scott @ Sun, 2005-01-23 22:31
"It is truly sad, indeed deplorable, that citizens should ever have to be asked to suspend the exercise of their rights because of the evil-doing of others. However, in my opinion and m the opinion of many men of good will, such is the situation in which we find our-selves," the archbishop said.
"The racial disturbances which have been taking place in the Chicago area are a mat-ter of gravest concern for all of the citizens of this community. For the past several years and especially in r e c e n t months, religious leaders of every denomination have spoken out in uncompromising terms concerning the urgent need for justice, charity, and equality of opportunity for all Americans whatever their race or creed. Since coming to Chicago, I have on a number of occasions addressed myself to this theme.
"Moreover, I have urged our priests and religious to preach in season and out of season the Christian doctrine and American ideal of the brotherhood and equality of all men. Some of our people have criticized these actions. A few have even raised veiled threats of non-support for church institutions because of the message of love which we have been carrying. Nonetheless, we have remained true to-bur calling and to our nation. With the help of God, we, shall never waver in this commitment.
Backs Right to March
"In the past several weeks, civil rights groups have been conducting marches and demonstrations in all-white neighborhoods of our community. Their purpose has been to draw the attention of the citizenry to the plight of minority groups many of whose members are financially capable of buying or renting better homes but impeded from so doing by what can only be called a conspiracy of fear, suspicion, and bigotry. "The right of such groups to march and demonstrate is in itself beyond question. It has been written into our constitution and is recognized by our courts. Those who seek to deny this right by either threats or violence are clearly in violation of the law and morally blame-worthy.
"This being said, it now appears that a new dimension has been added to the marches and demonstrations in the Chicago area.
Fear Loss of Lives
"Because of the shameful reaction of some to the exercise of a basic freedom of our land, representatives of government, I the police, and many other responsible groups are convinced that if the marches and demonstrations continue in the manner in which they have been proceeding, the result will very likely be serious injury to many persons and perhaps even the loss of lives.
"In view of all this, it would seem that the leaders of the civil rights movement are themselves confronted by a serious moral obligation, namely, that they prayerfully reconsider the methods now being employed to achieve their al-together just and laudable purposes. They have not been guilty of violence and lawlessness. Others have. But the actions of these others are now a circumstance which they must take into account in assessing their activities. It is truly sad, indeed, deplorable, that citizens should ever have to be asked to suspend the exercise of their rights because of the evil-doing of others. How-ever, in my opinion and in the opinion of many men of good will, such is the situation in which we now find ourselves."
Urge Realtors to Act
"Therefore, with a heavy heart, I would call upon the leaders of the Chicago Freedom movement to take counsel among themselves and with their supporters concerning the continuation of marches and demonstrations .at this time. Many will criticize such pleas as this, just as many have criticized the firm position in favor of racial justice taken by the religious leadership of this community at the civil rights rally of July 10. However, criticism alone is never a criterion of right and wrong no matter from what quarter it comes.
"As we address ourselves to supporters of the civil rights movement, we would with equal insistence urge community groups, especially real-tors, immediately to set them-selves to the task of correcting the regrettable situation which has led to the protests that concern us all today If there is an urgent need for peace, there is every bit as urgent a need for action. As long as a man's race or religion is allowed to be a condition for his living in any neighborhood, the threat of violence and unrest will remain with us and, what is more important, the dignity of the human person will be left open to question.
It is my prayerful hope that the civil authorities of our municipalities will immediately convene meetings between realtors and civil rights advocates in order to achieve a just and lasting resolution of the present. crisis. If this is done effectively, our community will have made an immeasurable contribution to the well-being of this nation under God. If it is not done, we will all have reason to fear for the future.
"Peace is our common desire — brotherly love our inspiration—respect for one an-other's rights our intent—may God have mercy on all of us!"
Back Right to Picket
Spokesmen for 16 religious, welfare, and civil rights groups issued a statement yesterday upholding the legal right of antidiscrimination groups to demonstrate and asserting that demonstrators should be protected.
"While not necessarily indorsing every aspect of the civil rights movement, we assert unequivocally that those who would express their convictions through nonviolent demonstrations most be protected, and our communities and their citizens must address themselves to the' problem of creating a city that is truly open to an human beings," the spokesmen said.
In turning down the Archbishop's plea, Raby said:
"We have deep respect and admiration for Archbishop Cody. We regard him as a friend to the civil rights movement. Nevertheless, we must regretfully reject his appeal to cease am nonviolent protest against the immorality and in-justice of racial segregation in Chicago housing.
"In the absence of any effective program by public and private leaders against this segregation to ask us to stop marching is to ask us to surrender to this form of human degradation. We appeal to the archbishop to use his great influence not to stop legal and peaceful protests against injustice but rather to stop the racist practices in the real estate profession and to combat the ugly racism of the closed communities which have attacked us. These people either reject the Christian gospel or they have not been taught it.
"We ask the archbishop and Chicago's other religious leaders not to abandon us now but stand with us so that all Chicagoans, Catholic, Protestant and Jewish, will know that in hating Negroes, they are rejecting their God."