“Thousands in Atlanta Living the Life of Mary Phagan’s Murderer”—Rev. W. W. Memminger

Thousands In Atlanta

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Constitution

Monday, May 26th, 1913

“Thousands of people in Atlanta are living the lives today that the murderer of Mary Phagan lived, and which culminated in the atrocious crime,” declared Rev. W. W. Memminger, pastor of All Saints’ Episcopal church. In a sermon yesterday morning which he devoted in great part to pleading for a better standard of morals in the daily life of man and woman.

The woman who uses paint and powder, who dances the turkey trot and who dresses in a suggestive manner came in for scathing remarks from the rector, but the man who boasts of being the stronger sex, and yet bends his efforts to tearing down woman’s standard, instead of upholding and protecting virtue and purity, was given even greater blame.

“Women are wrong to adopt any suggestive manner of dress or to use paint and powder which for hundreds of years has been the mark and symbol of a certain type of women,” said the pastor, “and I agree with the church councils which have passed resolutions deprecating it.”

The Story of Nathan.

Mr. Memminger took up the story of Nathan, the prophet, who went to David shortly after the latter committed his terrible crime, and told him the tale of the rich man, with hundreds of lambs in his flock, and of the poor man, who owned but one ewe lamb, and how the rich man when he desired to entertain a wayfarer slew not one of his many, but the single lamb of the poor man.

The story goes that David, on hearing the telling, was highly indignant, and ordered that the rich man should be forced to pay the poor man four-fold. Nathan then said to him, “Thou art the man.”

“Despite the horror at this crime and the detestation felt for the murderer,” said the rector, “there are today thousands in Atlanta to whom Nathan might declare, ‘Thou art the man.’

“The besetting sin of today,” he continued, “is not so much the love of money or the disregard of the poor, as it is the love of women and the ease with which we yield to the lusts of the flesh.”

Mr. Memminger then referred to the enormous amount of unfaithfulness to the marriage tie that is shown daily in newspapers and court records, and declared that certain deep thinkers are debating the entire system of marriage.

Man Worthy of Contempt.

Taking up the subject of placing the blame for these conditions, the rector stated that when man follows Adam and puts the blame on woman, and also attempts to call it the fault of God, as Adams did when he said, “The woman Thou gavest me,” that the right-thinking person has only the same contempt for man as he has for Adam.

Concluding, Mr. Memminger paid a deep tribute to the way in which woman has kept the single standard of purity while man has been doing his best to break it down for hundreds of years, and named as the remedy for the entire state of affairs the necessity for religious life to a personal reality.

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Atlanta Constitution, May 26th 1913, “‘Thousands in Atlanta Living the Life of Mary Phagan’s Murderer’—Rev. W. W. Memminger,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)