From a 1970 issue of Time Magazine.
John Burke, an atheist, and his wife, a pantheist, had left the line blank. As a result, the bureau denied the Burkes’ application. After the couple began court action, however, the bureau changed its regulations, and the couple was able to adopt a baby boy from the Children’s Aid and Adoption Society in East Orange.
Last year the Burkes presented their adopted son, David, now 31, with a baby sister, Eleanor Katherine, now 17 months, whom they acquired from the same East Orange agency. Since the agency endorsed the adoption, the required final approval by a judge was expected to be pro forma. Instead, Superior Court Judge William Camarata raised the religious issue.
Inestimable Privilege. In an extraordinary decision, Judge Camarata denied the Burkes’ right to the child because of their lack of belief in a Supreme Being. Despite the Burkes’ “high moral and ethical standards,” he said, the New Jersey state constitution declares that “no person shall be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshiping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience.” Despite Eleanor Katherine’s tender years, he continued, “the child should have the freedom to worship as she sees fit, and not be influenced by prospective parents who do not believe in a Supreme Being.”
(And the resulting SCOTUS decision from 1971)
From 1920 to 1945. I’ll post the highlights from 1930:
* By February, the Federal Reserve has cut the prime interest rate from 6 to 4 percent. Expands the money supply with a major purchase of U.S. securities. However, for the next year and a half, the Fed will add very little money to the shrinking economy. (At no time will it actually pull money out of the system.) Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon announces that the Fed will stand by as the market works itself out: “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate real estateâ€¦ values will be adjusted, and enterprising people will pick up the wreck from less-competent people.” (More)
* The Smoot-Hawley Tariff passes on June 17. With imports forming only 6 percent of the GNP, the 40 percent tariffs work out to an effective tax of only 2.4 percent per citizen. Even this is compensated for by the fact that American businesses are no longer investing in Europe, but keeping their money stateside. The consensus of modern economists is that the tariff made only a minor contribution to the Great Depression in the U.S., but a major one in Europe. (More)
* The first bank panic occurs later this year; a public run on banks results in a wave of bankruptcies. Bank failures and deposit losses are responsible for the contracting money supply.
* Supreme Court rules that the monopoly U.S. Steel does not violate anti-trust laws as long as competition exists, no matter how negligible.
* Democrats gain in Congressional elections, but still do not have a majority.
* The GNP falls 9.4 percent from the year before. The unemployment rate climbs from 3.2 to 8.7 percent.
This would be a perfectly sane letter to the Salt Lake Tribune if it wasn’t for the blatant insanity:
In his Dec. 27 letter, Steven Fehr says he believes President Bush is the worst president he has seen. Whenever I hear someone complain about the president, I ask them, â€œDo you pray for the president of the United States daily?â€ Is that too much trouble?
There used to be a custom of praying for our president. Perhaps too many people in the United States believe this would be mixing politics and religion. If the majority of the people are agnostic and atheistic, it may be that they are partly to blame for the problems we have. To think one man is responsible for the war and the problems we face in our nation is about as foolish as to not believe in the power of prayer.