156 THE HISTORY OF WAKE FOREST COLLEGE
ville; E. Weldon Jones, Buie's Creek; Carson Eggers, Blowing Rock;
R. L. Hughes, Asheboro; and Olin Hefner, Marion.
At a meeting at Wake Forest September 8, an advisory board of
fifty Baptist ministers and laymen endorsed the new trustee proposal
and pledged "unstinted support to its adoption," but their number and
fervor were exceeded October 1 at a gathering in Greensboro when
ninety of the state's most conservative and fundamentalist Baptists
sought to consolidate opposition not only to the trustee plan but also
to the more emotional and controversial prospect of federal aid to
church-related colleges and universities. Under the Higher Education
Facilities Act the state's Baptist colleges could have applied for
federal subsidies of up to one-third of the cost of buildings not
intended for religious uses. With substantial building yet to be
undertaken, Wake Forest was one of the institutions interested.
At the Greensboro meeting Rev. Tom Freeman of Dunn presided
and among the other ministers attending were Dr. Casper C. Warren
and Wendell G. Davis of Charlotte and Gerald Primm of the host city.
Of the federal funding proposal Freeman said that neither Baptist
history nor doctrine, strongly committed to the separation of church
and state, would allow acceptance of building grants.
Dr. J. A. Easley, who was representing Wake Forest at the meeting,
said the assumptions of the conservatives seemed to be based "on an
oversimplification of the idea of separation of church and state and on
an essential distrust of the convention and its leadership." Easley said
there is no such thing as absolute separation of church and state, that
indeed most of the people at the meeting were enjoying tax
concessions from the federal government.
Because of the two clear-cut issues between Baptist liberals and
fundamentalists, the atmosphere when the convention met that year in
Greensboro was as highly charged as it had been in the several
previous confrontations when Wake Forest affairs had been debated.
Vocal among the opponents were the figures who had been key
influences before―Freeman, Owens, and Ferguson―and
representing the position of the colleges were Rev. E. W. Price of
High Point and Dr. Hoyt Blackwell, president of Mars Hill.
The votes were taken by ballot, and the trustee proposal, failing this
time to gain even a majority, was defeated 2,247 to 1,566. Fed-
Previous Page Next Page