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Roumanian Resolution

WHEREAS, The Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention began its work in the Kingdom of Roumania in the year 1922, and now has in Roumania approximately 400 Baptist churches and 40,000 communicants; and

WHEREAS, In the Roumanian Constitution, adopted after the close of the World War, absolute religious liberty and freedom of worship were guaranteed to all religious groups alike, and the Baptists being now the largest non-Catholic group in Roumania; and

WHEREAS, The Roumanian Government has refused, and still does refuse to grant recognition to the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, a worthy, responsible and religious corporate body, and has repeatedly subjected our Foreign Mission Board, its missionaries and its educational institutions to many injustices, some of which we now set forth in concrete terms in order to show the wrongs so inflicted upon our Foreign Mission Board and our Baptist brethren of Roumania, namely:

1. Refusal after repeated promises, to grant recognition to the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, as a responsible religious agency with the right to own and hold property for non-profit purposes in the Roumanian Kingdom.

2. Excessive and unjust taxes levied against the land and buildings of our Baptist Theological Seminary and Woman’s Religious Training School in the City of Bucharest, such taxes having become so excessive, as to be confiscatory. Nevertheless, the laws of Roumania provide that all religious agencies and institutions of a non-profit nature shall be free from taxation.

3. Repeated interference on the part of local police with the work and worship of Baptist churches throughout the kingdom. The Roumanian Constitution grants religious freedom and liberty to all religious cults, and then the authorities repeatedly and continuously inflict upon Baptists, all kinds of insults indignities and persecutions, even to the extent of throwing Baptist preachers into prison.

4. Within recent months Rev. Walter E. Craighead, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, the missionary of the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention in the Province of Bessarabia, Roumania, on reaching a town where he was to preach was taken from the train by the police and cast into a vile dungeon. He was kept in prison for forty-eight hours and was subjected to all sorts of insults and indignities, although he had a permit from the governmental authorities granting him the privilege of preaching anywhere in the kingdom. He was denied the opportunity of communicating with his friends and when released was put on a train and banished from the city.

Now, Therefore, Be it RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention, in annual communication assembled, acting for and on behalf of its Foreign Mission Board, hereby earnestly entreats the Honorable Cordell Hull, Secretary of State of the United States of America, to protest to the Roumanian Government against the unjust and unrighteous treatment of the missionaries of the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and our native co-religionists in Roumania. That the Southern Baptist Convention makes this request as the representative of 4,500,000 Southern Baptists living in eighteen Southern and Southwestern States of the United States of America.


WHEREAS, The Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, as the representative of members of the Baptist denomination in eighteen of the Southern and Southwestern States of the United States of America, which began its mission work in Italy in the year 1870, and through the years since has commissioned between twelve and fifteen American missionaries for its religious work in Italy, and at this time has a worthy and substantial Baptist organization throughout Italy under the leadership of its American missionaries and a group of scholarly and devoted native Italian ministers, and until recently has enjoyed a measure of freedom and liberty in the propagation of the religious faith represented by the Southern Baptist Convention, but within recent months the missionaries and co-religionists who represent our Foreign Mission Board in Italy have been subjected to many petty persecutions, and have been hindered at every turn with hostile and unreasonable police regulations and restrictions; and

WHEREAS, Some of the wrongs suffered by the members of the Baptist churches in Italy in recent months are as follows:

1. The expropriation of approximately fifteen acres of land situated on Monte Mario overlooking the City of Rome, for $82,000, being one-third of its appraised value, which land is owned by the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States of America.

2. The decision of the Italian Government to require our Foreign Mission Board to receive payment for said land in Italian bonds, which it is not willing to accept in settlement of a forced purchase price valued in dollars.

3. The further decision of the Italian Government that our Foreign Mission Board will not be permitted to transfer the proceeds of this so-called sale of its property out of Italy, nor to reinvest in land in Italy without the approval of the Italian Government.

4. The closing of several churches and out-stations organized and conducted through our Foreign Mission Board and the refusal of the Italian Government to allow pastors of these churches to preach or exercise the pastoral function; and

WHEREAS, In view of the unjust and arbitrary acts and decisions of the Italian Government hereinabove set forth, the Southern Baptists of America, acting through its Foreign Mission Board, are unable to cooperate in any worthy way with our Baptist co-religionists in Italy;

Now, Therefore, Be it RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention, in annual communication assembled, acting for and on behalf of its Foreign Mission Board, hereby earnestly entreats the Honorable Cordell Hull, Secretary of State of the United States Government, to request and direct Ambassador Long, the representative of the United States Government at Rome, Italy, to use every honorable means possible to induce the Italian Government to take prompt steps to rectify the unjust and grievous wrongs hereinabove mentioned and now being inflicted upon the Baptists of Italy.

We recommend further that a special commission be appointed to present this matter to the Baptist World Alliance and the Secretary of State, Honorable Cordell Hull.


To the Senate and House Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled:

Be it RESOLVED, That we, the Southern Baptist Convention, representing a membership of 4,389,417, do hereby endorse the proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit sectarian appropriations, House J. Res. ________________, introduced in Congress at the request of the American Minute Men (League Opposed to Sectarian Appropriations), and urge its immediate passage.


[WHEREAS, “The Committee on the Preservation of Baptist History” was not re-appointed in 1933,] . . . following the death of its lamented chairman, Dr. A. J. Holt, and

[WHEREAS, There is no essential feature of our denominational life more neglected today than the study of Southern Baptist history;

Therefore, Be it RESOLVED, That this Convention re-establish “the Committee on the Preservation of Baptist History,” with instruction to recommend to the next Convention a program of action, whereby Baptist historical materials may be assembled and made available for research and whereby articles, books and courses of study shall be issued, to the end that a just appreciation of the labors, the sacrifices; and the constructive leadership of our Baptist forefathers may be awakened among us, and the record of their achievements preserved to generations unborn.]


“Inasmuch as the Committee on Ridgecrest from the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention has requested the Sunday School Board to continue to conduct a program at Ridgecrest, North Carolina, for the next five years; and

“Inasmuch as we have conducted the program there for the last six years and have given wide publicity to the work of the Assembly and it has met with hearty approval of the denomination; and

“Inasmuch as conducting the program will give us an opportunity to conserve the accomplishments of the past to the best advantage; and

“Inasmuch as this would give the Sunday School Board an opportunity to render a worthy and worthwhile service to the denomination and the Kingdom;

“We, therefore, recommend to the Sunday School Board that we take full charge of the property at Ridgecrest, which we agree to use and keep up, and conduct a program each summer through the summer of 1940.”


RESOLVED, First, We reaffirm our belief in the doctrine of complete separation of Church and State.

Second, That the doctrine involves not only the inhibition of the use of public moneys, Federal, State or local, for the aid or support of the churches but also inhibits the use of such moneys, directly or indirectly, by or through, educational or benevolent institutions owned or controlled, by or through, sectarian or religious bodies.

Third, That the Churches and all their institutions and agencies should be supported by voluntary gifts of those interested and not by taxes imposed on all the people by force of law;

Fourth, Without undertaking to pass upon the governmental principle involved, we hereby declare that in the opinion of this Convention that the distribution of public benefits by denominational institutions even as agents for the government, tends to create unseemly rivalries between the sects and menaces the feeling of brotherhood which should exist among the churches;

Fifth, We commend the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for declining to accept from the National Youth Administration of the Federal Government the allotment made to said institutions for student aid funds of the current session.

Sixth, We recommend the adoption of the following resolution offered by Ed S. Preston, Georgia:

WHEREAS, The use of radio for the presentation of Christian truths is of known and increasing importance;

WHEREAS, The commercial demands upon radio time and the technical program requirements make it increasingly difficult to secure effective presentation of these truths; and

WHEREAS, Baptist radio programs presented from time to time over strong stations reach a nation-wide audience making possible thereby contribution to all Baptists and to Christians generally:

Therefore, Be it RESOLVED, That a committee by named by the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention to cooperate with a similar committee it is hoped will be named by the Northern Baptist Convention so that a joint study of radio opportunities for Baptists might be made, information as to their respective plans shared and cooperation given in radio matters where the interests of the Kingdom and of Baptists can be thus served.