'eight or nine thousand students," to
s long as the teacher student ratio remains
e same, there's not really any such thing as,
o big."
We don't pretend to know exactly what too
g is, but we do believe there, is such a thing,
id we'd like to point out some of the factors
hich limit the effectiveness of the organiza- -
n because of excess size,
First there is the problem of communica-
mns. It is no secret that communication be-
mes more difficult as a University grows,
ad that communication is important if the
ganization is to function effectively.
There have already been, we are sure, com-
unications breakdowns. Two newsworthy
tes immediately come to mind. If all parties
e to be believed, nobody yet seems to know
aat students, if any, were pulled out of their
assrooms in that deplorable recent action by
tr local summons happy police.
And, if all parties, are to be believed again,
gh administrative officials did not know about
e curtailed library hours early last fall until
.ey read about it in The Daily. These two
ems may not be too important, but they are
'obably representative of many more.
S A UNIVERSITY grows more , decisions
seem to be made because they "are' "ad-
inistratively feasible" rather than.because
ey are educationally valuable or fair. It gets
'en more serious when administratively fea-
b1e decisions are made which have negative
ucational value.
Problems in planning University calendars
em to result as much from administrative
atters, as from educational ones. This has
At yet worked to the detriment of the Uni-
rsity, but one becomes a little uneasy as he
ars some administrator discuss needed cal-
idar changes because of increases in, size,
th education mentioned hardly at all.
The decision to place women on social proba-
on a half hotgr for every five minutes or part
.ereof, also fits into this category. This deci-
n was made with the announcement that
th so many women, rules had to be made
ore demanding and rigid; it is an adminis-
IC. s ara,&-t-- i f : 44

tratively more feasible method of keeping track
of who doesn't get in under the deadline.
As a University grows it is harder to keep
track of people as personalities. The result is
the growth of "the record," which may be the
most skillful tool for subtle tyranny yet de-
visec. Students are so frequently afraid to take
any chances, "or be different," not because of
resulting fines or punishments, but because
something might get on their "record." Yet,
the college student should have the oppor-
tunity to try things; it is the only time in his
life he will.

Chapel, notes an "icrease in in-
terest, with at least 200 students
attending services each weekend."
Dr. Yoder describes the student
center as "moderately successful"
when judged on the basis of what
work the group is doing. This in-
cludes discussion with graduate
groups and talks such as the one
next weekend with "an outstand-
ing theologian from Harvard."
Looking towards the future, Dr.
Yoder predicts that there will al-

HIS WHOLE PROBLEM of keeping track of
people also extends to the faculty. The
larger the University is, the more difficult to
get the proper "feedback," or to properly evalu-
ate a person's ability as a teacher. Therefore,
things tpublished, things more easily measur-
able, become the sole criteria, or the excessively
significant criteria, for promotion. No matter
how hard it tries, a department with a hundred
teaching fellows has enormous difficulties in'
evaluating these men well.
Then there is the entire problem of the in-
creased need of greater specialization as a Uni-
versity grows . . . and grows and grows.' The
dangers of the full-time highly specialized ad-
ministrator who becomes excessively divorced
from the academic world have been pointed out
quite clearly.
But there is also the increased specialization
which may become necessary for the faculty as
well. The result of this can only be an extra-
ordinarily narrow and limited view, not at all
in keeping with anything like individual in-
tellectual development.
The increased need for people who do nothing
but grade papers, or specialize so narrowly in
one area of a field, that they can see nothing
else-the need for more and more specialized
counseling further divorced from strictly aca-
demic concerns, again are important warning
signals. Somehow a community of concern, or
even several communities of concern become
lost. And the University seems to be headed in
this direction.
THOSE WHO talk of maintaining teacher
student"ratios, also overlook the fact that a
good faculty must be a factor. There are only
so many good people to be had, and a faculty
of increased size must inevitably head toward
mediocrity. It is fairly easy to acquire a large
second rate faculty, but considerably more dif-
ficult to discover first rate people.
These are, it seems to us, just a few warning
signals. We have omitted the problems of less
_n~n a n#a n ina 9'fp 4 iio of9.tC ly17 ,'f ,m (P_

Objectivity Loss Causes Confict

Daily Staff Writer
RELIGION and science need
never conflict, three Univer-
sity scientists agree.
Prof. Henry J. Gomberg; chair-
man of the nuclear engineering
department, Prof. William C.
Parkinson of the physics depart-
ment and Leslie M. Jones, research
engineer for the University Re-
search Institute pointed out that
scientists who deal objectively
with their work can and very often
do maintain their religious be-
"The problems begin when dis-
coveries and achievements are in-
terpreted in terms of religion,"
Prof. Gomberg observed. Conflict
heightens when science is used to
back religious dogma or attempts
are made to restrict investigation
because of "church law."
* * *.
PRESUPPOSING the existence
of a "Supreme 'Being" greatly
limits the objectivity scientists
must exercise, Prof. Parkinson ex-
plained. It is rooted, he feels, in
man's ego and is stimulated by the
desire to prove that "life has
It is possible, in his opinion, to
be deeply religious and not ground
beliefs in the existence of a"Su-
preme Being." Religion would then
imply practicing humility, toler-
ance and "right ethical action."
A religious way of life, Jones

IN ADDITION, he emphasized
that student attendance at services
is on the upsurge. But the general
trend is away from student activi-
ties, which also affects religion as
an. activity, Austin said.
What is the order of importance
of a student's activities, then?
Austin says that the intellectual
,iob comes first.
"Then I would tend, to say that
the position of any of his other
activities depends on the individual
and what he needs. Some need a
small, homogeneous group like a
sorority or 'fraternity.
"Another may need to figure out
his own philosophy of life," Austin
said. "Actually religion cannot be
ranked with these activities be.
cause it is the force which should
integrate them."
But a student cannot discover
who he is "by isolation," he con-
tinued. "This theory is basically
fallacious, as you best see your-
self in relationships with others
and their responses to you."
There is one central problem,
the man who has computed trends
over the int 10 vnrs n the TTni-

VISITORS' NIGHT-"... an awe-inspiring discovery which causes people to acknowledge the presence
of a higher intelligence,"

if io fhair* d'riivitla viahf'l fn fall

life f.hpv e+ill m ct ha dp.vplnnp..cl_

of thesp internretations cif ; seien-

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