Addendum 4: The Righteous Government Platform (RGP) of Father Divine and his Peace Mission Movement

“Preamble to FATHER DIVINE’S Righteous Government Platform

“PEACE TO ALL! We, the interracial, international, inter-religious, interdenominational and non-partisan co-workers of FATHER DIVINE’S Peace Mission and its Department of Righteous Government, greet all mankind with PEACE! In the light of this New Day and Dispensation in which we are now living since the advent of FATHER DIVINE – Whom twenty-two million have recognized as their Savior come to earth again in Bodily Form – we are advocating Righteousness, Justice and Truth in every walk of life. Therefore, we request the cooperation of all governments in legalizing these qualities, and the participation of all right-thinking people in universalizing a Righteous Government.

“For this cause, we are assembled in a great International Righteous Government Convention in New York City these three days, the tenth, eleventh and twelfth of January, 1936 A.D.F.D., with Delegates from many different countries and states. The Righteous Government Department of FATHER DIVINE’S Peace Mission Movement has adopted a Platform embodying some of the more important issues of its Righteous Stand. This Platform, which has been verified and endorsed by FATHER DIVINE, with HIS Personal signature, we are privileged to present to you as follows:

“In presenting Righteous Government to the world at large, nothing more fitting or far-reaching could be said than what has already been said by HIM Who is the Founder of it, Who has already introduced it to every field of life by establishing it in the lives of twenty-two million followers living in practically every civilized country on earth. A few of HIS Personal Words on the subject, as HE addressed thousands of HIS followers recently in New York City, were as follows:

“It has been through the ages, that religion and the religious teaching have caused men to be submissive, meek and obedient if they were religious, but obedient to wickedness, obedient to dishonesty, obedient to unrighteousness. Therefore, it profited you nothing to be religious and obedient. What profit would it be to us today to bring you into the Spirit and the action of Righteousness, unless we have a Righteous Government?

“That is why there are so many of the different individuals that have resorted to violence, and refused to accept of the teaching of religion.

“They have striven to keep the CHRIST from the political world. Through the different religions you have been taught that religion and politics will not mix, but I AM privileged to say, without the true concept of CHRIST and the recognition of HIS Presence among the politicians, the world will continue to be filled with corruption, and it is a matter of impossibility to receive your deliverance saving through this great Conversion.

“Righteousness, Truth and justice shall become to be a living reality, and shall be established universally through legality, and every nation, language, tongue and people shall accept it as the Fundamental.”

We believe in these words because we are among the millions that have already been impregnated with these qualities by FATHER DIVINE. Through the New Dispensation of GOD on earth in Bodily Form, we already have a Righteous Government, for Righteousness, Justice and Truth are now reigning in us where unrighteousness, injustice, and untruth once held sway. Therefore we set forth some of the Principles of Righteous Government already established in our midst, and some of the issues involved, that they may be legalized universally.

 

PLANKS FOR PRINCIPLES SECTION

  1. Immediate repeal of all laws, ordinances, rules and regulations, local and national, in the United States and elsewhere that have been passed contrary to the spirit and meaning of the Constitution of the United States and its Amendments.
  2. Immediate legislation in every state in the Union, and all other states and Countries, making it a Crime to discriminate in any public place against any individual on account of race, creed or color; abolishing all segregated neighborhoods in cities and towns, making it a crime for landlords or hotels to refuse tenants on such grounds; abolishing all segregated schools and colleges, and all segregated areas in churches, theaters, public conveyances, and other public places
  3. Immediate destruction by both nations and individuals of all firearms and instruments of war within their borders, saving those that are used for law enforcement. (The true followers of FATHER DIVINE will refuse to fight their fellowman for any cause whatsoever.)
  4. Legislation making it a crime for any newspaper, magazine, or other publication to use segregated or slang words referring to race, creed or color of any individual or group, or write abusively concerning any.
  5. Repeal of all laws or ordinances providing for compulsory insurance, employers’ liability, public liability, or any other form of compulsory insurance
  6. Abolishment of capital punishment in all states and countries.
  7. Legislation in every state and country where laws or ordinances now exist requiring children or adults to submit to vaccinations, operations or treatment by physicians the new legislation to impose equally binding obligations upon the medical authorities and the physicians. From the moment the authorities or physicians take charge of the patient physically, they must guarantee a complete cure, and guarantee the life of the individual. or be liable for damages in the event of his death.
  8. Legislation to abolish lynching and outlaw members of lynch mobs in all states and countries.
  9. Legislation making it a violation of the law to withhold any kind or classification of work from any civil service employee on account of race, creed or color, provided he or she is qualified to do such work.
  10. Immediate return to owners of all stolen goods or their equivalent, not only by individuals but by nations; this to include all territories taken by force from other nations.
  11. Legislation making it a crime for any employer to discharge an employee, even though a subordinate, when even circumstantial evidence can be introduced to show that it was on account of race, creed or color.
  12. Legislation establishing a maximum fee for all labor union memberships, causing them to accept all qualified applicants, and give them equal privileges regardless of race, creed, color or classification; also providing that any labor union which limits the hours and days of work per week, must guarantee at least that much work per week to its members, and if it calls a strike, pay its members while they are out of work, the full amount they are demanding from the employers; otherwise all obligations for dues must cease.
  13. Immediate repeal of all laws and ordinances, governmental rules and regulations requiring individuals to designate themselves as being of a race, creed or color in signing any kind of papers; this to apply especially to immigration, citizenship, passport or legal papers.
  14. Legislation making it unlawful for employers of skilled or unskilled, technical or professional help, to have different wage scales or salaries for what they term different races, creeds or colors, or to discriminate in any way in the hiring of help.

 

SECTION ON PRINCIPLES No. 8-A

Legislation imposing the penalty for first-degree murder on all members of lynch mobs killing or fatally injuring any person, together with a fine of ten to twenty thousand dollars to be paid by the county wherein the lynching occurs, to the estate of the injured or deceased person.

In bringing forth this amendment and speaking particularly of the Costigan-Wagner Anti-lynching Bill, FATHER said:

I just wish to say in reference to the Anti-lynching Bill, if this is not inserted in it, it is not severe enough. This of which I AM about to say, was and is, if one person will murder a man without the law, he is subject to punishment to the extent as being termed a murderer. If two men will commit the same crime, many of them have been charged as a murderer and received the penalty of the same. This should be in the Anti-lynching Bill. Every man in a lynch mob should be convicted as a murderer, not one alone, but every one, for they are all murderers, and if we would tolerate it they would continue to indulge in wholesale murder by getting together by the hundreds and by the thousands. Therefore I say, a lynch mob does murder. It is an organization, an organized body of murderers. Every member of a lynch mob that would lynch a man should go to the same place wheresoever men are supposed to go when they commit that.

 

PLANKS FOR ECONOMIC SECTION

  1. Legislation prohibiting employment agencies from collecting fees or remuneration in any form from employees, but authorizing them to collect the present legal fees in full from the employers; also the establishment of a minimum wage scale, prohibiting agencies from sending out workers for less than their respective minimum rates.
  2. Government control of all idle plants and machinery, tools and equipment, where owners are unwilling to operate them at full capacity; such facilities to be made available to workers on a cooperative, non-profit basis under supervision of government experts, with temporary provision for materials; workers to be paid a living wage until income exceeds expenses; then the wage scale to be increased and maintained at as high a rate as conditions permit. The owners would have the privilege of operating the plants at any time they are willing and able to operate them at full capacity, until some arrangement is made for change of ownership.
  3. Immediate abandonment of the government regulation requiring individuals to be on the relief rolls in order to get work on relief projects.
  4. Immediate provision, under government supervision, of work on useful projects, for every unemployed worker according to his qualifications, with suitable pay for amount of work accomplished. (expenditures for many such projects, such as high speed tunnels, express highways, or whatsoever it might be, could quickly be regained by tolls, as in the case of the Holland Tunnel in New York City.)
  5. Immediate abandonment by all states and countries, of government crop control, destruction of food stuffs and other products, and the establishment of an efficient and equitable distribution system. (The spectacle of hungry people in a land of plenty is worse than uncivilized.)
  6. Laws to be altered so that equal opportunity is allowed to all, that every worker be allowed access to the land, to the tools and materials needed for the carrying out of his individual talent, for the welfare of himself and of society.
  7. Abolition of all tariff schedules and obstacles to free trade among the nations. Trade among all the peoples of the earth should be left as free as is now the trade among the various states of the American Union.
  8. Legislation limiting the amount of profit to be made on any article or product, but leaving the individual free to sell it for as little as he chooses.
  9. Government to print its own money, and make it illegal to hoard it. Government to redeem all its bonded debts and to lend the money to the cooperative non-profit enterprises; abolish all interest and make it a criminal offense to take usury or interest, or to receive dividends that exceed 3.5 percent, or money without labor performed or practical service rendered.
  10. Government ownership and operation of the financial system .
  11. Legislation making it a criminal offense for any individual to spend money except for necessities of life, while he owes a just debt to any other individual or organization. (The followers of FATHER DIVINE will not owe another, and will not buy on the installment plan.)
  12. Immediate destruction of all counterfeit money by those who have acquired it, rather than attempting to pass it on; and a change in the currency to eliminate all counterfeits in circulation. (The followers of FATHER DIVINE destroy all counterfeit money they find in circulation, at their own expense, rather than pass it on to another.)

 

PLANKS FOR POLITICAL SECTION

  1. That all candidates, including candidates for president, be nominated entirely by the people, and that they be required to meet specified requirements, to prove their qualifications for office, not as politicians, but technical experts.
  2. Immediate abandonment of the political patronage system and appointment of all Civil Service employees strictly according to their qualifications and service, and their standing on the list, without regard to party, race, creed or color, and without the intervention of political leaders.

For the advancement of real education and culture among the people,
we request the following Planks For The Educational Section

  1. The doors of all educational institutions to be open and free to all for universal education, with same rights for all to higher technical and professional training.
  2. The abolishing in all educational institutions, and from books used for educational purposes in such institutions, of all references to racial conflicts or differences, and national glory through military feats, etcetera, with legislation making it a misdemeanor for any educator to teach such to his classes.
  3. The abolishing of the conventional form of greeting, ‘H-e-l-lo, ’ from all educational institutions, and substitution of the word ‘Peace.’ We also request the cooperation of the telephone companies in this respect, that a generation with Peace on its lips, instead of what war has been said to be, may come into being.

In concluding our Educational Platform, we could not do better than to quote the Words of our Beloved Savior, FATHER DIVINE, Who has come to us again in this New Dispensation, bringing ‘Peace on Earth, and Good Will to Men, ’ Whom we have recognized as the same identical CHRIST with all Power and Dominion, reigning now and forevermore as the Everlasting FATHER and the Prince of Peace in Bodily Form HE has said:

We will get just what we demand from every angle expressible, and we shall get it through legality by the ballot, and not by the bullet. For this cause I have encouraged and stirred the nation with the desire and ambition to seek a better education, that you might be qualified to pass the literacy test in whatsoever state you are living; that you might be able to go to the pulls and cast your ballots on the days of election, and vote in that one you are convinced will deal justly, and vote out the unjust official. . . .

‘We will use the legal and political guns, but refuse to use those that are the expressers of destruction, for we are not conceivers of destructive ideas and opinions. Therefore we will not resort to violence through destroying mankind nor the visible things that pertain to this life, but we will destroy every endeavor or act of an unrighteous official and put them out of commission, that they might have no longer an existence among the people in unrighteousness and corruption.

‘Righteousness, Truth and Justice must become to be a Living Reality, and as I have brought it thus far through legality, it shall be universally established . . . and every nation, language, tongue and people shall accept it as the Fundamental.’

AMENDMENTS TO PLANKS FOR THE EDUCATIONAL SECTION – Add Plank Number 4:

  1. The adoption of a universal language by all nations, languages, tongues and peoples-all governments to assist in establishing it by including it in the courses of study in all public schools and colleges.

Concerning this subject, FATHER has Personally spoken as follows:

“For the purpose of bringing all men together, I came to convert all of the systems. There shall be no division after a while in language. There shall be one language. Now isn’t that Wonderful! Firstly it was essential to eradicate and abolish divisions among us as races, creeds and colors supposedly, but for the Perfect Work to be accomplished, there will not even be divisions in systems, languages, tongues nor people, for they all shall understand each other with the one language we are speaking.

“Now I did not say especially, it must be broken English as I AM speaking, but whatsoever language Divine Love and GOD’S Omniscience finds sufficient and quite efficient for the purpose, will be adopted, and all people shall talk it. I AM not especially trying to justify the American language as broken English, neither AM I especially trying to adopt it as the inter- national language, but as a Representative of Righteousness, Truth and Justice, I AM seeking a language to be spoken that will be of more effect, and more suitable for all nations, languages, tongues and people.”

*****

This platform document comes from the Peace Mission website. Divine’s major biographers, Weisbrot and Watts both report that the Righteous Government convention and platform were heavily controlled by Father Divine and that the contents of the platform and its various planks and amendments reflect his political thinking on the subjects addressed. Simply put it is Father Divine’s political idea on how to implement full equality and communal idealism, and should thus be seen as his political testament and legacy. See Robert Weisbrot, Father Divine (Boston: Beacon Press, 1984) 164165, 193, 198-199; and 210 and Jill Watts, Harlem, U.S.A.: The Father Divine Story (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 133-134, 139-140 and 144.

Originally posted on September 23rd, 2014.

Last modified on May 15th, 2020.
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