Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Longhand Note of President Harry S. Truman, June 1, 1952. President's Secretary's Files - Longhand Notes.

June 1, 1952

A couple of golden crowns with all kinds of expensive jewels have been stolen from a Roman Catholic shrine in Brooklyn. The crowns were on images of Jesus Christ and Mary his mother.

I've an idea if Jesus were here his sympathies would be with the thieves and not with the Pharisees who crowned him with gold and jewels.

The only crown he ever wore was one of thorns placed there by the emissaries of the Roman Emperor and the Jewish Priesthood. He came to help the lowly and the down trodden. But since Constantine the Great he has been taken over by the Despots of both Church and State.

The High Church rulers both Roman and English are for the rich and the privileged. Martin Luther pointed out some of the reasons for reform in the Roman Church. So did Knox, Calvin and Huss.

Roger Williams, William Penn, John Wesley and others did the same for the Church of Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey. All these reformers were vilified by those who were economically in the class where they could look down on the ordinary man.

Cotton Mather hoped that Wm. Penn on his first trip to the New World would be captured by the Caribbean pirates and sold into slavery or hanged! A very modern and present day Christian approach.

If Jesus Christ were to return he'd be on the side of the persecuted all around the world. He would not be wearing a golden crown and fine raiment, he'd most likely be wearing a ready made sack suit and be standing on a street corner preaching tolerance, brother love and truth. He'd be stoned and persecuted by the most liberal of our modern day followers of the man with the golden crown. He'd probably be placed in a sanitarium in the free countries. He'd be shot, hanged or sent to a slave labor camp behind the iron curtain.

He'd no more recognize his teachings in St. Peter's or Canterbury Cathedrals than he would in Riverside or Trinity Churches in New York or the First Baptist or Foundry Methodist Churches in Washington. He was a reformer and a protestant against organized, priesthood-controlled religion.

He taught that every man is the creation of a merciful God, that men are sinners and that he had come into the world to teach sinners how to approach His Father-and the way not through Caiaphas the High Priest or Augustus the Roman Emperor. The way is direct and straight. Any man can tell the Almighty and Most Merciful God his troubles and directly ask for guidance. He will get it.

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