“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7)
Ulrich Zwingli is at once, an inspiring and disappointing character. He began the work of Reformation at the same time as Martin Luther, if not before. Like Luther, whose mistakes were partly responsible for the carnage of the Peasant’s Revolt in Germany, Zwingli’s miscalculations led to his own death on the battlefield. There is much to wonder at as we observe how these men and those like them, dealt with the still developing theories of limitations on civil and ecclesiastical authority.
That same current swirls down through the ages to a small town in Michigan, where a young Dutch-American preacher refuses to display an American flag during worship services. His actions infuriated his fellow citizens, who mistook his opposition to icons for treason.
While these are fascinating stories, with their own measure of drama and angst, the specter of American pastors leading the crusade to keep many of their fellow citizens from marrying or having children—all out of some twisted notion of racial and moral purity—is perhaps one of the more chilling stories we have brought you. The players in this macabre tragedy included the likes of the modernist Baptist Harry Emerson Fosdick, and such luminaries as the atheist Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood.
Nowhere did the eugenics hysteria gain such a suffocating grip in North America than under the doleful eye of populist preacher-turned-politician “Bible Bill” Aberhart, Premier of Alberta. As with all of these stories, may we better discern the bounds of authority in both church and state.
On the Cover
The Kappeler Milchsuppe (Milk Soup) by Gemälde von Albert Anker, 1869. The First War of Kappel was a conflict in 1529 between the Protestant and the Catholic cantons of the Old Swiss Confederacy. It ended, without any battle due to mediation at the Federal Tagsatzung. While the armies were on the field and negotiations were ongoing, the soldiers of the two armies avoided provoking one another, instead they fraternized, drinking and talking together. Heinrich Bullinger later cast this in terms of the Kappeler Milchsuppe or “milk soup of Kappel”, an anecdotal account of how a meal was shared by the two armies, the side of Zurich providing the bread and the side of Zug the milk.
The Jul-Sep 2014 issue includes these articles:
- Zwingli at Kappel
- Herman Hoeksema and the ‘Flag in Church’ Controversy
- Eugenics and the American Church
- Breeding Better Babies: Eugenics Goes Mainstream in the Midway
- The Making of “Bible Bill” Aberhart
- Glenn Sinclair