Today is Christmas Eve. English folklore maintained that farm animals sank to their knees at midnight, as they had done on the first Christmas in that lowly cattle shed before the infant Jesus.
So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve
‘Come; see the oxen kneel
In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,’
I should go with him into the gloom
Hoping it might be so.
Pope Pius XII (pictured above) gave a Christmas radio broadcast today in 1942, several months after the Nazis had commenced the Final Solution, their industrialised killing of the Jews of Europe. The broadcast has become contentious because Pius talked about the genocide only in very general terms, and did not name the perpetrators, failing to use the words ‘Nazi’ or ‘Jew’. It was the closest he ever came to addressing the Holocaust.
‘Humanity owes this vow to those hundreds of thousands who, without any fault on their part, sometimes only because of their nationality or race, have been marked down for death or gradual extinction.’ Pope Pius XII
The Ku Klux Klan was founded in 1865. Starting in Pulaski, Tennessee, as a social group for Confederate veterans, it rapidly grew into a terrorist force targeting the federal government and African Americans. It was reincarnated in the 20th century with a stronger religious outlook, adding Jews and Catholics to its wish list and embracing conservative evangelical theology. A third incarnation in the 1960s proved a major encouragement to civil rights legislation.
‘I was on a radio show where I debated a black man, Reverend Wade Watts. And I called him every name in the book. He looked at me and smiled and goes, “God bless you, son. Jesus loves you.” And I said, “I hate you”. And he said, “Well, I don’t hate you. I’m gonna pray for you whether you like it or not.”’ Johnny Lee Clary, former KKK Grand Wizard
Today in 1946 saw the first live television broadcast of a church service. American East Coast network WABD broadcast a candlelit service from the Grace Episcopal Church on Broadway, New York, led by Rev Louis W Pitt.
Image: Wikimedia Commons