WSJ: ‘The publisher pushed hard for admitting Jewish refugees and took two into her own home’

From the WSJ: But it wasn’t just party affiliation that made Alicia such a maverick in her family. She spurned its militant isolationism, becoming an early advocate of aiding beleaguered Britain as it faced up to Hitler alone. She even wanted to do her bit by joining a proposed squadron of women pilots ferrying badly needed supplies across the Atlantic. She had to be reminded that, having just founded Newsday, “she had an obligation . . . ‘to stay home and mind the store.’ ”

The person who issued that reprimand was her husband, Harry Guggenheim, who owned Newsday with her. He was also a flier, as well as an expert in aeronautics. For Alicia, marrying a Jew was yet another act of rebellion against her father, who had urged her into a first marriage with a “suitable” Marshall Field heir. That union lasted little more than a year, but the one with Guggenheim, himself the scion of an eminent family, endured until her death in 1963 despite stormy professional and personal episodes.

Alicia pushed hard for admitting Jewish refugees in the 1930s and ’40s and took two young Jewish children, with Rothschild connections, into her own home. More broadly, her internationalist outlook was reflected in Newsday’s content and in her own busy life. The Arlens describe trips to places like Berlin during the 1948 airlift, Ghana soon after its independence and the Soviet Union during the Khrushchev era.

The trip to the Soviet Union, in 1958, was taken in the company of Adlai Stevenson, with whom Alicia conducted a passionate affair that somehow managed not to destroy her own marriage. It seems that neither Stevenson nor her husband were eager to disrupt the status quo.

FROM WSJ: Review: ‘Protestants Abroad’ and the Gospel of Globalism
Missionary life abroad turned America’s most ardent Christians into liberal cosmopolitans.

David A. Hollinger’s “Protestants Abroad” articulates the peril and promise of American missionary zeal. While Christian missionaries of the 20th century largely failed to change the cultural, political and religious climate of countries such as India, China and Japan, they had a deep and counterintuitive effect on the U.S. Mr. Hollinger’s book explains how a century of missions abroad transformed liberal democracy at home; in the process, it makes a tacit, but convincing, argument for cosmopolitanism over sectarianism and nationalism.

At the heart of Mr. Hollinger’s elegant and original account is the “boomerang” thesis, first described by the Congregationalist leader Buell Gallagher in 1946. The missionary movement, Mr. Hollinger summarizes, “an enterprise formidably driven by ethnocentrism and cultural imperialism—and often linked closely with military, diplomatic, and economic imperialism—generated . . . a counter-reaction” that spread from missionaries themselves throughout society. The descendants of overseas missionaries who returned to the U.S. became leading liberal cosmopolitans, anti-imperialists and staunch opponents of the “America first” mentality.

Mr. Hollinger focuses instead on the rare individuals who recognized the limitations of their worldview and sought to overcome them, missionaries like E. Stanley Jones (1884-1973), the author of a memoir of his experience in India called “The Christ of the Indian Road” (1925). Jones, according to Mr. Hollinger, came to see that “American Protestants were more of an obstacle to a genuinely Christian world than Hinduism. [Jones] ascribed to Hindus the discovery that Jesus ‘was colour blind.’ ” This position, while initially controversial in the United States, came to radically transform missionary work abroad and, more generally, Americans’ perception of Asia. Jones’s book sold more than 400,000 copies in its first four years in print, and Jones was named the world’s greatest missionary by Time magazine in 1938. “Sounding like the multiculturalists of the 1990s,” Mr. Hollinger writes, “Jones endorsed the world’s cultural diversity and insisted that Christ traveled many ‘roads’ quite different from those on which Americans had made their own spiritual journeys.”

The ecumenical approach to missionary work that Jones advanced went hand in hand with what one might call a pragmatic turn in Christian missions. In 1932, the Harvard philosopher William Ernest Hocking drafted the results of a nine-month study, funded by John D. Rockefeller Jr., of Christian missions in China, Burma, India and Japan. The Hocking Report, later published as “Re-thinking Missions,” made the radical assertion that what mattered most in Christian proselytizing was not proselytizing at all; it was the educational and philanthropic work that missions performed while on site. The history of Protestants abroad is, according to Mr. Hollinger, the history of men and women thinning out the word of doctrinal Christianity in order to communicate the spirit with an ever greater cross section of humanity.

In the first decades of the 20th century, descendants of Protestant missionaries began to realize that their affiliation with the church was an obstacle to their participation in international affairs. They first took on an increasingly transdominational position, founding what Mr. Hollinger terms the “Protestant International,” a group of organizations through which mainstream denominations spoke with “a cohesive, unified voice in foreign as well as domestic affairs.” A landmark 1942 meeting of 400 Protestant leaders convened by the Federal Council of Churches “passed strongly worded resolutions against colonialism, racism, and economic exploitation, and in favor of a ‘world government.’ ” Domestically, Mr. Hollinger writes, the ecumenical Protestant International unintentionally “sharpened the conflict with . . . evangelical churches, and achieved political alliances with secular constituencies that inadvertently facilitated the later migration of a number of the most educated Protestants” out of the church altogether.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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