SEPTEMBER 9, 1949
ATLANTA,Thursday—The other day I received a piece of literature published by an organization that evidently had deliberately given itself a name that would lead people to believe it is a religious group. This organization is called The Lutheran Research Society of Detroit. I had never heard of it before, so I wrote to the president of the Lutheran Church in America to make inquiries. Promptly I was told that the society "is not sponsored or officially connected with any of the Lutheran Church bodies in this country."
The record of Lawrence P. Reilly, who founded this society somewhere around 1945 or 1946, and who is its executive director, must make strange reading to many of the members of the Lutheran Church. He studied for the ministry but he is not a member of the ministerium of any of the Lutheran bodies in America. All ordained clergymen in the Lutheran Church hold such membership. Mr. Reilly says that his organization has grown a thousand percent since its inception and that it was formed for the purpose of "identifying the enemies of religion, exposing the atheist-Communist plot to destroy America and the churches, and the alerting of pastors and lay people...to this menace."
As it is always more important to know what an organization stands for than what it is against, it is interesting to find that in his publications, Reilly carries articles by Don Lohbeck, one of the editors of Gerald L. K. Smith's "The Cross and the Flag";Kenneth Goff, another of Smith's lieutenants; Upton Close, who was dropped as a radio commentator; Tyler Kent, the American code clerk who was charged by the State Department and Scotland Yard with relaying military secrets to Germany; and Harvey Springer of Denver, Colo., who also cooperates with Gerald Smith. Some of the other people whom he supports are Gerald B. Winrod of Wichita, Kan., a minister who is both anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic, and Walter Maier, a somewhat fanatic fundamentalist who shortly before V-E Day was still insisting that the Germans were a bulwark against communism! John Rankin stands high in Mr. Reilly's good graces as does Joseph Kamp and, naturally, Gerald L. K. Smith.
To the casual observer, in spite of all his protestations and accusations, it would seem that Mr. Reilly was one of the dangers we now sometimes forget but which still exist in our midst. After all, we thought we had put a rather firm stamp of disapproval on men of his type when we won the war against Germany. We hardly can allow such men to become influential in this country and to fool the unsuspecting.