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Published: June 2, 2011

Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America



A body formed by 33 Christian Protestant denominations in 1908 to reverse the secularization of American public schools by introducing Protestant instruction into the curriculum. Later reorganized as the National Council of Churches, the original organization sought to obtain special arrangements in public schools to permit released-time or sharedtime religious instruction. Protestantization of public education was but one thrust of the council’s overall goal of obtaining “a larger combined influence for the Churches of Christ in all matters affecting the moral and social condition of the [American] people, so as to promote the application of the law of Christ in every relation of human life.”
In addition to public school religious instruction, the council launched an ambitious political program aimed at establishing “equal rights and complete justice for all men in all stations of life.” Although the council was careful not to tread on interracial relations of the South, it lobbied for abolition of child labor, a minimum wage, suppression of sweat shops and conciliation and arbitration of industrial labor disputes. The council established a powerful religious press, produced religious radio programs, supported a host of denominational colleges and standardized the Sunday school curriculum in thousands of Protestant churches across the United States.
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