Mistreatment of Minorities Perpetuates War, Christian Church Leader Says

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

“The Great War is being perpetuated by the treatment of religious minorities Europe,” declared Dr. Charles S. Macfarland, general secretary of the Federal Council of Churches at the Conference on International Relations from the Christian Viewpoint being held under the auspices of the Commission on International Justice and Goodwill of the Federal Council of Churches.

“By keeping alive the political conditions and methods, the national and racial antagonisms, the social and economic maladjustments that helped to bring on the war, many nations of Europe are following the old order,” he stated.

“The treatment of religious minorities,” he declared, “is creating a problem the significance and danger of which are by no means appreciated by the American churches or the American people.

“In Transylvania the Roumanian government is employing the wrong method in seeking to amalgamate the people within the nation into a common body of loyal Roumanian citizens and to unify the nation. The effort to enforce uniformity and identity at one stroke over night of two peoples of such differing languages, customs and traditions is the commission of both a wrong and a blunder, especially when this is attempted by forcible means. While the Roumanian government will find sympathy in its efforts to develop a public school system, the manner in which it is taking over the confessional or church schools and properties is a serious thing. The sudden dispersement of both faculties and pupils is involved.

“The effort to induce loyalty to the nation by forcing the Reformed Hungarion bishop to have a picture of the king and queen of Roumania hung over his desk illustrates a method that can be characterized by no lesser term than stupidity.”

Dr. Macfarland pointed out that the Hungarian populations are “obviously very far from being whole-hearted, loyal citizens to Roumania.”

“The treaty on record with the League of Nations regarding minorities,” he stated, “is not being observed, either in letter or in spirit, and it is hoped that the League of Nations; which is gathering such moral power and influence, may be able to exercise its proper control in these situations.”

Dr. Macfarland suggested that the Orthodox Church of Roumania has its great opportunity to serve as “mediator and interpreter between these sister churches in Transylvania and the Roumanian government and its local officials. The Roumanian Church might immediately invite a brotherly conference of all churches concerned and consider these problems as common interests of the Kingdom of God on earth.”

In discussing the situation between Poland and Germany Dr. Macfarland said: “In this case there is no doubt but that the political situation is mixed up with religious antagonisms, Poland being so largely Roman Catholic and the Germans in Poland so largely Protestant. Indeed ‘Every Pole a Catholic’ is a slogan of some political elements, thus making nationality conditioned on religion. In any event, the war is simply being perpetuated and it is hoped that the League of Nations may have the loyal support of the U. S. to speedily exercise its influence.”

Czechoslovakia was given some praise by Dr. Macfarland, who said: “While not free from wrongs and mistakes, this country is evidently pursuing a better course. If the spirit and purpose of President Masaryk can prevail in Czechoslovakia, there is hope that this nation in its treatment of minorities, may set an example to the rest of Europe and the world.”

In concluding he said: “It ought to be understood that these minorities have a right to appeal directly to the League of Nations, and what is still more important, to the judgment of mankind, which the League should interpret and express, and the Government of the United States cannot be deaf and blind to these situations without culpability for any disaster that may ensue.”

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