I have asked the minister to make whatever remarks he considers appropriate to this occasion before and after what follows. The rest is the obligation of Lewis A. Main, Jr., (if he will accept it.)
Good people, be forewarned. You are going to hear a combined sermon, polemic, and lecture. I ask Lewie to be loud and clear, that the geezer in the back row who may need an extra decibel or two, may not only be able to hear, but that he also may be prevented from taking his afternoon nap during these more or less solemn proceedings.
Obviously, I was born. The event occurred at St. Louisville, Ohio, on December 1, 1911. The unfortunate parents were Charles and Lura Mae Billman Warthen. I was their fifth child, and fourth son. One more was to follow.
I was educated, after a fashion, in the schools of St. Louisville. I received diplomas there from the eighth and eleventh grades, and finished at Utica in 1929. My class of '28 at St. L. was its very last. My mother had been in its second, in 1895. By 1930, after my father had removed his family to a farm in Berger Hollow southeast of St. Louisville, I decided it was time to engage in pursuits other than hunting groundhogs and cultivating corn, as a means to financial self-sufficiency. I therefore enrolled at the then Kent State College, which graduated me in 1932 with a certificate in upper elementary education. I then taught school at Concord, north of Purity in Eden Twp., during the years 1933-1936. (And here comes my first polemic.)
In 1935 the Scott Foresman reading system, featuring Dick and Jane and look-say, was brought into the schools of Licking County; and that system began the precipitous decline in reading proficiency, and hence in all other disciplines, which continues, albeit more slowly, perhaps, to this day. Our national rate of illiteracy proves the statement. In my school I was required, of course, to discard the techniques and materials of the Aldine system, which had emphasized rhymes and phonics, and to take up the new system. I have wondered over the years whether the little first-grader I had in 1935 ever learned to read. I am sure I did not teach him.
I return now more directly to the business at hand. In 1937 my father died. I then worked my mother's farm until she left us in 1939, then enrolled at OSU in 1940. Two years later I had a degree in animal husbandry. (Here I wish to apologize to local stockmen for not having made at least a tiny contribution to the development of better livestock. I made no serious effort to do so.)
Well, as you know, sparks were flying in many parts of the world in 1942, and Uncle Sam lost no time in calling on me for help. On November 11, 1942, a girl named Lotta Pool watched me board a troop train at Newark, along with a hundred or so other sad sacks, and head for Camp Atterbury in Indiana. I was placed in charge of the group.
Events moved quickly. On December 1, my birthday, I passed under the Golden Gate Bridge at San Francisco on my way to basic training in Hawaii. I became a radio man with Hq. Co., 1st Bn., 165th Infantry, 27 Division. I served as such throughout the war.
The Army and Navy were generous with transportation. We moved across the entire Pacific with minor stopovers in the Gilbert Islands (Makin and Tarawa), the Marianas (Saipan and Guam), and Okinawa. I was given four battle stars and a Purple Heart. That Purple Heart has a story of its own. On the night of August 8, 1944, during mop-up operations on Saipan, somebody or something set off an apparent land mine outside our defense perimeter. Perhaps five or six seconds later a piece of that contraption came down and cracked me in the skull just over my right eye. The injury proved not serious, although the eye was blind for a time. (My company commander later remarked that if that thing had hit me "going north instead of coming south", the results for me might have been significantly different. He probably had a point.) At any rate, our battalion surgeon said he "didn't want to mess with an eye," and sent me to the hospital on Guadalcanal. There I enjoyed a wonderful month of R and R, while some hundreds of thousands of other less lucky bums fought the war. Lotta, by the way, still has the piece that hit me.
With the end of the war in September, 1945, our unit was sent to Japan. I do not recall the date of my leaving, but by October 19, I was back in Columbus. Lotta and I were married one week later. We had not seen each other since that day in the train station in Newark in 1942.
On May 14, 1947, Lotta and I bought the farm where she still lives. I milked cows for a living until 1957, but then gave up that enterprise to teach in the Johnstown schools. I retired in 1972.
I was never much of a joiner. I was master of the Johnstown Grange, a member of the American Conservative Union, a member of the Homer Harper post of the local VFW, and a member of the Johnstown Presbyterian Church. And mention of the church brings on another polemic. Over the years I developed some of the traits of a crusader, even a Messiah, if you will. I had scant tolerance for those who condemn our free-market, capitalistic system, who denigrate our form of government, or who are inclined to blame the United States for a great share of the world's ills. I wrote many letters to the editor. The Dispatch has published probably 150 of these. Others appeared in the old C-J, in the Advocate, and in the Ohio Farmer. Some of them may even have made sense. But I digress.
Some of you no doubt know, with a feeling of general helplessness, that the top leadership of our mainline churches is tragically out of step with the values and ideals of the people in the pews who pay the bills. It is no accident that a booklet published by the World Council of Churches, which yearly gets about $12 million of your money, carries the statement, "The international capitalistic economic system is repugnant to the concept of justice, and is a denial of the lordship of Christ and therefore an abomination." It is no accident that the WCC gave $2 million to Communist Vietnam to buy heavy equipment for that country's "new economic zones". These were essentially slave labor camps. It is no accident that the Methodist Church gave Ortega's Nicaragua $60,000 for a center "to serve the revolutionary reality" in Latin America. The center's teachers were Cubans. It is no accident that the WCC gave $85,000 to the Patriotic Front in the then Rhodesia just two months after those terrorists had murdered eight missionaries, including two Salvation Army workers. It is no accident that the Presbyterian Church gave the Communist Agnela Davis $10,000 to help her defend herself against charges stemming from a California prison break, in which several people were killed. It is no accident that so many of our churches are so heavily involved in smuggling illegal aliens into our Southeast, in defiance of our written laws. And finally, it is no accident that the hierarchies of our churches have historically had such an affinity for the Communist side in Central America: against the Contras in Nicaragua, and against the freely elected government of El Salvador. On a per capita basis, the Presbyterian Church gives the most to the kinds of projects just delineated.
I am not done yet. Our church hierarchies work hand in glove with individuals and groups whose goals, if realized, would transform our society into something no sane person could value. These people are not only in our churches. They are in our media, in government, in our environmental movement, in our foundations (Ford is the worst), and in our universities particularly. Their leading think tank is the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D. C. Ralph Nader is a demigod among them. Their activities, projects, goals, are documented in the book, "The Coercive Utopians", by a married pair named Isaac.
It is necessary that you understand these people. It is also necessary that you recognize their power, and their capacity to do harm. The "Great Apple Scare of 1989" is a case in point. On "60 Minutes" Ed Bradly aired a program, "Intolerable Risk: Pesticides in Our Children's Food". His case was based on flawed data (he had reason to know they were flawed), but that didn't keep him and Donahue and hundreds of other media personalities and entities from scaring the country out of its wits and causing an estimated $200,000,000 in economic losses.
The utopians regard our society as the world's very worst, precisely because it is so successful. They say it plunders our resources. It pollutes. It manufactures goods not needed. Churchmen argue that it fosters competition, rather than their desired cooperation. Interestingly, while our churches are part and parcel of the so-far unorganized conspiracy, many of the utopians are openly hostile to Christianity. Example: Historian Lynn White writes: "Christianity insisted that it is God's will that man exploit nature for his own ends. Christianity thus bears a huge burden of guilt for the ecological disasters perpetrated by science and technology." And, referring to the biblical injunction to "subdue the Earth", one Ian McHarg writes: "Here is the appropriate injunction for the land rapist, the befouler of air and water, and uglifier, and the gratified bulldozer."
The utopians' ideal society - and their ideal is Castro's Cuba, Ortega's Nicaragua, Vietnam - would use far less energy than ours now does. Only needed goods - repeat, only needed goods - would be produced. Gadgets, machines, would be simple, easily understood and repaired by ordinary people. Agriculture would be "sweat enriched," meaning a return to the draft horse and the hand corn cutter, no doubt. (One wonders whether any of these bozos ever worked up an honest sweat in his life.) Our population, believe it or not, should be what it was at the time of Columbus, or about 1/220th of what it is now. They don't tell us who would have to get out of the way.
How is their society to be achieved? First, the utopians believe that both man and society are perfectible. The evils around us merely grow out of the corrupt society in which we live. Therefore, before each individual can enjoy total control over his own life, power must be concentrated in the hands of the right people, I. e., those who will use it properly for constructing the perfect social order. Writes Eric Hoffer: "When power gives him freedom to act, the intellectual will be inclined to deal with humanity as with material that can be molded and processed." And from the authors: "The problem is that a new order requires a new man, with motivations quite different from man as he is. And so, since it is beyond the power of intellectuals to create a new man, they try to build the new order on the backs of the recalcitrant old man. The new man, they declare, will develop naturally under the ideal social order the utopians are creating despite all obstacles."
The authors conclude with this sentence: "Few among the utopians carry forward the agenda of the enemies of this country, but all attack this country at its jugular - its faith in itself, its belief that what it is, and what it has, are worth preserving and defending."
Ladies and gentlemen, if you are inclined to doubt much of what you have heard here, look around. Your country is under attack now, perhaps as never before. The highest leadership of your churches is socialist, not capitalist. Christianity itself is attacked. Absolute values no longer exist: "If it feels good, do it!"
Your universities creep with Marxists. The same people infest your media, the movie and TV industries, the halls of Congress. If they have their way - the way of the coercive utopians, essentially - the result will be the same. Similarly, if the environmentalists prevail, you will have trouble finding enough food, to say nothing of losing out completely in the world marketplace. Your Congress refuses to face the looming prospect of fiscal chaos. Your federal government wants to supplant the family in the nurturing of children. Public welfare destroys more families than it helps. Patriotism is out, sneered at; globalism is in. Revered men of our past are maligned. One historian, a Marxist of course, avers that George Washington would have died of syphilis if pneumonia hadn't gotten him first. Your tax dollars fund the vilest forms of art imaginable. And so the somber list goes on.
Beyond and above the foregoing, and perhaps even more critical at some time in the future, lies the make-up of your population, your ethnicity, as some call it. No nation is more diverse - a situation that created tensions, stresses, strains unknown to such nations as Japan, for example. There are those among you whose vocation is playing race against race, class against class, group against group. Hispanics call for a second official language - theirs. Some of the same people would cede your Southwest back to Mexico. Some Indians would take back the whole country if they could. Some blacks would create separate states within your borders for their race.
These conflicts are not readily resolved - may never be resolved; but they must not be allowed to tear the United States asunder. Keep yourself informed. Man the ramparts. And never forget: The triumph of evil requires only that good men do nothing.
Well, I have survivors. Included are my wife Lotta, whom I loved dearly, but failed to tell her so often enough; two daughters, Mrs. Alice Main of Johnstown and Mrs. Christine Jette of Cincinnati, both estimable women indeed; two granddaughters, Melanie and Marianne Main, bless their little hearts; one ornery bother Arthur of Nashport (though he has never lived there); six nieces; two nephews, one cousin, a number of grandnieces and grandnephews, and, possibly six or seven friends.
At this point Lewie is asked to read the final lines from William Cullen Bryant's "Thanatopsis." For the uninitiated, that word Thanatopsis was coined from the Greek to mean "A view of Death". (See? I told you, you would hear a lecture.)
"So live, that when thy summons comes to join the innumerable caravan which moves To that mysterious realm where each shall take his chamber in the silent halls of death, Thou go not, like the quarry slave at night, scourged to his dungeon, But sustained and soothed by an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him, and lies down to pleasant dreams."
(The minister concludes.)
In loving memory of my Greatuncle and my Grandmother, his sister, Mrs. Edna Moats. May they rest in peace.