PENTECOSTALISM AND THE NRA OF 1933: An Oklahoma Story

In July of 1933 the National Recovery Administration of the F.D. Roosevelt Administration adopted this symbol for compliance to the National Industrial Recovery Act.  Businesses and individuals were encouraged to support the blue bird through business practices and consumer decisions. Seeing the symbol housewives were encouraged to buy from that shop or men to do business with that company.  There was an inferred and understood mandatory or compulsory code aspect to the use of the seal and the subsequent shopping decisions.  This was eliminated in 1935 and the image revoked and the mandatory aspect prohibited. 

In August of 1933, people began revolting quietly and respectively against this symbol and the compulsory use of it by business and shoppers.  Individuals were canvassing south Oklahoma City and encountered people who rejected the use of the symbol.

Among those who rebelled were individual members of the First Pentecostal Holiness Church of Oklahoma City located at 423 W. California.  The church had begun life as a Holiness Mission on the fringe of a saloon, gambling, and bordello district of the city (see previous entries on The Blue Front Saloon and Mission).

Pastored by the Rev. Dan T. Muse at the time of the Blue Eagle, many of the First Pentecostal Holiness Church members, as individuals, joined with others to resist the move.  The paper identified the 'others' as  simply "hill people" of Stillwell, Oklahoma. Muse noted they also included members of Capital Hill Nazarene. No doubt there were other individuals in the city and region who also shared the same position of the individuals in the Oklahoma City church.  They, however, remain nameless and this interesting vantage of history largely unexplored.

One woman noted the symbol and the forced use of it were the "forerunner of the Beast."   The church was a "shouting church", Muse said.  They believed in the reality of the Mark of the Beast, 666, and believed the number six was Satanic.   Muse modified some comments inferring the recovery efforts use of the blue thunderbird symbol was the "Mark of the Beast" but acknowledged that it might be a precursor and the church did believe in a soon return of Christ and the reality of the events of Revelation 13.

Muse would go on to become a presiding Bishop of the national Pentecostal Holiness Church.

Sources: 
"Church Sect Shuns "Eagle" Claiming Religious Evil: Pentecostal Holiness group in Fight on NRA Symbol." Oklahoman. (Aug. 30, 1933)1.
National Recovery Act (1933) - U.S. Archives, documents
PR Videos - NRA

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