Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 8, 1951

What Happened In Buena Park?

Vance Carruth, Buena, California

I have been requested to submit this report to several religious papers, that Christians of other areas might be further awakened to the dangers of Catholicism in our own nation. For two and one half years, I have been writing a column for the local weekly newspaper. Due to certain observations made therein regarding the errors of denominationalism, opposition had arisen to the extent that one Baptist teacher began to attempt to answer these argumentative observations through the columns of the same paper. We wrote back and forth for a while, until this Baptist teacher suddenly ceased to react any further in black and white. In subsequent weeks, other denominations were similarly disturbed, but all of them refused to accept any of our challenges to a religious discussion. Later, I turned away from the "negative" approach for a while, and wrote for a number of months on general themes of a more gentle nature. When the time was ripe for another series of articles dealing with the errors of man-made religious institutions, I chose to write concerning Catholicism. All of the opposition we had received before in regard to any of our articles was conspicuously mild as compared to the landslide of disapproval incited by an attack on Catholicism. The following is what occurred:

The first week, we simply inserted the following announcement: "Watch for a special series of articles on Religious Threats to American Freedom' to appear beginning soon." The next week, we published this announcement: "Starting next week! 'Political aspects of the Catholic church'—Proven facts, not mere opinions."

This was all that was required to start the opposition rolling. The editor of the paper became a little bit nervous, and began to doubt the advisability of printing the articles. But after discussing the matter with him, he agreed to "carry on" for a while anyway. He wrote a fairly long editorial preceding the publication of my articles in which he said, among other things, "Evangelist Carruth has been a consistent advertiser in the columns of the NEWS for the past two years. His views have often drawn sharp answers from persons who took issue in the form of letters to the editor. Because he has selected a new target for his criticism does not seem to give the editor the privilege of changing the policy and denying him the right to purchase space... Let the editor protect the freedom and the reader judge his reading material as he sees fit."

Had I known in advance what would be the result of these articles, I would have started right in at the beginning presenting the proofs, rather than spending time with introductory articles. But, not knowing exactly what was forthcoming, the first article appeared, which said, in part, "In this series of articles beginning with this writing, we propose to bring direct and specific proven charges against the Roman Catholic Church. We stand upon our constitutional right, a right guaranteeing freedom of the press (which freedom the Catholic church opposes, as we shall see in the forthcoming articles) to present you these things... we shall show you that the Catholic church is primarily political and secondarily religious, We know that the majority of the members of the Catholic church are unaware of these things, and are sincere in their faith. Therefore it is for the benefit of them as well as others who have been blinded by Catholic propaganda that we propose to present these articles. Pressure may be brought to bear against us or this newspaper, but bear in mind that we, the church of Christ, are paying for this space, and are expressing our views, together with proof, as any American has a right to do. In forthcoming articles, we shall show you that the Catholic church constitutes the greatest threat to the American way of life in the world today! We detest, hate, and abhor Communism, that enemy of all truth...but if we had to choose between the two (and God grant that we may never have to do so) we would rather two-to-one have Stalin sitting in the White House than the Catholic Pope!! This article is a paid advertisement of the church of Christ and in no way represents the opinions of the newspaper in which it appears." For some reason, there were a number of Catholics and Catholic sympathizers who weren't too overwhelmingly in favor of what we had said. One Catholic, recently back from Korea, said he had a good mind to come down and put a bullet through me. Thus far, however, he hasn't. One preacher even wrote Washington, D. C., to see what could be done about us. A special meeting was called for all the Catholics of this area to meet in a nearby town to decide what action might be taken against us. Actual violence occurred, a report of which appears in a moment. The town was all upset, and "more disturbed than it has been in years." For a while it seemed that this matter of opposition to Catholicism was all the people could talk about. In one of the phone calls I received, a woman who had just returned here from Los Angeles (we are in the Los Angeles area) and read our article said she just wanted to know "if you are one of us fellow-travelers." I inquired as to what she meant. She replied, "Those of us who have the communist sympathies." I answered that I hate communism, as I had said in my article, and that I was not a communist, and that furthermore I didn't believe she was either! She then dropped her pretense, but in the verbal lashing which followed, she proceeded to brand me as "one of Stalin's right-hand men!!" The newspaper was swamped with similar comments.

By this time the newspaper editor wished to retreat in a hurry. I requested permission to print one more article, which request he granted. In this article, we said, in part, "Apparently our article last week incited no little excitement... The newspaper, though it had no connection with the views expressed, was plagued with all sorts of phone calls protesting the article... plus threats of cancellations of subscriptions... Plus threats of action against them... etc. Furthermore, a cement rock was thrown through the large plate glass window of the church of Christ, to which was attached a note, which said, among other things: 'If I should see such an article in this paper again, you may have more trouble to take care of than you ever dreamed of. My advice to you is to stop having these articles put in the paper.' The criminal responsible for this incident is hereby informed that the evidence has been presented to the proper police authorities... As to the attitude of the Catholics in general, I think it can best be summed up in the words of one who said recently to one of our church members, Even if you can prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that we are completely wrong, I'll still be a Catholic!" However, there are many others, here and elsewhere, who are supporting us one hundred percent. Apparently, this will be the last article, not because we wish it to be, but simply because the newspaper is suffering retaliation as a result of them. As for us, we have no resentment even toward the most violent of our persecutors, but only sincere pity. Perhaps there are some who read this column who would at least be willing to see the irrefutable evidences we have available. If so, if you will drop us a penny postal card...we will be glad to send you these evidences. As for the others, we have at least tried to help you. Please don't turn to us in the day of judgment, if you are condemned, and say, 'Why didn't you warn me of these dangers! Why didn't you try to awaken me to the truth?' We have done what we could. We hope that perhaps some of you will yet be awakened to the facts before it is everlastingly too late, that our nations may be spared, and your souls eternally saved."

Interestingly enough, we received a number of cards and letters, and personal callers, who said they did want a copy of those evidences, and that they were behind us all the way. Also, in the next edition of the paper, M. H. Reynolds, minister of a local denomination ("Bible church") had printed a rather lengthy letter, in which he said. "We wish to go on record, that we believe that since we live in America, not Rome or Moscow, it would certainly be an infringement upon the rights of any church if it were denied the right to express itself on these issues, here in America. I was therefore instructed to see you or write you, tell you that our church and people welcome the presentation of any articles designed to enlighten our citizens."

In the same edition of the paper, however, another letter was printed which was of a somewhat different attitude. It said, "Dear Sir: The 'advertising' you accepted is an insult to not only the Catholics but to all clear thinking American citizens. Please cancel my subscription immediately," signed, "Victor Wuytens."

This brings the matter up-to-date. We have a box-holder permit, and are now thinking about distributing our evidences opposing Catholicism through the mail to every person in this immediate area.

If you don't think Catholicism constitutes a powerful menace, just try opposing them, and you will see.