Portland, Or. 1944-1950. Nine items, totaling pp. Staples, old folds. Minor wear, moderate toning. About very good. Item #4443
A very interesting group of reproduced typescript materials, produced and distributed by the pacifist wing of the Christian Scientist Church most in the aftermath of World War II. These documents include a short run of their rare, typescript newsletter, called "Science and Peace," as well as a typescript folio pamphlet entitled "What Mrs. Eddy Says About the Most Vital Question of Our Times." The First Church of Christ, Scientist, at the time did not consider conscientious objection to war as an official position of the church. Although it did grant freedom of conscience to its members to object to war on moral grounds, it explicitly advised them against claiming religious exemption to the draft. In fact one of the earliest documents present here, dated March 16, 1944, comprises a response to an inquiry for pacifist material from the presumed collector by the church board that, "There is no provision either in the church tenets or in the platform of Christian Science," for conscientious objection on the basis of religion. Nevertheless, during World War II, a group of Christian Scientists formed a group called the Pacifist Principle Fellowship, which sought to legitimize conscientious objection on the basis of church beliefs. One issue of the Pacifist Principle Fellowship Newsletter, dated March 1, 1944, is included in this group. The text is entirely dedicated to an account of the trial in San Diego of Curtis Zahn, a Christian Scientist who claimed religious objection to military service. He was defended by an ACLU lawyer and the secretary of the Fellowship testified on his behalf; the judge ruled in Zahn's favor and further stated that his claim on religious grounds was valid even though the church itself disapproved of such applications.
Five further newsletters are titled "Science and Peace," and were issued by the renamed Peace Association of Christian Scientists in the years immediately following World War II. The first issue, dated September 1945, announces the reorganization and renaming of the group, and sets forth its goal to achieve the acceptance of conscientious objectors by church officials. Further issues press this objective, relate developments in the work and the operation of the group, and emphasize their message -- "The only recipe for peace is practical Christianity. Christianity has not failed. Men have failed to apply Christianity." The two remaining items in the group are a 1950 membership application form and letter, and an unrecorded pamphlet, "What Mrs. Eddy Says...," which prints forty quotations from the "Key to the Scriptures" of Mary Baker Eddy, the "Discoverer and Founder" of Christian Science, which can be construed to support pacifism -- "The Christianly scientific man reflects the divine law, thus becoming a law unto himself. He does violence to no man." The "Science and Peace" newsletter is also quite rare; OCLC reports holdings only at the NYPL and Swarthmore.