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> For at least a generation we have held preponderant economic power in the world, and with it the capacity to influence decisively the shaping of world events. It should be a matter of shame and humiliation to us that actually the influences shaping the world have largely been irresponsible forces. Our own positive influence has been impaired because of concentration on self and on our short-range material gains. ... If the future is to be other than a repetition of the past, the U.S. must accept the responsibility for constructive action commensurate with its power and opportunity."
> "The natural wealth of the world is not evenly distributed. Accordingly the possession of such natural resources ... is a trust to be discharged in the general interest. This calls for more than an offer to sell to all on equal terms. Such an offer may be a futile gesture unless those in need can, through the selling of their own goods and services, acquire the means of buying."
With these principles accepted, the conference split up into four groups to study, respectively, the social, economic and political problems of the post-war world and the problem of the church's own position in that world.* Discussion waxed hot & heavy, with one notable silence: in a week when the Japs were taking Java, discussion of the war itself was practically taboo. Reason: The Federal Council felt that, since five of its other commissions are directly connected with the war effort, the conference's concern should be with plans for peace. One war statement -"the Christian Church as such is not at war" -was proposed by Editor Charles Clayton Morrison, of the influential and isolationist-before-Pearl-Harbor Christian Century. This statement was actually inserted in a subcommittee report by a 64-58 vote after a sharp debate. In the plenary session, however, it was ruled out of order.
Some of the conference's economic opinions were almost as sensational as the extreme internationalism of its political program. It held that "a new order of economic life is both imminent and imperative" -a new order that is sure to come either "through voluntary cooperation within the framework of democracy or through explosive political revolution." Without condemning the profit motive as such, it denounced various defects in the profit system for breeding war, demagogues and dictators, "mass unemployment, widespread dispossession from homes and farms, destitution, lack of opportunity for youth and of security for old age." Instead, "the church must demand economic arrangements measured by human welfare . . . must appeal to the Christian motive of human service as paramount to personal gain or governmental coercion."