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Reverend Charles BallInterviewed by Mitch Haddad, December 22, 1969
This is a transcription of an interview conducted for the Oral History Program, sponsored by California State University, Fullerton. The reader should be aware that an oral history document portrays information as recalled by the interviewee. Because of the spontaneous nature of this kind of document, it may contain statements and impressions which are not factual.
Scholars are welcome to utilize short excerpts from any of the transcriptions without obtaining permission as long as proper credit is given to the interviewee, the interviewer, and the University. Scholars must, however, obtain permission from California State University, Fullerton before making more extensive use of the transcription and related materials. None of these materials may be duplicated or reproduced by any party without permission from the Oral History Program, California State University Fullerton, California, 92634.
The Oral History Program
California State University, Fullerton
CALIFORNIA STATE COLLEGE, FULLERTON
ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM
Richard Nixon Project
Richard Nixon and Quakerism
REVEREND CHARLES BALL
by Mitch Haddad
December 22, 1969
CALIFORNIA STATE COLLEGE, FULLERTON
ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM
Richard Nixon Project
INTERVIEWEE: REVEREND CHARLES BALL
INTERVIEWER: Mitch Haddad
SUBJECT: Richard Nixon and Quakerism
DATE: December 22, 1969
H: This is Mitch Haddad interviewing Mr. Charles S. Ball on December 22, 1969, at the Los Alamitos Friends Church at 12211 Magnolia in Garden Grove, California. As I told you before, the first question will be a short summary of yourself.
B: Well, I'm what they call a birthright Quaker. In other words, my parents were members of the Friends Church when I was born. Therefore, I was enrolled as a member of the Friends Church back in Ohio. I studied for the ministry back there. Our campus used to be in Cleveland. I've taken graduate work in various seminaries--at that time the Friends had none--and I've also taught some. In fact, I've been in educational work for sixteen years and pastoral work about the same length of time. During the six years following my work at William Penn College in Oskaloosa, Iowa, which was a Friends college, I served at East Whittier Friends Church in Whittier, California, where the Nixon family have had their membership.
H: Okay, could you tell me something about your personal contacts with Mr. Nixon?
B: Well, they haven't been as many or as frequent as I would have enjoyed, of course. Most of my contacts were with his mother, whom I came to know very well as her pastor in East Whittier. The first time I met Richard Nixon, I believe, was in the office of the Vice-President when he was in Washington, D.C. and I was president of the William  Penn College. Then I met him in Iowa when he was campaigning. He had been out here to California while I was pastor of the East Whittier Friends Church, as I have indicated, from 1958 to 1964. He attended service one Sunday morning while he was Vice-President and while I was pastor of the church, which was an interesting thing in itself, arranging security and everything. I'd met him at Whittier College when he was there for a prior occasion, and then he came to church at East Whittier. Next I was asked to give the invocation at the National Republican Convention in Chicago in 1960, the night he was nominated for the presidency the first time
H: What experiences have you had with Mr. Nixon's early religious training? This would primarily be through his mother, I would imagine. Did she tell you anything of his early religious training? What was the pattern that it followed?
B: I can't remember that she told me anything particularly about it except that I know that they were very regular in their attendance at the Friends Church, in Sunday school, in morning worship and in evening meetings when he was active as a young man in Christian Endeavor as well as the evening service. Hannah Nixon, the mother, was very, very regular in attendance. While we were there, most of the time she lived right across the street from the church, near where they had lived, or perhaps in the same house, when they were running the grocery store and the filling station, which you've heard about, I'm sure. She was a member of our official board called the Ministry and Council, and she would some to church services as regularly as she possibly could. If she wasn't there, you knew that there was some reason that she was absent. So I've said many times that I have real confidence in Richard Nixon because I knew his mother, and she was one of the finest persons I have ever known.
H: Could you, both as a minister and as a friend of Hannah Nixon, give us some idea of what Nixon's religious training was chronologically? What are the steps that are usually taken among Friends for religious training of the young?
B: Well, he probably was, as I've indicated, a birthright member over at Yorba Linda, and then they transferred to East Whittier when they lived in East Whittier. This would mean that he attended Sunday school from the time he was probably in the first grade or even before. I don't know whether or not they had pre-primary training, or kindergarten for the children's Sunday school when he was growing up. But, at least from the first grade on, I am sure that they would have had Sunday school training for him. Then, as he became older and made a personal decision relative to his religious experience, I am sure that he was invited to become an active member of the church. Though one is enrolled as a child as a birthright member, anymore, one then must make his own profession of faith to become an active member. This would include probably the pastor talking with him. Whether at that time there was any regular class in church membership, I don't know. We do have that in our churches now. He would have had this regular study of the Bible itself in Sunday school. Then in the Christian Endeavor it would have been primarily leadership training where the young people themselves would put on their own programs for Sunday evening meetings before the evening service.
H: At the point where Mr. Nixon progressed from being an adolescent member of the church into being a full member of the Friends Church, this, to my knowledge, takes what you call a witness, correct? It takes a spiritual transformation or a spiritual revelation. At what point in life does the usual California Friend experience this, at what age and under what circumstances?
B: I would say this varies. Generally, we think of it occurring during the teens. Now, Mr. Nixon said in his article in Decision Magazine that his conversion experience occurred when he went to the meeting where Dr. Rader was speaking. He would attribute, his experience at that time as his point of conversion, as you expressed it, having a witness personally or a spiritual experience. This is when an individual realizes on his own that he must personally believe in Christ as his Saviour. I would assume from Mr. Nixon's own testimony that it would date back to that experience which he had as he went with his father to this meeting in Los Angeles. Now, we expect in our churches this conversion experience for our young people either through our membership class or through our own evangelism program, which is carried out very largely these days through our young people's camps at Quaker Meadow. There they are given an opportunity to make their own personal witness for Christ. This is still very much a part of our heritage here in the West in our evangelical Friends churches.
H: Would you say that this emphasis on both the Scriptures and the spiritual witness is more heavily emphasized in the West than in the East?
B: I would say that from the Midwest westward, this is very definitely the emphasis. They would have this emphasis in Ohio Yearly Meeting of Friends in Damascus. Also, it would be true in North Carolina Yearly Meeting. It wouldn't be as true in most of the other Friends' "meetings", as they would prefer to be called, in the East. But from  the Midwest on west, most of the Quakers would definitely place the emphasis upon the Scriptures and upon one's personal religious experience with Christ through faith.
H: That brings out the definition or the difference between a liberal Quaker or Friend and an evangelical Quaker or Friend. In your words, what do you consider the difference to be in essence?
B: Well, I think the liberal Quakers would tend to be more humanistic and more interested in humanitarian projects. They would especially find an outlet in their work through the American Friends Service Committee, which began primarily as a service organization with social service and alternate service for young men during the First World War and immediately thereafter, in reconstruction in Europe and France. It has more recently, however, taken on political connotations because of some of their work. The evangelical Friend is more interested in the spiritual development and in the progress of the individual, through a personal knowledge of Christ as Lord and Saviour. They, therefore, have been more interested in the promotion of Christianity and the Friends' interpretation of Christianity through evangelism arid, missionary work than would be true of the liberal Friends. They would say they are the Society of Friends or the Religious Society of Friends. Another difference that you will find is that among the evangelical Friends they will very frequently, maybe not universally, use the term the "Friends Church," whereas many other Friends in the East would just merely say the "Society of Friends" of the "Religious Society of Friends."
H: I remember that in the interview with Mr. Shaffer the point was brought out that you were a leader in a breaking away. Was it from this, or was it from some other segment of the evangelical Friends of California?
B: You mean I was, personally?
H: Yes, you led a movement or a thrust to break away.
B: Let's put it like this. When I was pastor of East Whittier, there came up in our yearly meeting sessions a very definite discussion about our relationship with American Friends Service Committee. The question was over their pronouncements as well as some of their actions. It is true that I was among the ministers in the yearly meeting of whom by far the majority of the ministers were in favor of our disassociation with them. We felt that the American Friends Service Committee could go ahead and carry on their work, and anybody who wants to support them could. But we didn't feel that the whole California yearly meeting of the Friends Church should be affiliated with the AFSC  officially. It should be more on an individual basis. This occurred probably in 1963, when there was an official breaking of the relationship merely by not appointing members to serve on the AFSC board. Really, I should say it was a suggesting of persons, because we really can't appoint them. The AFSC appoint their own. They have a self-perpetuating board, but they have a larger board of reference on which they like to get as many Friends as they can for public relations reasons as well as actual material support. So the American Friends Service Committee, as such, is not an official organization of the Friends Church. It is autonomous. I was one of the ministers interested in seeing this separation so that California Friends would not be officially connected with them. I took my stand on that.
H: I know the California Friends are part of the California Yearly Meeting, which is a bigger part of what, the Pacific?
B: No. California Yearly Meeting and Pacific Yearly Meeting have no organic relation whatsoever. California Friends are a part of the Friends United Meeting, which is comprised of fourteen different yearly meetings stretching across the country and also to Canada and to East Africa Yearly Meeting. The Pacific Yearly meeting is entirely a separate group of Friends, a smaller group. I would guess maybe they might have somewhere between 1500 to 2000 members stretching from Seattle, to San Diego and from I don't know how far east to Hawaii. Pacific Yearly Meeting had been an association for years, and they took on the name "Yearly Meeting" in recent years. But they tend to be the more liberal in interpretation. Maybe I should define what I mean by the term "liberal" as far as they are concerned. It is that they would not necessarily take the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament as authority as the evangelical Friends do. We still believe that the primary source of scripture is God, the Holy Spirit, who inspired the Holy Scriptures and gave them and they are secondary. Liberal Friends would be inclined to think that the Scriptures are important, but they are important as other religious literature is important. We evangelical Friends attach more importance to them. They would perhaps not be as quick to acknowledge the deity of Christ as all evangelicals would. At the same time you will find among the Pacific Yearly Meeting people who would. This is an interesting thing. Probably the variations within the group are greater than the differences between the published statements of, say, Pacific Yearly Meeting and California Yearly Meeting. There would even be some within California Yearly Meeting who may not subscribe to all of all of the evangelical tenants, and yet they are members. Because of family connections and historical backgrounds they choose to be. We are more  insistent upon the matter of conversion and accepting Christ as Saviour than they, the liberal Friends, would be. Both groups, however, would put emphasis upon living a life according to the standards of the Sermon on the Mount.
H: What is the scriptural stand of the evangelical Friends? If you had to capsulize it, what would be, more or less, the important scriptural references which would guide their lives?
B: Well, it would be the whole of the Bible, but of course primarily the New Testament. We believe in the Ten Commandments, that they are important, and in the Sermon on the Mount of course. But also in addition to the Sermon on the Mount, we would emphasize Christ's farewell address to his disciples in the upper room as recorded in John 14 through 17. We would stress Christ's teachings found in Matthew, Chapters 24 and 25, and the experiences which the early Christians had, written in the Book of Acts, showing how the church grew and how it spread. That would be our pattern, definitely, and we would seek to follow after the instructions give there in the whole of the New Testament.
H: So the New Testament evolves as the basis of the evangelical Friend. That is, it is not only his Bible, but also his worksheet for life, correct?
B: Yes, I would think so.
H: And out of this comes an idea which has been presented to me of the Quaker life or Quaker righteousness, as you might call it. This is a term I've heard more than once. Is there any real definition of the term "righteousness," according to the Quakers?
B: "Quaker righteousness" is not a term that I am as familiar with. I would put it like this: first, Quakerism is a practical interpretation of Christianity. In other words, it has to do with the practical living of the Christian principles, and we would say that Christianity has a set of doctrines to be believed, which is enunciated in the Bible. Second, one must have a personal experience with Christ as Saviour and through the baptism of the Holy Spirit as his source of power and cleansing. Thirdly, and very importantly, it is a life to be lived according to the principles stated in the Bible. So it's both something to be believed and experienced, to be sought and obtained, and a life of be lived. So while I personally haven't heard the term "Quaker righteousness" very much, I think I can understand what it means. We certainly do believe in living the Christian life. It is more that just an assent, an intellectual assent, to some precepts  or standards. It involves the day-by-day living.
H: So would you venture to say, then, that California Quakerism is a practical practice of religion, as much as it is scriptural.
B: Yes, I certainly would. It is the living out in one's life the principles of Christianity that really would make a true Quaker--one who really lives by the standards and the principles that Christ and his apostles enunciated.
H: You spoke of the standards and principles. Well, in researching the Quaker Church, I keep coming across the Richmond Declaration of Faith. That seems to be a major stand which Quakers took in regard to this difference. Could you explain exactly what that is?
B: Yes. The Richmond Declaration of Faith came out of conferences that were held in Richmond, Indiana. I'm not sure right offhand how many there were. I happen to have here a couple of volumes, which are records of those proceedings. Here is a conference report of 1887, which preceded the one when the Declaration of Faith was actually formulated. At that time they decided that among Friends they should have a statement of what Friends believe and on what they base their faith. Out of these meetings there came what is known as the "Richmond Declaration of Faith", where a large committee met together to formulate it. This was approved by the Friends who were present there. Now, the doctrinal statement deals with Friends' beliefs of God and Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Scriptures, Man's Creation and Fall, justification and sanctification, resurrection and judgment, baptism, the supper of the Lord, public worship, prayer and praise, liberty of conscience in relation to civil government, marriage, peace, oaths and the first day of the week. All are found here in their proceedings. Nearly all of the evangelical Friends churches, which would include both those in and outside of the Friends United Meeting, accept this as their historic doctrinal interpretation of Christianity. This would be true of Friends in North Carolina, some Friends in Baltimore, New York and on west. I've taken a long time to talk about this. Is this exactly what you wanted?
H: So this is more of less the creed of the Friends, evangelical Friends. This is their proclamation of what their beliefs are.
B: That is true. Now I wouldn't exactly call it a "creed," because a creed would, in our way of thinking, be something upon which one would base his faith in order to be a member, or if it's a Christian creed, be a Christian. We would say here is a statement of the understanding we have of the Scriptures on these various subjects which men who really  were godly men and good scholars have gotten together. Now, there have been attempts to revise this, and it probably will be brought up to date from time to time. Basically this is it, a statement of faith is really what it is.
H: Is the California Yearly Meeting of Friends in agreement with this statement of faith?
B: They have published this as part of their faith and practice and it is called Part I, which includes a portion of George Fox's letter to the governor of Barbados and a little historical summary, then all of this Richmond Declaration of Faith as adopted in 1887. That is all in one little volume, Part I, of Faith and Practice of California Yearly Meeting of Friends. Then Part II has to do with the business procedures of the church.
H: Apparently we are drawing a comparison between the Friend of the East and the Friend of the West. There came a time when the split came and the migration to the West began. Do you think that the reason these differences evolved was out of migration, out of the westward movement itself?
B: I suppose to a considerable extent it was. However, in the divisions of 1827 and 1828 there were very definitely doctrinal differences, as well as differences over personalities, so far as the deity of Christ is concerned. Also there were differences as far as the authority of the Holy Scriptures are concerned. There were orthodox Friends in Philadelphia. This split took place primarily in the East. There were orthodox people there and have been throughout the years, though perhaps they aren't as many in number as they used to be. Then in the westward migration, Friends were influenced by the great evangelical revivals in mid-ninteenth century and later, and they were part and parcel of it in many instances. They were influenced by it as probably the people in the East were not. But in the Midwest and then later in the West, as David Le Shana brings out in his book Quakers in California, Friends really were influenced by these evangelical revivals. After all, this is not necessarily Friends taking on a different outlook or a different stance really than was theirs, because from the beginning they were especially evangelical and evangelisic. William Penn wrote a book entitled Primitive Quakerism Revived in The People Called Quakers, the thesis being that the Quakers went back to the New Testament for their Christianity. That was original Quakerism. That was what was happening in the revival  movement, a real spiritual thrust that went across denominations. Friends were influenced, too, in that there was a real deep and definite spiritual revival. There were many conversions. This had a tremendous influence upon our country and upon Friends as they were part of it. Especially this was true, I think, in the westward movement.
H: So you can attribute this to the effect of the westward movement itself. I mean, when people make a migratory journey across country--this was probably in the 1880s, 1890s, early 1900s--the journey itself seemed to have an effect on them. But also, do you think they left for a reason? Do you think it was- not only the call of the West, but also to practice this revival that they felt? This surge of revival was in them and they took it west with them.
B: This would be true. I think that some of the leaders and ministers went out to carry the Christian interpretation as they understood it. Wherever Friends went, they evangelized even non-Friends or people who had no religious background. There were migrations, earlier, from the South. You'll find very few Friends in the South today because of their conviction against holding slaves. Many of them left the South and came to Ohio, Indiana, to Iowa and Kansas and then, of course, on west. Now you had better ask some people who are better Friends historians than I about that.
H: Who would these people be?
B: One very good man would be Dr. Sheldon Jackson, professor at Azusa Pacific College. He made a study for his master's degree in Kansas on the history of the Kansas Yearly Meeting of Friends. He was going to do a history of the Friends in California but when he had gotten into the work a little, he found that Dave Le Shana was also doing it. He would be a person who is very well versed in the history. He's a history major, and he would know more about that than I would. I would encourage you to visit with him about the difference in the historical background.
H: He could tell me the leaders and the reasons, et cetera. Okay, we've established that there was a migratory difference and there was also a doctrinal difference. Not only did the migration cause a difference in Friends who came out to California, but also they believed in the evangelical framework of Quakerism. The East Whittier Friends Church was established when. On what date, do you know?
H: It's pretty old, isn't it? 
B: I suppose it's probably approaching seventy-five years or more.
H: From being a pastor of that church, what was the stand of East Whittier Friends Church regarding evangelical Friends versus liberal Friends?
B: Well, I would say that East Whittier Friends took a positive evangelical position. There was never any particular tension. Perhaps in my discussion I've led you to think there was more tension, so far as the yearly meetings were concerned, between these two groups than actually there has been. This would be very typical of East Whittier Friends Church. It would be more middle of the road as far as evangelical Quakerism is concerned than maybe some churches, and I think it would be a very good illustration of the evangelical Friends Church.
H: What was Hannah Nixon's position regarding the Bible and its interpretations and its effect on her life? Did she practice this evangelical Quakerism which we talked about?
B: I'm sure she did. She had great respect for the Bible, You could always find the Bible in her home, and she read it. I remember that in visiting with her as pastor, one time she was especially interested in what the Bible had to say about the future life and the coming of Christ again. The Bible meant much to her, and she sought to live by its principles and its precepts. There is no question in my mind about that at all.
H: Hannah's influence upon Richard has always been stressed. Do you think her example or influence was really that noticeable?
B: I'm sure it was. I think she was one of the finest Christian ladies that you could have known. She was not the kind who would be preaching a lot to other people. I don't mean in an official way, but I think you know what I mean, when they say "Well now, you ought to do this or that." But she was an individual who really demonstrated the Christian life and her preaching more by her life than by her words. She was just the kind of a person who lived the Christianity she professed.
H: And as a result of her living her Christianity, did she spread that to her children? Do you feel that Richard Nixon was brought up in a home where this was always a part, or do you think it ever faltered?
B: I don't think that it ever faltered as far as Hannah Nixon was concerned. Now, I never knew Richard's father--he passed away before I became acquainted with the family, or at least with Mrs. Nixon. I'm sure, as far as Hannah  was concerned, that she was the kind of a woman of which this was true. And it's true of her sisters, too, so the family from which she came apparently was a strong Christian family.
H: Which of the sisters would you say it's strongest in?
B: I don't think that I would say it's stronger in one than the other, but it seems to me like all of them were very devoted and dedicated Christians who made Christianity a very practical thing as far as their living day by day.
H: Many times you will draw a diagram--I've seen this in several Quaker publications--a diagram of God in the form of a cross and man in the form of a sinner and the variations between with arrows. Mr. Shaffer brought this out, that in the relationship of a good Quaker there's a bridge and Christ comes in as a guide over this bridge, and then people more or less go by who are sort of wishy-washy or aren't very strong and they never do really cross this bridge. As far as Hannah Nixon talked about her family life or convictions with her family, how would you say Quakerism was part of the Nixon family? Was it an integral part or was it just a Sunday religion? Was it something which permeated their everyday actions?
B: I'm sure that so far as the mother was concerned, and probably the father, too--though as I said I didn't know Frank--Christianity and Quakerism was not only something to be believed in, an experience with God to be known, but a life to be lived. She lived that life and I'm sure you couldn't help but be influenced by it if you were a part of that home. I think it's just that simple.
H: Whittier is a town in which Quakers are a large part, maybe more so than many other towns, it seems. What is the attitude of the Friends in Whittier regarding their religion? Is it a Quaker community which breathes and supports their churches, or is it a community where this practical Quakerism has been replaced by twentieth century business life?
B: If you look at it statistically, you will find that Quakerism probably doesn't have as much influence in Whittier today as it did at one time. It was pretty much as Quaker town, as I understand it, to begin with. The influence of the church there has been very strong for many years, but in Whittier today--I suppose they have a population approaching 300,000 people--there are only about 7,000 Quakers in all of the California Yearly Meeting. I don't believe half of them live in Whittier even, though they have an influence, I think, out of proportion to their numbers. As an illustration, Whittier used to be one of the towns that didn't have liquor sold, but that has since  been changed because the Quaker influence proportionately has been diluted.
H: That's an interesting point, because most towns today have no major roots, but it seems that in Whittier, families like the Nixons or other staunchly Quaker families still reside in prominent position. Do you know of any of these types of families, not only the Nixons, for the Nixons I'm sure would be the first example, but others?
B: I think of the Marshburns, who happen to be related to the Nixons. One of the Marshburn family married a sister of Hannah, Olive. In Whittier there is right now one of the prominent attorneys, Tom Bewley. I think there have been prominent architects and builders as well as college professors, plenty of them, like President [of Whittier College] Paul Smith, who is a Quaker from Indiana originally. They've had their share of influence and still do. As far as the proportion of population, Quakers are quite influential people.
H: You brought up Tom Bewley. Do you know Mr. Bewley very well?
B: No. I've met him, but I really don't know him.
H: I was wondering, because of his practice in law. How has his Quakerism affected him there?
B: I think it has affected him positively. (laughter)
H: I can see your point there. I get to the question of the actual makeup of the East Whittier Friends Church or the makeup of the church in which Mr. Nixon grew up. Was it pastoral, or was it common worship? Obviously when you were there it was pastoral, but was the earlier emphasis on having a pastor?
B: Yes. From the very beginning they had pastors there. Mrs. Ashton Otis's father, whose name was Cook, was the first pastor. Somewhere or other, if I looked it up, I might be able to find the list of pastors they had, but it went back to the very founding of the church. They've had pastors all along in East Whittier Friends Church.
H: Who would you say would be the pastor who most influenced Mr. Nixon as he grew up?
B: Well, it would be hard to say because I was not acquainted at the time, but I would assume that it might have been Harley Moore, who was pastor there when Richard Nixon was a young man, as I recall. I think Harley Moore would probably have had a considerable influence upon Richard Nixon.
H: I think Harley Moore is deceased, isn't he?
B: Yes. However, he has a daughter living in Whittier and a granddaughter, who's a member of the church. I think both the daughter and the granddaughter are members of the church.
H: They are both members of the East Whittier Friends Church?
H: You talked about the early adolescent teaching. Was there any man that you know of in Whittier who had a strong effect upon teaching Richard Nixon his Quakerism? Who, aside from his mother, could you attribute it to?
B: The only person I remember hearing about being a teacher of his is Robert Sillivan, who is still living there in East Whittier and currently is custodian of the church. You or somebody else will have an interview with him.
H: This is kind of to change the trend of thought. How are the ideas of the Friends living in the twentieth century practical for today, in a world that stresses practicality, capitalism, and also maybe daily life? How is this affecting the Quakers in the living out of the Quakerism today?
B: Friends have never been against capitalism as such, as far as I know. In fact, some of the early Quakers around Philadelphia and New Jersey in the East were tremendous capitalists. Take John Woolman who was one of the most noted saintly Quakers and whose Journal was read by many as a great piece of American literature. He was a merchant. A Quaker ran a hotel back there in the early days. Early Quakers believed in being just in their dealing. They believed in being fair. They've been hard workers, and they would expect people who worked for them to be honest but they would expect to pay them well. The practical outworking of Christianity would be "do unto others as you would have other do unto you" that is, live by the Golden Rule and the great commandments to love God and love your fellow man. I'm sure they sought to do that all through the years, as any real Christian does. This isn't only the Quaker practice, it's any person who's a vital Christian.
H: What would you say are the major obstacles today in 1969 to the practice of good Quakerism or of good Christianity?
B: They are the materialism and worldiness of our day, emphasis upon things, our time and attention so much being caught up with this materialistic world, and the rat race in which everyone finds himself, it seems, at least in  Southern California. This militates against vital home life and Christian life of anyone. Vietnam, the world situation also concerns all of us, and Quakers have been to a considerable extent pacifists. Historically, it's one of the peace churches. Then you have this tension in which Richard Nixon finds himself very much involved. But still it's possible to live out one's faith even in the world in which we find ourselves. The Roman Empire at the beginning of Christianity and following decades was no friend of Christians. We just have to live for Christ and let the chips fall where they will.
H: How do you feel Mr. Nixon has carried out his Quaker ideas? Do you think he had practiced his life as a good Quaker?
B: I think that many of the Quaker principles are evident in his life: his just dealing, his concern for people, his absolute integrity and honesty. I believe that the idea of "Tricky Dick" is absolutely untrue. I think he is a very conscientious man who has been slandered as far as that slogan is concerned. This is brought out by the fact that even in the election of 1960 --though it looked like it had been stolen from him in some ways so far as some of the vote counts in Texas and Illinois are concerned, according to the reports we heard--he refused to have a recount because of what he felt that would do to the image of the United States around the world, should the recount change the outcome of the election. Richard Nixon is a man whom I admire very much as being a man of real integrity.
H: Has he been consistent, do you think, with the ideas that the evangelical Friends have taught in California? Are there any areas where you think he has possibly let down his Quakerism?
B: I don't know that there are any areas where he has let down evangelical Friends. Some have felt that he wasn't as much a practicing evangelical Quaker as he might have been. Now, I never particularly felt that way about it. When he was in Washington the time before, he went, I believe, to the Methodist church instead of the Florida Avenue Friends Meeting in Washington. I don't blame him. I think I would have done exactly what he did because the Florida Avenue Friends Meeting was an unprogrammed, non-pastoral meeting. And the Methodist church or the Presbyterian church would be much more like the church in which he was raised and where his membership was than would the Florida Avenue Friends. I think it is very interesting that he has established religious services in the White House. It shows that he still believes in the importance of worship. There can be variety in it, as he has had in the way it's  run, but it's very important for a family to worship and to worship together. I think this is a very commendable thing which he has done. The problems of security these days make it so difficult for a President to go out to worship in some other place. It always disrupts every service where he goes because ahead of time they have to establish security measures. The Secret Service has to make sure where he's going to sit and where the Secret Service will be stationed. It can't help but disrupt the service, and you always have a lot of people who are curiosity seekers and will go if they think the President is going to be there. So far as I know, he has had the services in the White House for two reasons--one, to avoid this publicity and disrupting of public worship services, and secondly, from the standpoint of security, and perhaps I should also say, thirdly, because he feels the importance of it.
H: Back to the point about him going to the Methodist Church, and also that you probably would have done the same thing. Many people who aren't really very aware of Quakerism or aren't aware of the differences in the evangelical versus the liberal say that the Quaker will never go to another church. Once he is a member, he is restricted to a particular church, for example, as Mr. Nixon is with East Whittier. Then once he comes to another church, it's almost like he's denouncing his Quakerism. Is that true? I don't feel that it is at all.
B: I don't think it is. Quakerism, first of all, is practical Christianity. Refusing to go to other churches would be almost like saying there aren't any other Christians in the world except the Quakers, and I'm sure no Quaker would really want to say that. I wouldn't want to. There are some distinctions about Quakerism that we like and we believe in, but I can illustrate it from our own experience. Our daughter was raised in a Friends home, and in a Friends church, and she married a Friend back in Iowa. He got his first teaching position in Charles City, Iowa, which was sixty miles from any Friends church or Quaker meeting. It was impractical for them to go that distance. There were other good evangelical churches in the town and we encouraged them, "Seek out a church where you feel at home and go there to worship and work for the Lord." Now, some Friends would feel that if you settle where there is no Quaker Church, what you ought to do is start another Friends church. I've known of this saying, which I think is somewhat true, that "Once a Quaker, always a Quaker." Now, this may be what you are referring to, which means that there are certain satisfactions that one has from the Friends interpretation of the Scriptures, the fact that you have liberty of conscience, that you believe in the priesthood of believers as did the early Protestants, that  every person has direct access to God. Also our manner of church government .is something of a combination between congregational and connectional form of government; everybody has a part in the church government, everybody who wants to. To be sure, not everybody does come to our monthly business meetings, or called monthly meetings. But everybody has this opportunity to participate. It isn't run just by a board or a select few, but every person has the opportunity to participate. I think this is one think that people miss when they go to other churches; they feel there is a hierarchy or there is a certain board that runs things. Not only the tenets which we have, but the practice, the polity of church, too, is important to us. Many Friends have joined other denominations--and that's one reason that Friends are not any larger than they are today--there' s been this attrition! Now, if it were true that Friends never would worship with anybody else or join another denomination, we'd be a lot bigger that we are today. They have married out of the denomination, or out of meeting, they used to call it. In fact, originally, you'd be disowned as a member if you married somebody outside of the Friends Church. Yes, that actually has happened many times, but that isn't true any more. You will find scattered in all denominations former Friends or Quakers, though they still have a warm place in their hearts for the Friends Church and they may still say, "Once a Quaker, always a Quaker," even though they are members of another church.
H: Do you think that in the case of Mr. Nixon, now that we have established that his religion is still there, that politics and the more or less "gnashing of the teeth," which politics brings, has had any effect upon the goals of the Christian life which Mr. Nixon was brought up with?
B: I really can't say. I don't believe I know him that well to really say whether it has or it hasn't. It seems to me that to be a politician, a successful politician, takes a certain type of personality. And you've got to be willing to take this gnashing of teeth that you've indicated, this horrible beating from your political opponents. They may be friendly, but the barbs are there just the same, and the press, too, is something to be contended with these days, as you may well know. I think that his Christian principles have stood him in very good stead, I really do. As I say, I have confidence in his integrity.
H: So you are saying that it is possible to be both a good Friend, a good person living a Christian life, motivated from the Scriptures, and also a politician or even a President?
B: Yes, I think so. I don't say it's easy; I say it's possible. I'd say he's in a very difficult and very hard spot, but  nevertheless, he's in a spot where he needs the sustaining grace that vital Christianity and vital Quakerism give to him. Probably he feels like Abraham Lincoln, who said that he was driven to his knees many times because he knew no place else to go. This is a very practical thing to feel this presence of the Lord, the fortifying of God's spirit in one's life, in actual practice, day by day when you are under the pressures any man would be under in political office today, and especially when you get up to the top.
H: I noticed the picture of Billy Graham there right next to Mr. Nixon's. Do you think the influence of Billy Graham upon Nixon or the fact that they hit it off indicates something?
B: It certainly does to me. It indicates that so far as President Nixon is concerned, he is interested in a vital evangelical Christianity. Otherwise, there would not have been this relationship with Billy Graham over the years. It hasn't been anything that's just developed recently. The first time I became aware of it was when Billy Graham had his New York crusade in the fifties--I don't know whether it was 1957 or some time along in there--and I think that President Eisenhower was invited to attend it, but Richard Nixon went. It was held in Yankee Stadium. Mr. Nixon went there as a representative of the President, and I remember seeing him on television walking across the field with Billy Graham. In my knowledge their acquaintance goes back that far, and I think they were acquainted before then, and I'm quite sure they were. But he has never seemed to be at all ashamed of this relationship or concerned over what people would say about it. Here Billy Graham is the outstanding world figure of evangelism and perhaps evangelicalism today, you see, but he's perfectly willing to associate with him. They are apparently on a very personal, friendly basis, which I think is excellent. In fact, I heard Billy Graham interviewed by Hugh Downs on "The Today Show" when I was in Washington for the inauguration. Downs asked, "Now, why is it that you and President-elect Richard Nixon are such good friends when he's a Quaker and you're a Baptist?" I think Billy Graham had it right when he said, "Oh, you must remember that the type of Friends from which he comes is very much like Methodists, Presbyterians or Baptists. We get along fine." That's true, and that's something a lot of people don't understand about the evangelical Quakers.
H: Yes, and that explains it. As a Friends minister, I'm sure the question of war and the whole idea of violence is something that you have to make a stand on, just like Mr. Nixon as President has had to make a stand on it. How do you feel about the war itself? 
B: Personally, I feel that wars have not settled issues, generally speaking. I take very seriously the statement, "Thou shalt not kill." I personally am a conscientious objector and yet in a very definite sense of realist at the same time. I realize that there has to be a national or world police force. We certainly believe in police protection, but police are to keep the peace; they are not out to kill, but to keep the peace. I believe there is peace between the individual and God, and then there ought to be peace between nations. It's perhaps best illustrated by William Penn, whose father was an admiral in the British Navy. William Penn became a Quaker, and when he came to George Fox, he said, "Now, what about wearing my sword?" And George Fox told William Penn, "Wear it as long as thou canst." In other words, it must be a personal conviction, it isn't something that the church says to you: "Now, unless you become an absolute pacifist, you cannot be a member of the church." Here's where we grant liberty of conscience, and in World War I only 25 percent of all the Quaker boys who were in the service were noncombatants or conscientious objectors, and 75 percent of them were serving in the war. Today the highest percentage of conscientious objectors that I know of is among the Friends in Oregon Yearly Meeting, where 50 percent of them take the conscientious objector's position to the extent that they take alternate service rather than some type of noncombatant military service.
H: What is your position on the young person of my age when he's in a position of facing the draft? How do you guide him?
B: I would discuss with him what the historic position of our church has been, and I would give him some literature to read. I would tell him he must make up his own mind on this as to what he feels the Lord would have him to do, whether it would be to go into the military or take even a noncombatant role in the military, like in the medical corps, or to become a conscientious objector where he would volunteer or go for alternate service as many boys have. We've had boys in Vietnam working under the World Relief Commission and Mennonite groups who are doing their alternate service amid very great places of danger as well as our boys in the military. I would not personally counsel them ever against nonregistration, as some who have gone to this extreme, because I believe our government gives adequate standing to the conscientious objector or to the person who comes from the peace church. I don't think it ought to be just a philosophy with him, a political philosophy. I think that personally it ought to be a deep religious conviction from the standpoint of his seeking to follow Christ as a peacemaker.
H: As a minister of the Friends Church, do you or do you not  agree with Mr. Nixon's stand on the war in Vietnam? Do you agree with the policies that he has set up?
B: Under the circumstances, I think I do. The war was not his war. It's been going on a long time, and he's doing the best he can to try to get us out of Vietnam without just turning the South Vietnamese over to the Communistic influences. He's between a rock and a hard place and he's trying to be very practical about it. We have to be realistic.
H: Are his practices theologically consistent with the ideas of the Friends which he was taught? You talked about his efforts to remove troops. Do you feel this is what a Friend should do if he were placed in the position of being the President facing a major war like this?
B: Well, I suppose so. I don't know. I'm no authority on this, but I personally do support him in what he is doing, and I don't have any quarrel with him at all thus far in the way he's been handling this. I really don't.
H: As a final question, Mr. Nixon has often been accused of what is called "cutthroat politics," especially on his stand on Communism. He saw this as so [vital] to our whole society. Do you think, with the upbringing that he has had, that this is really possible?
B: No, I don't think that he is the "cutthroat" type of politician at all, and so far as Communism is concerned he is a realist. Just like one of the books on Communism says, "You can trust the Communists to do what they say they will." He's very practical about it. He takes them at their word, which has been a right thing to do, because they have been aggressive and still are. I think that Communism is a great threat and danger to the world and even to our United States. I'd rather have a man in the White House and leaders of the country who have the same stand that Richard Nixon does concerning them, than people who are very palsey-walsey with Communists.
H: I notice this from almost every strong Quaker person that I've interviewed, that the ideas which a strong Christian life bring about and the ideas and dangers which Communism brings are so diametrically opposed that it's almost impossible not to take an extremely strong stand against Communism. Do you think this is especially true of Quakerism?
B: I think this would be true of evangelical Quakers, yes, because Communism is basically anti-God to begin with. That's diametrically opposed to the Christian religion. It's against you and me owning things that are ours, and this is against Christianity. Christianity teaches that we should share with those who have need, but it certainly  does not say that we might not own and that we should be deprived of this kind of freedom. Freedom of property is one of the greatest freedoms in the whole world, property rights. A "Christian shares with one who has needs, but how are you going to share if you don't have anything to share? We are stewards. Fifty years from now I'm not going to be owning a single cent, you see. I might own one hundred acres of land someplace, now, but I've only got a lease on it or a title to it for a few years. Through the goodness of God I've been able to have it, and I thank him for it. By the way, I don't own any one hundred acres of land. I don't own a square inch right now.
I don't think that being opposed to an unrighteous, or what seems to me to be an unrighteous, organization or political movement is non-Christian at all.
H: Oftentimes Mr. Nixon has actually been accused--especially in some of his actions that I think you're familiar with, such as the Alger Hiss case--of carrying a burning cross against Communism, like the old image of the John Birchers who see Communism in everything there is. Do you feel that it's possible that this is a manifestation of his Quakerism rather than this burning cross as they say? You know, you might see the danger it might bring to living out this Christian life.
B: I really don't know. I wouldn't attribute this to Quakerism, particularly! It could just as well be attributed to a person being a vital Christian, whatever denomination he might belong to. Here's another interesting illustration of this point of view. The American Friends Service Committee, which is made up more of the liberal element of the Friends Church as far as leadership is concerned, though probably not more that 50 percent of their personnel are Quakers anyway, recently has been very friendly to some of the Communistic ideas. In fact, I have correspondence in my files from the former executive secretary of the American Friends Service Committee in which he said this. The liberal Quaker would be more in line with some of these practices, whereas the evangelical Quaker would feel hesitant about it. This may somewhat explain Richard Nixon's point of view on Communism. I think a lot of these accusations are because he's just a smart man, and maybe it's as much or more out of jealousy than anything else. He has the ability to see through things, and this is very important.
H: You don't feel that he's replaced his ideas of Christianity or his ideas of a good Quaker, Christian life, just to get success?
B: I certainly don't 
H: The accusations that were made said sometimes that Mr. Nixon has sort of smoothed over some of the responsibilities of his; Christian life, some of the things that he was taught by his mother, even by his father. As a result of politics, he has had to sometimes turn his back on these.
S: I think that if we knew the total of the picture, we probably wouldn't come to that conclusion. At least, I don't personally lean that way at all. I feel that he's a man of real integrity and he had taken this integrity into his life as a politician. Now, there may have been days that he wasn't quite as conscientious about some of these things as he is today, I don't know. I haven't known him in his early political history at all, but it seems to me that his emphasis today, his willingness to associate with a great evangelical leader like Billy Graham, his having services in the White House to emphasize the importance of worship and the Christian religion, all of this goes right along with the vital Christianity the Quakers believe in.
H: Interesting! Thank you very much. You've really answered my questions especially well.
B: You're welcome, sir.
End of Interview 
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