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James Albert Pike

Pike, James Albert, 1913–69, American Episcopal bishop, b. Oklahoma City. A lawyer who had been raised as a Roman Catholic, he served (1943–45) in the U.S. navy and then studied for the Episcopal ministry. He was ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church and served as chaplain at George Washington Univ. After being ordained a priest in 1946 he studied at Union Theological Seminary, from which he received a B.D. in 1951. He was rector of Christ Church in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and Episcopal chaplain at Vassar (1947–49) and then became chaplain and head of the religion department at Columbia. From 1952 to 1958 he was dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. Pike criticized McCarthyism and became an outspoken advocate of civil rights and planned parenthood. In 1958 he was appointed bishop of California, serving until 1966. He outlined misgivings about church doctrine, including that of the Virgin birth and the Trinity, in A Time for Christian Candor (1963). In 1966 he joined the Center for Democratic Institutions, and two years later he renounced the church to form the Foundation for Religious Transition. He died while on an expedition in the Judean desert. Among his many books are Beyond Anxiety (1953); The Church, Politics, and Society (with J. W. Pyle, 1955); The Next Day (1957); and The Other Side (1967).

See Search by his wife, D. K. Pike (1970); W. Stringfellow and A. Towne, The Bishop Pike Affair (1967).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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