"I Have Had an Intimate Personal Knowledge of Him (FATHER DIVINE)
and a Deep Friendship with Him
for Twenty Years." --- Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.

 

Excerpts of an article as it appeared in the November, 1951 issue of Ebony Magazine, entitled, "Sex In The Church."
by The Hon. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Member of the Congress of the United States and Noted Minister
Of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, New York City

 

 

FATHER DIVINE in His
Circle Mission Church Private Office

FATHER DIVINE in His Circle Mission Church Private Office

 

 

(Following is the quotation from the article verbatim, excluding the segregated words which have been denoted by their first letter only.)

"Undue emphasis on sex is just as bad as totally ignoring it. Undue emphasis on sex, incidentally, is a technique employed by some of the leaders of so-called religious cults. While I shall not name them here, the general public knows just as well as I do, that there are a number of these cult leaders who seek to be sensational and draw crowds. Their methods are designed, not to help people or to lift them to the Kingdom of God, but to gratify their own selfish ambitions.

Right here, I want to make it clear that I am not talking about Father Divine when I refer to cult leaders. There have been a lot of reckless things written and foolish things said about Divine. People insinuated that his seemingly mysterious wealth was coming from sources which believed in birth control; or from N- hating rich folks who wanted to cut down the c- population; or that he acquires financial affluence by conducting clandestine affairs with wealthy w- women. Even if it weren't true that many, many investigations have been held into Divine's affairs- and that he has come out each time with a clean bill of health- I personally would refuse to believe any of these fantastic charges. For I have had an intimate personal knowledge of him and a deep friendship with him for twenty years and I am convinced that he is a sincere man who is doing and has done a great good, although I do not subscribe to all his beliefs.

The anti-Divine rumors, which have died of utter exhaustion in recent years.... as I have said before all these charges and accusations fell flat on their face. There was one classic instance of this. An Eastern law-enforcing agency, at one time, assigned an undercover agent from New York to get into the Divine movement. She was the kind of woman who would attract the whistles from street corner wolves and even the speculative glances of a great many faithful husbands. She was pretty and shapely. Entering a Divine "heaven", she made friends with other "angels", inveigled her way into a job cleaning up Divine's office and set her wiles to work. Divine ignored her. She spent a great deal of time and used a great amount of ingenuity trying to interest him sexually, but all to no avail. Two weeks later, she reported to her superiors, not only that she had been unable to make Father Divine misbehave but that a very thorough investigation on her part had failed to substantiate any of the charges against him.

What has all this to do with sex education? Well, as I have already pointed out, sex education must consist of two phases the personal and worthy life of a religious leader, which should be above suspicion as Father Divine's has been established to be- and a positive program to teach people how to live and love in a clean manner. While many may not agree with Divine's advocacy of eliminating sex from marriage or the quartering of men and women in his cult apart from each other, it cannot be said or proven that he has given his followers anything but a worthy example."'

 

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