The 20th Century Reformation Hour
From the Book Danger on the Right
by Arnold Forster and Benjamin Epstein
Front the authors' preface
"Today the United States faces new attacks on our democracy by an extremist movement which has mushroomed in the past few years and which is broadly referred to as the Radical Right. This movement, together with its allies among Right-Wingers, now spends a minimum of $14,000,000 a year in an assault on our democratic progress; consequently, the Radical Right, its conservative allies and those who support them become a vital concern."
As the authors point out, the Radical Right believes the American Republic is imperiled on almost every front by a "Communist conspiracy" which has been "entrenched" in Washington for the last thirty years. Unlike this group, an extreme conservative faction tends to ascribe alleged socialism, not to any sinister plot in high places, but rather to blindness, stupidity and bungling on the part of the last four American Presidents and their liberal advisers.
About the Authors
ARNOLD FORSTER is General Counsel and National Civil Rights Director of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith. He conducts the League's program concerned with fundamental issues of civil rights and constitutional law.
BENJAMIN R. EPSTEIN, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, has been its chief executive since 1947. His articles on anti-Semitism, human relations and postwar Germany have appeared in many publications, popular and learned.
Danger on the Right is the fourth book on which Mr. Epstein and Mr. Forster have collaborated. The others are The Troublemakers, Cross-Currents and Some of My Best Friends...
The Anti-Defamation League is one of the nation's leading organizations combating bigotry and working to strengthen the nation's democratic institutions.
The 20th Century Reformation Hour
Reverend Carl McIntire
"You either agree with McIntire or the Devil. Take your choice." The phenomenon that is the Reverend Carl McIntire was thus described by one of his loyal Collingswood, New Jersey, parishioners.
If you are a supporter of the National Council of Churches, as most of America's Protestants are–or, for that matter, if you are a Liberal, an integrationist, or a Roman Catholic–then you certainly are not with Carl McIntire. For the dominant factor in this preacher's life has been the certainty that his own very narrow view is the only correct one, and that any view that differs is indeed diabolical.
A fundamentalist, Dr. McIntire long ago rebelled against the philosophy and authority of the Presbyterian Church in the USA. And he did so in such a way that in 1936 he was ousted from that church, first by a vote of the Synod, then by a vote of the General Assembly, which is the Supreme Court of the denomination. The Assembly accused McIntire of defaming the character of fellow Christians, breaking certain of the Ten Commandments, causing "dissension and strife," and engendering “suspicion and ill will." Once expelled, McIntire built his own house of worship. He also set up his own church federation, the American Council of Christian Churches. This offbeat association immediately began to wage war on the National Council of Churches, an affiliate of which had ousted McIntire from its clergy.
As the years passed, McIntire set up a number of other religious enterprises. In the course of such intensive organizational activities, he always found time to preach the destruction of all Communists and heathen, and to warn against the path to hell trod by the "liberals" in leading the nation to ruin.
Yet, from 1936 to 1960, with all this effort, with all his talks from the pulpit, and with all the myriad words in his own small newspaper, the Christian Beacon, Dr. Carl McIntire reached comparatively few people. By the early sixties, just before Radical Right organizations in the United States seemed suddenly to receive millions of dollars from important corporations and large business firms, the Christian Beacon had set up a subsidiary called the 20th Century Reformation Hour to broadcast McIntire's dissident views, which until then had been heard only over a small radio station in Chester, Pennsylvania.
The Reverend never explained why he decided to start large scale broadcasting in 1958. Nor is there any evidence that he is one of those who has received sizeable contributions from industrialists financing the Radical Right's mushrooming propaganda mills. It is possible, however, that he has since been encouraged in his enterprise by the success of Dr. Fred Schwarz, whom he helped bring to the United States, and by the impressive rise of Billy James Hargis, whom he helped build into an international figure via a Bible balloon project aimed at countries behind the Iron Curtain. Whoever or whatever inspired him, Dr. McIntire now broadcasts five times a week over 577 radio stations, reaching a daily audience of millions, and presides over a rapidly growing propaganda operation.
As a religious organization, the 20th Century Reformation Hour has a tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service. And though McIntire constantly attacks the NCC for the preaching of a "social gospel," his own broadcasts all too often are less concerned with religion than with politics and economics. McIntire's broadcasting approach is to rely upon his listeners' religious convictions, hoping their fervor will help persuade them to support Radical Right political concepts and programs designed to rewrite the American foreign and domestic policies of the last thirty years. Because of his large audience, Dr. McIntire is one of the major influences currently trying to push America to the Right.
In his fervent exhortations, he has told pious listeners: "Freedom of religion must be preserved in the United States . . . and to do it the income tax must be abolished." Along with such tortured reasoning, he denounces many policies of the United States Government and almost all the policies of the National Council of Churches as pro-Communist. Of course, the careful scrutiny of the Internal Revenue Service does not escape his attention, perhaps because it sometimes looks into the hundreds of thousands of dollars the McIntire operations have received as tax-exempt money–money which is donated to be spent for religious activities. For example, in a 1962 pamphlet on the income tax, McIntire wrote:
"The spectacle of the Federal Government investigating individuals because of their religious contributions is also intolerable. . . . The use of the income tax to harass church and Christians is intolerable. As soon as an individual is investigated the implication generally accepted is that he has done something wrong, that he is not honest!"
McIntire once said that the phrase "common man" is "an innocent sounding term, but it is filled with all the tyranny of State control." He urged revision of labor laws which protect the right to hold union membership, favoring instead the so-called right-towork laws being promoted by the Far Right.
The list of enlightened social measures Dr. McIntire opposes is long and sufficiently impressive for him to win substantial support from sources which traditionally finance tax-exempt groups engaged in formal campaigns to reverse the progressive political and economic attitudes of the American people. Other propaganda centers, such as Dr. Benson's Harding College and NEP, and the Manion Forum (to be considered in the next chapter), are being financed by interests seeking profoundly to change America's way of thinking. Most claim patriotism as their motivation. McIntire claims he is doing God's will.
There is no evidence that any of McIntire's enterprises received money specifically to inject religious influence into public discussion of civil rights or employer-employee relations. Yet as far back as 1949, the American Council of Christian Churches, not a rich organization by any means, paid for full-page newspaper ads in Ohio to tell readers that a proposed Fair Employment Practices Code in that state, designed to prevent discrimination in hiring because of race, creed, or national origin, would take away from man his God-given endowment of freedom of choice. It would also, the statement went on, encourage state socialism by placing Ohio in a field in which government does not belong, and endanger national security through infiltration into vital industries of Communists who supported FEPC legislation. "We believe," said the ad, "that an FEPC law in Ohio would set class against class and race against race . . . is Ohio ready for the 'police state'? FEPC is neither Christian nor American. . . ."
Over the years, a number of Radical Right organizations have been established as religious, educational, or charitable institutions. They applied for and were given Federal tax-exempt status and then proceeded to use their funds for purely political and economic propaganda. McIntire's organizations collect money as religious institutions but devote considerable effort to propaganda in behalf of Radical Right political and economic concepts. Citing Biblical authority, the American Council of Churches, as far back, as 1947, urged all deeply religious, God-fearing readers to oppose the trade-union closed shop; failure to oppose it would negate one's personal responsibility to God as well as to his American system of government. Said the ACCC:
"The closed shop violates freedom of conscience and the Eighth Commandment, 'Thou shalt not steal.’"
The fantastic argument: Untold numbers of Christians objected to joining unions and thus being "yoked together with unbelievers," destroying "the unity and oneness of our people in our democratic order."
In recent years most Protestant churches in America have shown a growing desire that racial discrimination in the United States be completely eliminated and that no one be denied his rights because of the pigment of his skin. McIntire and his ACCC are opposed to this concern for racial minorities, and have been all along. As far back as 1948, at an Atlanta, Georgia, meeting, McIntire's ACCC declared that the proposed national FEPC "promotes class consciousness and inspires hate between peoples" and that FEPC "is a vital part of the Communist program." Speakers there charged that FEPC legislation, which prohibits employers from discriminating against prospective workers because of color, race, or creed, is nothing but Socialism in disguise, and poses a great threat to national security.
The rock on which the McIntire operation was founded is the modest Bible Presbyterian Church in Collingswood, New Jersey, a small town of middle-income homeowners in the Philadelphia-Camden area. McIntire built the church over a quarter of a century ago after his expulsion by the Presbyterian denomination. He had 1,500 members then-he has about 1,700 now. A complex of buildings, eighteenth-century English, houses his other operations. A few blocks away are the 20th Century Reformation Hour offices, quartered in a three-story former school building with the high ceilings and high windows common to the late 1890's. Research for the Reverend's radio programs is conducted in a "Periodical room," one wall of which is lined with more than 150 publications, domestic and foreign, secular and religious. Several women scan the magazines in search of items on which the minister can base his broadcasts. Administrative detail and the huge mail from his many listeners are handled in this building, and here McIntire has his private office.
The daily incoming mail runs between two and four thousand letters and is worked over in a large, well-lighted room. A dozen greying ladies open the communications and set them in neat piles to be handled by the proper persons. Special attention is given to pink envelopes, for these contain the weekly tithe payments listeners send to help pay for radio time to carry on what the preacher calls the Lord's work.
The man responsible for all this activity is a well-built, athletic six-footer pushing sixty. A reporter who interviewed him wrote that Dr. McIntire has "a beauty of a handshake and a 'hello' as hearty as a breakfast cereal commercial." The voice is resonant .and comforting, and because of his height the minister seems to bend protectively over those with whom he talks. As a preacher he is eloquent, and when called a modem Luther or Calvin he is visibly pleased. McIntire once described himself as "a tall, graying, lively-eyed man, consumed with a desire to do the Lord's work and to do it at any expense of his personal time and energy." His conversation and public talks are liberally sprinkled with phrases like "The Lord Jesus told me to do this."
Besides his role at the helm of the Christian Beacon and the 20th Century Reformation Hour, and as founder of the ACCC, McIntire is also a leader of the International Council of Christian Churches, which was created to oppose the World Council of Churches abroad just as the ACCC opposes the NCC at home. Likewise, McIntire helped in the formation of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Home Missions and the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, the latter chartered in 1934 to combat the "modernism' of the official Presbyterian missions. Both the Independent Boards have close ties to the Collingswood operations.
McIntire also plays a leading role in several fundamentalist educational institutions, serving as an official of Shelton College, Ringwood, New Jersey, Highland College in Pasadena, California, and Faith Theological Seminary in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.
In 1963, McIntire added still another dimension to his overall Operation with the purchase of a seaside hotel at Cape May, a New Jersey shore resort. The hotel was renamed The Christian Admiral and now serves as a center and meeting place for various conferences staged by McIntire, especially during the summer months.
The Christian Admiral, purchased for an estimated $300,000, with refurbishing estimated at an extra quarter of a million, offers rates to guests of about $45 to $85 a week. McIntire followers in the various states have undertaken the refurnishing of various rooms ($1,000 a room) for a Hall of the States on the third floor. One group from Virginia undertook a Patrick Henry Room, and McIntire's organization received contributions for a General MacArthur Room and a John Birch Room. The library is decorated with portraits of McIntire, Major Edgar Bundy of the Right Wing Church League of America, and J. B. Matthews, the anti-Communist consultant whose public charges of Red infiltration in the Protestant clergy a decade ago have made him a hero to McIntire and other Radical Rightists, although they cost him his job with the late Senator McCarthy's investigating committee.
The weekly summer conferences at The Christian Admiral schedule leaders of the Right Wing fundamentalist movement as top speakers, along with such secular luminaries of the Far Right as General Walker, Birch Society National Council member Tom Anderson, and Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina.
As a clergyman, McIntire's concept of what Christ taught and what Christianity means for mankind is curious. McIntire apparently believes that when Jesus said, "Suffer the little children to come unto me," it meant white children only. The radio preacher drums into the ears of his listeners that those who support "racial brotherhood" teach a false concept of Christianity. Talk of racial brotherhood, he thunders, is just Communist propaganda designed to create "class and racial strife in which the Communists delight" McIntire and his dissident faction accuse as pro-Communist all those who favor laws putting Negroes, Orientals, Mexicans, and Indians on a footing equal with whites. They charge that the entire civil rights program is "serving the ends of radical powers who are working in this free land."
In his virulent opposition to the major Protestant denominations, McIntire has even warned against helping the hungry, sick, and homeless overseas. After World War II, with the hearty endorsement of President Truman, leading clerics organized a humane effort, called One Great Hour of Sharing, to assist the stricken and needy in the war-devastated lands. McIntire denounced this as nothing more than part of a scheme to insinuate "modernism" into European churches and "to raise cash to purchase ... socialistic propaganda."
He damns all United Nations activities, including the sale of UN Children's Fund greeting cards, the money from which is used to help the sick and hungry children. He cautions his followers to guard against the "terrific emotional appeal" of solicitations "in the name of suffering children," which he claims is only a cover-up for some insidious Red plot.
His attitude is puzzling until one listens to Dr. McIntire's view of things. "We live in a world of power," he tells his listeners. "Force rules. It always has, since the day that sin entered it, and it will continue to do so until the day Lord Jesus Christ Himself returns.... We should frankly concede that the vision of universal world peace is impossible of fulfillment with man's heart so wicked and so sinful."
McIntire's philosophy of force takes him beyond the concept that good Christians should smite unbelievers and destroy them with the wrath of the Lord. With man's technological advance, this destruction, he obviously believes, can be visited on the heathen by death striking from the skies in evidence of Divine Wrath. In 1944, McIntire' s ACCC telegraphed President Roosevelt asking that the two Japanese State Shinto shrines be destroyed by bombs to shatter the Japanese belief in the "protective power of the divine emperor and his ancestors." In later years, the ACCC were all for a preventive war against the Communists. At their 1948 annual convention, the clerics in McIntire's ACCC pleaded:
"For us to have the atomic bomb and, in the name of a false morality born of a perverted sense of self-respect and pacifist propaganda, to await the hour when Russia has her bombs to precipitate an atomic war, is the height of insanity and will, when the fateful hour comes, be a just punishment upon us. It is a betrayal of Christian principles and common decency for us to sit up and permit such a revolutionary force to gain advantage for the enslavement of the world."
McIntire is adept at identifying himself and his various organizations, such as ACCC, with matters of public interest and controversy which give promise of making good newspaper copy and of keeping his causes in the public eye. When President Truman called columnist Drew Pearson an "S.O.B.," McIntire could not resist the temptation sanctimoniously to demand that the President apologize for this affront to religious Americans. McIntire, incidentally, had cleaner but more insulting words for the same writer.
On October 29, 1948, when it appeared that Governor Thomas E. Dewey might be the next President of the United States, the ACCC convention at Philadelphia adopted a resolution opposing the possible appointment of the late John Foster Dulles as Secretary of State or United States delegate to the United Nations. The resolution charged that Mr. Dulles had for fifteen years been "an effective tool" of "extremely radical and pacifist" churchmen associated with the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches, which were branded as "cooperating fronts for World Socialism."
Mr. Dulles, whose credentials as a pillar of the church and of the American system were hardly vulnerable to that kind of attack, went on to serve the Truman and Eisenhower administrations with distinction. But the 1948 ACCC blast, coming just before Election Day, was good for some garish headlines.
McIntire has kept in touch with other Far Right operators over the years. His appearance at the Madison Square Garden Friends of Frank Fay rally in 1946, where Benson was a speaker, has been mentioned, as has his role in helping to bring Dr. Fred C. Schwarz to the United States, and his promotion of Billy James Hargis to a headline personality (this promotion involved a scheme for floating Bibles over the Iron Curtain via balloons). A few years ago Hargis listed an encomium from McIntire in a promotional sheet titled "Commendations from Great Leaders."
But McIntire's roots in the Far Right go even deeper, and into even darker regions. He maintained a long-standing friendly contact with the late Merwin K. Hart, of the National Economic Council, who was a focal point for much of the Extreme Rightist activity of the 1940's and 1950's. Hart's reputation as an anti-Semite appears to have been no barrier to McIntire's friendship, which may not be surprising in view of McIntire's view of brotherhood as a fraudulent concept.
Another hate peddler with whom McIntire has maintained a friendly tie for some two decades is Harvey Springer, an outspoken anti-Catholic bigot who has also dabbled in anti-Semitism. On a number of occasions McIntire and Springer have spoken from each other's pulpits. Springer's publication Western Voice has for years carried articles by and about McIntire. In 1960, Springer toured the country to fight the prospect of a Catholic President.
More recently, McIntire's name has appeared on the national advisory board of Young Americans for Freedom, the Right Wing youth group in which the minister's son is very active. He has a co-operative tie, as well, with the Right Wing Church League of America, and with Edgar Bundy, its executive official.
Nor has McIntire shunned the John Birch Society. The San Francisco Chronicle of April 4, 1961, reported that he had endorsed the Society, which was then the target of nation-wide condemnation, declaring that a lot of people were going to be sorry for the things they had said about the John Birch Society. He was quoted as calling the Society "a good, patriotic American organization," and as stating that "America needs many of the policies they support."
When he discusses other leaders in the movement, his talk can be more about the difference in technique than in the nature of the propaganda itself. Sometimes the green glow of envy almost shows as he speaks of the big contributions other Radical Right organizations get from foundations, corporations, and wealthy individuals. In commenting on Dr. Schwarz, he said:
"I differ from him in my anti-Communist approach. His emphasis is on the scientific and mine on the religious indictment of Communism. Perhaps that is the reason industrialists are more inclined to contribute to his movement than to mine; they feel more at home with economic arguments. I stick to my approach, which is that our prosperous society is based on a solid Christian foundation. Billy Hargis has a somewhat religious approach and seems to get some large backers, but not so many. My operation is much larger than his. Benson at Harding College, though a preacher, makes a straight businessman's approach and over the years has received some of the biggest contributions."
McIntire has thus aligned himself–as a bigger and busier (but financially poorer) brother–to all the leading lights of today's Radical Right.
Carl McIntire is one of the major anti-Catholic propagandists in America. His views on Catholicism were embodied in a statement made on November 2, 1951:
"The strengthening of the Roman Catholic Church throughout the world only involves the fostering of a false religion which enslaves human souls in darkness and superstition, and from which the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century delivered us. . . . Rome will sell her secret confessional system for political world power. But actually the Roman Catholic Church becomes a 'spy system' through the priests, with the priests' loyalty first to the Vatican. If that obtains in other countries, it obtains, too, in our country. . . . Are not the Roman Catholics in the United States committed to a foreign power and do they not owe 'obedience and submission' to its head, the Pope? ... If the priest inside the Iron Curtain countries is a 'spy' for the Vatican state, why is not a priest in the U.S.A. the same?"
In 1960, when the late President Kennedy sought the nation's highest office, the American Council of Christian Churches was active and vociferous in its opposition to a Catholic candidate for President.
Both in his sermons and in his newspaper McIntire made it clear that he opposed the then-Senator Kennedy precisely because the senator was a Catholic. The ACCC passed a resolution to this effect in 1959–before the active campaigning of 1960 began. The resolution said Senator Kennedy's nomination would precipitate a major religious conflict. After Mr. Kennedy's nomination, the Democratic Party published a pamphlet against religious bigotry which categorized McIntire as one of five "major anti-Catholic extremists operating in the current political campaign." Senator Henry L. Jackson explained that the memorandum was distributed to give "full ventilation to the hate mail being widely disseminated throughout the country." Senator Jackson finally asked Dr. McIntire pointblank, "Are you opposing Senator Kennedy because of his religion?" McIntire asked evasively whether or not they were going to get an apology. Jackson replied, "No apology and no withdrawal." McIntire then concluded with the weak rejoinder that he was opposing Mr. Kennedy "because I do not believe in his views on the extreme left and have serious doubts as to his consistency on the separation of church and state."
Throughout President Kennedy's years in the White House, McIntire emphasized aspects of the President's personality and policies distasteful to McIntire followers: repeated mention of the President's Catholicism, his efforts at accommodation with Russia, his pressure for social legislation, and lastly his scheduled appearance at the National Council of Churches' rally, planned for December 3, 1963, in Philadelphia.
In line with his constant policy of setting up rival, hostile demonstrations whenever and wherever the NCC was holding a convention, McIntire announced a monster counterdemonstration to be held in Independence Square on the same night.
The assassination of the President on November 22 led him to cancel it. And in a subsequent release, McIntire admonished the American people "to return to the infallible word of God for comfort and guidance." He also warned Americans that Reds would blame the Right Wing for creating the atmosphere which brought about the assassination. About Jack Ruby he commented: "He was a Jew, a Kennedy supporter.... The American people must blame the Marxian philosophy and the Communists for this deed and there is no possible association between the assassination and the loyalty of the right wing to their country and to their God, and the determination of the conservative to resist Communism . . ."
And like so many other Radical Right organization leaders who exaggerate the imminent threat of domestic Communism and frighten Americans into extremist views on economic and political issues, McIntire has created his own investigative structure.
His purpose here is to keep an eye on clergymen whom he considers subversive or dangerous dupes. To this end he maintains a sharp lookout for ministers of every denomination who might be leftist, liberal, or involved in organizations which he believes tainted with modernism. It is the Reverend's ready boast that he has the most extensive files, except for the FBI, on Communists and fellow travelers in the churches.
The unceasing search for Communists and Communist sympathizers, carried out under McIntire's personal supervision, is directed by Dr. Clyde Kennedy, whose right arm in this intelligence operation is the Reverend W. O. H. Garman, pastor of a church in Altoona, Pennsylvania, and a former president of the American Council of Christian Churches. Garman considers his own preaching of the word of God to be a sideline; his full time is given to tracking down purported Communists, "modernists," and "revisionists." (He once wrote of some leaders in the National Council of Churches that they had "denied the fundamental, cardinal tenets of the historic Christian faith as taught by Christ and the Apostles," and branded them as "traitors to the Lord Jesus Christ. . . .")
McIntire himself repeatedly charges that the National Council, with its 40,600,000 members, is pockmarked with Communists. These allegations evidently have made some impact in various parts of the country although they have no genuine substance. McIntire is proud that ACCC material about alleged Reds in the Protestant clergy was included in an Air Force Manual which caused a furor in 1960. Significantly, when the Defense Department's attention was called to the unsubstantiated charges in the Manual, the Department ordered distribution of the document stopped and formally apologized to the National Council of Churches.
McIntire disapproves of almost everything the NCC does. When the National Council applauded Freedom Riders who went South to demonstrate their support for Negro efforts to win equality, McIntire attacked the National Council for defying the law. He charged that the huge religious organization was "becoming a companion of riotous men and a shame to Christianity." He remembered to add: "At the root of all this trouble is nothing more than Communist agitation, Communist fomentation. . . ."
McIntire's greatest impact on the American scene is from his 20th Century Reformation Hour broadcasts, sponsored by the Christian Beacon, a small, eight-page weekly with an estimated circulation of 45,000, and tax-exempt as a religious newspaper. Of the Christian Beacon, the Protestant Episcopal Church's National Council wrote:
"[It] has been circulated through the mails on a second-class mailing permit, obviously by thousands of copies, but it would be difficult to find a minister or an elder who has paid any kind of subscription himself.... Other church publications have considered The Beacon to be almost constantly in violation of accepted ethical standards. It has not hesitated to pirate copyrighted materials of any sort. It photographically reproduces all kinds of articles without permission. And it sometimes reproduces them in distorted form."
How many members McIntire has in his organization can only be guessed. His own claims vary widely from time to time. He has claimed 200,000 or 300,000, sometimes 400,000 and, when he is so minded, "nearly 500,000." Some years back, the National Council of Churches appraised McIntire's membership as follows: "The American Council has not been willing to publish any statistics of its membership by denominations, so the total membership of the 15 bodies belonging to it is not known. But such information as is available indicates that the total membership of the 15 bodies is not more than 200,000, probably much less.... The total membership of the denominations included in the American Council is perhaps one-half of one per cent of American Protestantism."
McIntire keeps a large wall map of the United States with pins stuck into it to mark the cities where he has radio outlets. The pins show that he has 577 stations. He added some 250 stations in 1963 alone. Many of the outlets are in the Bible Belts of the South and the Midwest, and the map shows a noticeable sparseness of outlets in the North and the East. Connecticut has two, Massachusetts three, and New York State only four (all in small towns, with the exception of Buffalo). States having the largest number of McIntire outlets are: Texas 27, Florida 26, Pennsylvania 24, California 23, Alabama 20, Mississippi and Georgia 19 each, and South Carolina 17. There are none in New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, or Boston. Apparently, McIntire cannot get a following in sophisticated big cities.
McIntire has his own studio in Collingswood where he records his daily broadcasts every morning from Monday through Friday. The recording is played back to his critical ears, then edited and telephoned to his station in Chester, Pennsylvania, which relays it to all the others. McIntire's radio attacks are directed against the National Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, the Roman Catholic Church, the Revised Bible, the United Nations, United States "give-away" policies, a "planned society," medical care, civil rights programs, the income tax, and American social, economic, and political policy of the last thirty years.
During McIntire's radio broadcasts, Dr. Charles Richter, the assistant pastor of the Bible Presbyterian Church of Collingswood, usually sits near the microphone and, at the proper moments, cries "Amen!" The Christian Century commented:
"McIntire's 'Reformation' program generally begins with a highly slanted Biblical interpretation: e.g., the Book of Jeremiah denounces Communists in general and Khrushchev in particular. This is followed by 'documented' exposés of Communist conspiracy in high places of church and state. Customarily, McIntire concludes with an appeal to the American people to wake up-and to write for his 'documentation' and to contribute money so that more radio stations will transmit his broadcasts. McIntire's pronouncements are punctuated by the remarks from Charles Richter (better known as 'Amen Charlie’), whose job it is to inject Amen or Yes or No at appropriate intervals ...."
Despite widespread criticism of McIntire for inaccuracy, exaggeration, and what sometimes seems to be deliberate distortion, his followers fanatically support him. When ministers in Warren, Ohio, during the winter of 1962-63 tried to secure a cancellation of his broadcasts because the program was creating ill will in the community, his loyal listeners turned out in sub-zero weather to a protest meeting. The audience, counted at 2,350, jammed Warren's Packard Music Hall. Hundreds came in chartered buses from communities across the state and from adjoining Pennsylvania. The stage was bedecked with fifty-nine flags (courtesy of the Sons of the American Revolution), and the program included hymns and patriotic songs and Scripture readings. McIntire himself was welcomed by Mayor Robert Dunstan, who told the people that the preacher, like Noah of old, was "a man raised up by God in a time of travail." The hall echoed with "Amens!" and when he appealed for money for his radio broadcasts, McIntire collected over $4,000 in checks and pledges in addition to some very substantial cash offerings.
It costs from $1,000 to $3,000 to test the effectiveness of a radio station for six to eight weeks. McIntire operates on the hard business idea that each voice along the network must show a profit or at least maintain itself; if it cannot, it is dropped. Like other Radical Right fundamentalist preachers, he constantly solicits seed money to buy time on more stations. His fund-raising technique is similar to the old camp-meeting exhortation for funds for the Lord's work. When a solicitation produces a contribution, he follows it up with a "victory letter." This excerpt, written in 1962, indicates the impressive success which sometimes results from his appeals:
We are over the top! God has given us the answer to our constant prayer that we should have 300 stations. Yes, it is actually 301. We have just come from the studio in which we reported to all of our listeners the magnificent, yes, the magnificent victory which God has given us! Thank God!
Yesterday was the day. As the mail was being opened we had two additional contributions of $1,000 which put us over the top. We had to stop everything around here and our entire staff gathered in a large upstairs room where the mail is opened and we sang Praise God. We prayed and then testimony after testimony was given as to how God had led, blessed, undertaken, and now given us this victory....
We are now asking the Lord to give us an additional 300. He has done it for us once; He can do it for us again, and this is our request....
On March 4, 1964, after a trip around the world with his wife, he wrote another letter to his contributors:
What a blessed anniversary this is! The Monday after the first Sunday in March, 1955, when we had our annual Every Member canvass here in the church, 'Amen Charlie' and I sat down at the microphone and started talking.... Now we have moved up to 577 radio stations. It seems utterly fantastic. It is nothing but a miracle, and our blessed theme text, 'For with God nothing shall be impossible,' I am sure, applies to what God is doing for us....
For McIntire to spread his Radical Right propaganda via print and the airwaves costs perhaps $1,000,000 a year, and as the Reverend told an interviewer, "We have no fat cats. Our money comes from the faithful, and in small bills, but it keeps coming. It keeps coming."
Indeed, it keeps coming. To Carl McIntire it keeps coming from the "faithful" who have chosen McIntire over the Devil, as well as over Rome, Washington, and the NCC. To other propagandists of the Radical Right it keeps coming from the "fat cats" that McIntire denies knowing–from the corporations and foundations that would pay any price in an effort to change America's thinking into channels of fearful reaction.
Clarence Manion, to whom we now turn, is like Dr. McIntire in that he is a Far Right Wing voice heard on hundreds of radio stations. But, unlike the New Jersey preacher, this former law school dean has "fat cats" behind him. And he serves them well.