Re: Religion and the Sixties (multiple responses)
Wed, 4 Nov 1998 17:53:39 -0500


From: Richard Manning <>
Subject: Re: Religion and the Sixties (multiple responses)

I wish to tell Marty Jezer that I have little disagreement with his
above opinions, and thank him for his balanced words indicating human
kindness and values with which no one could disagree. As to my original
note seeking others who might have been awakened to spiritual, and
materially, ethos they lived under thanks to the Sixties, I would like
to make these concluding comments.

As most of us who lived through 'The Sixties' know, that extended decade
encompassed one of the most eventful awakenings of humans, perhaps 'the'
most eventful, since the days of the Paris Commune in 1848, the
unionization of workers in Europe and then America to the down side
evils of Industrialization, and the revolts of feudal peoples in Russia,
1905 and 1917, and China post-World War II. All of these grand
awakenings were due to oppression and/or wars. Even if now somewhat
buried in America's memory, the Sixties, too, was a true awakening as
well, one principally of the spirit, I believe : that of Blacks,
Students and Women tired of being 2nd class; Journalists, Teachers and
Youth tired of lies specific and general, short and long-term; the
enlisted citizen soldiers in the Military tired of being used for racist
and economic-based killing; and even that spirit among a few of those
in, what I have nominated, the Phallic Control syndrome : those
'superior' males within Gailbraith's top 20% wealthy who rule by
contented class loyalty, that class composed of the Propertied, the
Priests, the Politicians, even the establishment Poets and Philosophers,
who benefit most from our Phallic-oriented Pecking order.

Eventful also specifically because those awakenings of the Sixties did
not just occur in places like New York and Francisco but went on from
Paris to Tokyo, from East Africa to Indochina to several countries in
Central and South America..., all following on the heels of the death
throes of colonial regimes post World War II, specially in Asia.
Eventful because many peoples had become tired of being mere sheep,
tired of following leaders who had been lying, confusing and exploiting
them for so long. I was a policeman in the middle of the Black riots in
Harlem of 1962 and 1963, and a US government official in the middle of
the long Vietnamese revolt against neo-colonial economic and political
oppression. Within all that history I saw, and still feel, a tread
running into a continued spiritual awakening, an awakening of those of
us reacting to a nurtured status quo that had ill served us and our
ancestors for so long. And, history shows us, that in most every country
affected that status quo was founded and supported by archaic religions,
various theocracies fundamentally preaching the people to have never
ending patience with the evils and injustices they suffered because
their 'God' would eventually address these issues with His "Divine
Justice'. Would, some day, reward His poor by condemning His rich doers
of evil once they try to enter His hereafter.

Although I fully agree with Mr. Jezer about our Abrahamic religions
producing a few men and women or exception, I would rest on the
following conclusions :

1, Best thing about many religions, spec. Abrahamic, is that their
dogmatism historically has been so corrupt, racist and greedy that
periodically they necessarily pushed some few, very unusual and special,
individuals into moral outrage sufficiently severe enough to cry out
above the massed flock, developing the moral courage to condemn said
corruption and offer solutions. Which actions usually, thereby,
separated them from that same flock. Francis of Assisi, Luther, a few
more come to mind. The results they achieved, positive or negative,
short or long term, are highly debatable and for another forum.

2, The worst is that this same dogmatism has virtually emasculated the
approximate 99% remaining behind, those billions of people who often
seriously want to be 'good' souls, but who, fearful of straying from
among the controlled flock, continue to work on their heavenly seat when
they might have otherwise well loved their fellow man better and wiser,

3. The Main Problem : the false mythology saying that our life, this
one life we know of, is only a 'test', a test given us by a Sky God. He
who was invented originally around Semitic camp fires between 3,500 and
3,900 years ago. A test from which, if you pass, you obtain the only
'real' reward worth living for, a 'seat in heaven'. This excuse of
theocrats for relating us to a paternalistic 'god', under their
supervision and control, is the cause of billions of people having
suffered and died, or led miserable and inequitable lives, or tortured
and murdered, or oppressed and enslaved..., thanks to 'superior' men
and masters turning insecurities and fears into blinded obedience.

4. Humanity : Abrahamic tribes have always feared and condemned humanism
because they are afraid humanism will loosen the fear instilled in the
hearts of the subservient flock, will compete, here and now, to produce
a more loving, happier way of life. If the human fears so loved by
theocratic regimes of any and all sorts are dissipated, if the people
become more loving of each other, if they then so live for live here and
now, not for the hereafter..., then and only then shall we have a hope
of reversing the violent paternalism which keeps devastating societies.
Specially as evidenced since the Franco-Prussian War of 1872 until
today, wherein Christian countries alone have murdered people to the
extent of more than 150,000,000 beings.

THE SIXTIES wrecked havoc on this heavenly aspiration, the mythology
behind it, and the fermentation of values that resulted is still
bubbling. We of the Sixties just may live to see what we once revolted
against, or were angered by, or separated ourselves from, all three,
bear fruit.

And this refers to my original request: people for whom the wars in
Indochina were the traumatic turning point. I think the Sixties forum,
and I (possibly for inclusion in a manuscript in progress), would find
your experiences and thoughts of interest,

As I found the intelligent dialectic with Marty Jezer, whom I thank for
the opportunity to open this subject to further opinion.

richard manning


From: "Joan C. Browning" <>
Subject: Religion in the Sixties

Three recent publications shed light on the religious
fundamentalism/religious humanism debate. I found Andrew Sullivan's
article "The Scolds" in the Oct. 11, 1998 New York Times Magazine
instructive. Sullivan ties together the elements of the religious
fundamentalist attack on everybody's freedom in a way I had not seen

Michael B. Friedland's Lift Up Your Voice Like a Trumpet: White Clergy and
the Civil Rights and Antiwar Movements, 1954-1973 (Chapel Hill, 1998) is a
good treatment of the religious left in those two movements. See the H-Net
Review by James R. Sweeney on H-POL, June 1998.

For a look at how the same Judeo-Christian texts inspired both anti-racists
and the KKK terrorists, especially in Mississippi during the early sixties,
see Charles Marsh's God's Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights
Princeton, 1997. Marsh does a good job of getting inside the heads of
religiously-motivated folk at both extremes in the campaign for the soul of

Love this discussion.

Joan C. Browning
Ronceverte WV