JANUARY 17, 1959
NEW YORK—In this country we spend for medical research, which is our only defense against diseases that kill far more people each year than were killed in the last war, an infinitesmal sum of money.
This is brought out so well in a book, "Before We Sleep" by Hank Bloomgarden, which I think every American should read. It puts clearly some questions that should interest every man, woman and child.
Our government will spend this year more than $2,300 per capita for military defense. This is much more than is provided for medical research.
Some remarkable things are done with this small amount of money for medical research. But last year our representatives in Congress under the leadership of two great economists—one of whom is John Taber, who, I regret to say, comes from my own State of New York—refused to add 14 cents per person to defend the nation against illness and disease through research.
Although our progress in this field has been great, much remains to be done. And the voices that should be raised for more government money for this purpose are strangely silent. They are the voices of the National Fund for Medical Education and the American Medical Association.
Is this because they are afraid that government contributions are going to hurt free enterprise in America?
Which is more important: to conduct more and better research and save more lives, no matter where the money comes from, or to make sure that the money comes from private sources which will not interfere with the ideas of such organizations as the American Medical Association?
It may be a little early to remind you of the World Day of Prayer, which does not come until Friday, February 13, the first Friday in Lent, but it might be well to think now about the theme for this day which is taken from John 9.38—"Lord I believe."
I am quoting here from the Call to Prayer upon which we might well contemplate before the World Day of Prayer arrives:
"On the World Day of Prayer, February 13, may our prayers follow the sun and encircle the globe. May they penetrate the farthest reaches of infinity, blessing all humanity now and throughout eternity.
"Our Shepherd and our pride,
"Our staff and song;
"Jesus, Thou Christ of God
"By Thy perennial word,
"Lead us where Thou hast trod,
"Make our faith strong."
—Clement of Alexandria, 220 A.D.
This is truly a prayer to convey the feeling of the day. And these are days when we can well pray for faith. We will need it in the days ahead. Perhaps sometimes only faith will carry us through. God grant us faith, love and courage.