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African-American Religion
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“Thank God That He Is Not of This Great White Race . . .”: Francis Grimké Praises Toyohiko Kagawa (1936)
(Working Draft, February 2000)

Copyright notice: Excerpted from African-American Religion: A Historical Interpretation with Representative Documents, edited by David W. Wills and Albert J. Raboteau (emeritus), to be published by the University of Chicago Press. ©2006 by the University of Chicago. All rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of U.S. copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that this entire notice, including copyright information, is carried and provided that the University of Chicago Press is notified and no fee is charged for access. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the consent of the University of Chicago Press.


     In late 1935, when the prominent Japanese Christian evangelist and social activist Toyohiko Kagawa (1888–1960) arrived in the United States for an extended lecture tour that would last more than six months, an old and ailing Francis Grimké (1850–1937) was nearing the end of his long and distinguished career as a Presbyterian clergyman and an outspoken advocate of racial justice. Son of a slave mother, Nancy Weston, and her owner, Henry Grimké (the brother of Quaker abolitionists Sarah and Angelina Grimké), Francis Grimké had been educated at Lincoln University, Howard University, and Princeton Theological Seminary before becoming pastor of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., in 1878. With the exception of a brief period (1885–89) when he served the Laura Street Church in Jacksonville, Florida, Grimké was throughout his nearly six decades in the ministry pastor (then pastor emeritus) of this elite black Presbyterian congregation in the nation’s capital. A stern moralist who emphasized such personal virtues as honesty, diligence, and thrift, Grimké preached against post-Victorian fashions and sexual mores and was a strong supporter of Prohibition. He was also a sharp and unrelenting critic of racial discrimination within the Presbyterian Church in the United States and in American society generally. During the administration of fellow Presbyterian Woodrow Wilson, for example, he rebuked the president for bringing racial segregation to the federal bureaucracy and strongly condemned the racial limitations of “the war to make the world safe for democracy.” (In his private journal, he bluntly suggested that “what the Allies are fighting for is to insure white supremacy throughout the world, and the only difference between Germany and this country and the Allies is that Germany wants not only white supremacy but German supremacy . . . .” “And,” he added, “it looks as if God is preparing to bring to naught all of their devices—he is slaughtering them by the millions and the slaughter will go on . . . until the forces of evil have exhausted themselves.”)1 Semi-retired by 1925, he nevertheless remained an attentive observer of, and commentator upon, religious and civic life. Early in1936, he took the occasion of Kagawa’s American visit (he spoke in Washington in mid-January) to issue a leaflet assessing the Japanese Christian’s global significance. For Grimké, Kagawa was nothing less than “the outstanding Christian in our day and generation”—a fact of racial as well as religious significance. “I thank God . . . ,” Grimké wrote, “that this illustrious visitor is not of the white race.” Kagawa made it abundantly clear, Grimké thought, that one “doesn’t have to have Caucasian blood flowing in his veins” to achieve the highest forms of “Christian manhood.”

     Extravagant American Christian accolades for Kagawa were not, as such, uncommon. His life was widely cited as a vivid and compelling example of Christianity at its best. Born the illegimate son of a samurai and a geisha, orphaned at an early age, disinherited by a rich uncle when he converted to Christianity as a teenager, the young Kagawa followed Tolstoy in seeing “the law of love” as the essence of Christianity. A pacifist, who was beaten by fellow students for his opposition to the Russo-Japanese War (1904–5), he devoted more than a decade of his life to evangelistic and charitable work among the poorest of the poor in the slums of Kobe, living in a tiny hut which he shared with such beggars, prostitutes, and criminals as chose to move in with him. After a period of study in the United States (1914–17), during which he earned a degree from Grimké’s alma mater, Princeton Theological Seminary, Kagawa returned to the slums of Kobe. As much the Victorian moralist as Grimké, Kagawa continued vigorously to attack prostitution and intemperance and emphasize the virtues of hard work and ascetic living, but he also now broadened the scope of his work to include labor organizing. Jailed for two weeks as a result of his prominent role in the Kobe shipyard strike of 1921 and further harassed when he extended his organizing efforts to the rural poor as well, Kagawa was better treated by government officials after his non-violent movement came under sharp attack from the increasingly militant and Marxist-oriented Japanese left. (Organizing the National Anti-War League of Japan in 1928, however, brought renewed accusations that he was the tool of foreign interests, and his later criticism of the Japanese invasion of China would eventually led to his again being arrested and briefly jailed in 1940. During World War II, even though he resigned his membership in such international pacificist organizations as the Fellowship of Reconciliation, affirmed Japan’s right to self-defense, and made radio broadcasts accusing the United States of conducting a brutal and imperialist war, he remained under suspicion and would be once more arrested and interrogated in 1943.) Through the late ’20s and early ’30s, he concentrated his efforts primarily on a large-scale evangelistic campaign, and with the coming of the Great Depression vigorously promoted cooperatives as the cure for the self-destructive competition of capitalism. Meanwhile, the publication in 1920 of his best-selling autobiographical novel, Across the Death-Line,2 followed by a veritable flood of other works on a wide range of subjects, further enhanced his growing reputation both in Japan and abroad. His international speaking tours, which took him to many countries in Asia and Europe, had already brought him twice to the United States (in 1925 and 1931) before the mid-’30s visit that occasioned Grimké’s comments.

     During his 1935–36 American visit, Kagawa’s itinerary included an April appearance at the Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, where he gave the Rauschenbush Lectures. (Two years before, speaking in the same series, the left-leaning Protestant social critic Reinhold Niebuhr had delivered what became An Interpretation of Christian Ethics—a work less sanguine about the power of love to overcome social conflict than Kagawa’s writings were.)3 Subsequently published under the title of Brotherhood Economics, Kagawa’s Rauschenbusch lectures were a vigorous plea for the development of consumer, credit, and producer cooperatives—the central components of his own Christian Socialist program for ending the Depression and promoting a more just society. “The policy of laissez-faire has led us into hell,” he declared. “We must bridge the gap between producers and consumers with brotherly love. Otherwise, society will never be saved; but depression, panic, and unemployment will go on forever.”4 Promoting cooperatives was also the central agenda of his entire American lecture tour. From his arrival in December 1935 until his departure in mid-summer 1936, Kagawa pursued an exhausting schedule, sometimes speaking as much as ten and a half hours in a single day. At the very outset of his visit, Willett, Clark, and Company, publishers of books by and about Kagawa, had promoted its products with bold predictions about the significance of Kagawa’s appearance. “Rousing America and Canada like some new Peter the Hermit preaching a crusade for the capture of the City of God,” one of their advertisements declared, “Kagawa will be the most discussed Christian leader in the world during the next six months.”5 Their claim was not far wrong. By the end of his trip, it was estimated that he had spoken “in 150 cities and 44 states before audiences totaling 750,000 persons.”6 His efforts were also widely cited by American proponents of the cooperatives movement. Reporting in the summer of 1936 on his recent involvement in launching a biracial cooperative farm in Bolivar County, Mississippi, the prominent Protestant social activist Sherwood Eddy observed that “[w]e have heard much about cooperatives lately from Kagawa.” “Is not this the first opportunity,” he asked, “for most of us to give expression to our convictions and put our theories into practice?”7

     Not everyone, of course, shared such enthusiasm for the man or his message. The leading liberal Protestant weekly, the Christian Century, which covered Kagawa’s visit in considerable detail, reported on April 6 that the Black Diamond, the “organ of the coal industry and one of the most influential trade journals in the country, has opened fire on Kagawa and on the churches for listening to him.” Kagawa’s contemporary biographer, William Axling, also blamed unspecified “industrial interests” for attempting to block Kagawa’s American lectures before they got started.8 When he arrived in San Francisco on December 19, Kagawa was quarantined by immigration authorities, allegedly because he suffered from trachoma, an infectious eye disease. Since his having the disease, which in any case had long been under control, had not been raised as an issue during his previous visits, ulterior motives were suspected. It took an appeal to President Roosevelt, by representatives of the Federal Council of Churches and other church leaders, to secure his release. Religious conservatives also provided some of Kagawa’s most vocal critics. While Kagawa was giving his Rauschenbusch Lectures to large crowds in Rochester, J. Frank Norris, a combative Fort Worth Baptist given to attacking the Federal Council of Churches for allegedly promoting Communism, came to the city to warn a similarly large audience that Kagawa’s cooperatives were more dangerous than Russian Bolshevism. The prominent, Minnesota-based, Fundamentalist leader William Bell Riley also “organized a demonstration denouncing Kagawa as the ‘prophet of the anti-Christ.’”9 As in Japan, Kagawa also received sharp attacks from the left, with Communists disrupting meetings in California and New York. Twenty years later, in his autobiography, liberal Protestantism’s leading preacher, Harry Emerson Fosdick recalled how Kagawa, “in a remarkable demonstration of moral force,” had handled one such group of demonstrators who attempted to break up his meeting at Riverside Church—dismissing the police sent to protect him and “by patience and fairness . . . [wearing] out his tormentors.”10 Such stories suggest how Kagawa’s critics might only have deepened the loyalty of his large American constituency. One sympathetic observer reported that among the crowds that thronged his lectures, even people who had trouble understanding Kagawa’s heavily-accented English reported that they were satisfied “to be looking at Christianity’s greatest present-day saint.”11

     If such widespread American Protestant veneration of Kagawa provided one context for Grimké’s praise of the “illustrious visitor,” an equally noteworthy tradition of African-American celebration of Japanese accomplishments supplied the other. Appreciation for Japanese achievements—and pointed remarks about their challenge to white pretensions—had, in fact, a prior history even within the black branch of the Grimké family itself. Three decades before, at the time of the Russo-Japanese War, Francis’s brother and lifelong close ally, the Harvard-trained lawyer Archibald Grimké (1849–1930), had written euphorically about Japan’s victories. “Go . . . ye little brown men, conquering and to conquer,” he wrote in the New York Age, on June 22, 1905: “Ye have thrown Russia down, ye are destined to throw down others . . . in their pride, in their lust for power, to bring down the mighty of the earth.”12 Over the intervening decades, fueled by such events as Japan’s unsuccessful attempt in 1919 to add a provision on racial equality to the Covenant of the League of Nations and the proposed marriage in 1934 between an Ethiopian prince and an aristocratic Japanese woman, various other black writers and leaders (Marcus Garvey among them) expressed similar sentiments, sometimes going so far as to see the Japanese as key players in a global alliance of the colored races.13 During the 1930s, interest in such an alliance flourished with special vigor within several small black religious movements deeply alienated from American society. In part, this seems to reflect the influence of Naka Nakane, a Japanese-born Canadian citizen and faith-healing Shinto priest, with informal ties to the Kokuryukai or Black Dragon Society—a militant Japanese nationalist organization with an interest in promoting solidarity with American blacks. (It is possible, though unproven, that he may also have been an agent of the Japanese government.) Taking the name Satokata Takahashi and presenting himself (falsely) as a retired major in the Japanese army, he labored in Detroit and elsewhere to advance the idea that the rising power of Japan represented “the last chance of the dark races of America to overcome white supremacy and to throw the white tyrants off your backs.”14 Such appeals were especially persuasive to persons already committed to the idea that African Americans’ true identity was Middle Eastern or “Asiatic.” Elijah Muhammad, leader of Chicago’s Allah Temple of Islam (a breakaway from the Nation of Islam that eventually would reunite with the larger movement), is only the best known among the leaders of such groups that Takahashi influenced. Strongly pro-Japanese sentiments were also adopted by other proponents of a black Islam and eventually seem to have become widespread within the Moorish Science Temple. Meanwhile Takahashi, who sometimes spoke in black churches, found a sympathetic audience among some black Christians as well. David D. Erwin, a prominent figure in Triumph the Church of the New Age, a small black Holiness denomination, led the Pacific Movement of the Eastern World, a group that on occasion called for a Japanese invasion of America to secure racial justice and to assist African Americans who might want to emigrate to Africa, Brazil, or possibly even Japan itself. The depth of seriousness with which such ideas were embraced in these circles in the 1930s would become evident during World War II, when Erwin, Elijah Muhammad and several other figures from the Allah Temple of Islam and the Moorish Science Temple, were among the small group of black activists arrested for draft resistance and sedition.

     If Grimké’s approving leaflet on Kagawa included elements to be found in both the general American Protestant celebration of the Japanese Christian and in other black plaudits for Japanese accomplishments, it combined them in a distinctive way. It is not clear whether Grimké had met Kagawa, or at least heard him speak, during his previous American tours. But he was certainly aware of his life and work. Grimké must have read William Axling’s laudatory biography of Kagawa soon after the original edition was published in 1932,15 for he wrote to Kagawa about it—a letter the Japanese Christian leader acknowledged in January 1933, telling Grimké that he was “glad for spiritual fellowship with friends in other countries, in America especially” and that he hoped they could cooperate “in every way possible.” (To that end, Kagawa also said he was forwarding copies of his magazine, Friends of Jesus, to which he hoped Grimké would subscribe.)16 For Grimké, like other Protestant observers, Kagawa’s voracious reading, prolific writing, and energetic activism were remarkably impressive. Even more arresting was his veritable “embodiment of unselfish love, [his] giving himself unstintingly . . . for the lowly ones of earth.” But like other blacks who saw Japanese achievements as a blow to the racist pretensions of whites, Grimké was quick to find in Kagawa’s example a “standing rebuke to race prejudice.”

     Noteworthy, too, is the fact that Grimké’s sense of solidarity with the “illustrious visitor” was apparently not based on any conspicuous effort by Kagawa to address the specific injustices directly affecting African Americans. Nothing in Brotherhood Economics suggests that Kagawa’s Rauschenbusch Lectures touched on racial segregation, nor do the many accounts of his meetings in the Christian Century report that he anywhere addressed American racial practices. His first speaking engagement was in Amarillo, Texas, and the earliest part of his lecture was through the southeast, including stops in Memphis, Nashville, Birmingham, Atlanta, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Asheville, Durham, Richmond, and Washington. In such places, it was of course impossible entirely to avoid the question of segregation, if for no other reason than the necessity of choosing to hold either segregated or racially-mixed meetings. Twenty years later, commenting to an American interviewer about “America’s . . . outrageous . . . treatment of the Negro in the south,” Kagawa recalled “in 1936, refusing to speak at a southern church, when [he] found the congregation segregated.”17 Alva W. Taylor, professor at Vanderbilt’s School of Religion and prominent social gospeler within the Disciples of Christ, who provided an account of Kagawa’s southern tour for the Christian Century, reported that in Nashville “[a]ll the meetings were interracial without any segregation in the seating,” but he also noted that “not many colored folk came to any but the special meetings at their own college auditoriums.” Such special meetings, he added, were held in most of the southern cities where Kagawa spoke, but what was said at them, he did not report.18


     The most extensive study of Grimké is the 1970 Yale University dissertation of Henry J. Ferry, Francis James Grimke: Portrait of a Black Puritan (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms, 1971). It does not, however, discuss his pamphlet on Kagawa. Ferry’s article “Racism and Reunion: A Black Protest by Francis James Grimke,” Journal of Presbyterian History 50, no. 2 (Summer 1972): 77–88, examines Grimké’s role as a critic of segregation within Presbyterianism, while Louis B. Weeks, “Racism, World War I and the Christian Life: Francis J. Grimke in the Nation’s Capital,” Journal of Presbyterian History 51, no. 4 (Winter 1973): 471–88, reprinted in Randall K. Burkett and Richard Newman, eds., Black Apostles: Afro-American Clergy Confront the Twentieth Century (Boston: G. K. Hall & Co., 1978): 57–75, touches on a variety of themes, including Grimké’s critique of the Wilson presidency. The major published collection of Grimké’s addresses, sermons, meditations, and correspondence is Carter G. Woodson, ed., The Works of Francis James Grimké, 4 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Associated Publishers, 1942). One of the best of the English-language biographical sketches of Kagawa published during his lifetime, William Axling, Kagawa, rev. ed. (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1946), provides insight into his image among American Protestants. His 1936 Rauschenbusch Lectures were published as Toyohiko Kagawa, Brotherhood Economics (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1936). Kagawa’s promotion of cooperatives is discussed, in the context of a wide-ranging analysis of his social thought, in George B. Bikle, Jr., The New Jerusalem: Aspects of Utopianism in the Thought of Kagawa Toyohiko (Tucson: University of Arizona Press on behalf of the Association for Asian Studies, 1976). The closest thing to a critical biography of Kagawa in English is Robert Schildgen, Toyohiko Kagawa: Apostle of Love and Social Justice (Berkeley: Centenary Books, 1988). Schildgen argues that Kagawa was overly idealized by many of his European and American admirers, who embraced him as a religious pacificist and promoter of cooperatives, but failed fully to hear his critique of Western imperialism and racism. Whether Kagawa’s African-American admirers were any different, he does not say. For a survey of African-American interest in Japan in the early twentieth century, see Reginald Kearney, African American Views of the Japanese: Solidarity or Sedition? (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998). Based primarily on a study of the black press, it does not include the black religious press. See also Ernest Allen, Jr., “When Japan Was ‘Champion of the Darker Races’: Satokata Takahashi and the Flowering of Messianic Nationalism,” Black Scholar 24, no. 1 (Winter 1994): 23–46, which emphasizes the blending of nationalism and millennialism in the black, pro-Japanese movements of the 1930s. For the FBI’s wartime reports on these and other movements, see The FBI’s RACON: Racial Conditions in the United States During World War II, compiled and edited by Robert A. Hill (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1995).


     1. Entry of June 1, 1918, The Works of Francis J. Grimké, ed. Carter G. Woodson, vol. 3, Thoughts and Meditations (Washington, D.C.: Associated Publishers, 1942), 45. [return to text]

     2. Toyohiko Kagawa, Shisen wo koete (Tokyo: Kaizosha, 1920) was quickly translated into English, by Ichiji Fukumoto and Thomas Satchell, as Across the Death-Line (Kobe: Japan Chronicle Office, 1922). A slightly revised version of their initial translation was soon published in the United States under the title, Before the Dawn (New York: George H. Doran, 1924). [return to text]

     3. Reinhold Niebuhr, An Interpretation of Christian Ethics (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1935). [return to text]

     4. Toyohiko Kagawa, Brotherhood Economics (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1936), 3, ix. [return to text]

     5. Christian Century 53, no.1 (January 1, 1936): 26. [return to text]

     6. “Kagawa Completes Lecture Tour,” Christian Century 53, no. 29 (July 15, 1936): 994. [return to text]

     7. Quoted in “Two Cooperative Farmers,” The Missionary Herald at Home and Abroad 132, no. 7 (July 1936): 298. [return to text]

     8. William Axling, Kagawa, rev. ed. (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1946), 135. [return to text]

     9. “Attack Kagawa as Anti-Christ,” Christian Century 53, no. 21 (May 20, 1936): 744. [return to text]

     10. Harry Emerson Fosdick, The Living of These Days: An Autobiography (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1956), 211. [return to text]

     11. Ruth Isabel Seabury, “An Apostle to America,” The Missionary Herald at Home and Abroad 132, no. 7 (July 1936): 298. [return to text]

     12. Quoted in Reginald Kearney, African American Views of Japan: Solidarity or Sedition? (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998), 20–21. [return to text]

     13. The idea of a global alliance of the colored races took various forms in African-American thought. A sense of solidarity with India’s struggle for independence from Great Britain was one very important point of reference, but this was not necessarily incompatible with an interest in making common cause with the Japanese. In Raising Up a Prophet: The African-American Encounter with Gandhi (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992), Sudarshan Kapur makes clear how, long before the Montgomery bus boycott of the mid-’50s and the emergence of Martin Luther King, Jr., African Americans saw in Gandhian nonviolence a potential model for their own freedom movement. It is important to note that there were also echoes and parallels among African Americans of Indian movements which contested Gandhi’s leadership. These included both the Muslim League and those Indian nationalists who saw India’s best hope for freedom in the rising military power of Japan. Meanwhile, some of those who admired Kagawa were also admirers of Gandhi. [return to text]

     14. S. K. Takahashi, “Development of Our Own,” Detroit Tribune-Independent (April 21, 1934): 2, as quoted in Ernest Allen, Jr., “When Japan Was ‘Champion of the Darker Races’: Satokata Takahashi and the Flowering of Messianic Nationalism,” Black Scholar 24, no. 1 (Winter 1994): 33. [return to text]

     15. Kagawa (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1932). [return to text]

     16. Toyohiko Kagawa to Francis J. Grimké, Tokyo, January 1933, The Works of Francis J. Grimké, ed. Carter G. Woodson, vol. 4, Letters (Washington, D.C.: Associated Publishers, 1942), 469. The “Friends of Jesus” was also the name of a religious society organized by Kagawa in 1921. Modeled eclectically on Catholic religious orders and evangelical brotherhoods, the society was committed to individual piety, evangelism, work among the poor, and pacifism. There was a branch in Los Angeles, at least by the late 1920s. [return to text]

     17. Morris N. Kertzer, “My Visit with Kagawa,” Christian Century, 75, no. 39 (September 24, 1958), 1077. [return to text]

     18. “Southern Cities Greet Kagawa,” Christian Century 53, no. 36 (February 5, 1936): 241–42. Kagawa has been criticized for being insufficiently supportive of the civil rights efforts of the burakumin, a group whose treatment in Japan has sometimes been seen as analogous to the treatment of blacks in the United States. Early in his career, he is even said to have repeated racist assumptions about the burakumin not being true Japanese because of the alleged taint of Chinese, Korean, Caucasian, and black blood. He assisted their leaders in the early 1920s, however, in organizing an important civil rights organization and broke with them later over their militant tactics, not their imagined ancestry. By then he had apparently abandoned any idea that they were a threat to Japanese ethnic purity. During World War II, his critique of American imperialism emphasized its racial dimension, connecting the oppression of Asians abroad with the mistreatment of minorities at home. At one point, he suggested that if Americans were true to the spirit of Lincoln, who fought for the liberation of black slaves, they would understand why Japan was fighting to liberate Asians. See Robert Schildgen, Toyohiko Kagawa: Apostle of Love and Social Justice (Berkeley: Centenary Books, 1988), 126–31, 228–41. [return to text]


Francis J. Grimké, Dr. Toyohiko Kagawa [Washington, D.C.: n.p., 1936], Luce #250, Special Collections, Princeton Theological Seminary Libraries, Princeton, N.J. Presented here by permission from the Princeton Theological Seminary Libraries. All rights reserved.

     There is no man in all the world today, in my judgment, that shows more of what Christianity can do for humanity than Dr. Kagawa, the noted Japanese Christian. In him is to be seen, where Christianity is accepted and lived, what it can do for us in the way of character development, and, through us, what it can do for others. Think of what this man is, and of what he has done for others! It is simply amazing. It seems almost incredible.

     There he stands a living example of the power of Christianity to transform, to beautify, to ennoble! Think of where he was, of what he was when he was met by Jesus Christ, and of what he is today, and where he stands today in the estimation of the world. The very embodiment of unselfish love, giving himself unstintingly and all that he has—his time, talents, opportunities, resources—for the betterment of the suffering and lowly ones of earth. Everywhere honored, everywhere respected, everywhere hailed as a worthy representative of the meek and lowly Jesus. Surely, if there is anywhere on the earth today a Christly man, that man is Dr. Kagawa.

     I think of him always with pleasure. I follow him always in his manifold activities with the deepest interest. I am amazed at the many things he is able to do, and do so well. It is a wonder to me where he finds the time to write so many books, or the time to read as extensively as he does, covering so many fields. He seems to know what is going on in the whole range of the world’s intellectual activities, in history, in science, in philosophy, in theology, and literature in general—a scholar, a thinker, an omnivorous reader, a prolific writer; and, at the same time, a stupendous worker in the practical affairs of every day life. Wonderful is the only word that I can think of that describes him.

     To me, he is the outstanding Christian in our day and generation; to me, he, more than any other man, in the life that he is actually living, not that he professes to live, but is actually living, represents more of the spirit of the Master than any other. That is my estimate of him as I have followed him in his marvelous career. I thank God for him and pray that there may be many more like him to bless the world.

     And, while I am speaking of this great and good man, may I not also say that I thank God that he is not of this great white race, that thinks that it alone is the favorite of heaven, and that everything of value is to be traced to it. Here is a man of another race that, in the qualities that go to make up greatness of the highest order, is without a superior anywhere. A man doesn’t have to be white, doesn’t have to have Caucasian blood flowing in his veins in order to be worthy of consideration; in order to command respect; in order to have (and this is the very highest test of superiority) the capacity to grow up unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. On this highest plane of noble character and life this man, a Japanese, stands and challenges the attention of the world.

     There are no favorite races with God, in the sense that there are certain things reserved for them only. He is the God of all the nations of the world, the God of every kindred, tribe and tongue. He can reveal Himself through one race as readily as through another. And this we should understand. A Kagawa has appeared in Japan, and among other things, it is to give notice to the whole world that just as noble a specimen of manhood, of Christian manhood, can be developed in Japan as from any other locality, or race variety.

     As this man moves about; as he lives his simple, beautiful, self-sacrificing life of love, he is a standing rebuke to race prejudice, and all narrowness and bigotry based on race or color everywhere.

     As Dr. Kagawa goes back to Japan may the American white man learn that God is no respecter of persons; that in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him.

     I thank God, I say, among other things, that this illustrious visitor is not of the white race, lest its sense of superiority, already too great, be still more inflated.

     The Calendar for 1936, issued by Dr. Kagawa, opens with one of his noble utterances:

“Love is the supreme sovereign.
Love alone can subdue the world.
Love binds society together from within.
I stand against all learning, all governments, all arts, all religions, which reject love.
I protest against every so-called church which preaches faith and fails to love.
I oppose all politicians who rely on force and know nothing about love.
If I have to be arrested for saying this, let me be handcuffed. I had rather die quickly by the sword than die of thirst in a loveless desert.”

     To all of which I say, Amen.

     Love that fills this man’s heart, and under the influence of which he lives daily, will kill race prejudice and every evil and divisive influence everywhere.

     Let us not forget Dr. Kagawa nor forget his great message of love.

     Francis J. Grimké,
     Washington, D.C.

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