James Albert Pike

1913-1969. American bishop. Born in Oklahoma City, he was educated at the University of Southern California and Union Theological Seminary. He practiced and lectured on law (1936-42). At one time he had studied for the Roman Catholic priesthood, but in 1944 he was ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church; he was “priested” in 1946. He was chaplain and head of the religion department of Columbia University (1952- 58) and bishop of California (1958-66). A noted champion of civil rights, planned parenthood, and social reform, he was also a controversial figure, often assailed by fellow churchmen for his rejection of several basic Christian doctrines, including the Virgin Birth. After his son's suicide in 1966 he explored Spiritualism, and in the same year resigned his bishop's office. He was found dead in the Judean wilderness during a Palestinian visit. His writings include Beyond Anxiety (1953); A Time for Christian Candor (1964); and You and the New Morality (1967).