DISGUISED FASCISM SEEN AS A MENACE
The New York Times, 12 September 1938, page 15, re. a sermon preached the day before (9/11 — ironic, n’est pas?)…
When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled “made in Germany”; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, “Americanism,” Professor Halford E. Luccock of the Divinity School of Yale University said yesterday morning in a sermon at the Riverside Church, Riverside Drive and 122d Street.
“The high-sounding phrase ‘the American way’ will be used by interested groups, intent on profit, to cover a multitude of sings against the American and Christian tradition, such sins as lawless violence, tear gas and shotguns, denial of civil liberties,” he said. “There is an obligation resting on us all to dedicate our minds to the hard task of thinking in terms of Christian objectives and values, so that we may be saved from moral confusion.”
“For never, probably, has there been a time when there was a more vigorous effort to surround social and international questions with such a fog of distortion and prejudice and hysterical appeal to fear. We have touched a new low in Congressional investigation this Summer, used by some participating in it to whip up fear and prejudice against many causes of human welfare, such as a concern for peace and the rights of labor to bargain collectively.”
Professor Luccock, who preached on the theme “Keeping Life Out of Confusion,” continued:
“The old prayer in the Psalms, ‘Let me never be put to confusion,’ seems a strange one in a day when there seems to be little else but confusion in a puzzled world. We ought to recognize that uncertainty of mind is not all a bad thing. It is a sign that your mind is still alive, still sensitive. If you are not at all confused in this day you are dead mentally and spiritually.
“There is, of course, the peace of the cemetery. If you want that you can have it. But you will pay for such complacent serenity with blind eyes which do not see the world’s fear and agony; with deaf ears, into which the sad music of humanity never comes; with deadened nerves and unsensitized conscience.
“We will never be brought to confusion, even in such a baffling and muddled world as ours, if we have a faith in a God of love as the ultimate power in the universe. The words ‘God is love’ have this deep meaning: that everything that is against love is ultimately doomed and damned.”
So little has changed in 70+ years… I stumbled across this article today, after a letter in today’s local paper (see comments following) repeated a famous quote often misattributed to Sinclair Lewis:
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.”
Its origins are at best obscure, but this link does a decent job of unraveling the mystery.