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Tale of Kansas pastor who fought fascism

Democracy’s Defender: The Life of L.M. Birkhead
By Jim Grebe 
(Lulu Publishing Services)

The U.S. Senate censured Joseph McCarthy on Dec. 2, 1954, for behavior “contrary to senatorial traditions.”

The previous day, Leon Birkhead, former Kansas City Unitarian pastor, had been found dead in his New York City hotel room.

Birkhead, who had been receiving treatment for cancer, long had battled those he considered enemies of tolerance and free thought.

McCarthy, the red-baiting Wisconsin senator, had been Birkhead’s latest adversary.

Others, during and after Birkhead’s 22-year career leading what is now All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, had included Kansas City machine politicians, those who opposed the instruction of evolution in public schools and members of the America First Committee, who opposed American intervention in what became World War II. (TNS)