Saturday, November 05, 2016

This Week in Texas Methodist History November 6

North Texas Conference Meets in 51st Session, Resolutions Demonstrate Progressive Era Thought Nov. 7-12, 1917

The North Texas Conference met in Sulphur Springs from Nov. 7 to 12, 1917.  Bishop McCoy presided.  The resolutions presented and passed are a veritable time capsule showing the complexity of the era historians call “progressive.”  The resolutions reveal the contradictions between “progressive” and “traditional” currents that flowed through not just the Methodists, but the larger society as well.
Taken as a whole, the resolutions demonstrate the complexities of the Progressive Era.
1.                      The Decatur District brought a resolution to the conference that called upon the conference to investigate the report that dancing was occurring at church schools.  If dancing was occurring, it should be stopped.
2.                      The conference passed a resolution calling on the 1918 General Conference to allow women to be delegates.  (that did pass)
3.                      The conference resolved to work against a bill in the Texas Legislature that would allow movie theaters in cities of greater than 5000 population to show movies on Sunday afternoon and evening.  A similar bill had failed in the 1915 session. 
4.                      The North Texas Conference petitioned the General Conference to delete the phrase “Holy Catholic Church” from the Apostle’s Creed.
5.                      In a resolution of war time patriotism the conference included a phrase that strikes directly at civil liberties.
        We denounce as a traitorous act any word or deed that opposes the Administration.

The Administration is, of course, the Wilson administration, which may have been progressive in economic matters, but opposed votes for women and was quite willing to imprison those who opposed the war in print. 


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