Will it Succeed?
EVIDENCE has been given showing the strength of the
religious combination for the political object of making the
civil power subordinate to the ecclesiastical in this government.
This evidence also shows that just as soon as their design
can be made a political issue dependent upon votes, the question
will be decided in their favor, because the combination can
easily cast enough votes to carry any election in their favor.
It is important next to inquire, What, if any, encouragement
has this movement already received from the national government
? It is too bad that it should be so, but it must be confessed
that there is abundance of evidence to show that the encouragement
which the movement has received is so extensive and of such
a material character as to render the situation at the present
moment actually alarming to every person who has respect for
Christianity, or the principles of the United States Constitution,
or the rights of his fellow-men.
As a matter of fact, it is certain unconstitutional practices of the national government that have established a precedent which has been made a coign of vantage to the religious movement from the date of its organization. Contrary to the Constitution and to the intent of its makers, the United States government almost, if not quite, from the beginning has employed chaplains in the army, the navy, and in Congress; and has thus retained that relic of the union of Church and State, and perpetuated the imposture begun by Constantine and the political ecclesiastics.1 That it is contrary to the intent of the founders of the national government, is made clear by the following words of Madison, written in a letter to Edward Livingston , July 10, 1822 : --
"I observe with particular pleasure the view you have taken of the immunity of religion from civil jurisdiction, in every case where it does not trespass on private rights or the public peace. This has always been a favorite principle with me ; and it was not with my approbation that the deviation from it took place in Congress, when they appointed chaplains,to be paid from the national treasury. It would have been a mush better proof to their constituents, of their pious feelings if the members had contributed for the purpose a pittance from their own pockets."2
He observed likewise that the precedent was " not likely to be rescinded, " which has not only proven true, but the precedent has been made the basis of this loud demand for a religious government altogether.
That it is contrary both to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution, is made clear by the qualifications that are required as essential to an appointment to a chaplaincy.
The following is an official statement received from the War Department, concerning the rank and pay of chaplains, and the qualifications required to become a chaplain : --
"The attention of applicants is directed to the following laws from the Revised Statutes of the United States : --
" SECTION 1121. The President may, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoint a chaplain for each regiment of colored troops, and thirty post chaplains . . .
" SECTION 1122. Chaplains shall have the rank of captain of infantry, without command, and shall be on the same footing with other officers of the army, as to tenure of office, retirement, and pensions.
" SECTION 1123. No person shall be appointed
as regimental or post chaplain until he shall furnish proof that
he is a regularly ordained minister of some religious denomination,
in good standing at the time of his appointment, together with a
recommendation for such appointment from some authorized ecclesiastical
body, or from not less than five accredited ministers of said denomination.
"SECTION 1261. The officers of the army shall be entitled to the pay herein stated after their respective designations.
"Chaplain : Fifteen hundred dollars a year.
"SECTION 1262. There shall be allowed and paid to each commissioned officer below the rank of brigadier-general, including chaplains and others having assimilated rank or pay, ten per centum of their current yearly pay for each term of five years of service."
Here is a distinctly religious qualification required. The applicant shall prove that he is a regularly ordained minister of some religious denomination and must be recommended by some authorized ecclesiastical body. It is true that he is not required directly by this law, to declare that he believes in the Trinity, or the communion of saints, or the resurrection of the dead. It is true he is not required to pass such a direct test as that. But he is required to be religious and to belong to a religious denomination. If he is not this, he cannot be appointed. This is nothing else than a religious test as a qualification for office under the United States, and is clearly a violation of that clause of the Constitution which declares that "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification of any office of public trust under the United States."
More than this: although, as stated above, no direct test as to a belief in the Trinity, etc., is required, the same thing is done indirectly. For in order to be an ordained minister in good standing in some religious denomination, he must necessarily pass a close and searching test upon many religious points. Therefore this requirement does indirectly what it does not do directly, and is just as certainly a violation of the Constitution, as though it were done directly.
That it is contrary to the principles of Christianity, is evident from the actual situation as ti exists. This point is discussed from actual knowledge gained by experience, as the author of this book spent five full years in the regular army of the United States. Army chaplains are supposed to be for the spiritual benefit of the soldiers; but they are no benefit at all, either spiritually or otherwise. I have been in different garrisons where chaplains were stationed and never in the whole five years did a chaplain visit the quarters where I was, or any of the men in the company to which I belonged; unless, perhaps, in company with the officers at Sunday morning inspection. Never was there a visit made by a chaplain to the company in which I served -- Company I of the 21st Infantry, from November 2,1870, to same date 1875,-- for any spiritual purpose, or for any purpose in the due exercise of the duties which he is appointed to perform.
The fact of the matter is, chaplains cannot work for the spiritual interests of the soldiers in the regular army. They rank as commissioned officers, and are to be considered by the enlisted men with the same deference and military respect that is due to the officers. The chaplain wears an officer's uniform, and an officer's insignia of rank. And whenever he appears, the soldier must strike an attitude of "attention" and salute, as he would any other commissioned officer. Thus, the very position which he holds, ranking as an officer, places an insurmountable barrier between him and the soldier. He cannot maintain the dignity of his rank and meet the common soldier upon the level where he is, and approach him upon that common level as every minister of the gospel must do with those whom he is to help spiritually. He cannot enter into the feelings, the wants, the trials, the temptations, the besetments, of the common soldier, as one must do to be able to help spiritually, and as the minister of the gospel must do in the exercise of his office anywhere, with any person in the wide world.
Jesus Christ set no such example. He did not appear in the glory, the dignity, the rank, and the insignia of office, which he bore as the King of eternity. He laid this aside; he came amongst men, meeting humanity upon humanity's level. He though divine, came in human form ; and made himself subject to all the temptations which humanity meets. This he did in order that he might be able to help those who are tempted. The great apostle to the Gentiles, following the way of his Master, became all things to all men, that by all means he might save some. To the weak he became as weak, that he might save them that are weak; to the tempted and tried, the same, that he might save them, and bring them to the knowledge of Him who was tempted and tried for their sakes, that he might deliver them from temptation and give them strength to overcome in time of trial. This is the divine method; it is the only right method.
The appointment of chaplaincies in the United States army, with the rank, the dignity, and the insignia of superior office, is contrary to the principle illustrated by Jesus Christ in his life and taught in his word, and frustrates the very purpose for which professedly they are appointed. The money that is spent by the United States government in paying chaplains could scarcely be spent in a way that would do the soldiers less good. In the nature of the case, it is impossible that chaplains can benefit the men. Besides, having it devolved upon them to maintain the "dignity" and "respect" that is due to their rank they do not, in fact, make any very strenuous efforts to help the men. It is difficult to conceive how any man who has the spirit of Christ, and who really has the burden to help the enlisted men of the army, could ever think of accepting such a position; because the acceptance of the position becomes at once the greatest hinderance to his helping the men at all.
This much upon the merit of the question. The principle shows that in the circumstances of their appointment, army chaplains cannot benefit the men; and practice shows not only that they do not benefit them, but that they do not try. Madison's statement that the precedent was not likely to be rescinded, was simply the expression of a consciousness of the power of precedent in government, however pernicious the precedent and the practice under it may be. The statement was prophetic. In the Thirty-third and Thirty-fourth Congresses, 1853 to 1857, there were strong efforts made to abolish government chaplaincies. The efforts failed, though there was not a valid argument offered to sustain the practice, but only "precedent;" and "it does not cost enough to justify complaint," and "there is no danger of union of Church and State,"etc. If those who so argued then, were only alive now, and could see what claims are made upon the practice and precedent which they perpetuated, it is altogether likely they would think there was danger in it then. To the Thirty-fourth Congress the Baptists sent up a memorial asking that chaplaincies be abolished, and the argument is good for all time. We can present only a portion of the document as follows : --
"The immense increase of the number of chaplains employed by the government within the past few years, has alarmed us to apprehend that an extension of the system may ultimately subject us all to the serious and oppressive features of an unholy union of Church and State, with which the world has been so grievously burdened in all ages, and from which we had hoped we were forever delivered by the glorious epoch of the American Revolution.
"The number of national clergy which the citizens of our country are annually forced to support, by indirect taxation, is as follows: Thirty in the army; twenty-four in the navy, and two in Congress, besides a large number at the various naval and military schools, stations, and out-posts; and at various missionary stations, ostensibly as teachers of Indian schools. The aggregate amount which we are annually compelled to pay for the support of clergymen, as officers which the Constitution gives Congress no power to create or impose upon us, but on the contrary, positively prohibits, cannot therefore vary far from a quarter of a million of dollars annually ! Should the number of national chaplains continue to increase in the ratio of the past few years, it will soon equal that of the national clergy in the despotisms of the Old World, where the Church and State are allies in corruption and oppression. Indeed, we know of no stopping place or limit that can be set to arrest its progress, when precedent has overthrown the protective barriers of the Constitution.
"We cannot perceive why clergymen should be sustained by government in either house of Congress, at our military and naval stations, on board our vessels of war, in each regiment of our army, any more than in each township, parish, district, or village throughout the land: and to sanction the former could not be regarded otherwise than as an assent to the extension of the same system that would place us upon a level with the priest-ridden despotisms of the Old World. Our members of Congress, military and naval officers, soldiery and seamen, are, or should be, paid a just compensation for their services, and be left, like all other citizens, to support any clergymen, or none, as their consciences may direct them, without legal agency or coercion. Neither Christianity nor the genius of our institutions contemplates any aristocracy predicated upon the clerical profession, and no special provision therefore is necessary by the government to admit clergymen to our army and navy, as they may enlist like other men, and labor like Jesus himself and his apostles among the poor fishermen on the sea-side. If it be objected that few clergymen would serve among the troops and marines upon such terms, we can only say that, if actuated by correct religious motives, no minister would wait for government gold to lead him to his labors of love among them, and that none but hypocrites would be debarred by the want of it. We think the government should not evince more religious zeal than professed ministers of the gospel themselves, by bribing them to perform religious service. If the clergymen in the army and navy look for other compensation then the voluntary contribution of those among whom they labor, the various religious societies of the country might be more appropriately appealed to, as their funds are voluntarily contributed for such purposes; while those of the government are taken for national purposes, by authority of law, equally from all classes of citizens of whatever sects, and whether professors or non-professors or religions."
Lest these views should be passed by as only the views of opponents, respectable though they be, we present the views of an admirer and defender of the institution, one who from long acquaintance knew it thoroughly : --
"All these chaplaincies are filled in a way which renders it possible that it may be done by the managing of political wire-pullers, with very little, if any, reference to the appropriate qualifications of those who receive the appointment . . . Let us look at the manner in which the two chaplains to Congress, and also, we might add, the chaplain who is appointed to the Penitentiary at Washington, reach their election. The same course of electioneering which the clerk of the House, the door keeper or sergeant-at -arms has to pursue; namely, to scramble for it. Letters are written before-hand soliciting votes. The successful candidate must be on hand to meet his `friends' as they alight from the cars at the railroad station, who follow him to his hotel, and who will not hesitate to stand in a bar-room, and talk distinctly of his devotion to the party ! But the successful candidate is not usually the man whom his own denomination even, not to say the Christian Community generally, would wish to see at such a post.
" The confidence and respect of the best men in the country has lessened in the same ratio as this Congressional usage has been subjected to wire-pulling and strife. It is now well understood that modest merit, eminent piety, and that kind of talent which is best adapted to the position, is no longer sought for in a chaplain to Congress. But the successful candidate is he who has a face to enter the ring of competitors; who knows how to lay his hand upon the right wires, and has strength to pull harder than the others who may be contending with him for the prize. The men best adapted to fill the office will not be found managing and scrambling for it. Instead of seeking the office, they are the very men who will be found at their post in their appropriate calling until the office seeks them. They are the men whose conscious merit and becoming modesty will not suffer them to enter the ring against such odds as they might chance to find striving for the place."3
As stated above, these statements were written by a defender of government chaplaincies; but no argument that the most decided opponent could make could more fully or more justly condemn the whole institution as a living imposition, and a fraud upon the people.4
Though this was written so long ago, there has been no change for the better since, as both facts and practical experience show. The Christian Statesman of May 8,1891. contains the following : --
"The Rev. James C. Kerr, the most recent appointee to the post of army chaplain, is familiarly known as `Father Kerr' and belongs (according to the Army and Navy Register)` to a very church branch of the Episcopal denomination." The same paper states April 26: ` The newly appointed post chaplain James C. Kerr, gave a banquet to two hundred of his friends at Slaughter Beach, near Milford, Del., April 24. Three ex-governors were present, and one prospective governor. The chaplain (the telegraph tells us) received congratulations in a graceful manner, and everything was free to his guests, bowling alley, billiard room, and bar room included.' We quote to emphasize the remark of the National Baptist: `It seems to us that evangelical Christians cannot reflect with any satisfaction upon this appointment. We humbly submit that a gentleman who celebrates his appointment by throwing open the bar-room to his friends, is not the sort of man who is going to do much good either to officers or men, among whom drunkenness is a wide-spread calamity and curse.'"
True enough, but it requires "influence" to secure a position as chaplain, precisely as it does to any other appointive office, and it is only such characters as that, that can exert the right kind of "influence" to gain such an appointment. No Christian can do it.
Nor is it surprising that drunkenness should be widespread among officers and men, for just before this man was appointed, there was dismissed from the army because of habitual drunkenness a chaplain who, as a drunkard, had held the office seven years, and was an habitual drunkard when he was appointed. The facts as stated by the New York Independent of May 22, 1890, are as follows: --
"A telling example of the evil of intoxicating liquors is that offered by the dismissal of Post-Chaplain John Vaughan Lewis, formerly a popular minister of St. John's church, the most fashionable church in Washington City, who was appointed to a chaplaincy in the army in 1883. He was compelled to leave his church by his unfortunate, and we must add, criminal habit of drinking. The habit pursued him after he left the church, and while a chaplain in the army. A year ago he was confined in an insane asylum for treatment, after having been recommended for retirement by a retiring board. It was hoped that the treatment would result in a partial cure, so that he might be restored to duty; but such has not been the case, and an order has been issued directing his retirement with a year's pay."
That is indeed a telling example of more than the evil of intoxicating liquors. It is a telling example of the evil principle of State chaplaincies. There was a man dismissed from the church for drunkenness, and ten by some "influence" or other hocus-pocus was made a chaplain in the army. That is to say, he was not fit any longer to minister to a church, therefore it was proper for the State to take him up and give him charge of the spiritual interests and the moral culture of its soldiers. And this, too, under a rule that required that he should be "in good standing" in his denomination. Perhaps he was.
Addicted to habitual drinking when he was appointed in 1883, he kept it up all these seven years "while a chaplain in the army." Meantime he was confined in an asylum for treatment, with the hope of "a partial cure, so that he might be restored to duty." That is to say, an habitual drinker is worthy to be appointed a chaplain in the army, and so long as he is not entirely gone in besotted inebriety, he is capable of performing "duty" as a chaplain. When, however, it is no longer possible to keep him even partially sober, then it is proper to retire him "with a year's pay." Eight years' pay, therefore, -- not less than twelve thousand dollars of public money, -- has been paid to this chaplain for doing a drunkard's "duty."
Such a misappropriation of public money, however, is a very small item in comparison with the standing insult thus imposed upon every enlisted man in the United States army. For, to assume -- as the appointment of such a character as that to the office of chaplain, and as the keeping of him there knowing him to be such, does assume -- that the soldiers of the United States army are so low and degraded that a confirmed drunkard is a fit instructor in morals and a proper person to take charge of their spiritual interests, is nothing short of a base insult imposed upon every enlisted man in the service.
And in the Congress which was in session when this man was dismissed, and which conferred the appointment of the other one, there was introduced a bill to increase the number of chaplains from thirty-four to one hundred! Instead of this, there should have been a bill not only introduced but passed, totally abolishing the whole system of chaplaincies under the United States government. Legally, they are unconstitutional loafers. Physically, however, they are strictly constitutional loafers -- when they are not constitutional drunkards.
Another unconstitutional practice which has been followed,
and which has established a precedent that is now urged in support
of the grand movement for national religious legislation, is that
wherein the President of the United States directs religious exercises
by proclaiming national fasts, prayers, and thanksgivings. The Constitution
confers upon the President no such powers. The opinion of Jefferson
upon this point, written in a letter January 23, 1808, is as follows:
"I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that, also, which reserves to the States the powers not delegated to the United States. Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the general government. It must, then, rest with the States, as far as it can be in any human authority. But it is only proposed that I should recommend, not prescribe, a day of fasting and prayer. That is, that I should indirectly assume to the United States an authority over religious exercises, which the Constitution has directly precluded them from. It must be meant, too, that this recommendation is to carry some authority, and to be sanctioned by some penalty on those who disregard it; not, indeed, of fine and imprisonment, but of some degree of proscription perhaps in public opinion. And does the change in the nature of the penalty make the recommendation less a law of conduct for those to whom it is directed ? I do not believe that it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its doctrines; nor of the religious societies, that the general government should be invested with the power of effecting any uniformity of time or matter among them. Fasting and prayer are religious exercises; the enjoining them, an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the time for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and this right can never be safer than in their own hands, where the Constitution has deposited it." 5
Madison also held that this practice is a deviation from the strict principle of the separation of religion form civil jurisdiction as demanded by the Constitution. His word as written in the letter before quoted on chaplaincies, is as follows : --
"There has been another deviation from the strict principle [ " of the immunity of religion from civil jurisdiction "] in the executive proclamations of fasts and festivals." 5
Yet even Madison allowed himself by some sort of political or other "necessity" to be swerved from this acknowledged principle, and actually issued such proclamations,and apologized for them by the plea that they were " indiscriminate, and merely recommendatory." But no such pela will suffice. Jefferson's position is the only true one on this question. Fasting, prayer, and thanksgiving to God are religious exercises, and for the President or any Governor to enjoin or recommend them, is only to assume jurisdiction of religion and religious exercises. It is to assume for the particular occasion, the office and prerogative for Pontifex Maximus, and is the first step toward the creation in permanency, of that pagan office, only to be merged at last in the papal from.
NATIONAL SUPPORT OF CHURCHES
Another practice, evil in itself and fraught with
additional danger in that it made a precedent and basis for urging
the National Reform claims, is the exemption of church property
from taxation. To exempt one class of property from its just share
in the general expense, is to increase the measure of tax on the
rest. Exemption of church property therefore does cause other property
to bear just so much of an additional burden, and is noting less
then than levying of a general tribute in support of the church.
In its original purpose, the exemption was especially to favor the
church, and was only one element in the grand scheme of the union
of Church and State; such it has ever been ; and such only it is
When by the exemption of church property from taxation, the national government had lent its sanction to the principle and the practice of State support of the Church, it was only logical that the further step should be taken, and support from the public treasury the religious teaching of the church. This step was taken in 1885, and the practice actually began in 1886. In 1885, the first year of President Cleveland's administration, there was established at the capital of the nation a "Bureau of Catholic Missions," the chief object of which was to "push Catholic schools upon the government as earnestly as possible." In September of the same year, they secured from the Commissioner of Indian affairs the publication of the following statement :--
"The government should be liberal in making contracts with religious denominations to teach Indian children in schools established by those denominations. It should throw open the door and say to all denominations "There should be no monopoly in good works. Enter, all of you, and do whatever your hands find of good work to do, and in your efforts the government will give you encouragement out of its liberal purse.' In other words, the government, without partiality, should encourage all the churches to work in this work in this broad field of philanthropic endeavor." 7
Fifteen denominations of so-called Protestants took the bait, and the next five years these, with the Catholic Church, made the following record of drafts, upon the public treasury : --
"The appropriations in this regard have run from the year 1886, as follows: For Catholic schools in 1886, $118.343 as against $109.916 for all other; in 1887, $194,635 as against $168,579 for all others ; in 1888, $221,169 for Catholic schools, and $155,095 for all others; in 1889,$347-672 for Catholic schools, as against $183,000 for all others; in 1889-90. as I have said $356,967 for Catholic schools, as against, for all other denominations and all other schools, $204,993." 8
That is, in five years there was drawn from the public treasury, by churches, more than two millions of dollars with which to pay themselves for teaching their own church principles and doctrines in their own church schools and to their own converts. In other words, more than two millions of dollars was paid in those five years by the United States government directly to the support of these churches in their own religious work. And another point worthy of particular notice is that during this time the Catholic Church was enabled to increase by $238,624 the amount which it first received, while all the other denominations together were able to increase theirs by only $95,077.
When President Harrison entered upon his administration, and found this condition of things, he set about to remedy the evil, to break this union of Church and State, and let the churches support their own schools, and teach their own doctrines, at their own expense. But he soon found that in so short a time the wicked thing had attained such power that it could successfully cope with the administration of the government itself. As stated by Senator Dawes on the floor of the Senate,--
"The present management was in favor of divorcing the government absolutely from them all. but it found in impossible to do that."
That is to say, on only five years the church power, as represented in these sixteen denominations, had secured such a hold upon the United States government, that it could not be shaken off. In so short a time,and in the face of every principle of the government there was created such a union of Church and State that it was found impossible to divorce them.
Finding this to be the case, the administration thought to do what appeared to be the next best thing, and allow no increase of the appropriations to any church, and did recommend that the government conduct its own schools and teach the Indians itself. The Catholic Bureau of Missions applied for aid in establishing three new schools. There were also applications on the part of the Episcopalians, the Presbyterians, and the Methodists; but all such applications were refused. With the refusal , the Protestant denominations contented themselves; but the Catholic Bureau," says Senator Dawes, "having failed to get a contract for these three schools from the government, in addition, and aggravating in inequality that had already aroused public sentiment, they went to the House of Representatives without any estimate or recommendation from the department, and obtained the insertion into the bill, of these three schools."
When the bill reached the Senate, an amendment was there added to it, voting an appropriation to yet another school, making four in all that the Catholics had secured. As soon as the other denominations heard of this, they hurried up to Congress with a "protest" against the proposed increase of appropriation to the Catholic Church ; but there was no suggestion of any protest from them against having the appropriation of former years continued both to the Catholics and to themselves. And as the protest came only because the Catholics had succeeded in obtaining additional money , when they themselves could secure nothing additional their "protest" simply amounted to nothing. There was nothing heard of any protest from any of the Protestant churches, so long as they with the Catholic Church, got their proportionate share of the plunder. It was only when they discovered that the Catholic Church was getting a considerable increase when they could get none, that they discovered anything wrong. Then their "protest" was entered. It was read by Senator Jones, of Arkansas, as a statement which had been sent to him by an "eminent man, a minister a resident of New York," and runs as follows : --
"Last year was given to the Roman Catholics, for Indian education, $356,000. They demanded from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs $44,000 more, making total of over $400,000. The request was denied, and the commissioner announced that he would not extend the contract system, and would make no contracts with new schools. On this the Catholics endeavored to defeat his confirmation, but did not succeed.
"Foiled in this raid upon the public treasury, they then attempted to accomplish their ends through Congress. In the Indian appropriation bill as introduced into the House of Representatives there are two items, one appropriating $3,330 for a Roman Catholic school at Rensselaer, Indiana, and the other appropriating $12,500 for a Roman Catholic school to be opened among the Mission Indians in California.
"The special appropriations for the Roman Catholics in the Indian bill for last year were, for St. Ignatius school, in Montana, $45,000, and for Roman Catholic schools in Minnesota, $30,000. This made a total last year of $75,000. The total amount this year is $95.830. In addition to this large sum they will demand of the commissioner, doubtless, the same amount granted them last year.
"It should be remembered that in 1886 the amount of money secured from the government by the Roman Catholics was $118,000 and in 1890 it had reached the large sum of $356,000. Is it not time that this perversion of public money to sectarian uses should cease ? "
Now that would be an excellent protest if it were an honest one. It would be a strong one if it were only fair. From this statement alone, nobody would ever get the idea that any church but the Catholic was engaged in this "raid upon the public treasury," or had been a beneficiary of "this perversion of public money to sectarian uses." Yet this statement was written and distributed to United States senators by a minister -- clearly a Protestant minister. It was written by a minister who knew the facts. He knew that last year the Roman Catholics received $356,967 and must also have known that the Protestants received $204,993. He must have known that while the Roman Catholics asked an increase of $44,000, the Protestants also requested the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to increase the appropriation to them. He must have known, also, that in 1886, although the Roman Catholics received $118,343, the Protestants at the same time from the same source received $109,916 ; and that although in 1890 the appropriation to the Roman Catholic Church had "reached the large sum of 356,967," the amount secured by the Protestants in the same time, and from the same source, had also reached the large sum of $204,993. Yet in the face of these figures, showing the large amount of money received by Protestant denominations from the public treasury for church uses, he says not a word about it, and lays against the Roman Catholics only, the charge of that "raid upon the public treasury," as though they were the only guilty parties in the whole transaction.
Now if the Roman Catholics' securing from the national government $118,343 was a "raid upon the public treasury," the securing by Protestants from the same source $109,916 is just as certainly a raid upon the public treasury; and if the continuation and increase of the appropriation to the Roman Catholics up to the amount of $356,967 was a continuous raid upon the public treasury, then the continuation and the increase of the appropriation, from the same source, to Protestants up to the amount of $204,993, was just as certainly a continuous raid upon the public treasury. The only difference is that the raid of the Protestants was not quite so successful as the raid of the Catholics.
Nor is it exactly correct to put it in this way. The raid was not made by the parties in two distinct divisions. They were united in solid phalanx in the raid, each division supporting the other. It was only when the Protestants found that the Catholics were securing the larger share of the plunder, that there was any division at all among the invading host, or that there was among them any idea that their action was a raid upon the public treasury. As soon as this was discovered, however, the invading hosts separated into two divisions, -- the "sectarian" and the "non-sectarian,"-- and the Protestants, the "non-sectarian" division, suddenly discovered that there was a "raid being made upon the public treasury," and that there was being carried on a "serious perversion of public money to sectarian uses."
It is important to inquire, Why is it considered impossible to break this hold which the churches have secured upon the government ? Why is it impossible to sever this union of Church and State which is already formed ? After stating the amount of appropriations to parochial schools. from the years 1886-1890, as already given, Senator Dawes, who had charge of the bill, said: --
"That was the condition of things last year when the present management of the Indian Bureau came into power. That is maintained to-day in precisely the same condition. When this present management came into power, it encountered a public sentiment in reference to this great discrepancy, which came very near precipitating upon the country a very angry and unprofitable, and in every possible light an unfortunate discussion, of the great question whether the government should be connected with parochial schools at all. The present management was in favor of divorcing the government absolutely form them all, but it found it impossible to do that."
This is a statement worth examining: --
1. It is shown by the Senator that the United States government is allied with the churches in the United States to such an extent as to be spending more than one-half million dollars each year for the support of the schools of these churches. That is more than one-half million dollars is taken each year from all the people and given outright to certain churches with which to conduct church schools, and to teach the religious dogmas of those churches.
2. It is stated by the Senator that the question whether the government should be connected with parochial schools at all, is a "great question." That is the truth. It is a great question. It is the great question that caused the Dark Ages. and has been the curse of every government until now. It is this question that our fathers sought to have this government avoid, when they forbade Congress to have anything to do with religion. But, although the whole spirit and intent of the United States Constitution forbids this thing which is now being done by the government for certain churches of the United States, both the government and the churches have deliberately gone ahead in the matter, and are still going ahead, and the people sit still and let them go on without any protest.
This is forcible and practical illustration of the truth that constitutional safeguards are such only so long as the intelligence of the people is kept up to the level of the Constitution. A people may have a perfect Constitution, and yet, if they neglect it so that the public intelligence falls below the level of the Constitution, and the real character of the Constitution is forgotten, then the Constitution is of no more value than so much blank paper. This is the condition of things in the United States now. So far as the subject of religion and government is concerned, the United States Constitution is as nearly perfect as a human production can be made. It declares an absolute separation between the church, or churches, and the State; and prohibits the government from having anything to do with establishing any religion, or with any religion already established. And yet the people of the United States have so far forgotten these principles, and the necessity of maintaining them, that Congress goes on year after year, bestowing national aid upon certain churches, and the people say not a word. Men are elected to Congress who still carry on the same iniquity, and the people suffer the evil still to go on, until the churches get such a hold upon the government that it is officially declared that it is impossible to be broken. And this declaration is made by the very men who are sent to Congress, and who sit there under a solemn oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Of what benefit is the Constitution of the United States, in its provision for the separation of Church and State, when the men who take oath to support it thus violate it, and when the people are so careless and indifferent about the whole matter as to suffer it to go on year after year, with not a word of protest ? This is indeed a great question.
And yet, as great a question as it is, and great a question as it is acknowledged by Senator Dawes to be he considers any discussion of the question to be "unprofitable and in every possible light an unfortunate discussion." How is it possible that the discussion of the great fundamental principles of the United States Constitution can be unfortunate and unprofitable ? If this statement be true, then it was an unfortunate and unprofitable thing for our fathers to put this principle in the Constitution at all ; because it is certain that every subject embodied in the Constitution is properly a subject of discussion. Therefore, if the statement of Senator Dawes be true, that the discussion of the question as to whether the government should be connected with parochial schools, -- in other words, whether there shall be a union of Church and State -- if the discussion of that question can ever be unfortunate and unprofitable, then that is only to charge that the action of the fathers, in making such a provision in the Constitution, was only unfortunate and unprofitable. But Mr. Dawes even repeats this proposition. He says: --
"The present management was in favor of divorcing to government absolutely from them all, but it found it impossible to do that. Perhaps it would have been better had the Indian education set out upon this principle, but it had gone so far and got interwoven with the whole system of Indian education, that it was utterly impossible to retrace the step, and to avoid the precipitation upon the country of such a discussion as that, which could do no good anywhere."
Senator Dawes is from Massachusetts. Does he express the opinion of the people of that State, when he declares the discussion of the question of national support to parochial schools to be unfortunate, unprofitable, and such as can do no good anywhere ? Are the people of the United States, as a whole, ready to the admit that the discussion of one of the greatest principles embodied in the United States Constitution, can ever be either unfortunate or unprofitable, or such as can do no good anywhere ? It is hard to believe that such is the sentiment of the majority of the people of the United States. But as the practice is known, and is still allowed to go on, increasing every year, and that without any such general protest or even discussion as the importance of the subject demands, we are forced to conclude that the people have forgotten the principles of the government of the United States, and have laid aside that eternal vigilance which alone is the price of liberty.
And from the fact, and the way, that this practice is allowed to go on almost wholly without dispute or protest, it is evident that the American people are ready to admit, and to sit quietly down with the admission, that the church power in the United States has already so far encroached upon the national government as to have absolutely strangled the free discussion of one of the greatest principles of the Constitution, and thus virtually to have strangled all Successful efforts at resistance.8
So much has actually been accomplished, and is now being practiced, in the union of Church and State in this government, which in every principle and every precept of its fundamental and supreme law, stands pledged to the opposite. And in view of the situation as it is, it is impossible to deny that there is every favorable prospect for the speedy success of the gigantic religious combination which exists for the sole purpose of having the government committed wholly to the interests and the propagation of religion. This would be so, were there nothing more in view than the things which we have here named. But the prospect is made far more promising when viewed from the position which the combination has gained by direct and intentional effort.
THE PROPOSED RELIGIOUS AMENDMENT
May 25, 1888, Henry W. Blair, United States Senator
from New Hampshire, introduced in the United States Senate, the
following joint resolution: --
"50th CONGRESS, S. R. 86.
Joint Resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States respecting establishments of religion and free public schools.
"Resolved by the senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled(two thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following amendment to the Constitution of the United States be, and hereby is proposed to the States to become valid when rectified by legislatures of three fourths of the States, as provided in the Constitution: --
"SECTION 1. No State shall ever make or maintain
any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting
the free exercise thereof.
"SECTION 2. Each State in this Union shall establish and maintain a system of free public schools adequate for the education of all children living therein, between the ages of six and sixteen years, inclusive, in the common branches of knowledge, and in virtue, morality, and the principles of the Christian religion. But no money raised by taxation imposed by law, or any money or other property or credit belonging to any municipal organization, or to any State, or to the United States,shall ever be appropriated, applied, or given to the use or purposes of any school institution corporation, or person, whereby instruction or training shall be given in the doctrines, tenets, belief, ceremonies, or observances peculiar to any sect, denomination organization, or society, being, or claiming to be religious in its character ; nor shall such peculiar doctrines tenets, belief ceremonials, or observances be taught or inculcated in the free public schools.
"SECTION 3. To the end that each State the United States, and all the people thereof, may have and preserve governments republican in from and in substance, the United States shall guarantee to every State, and to the people of every State and of the United States, the support and maintenance of such a system of free public schools as is herein provided.
"SECTION 4. That Congress shall enforce this article by legislation when necessary."
With this the National Reformers were delighted, and at once were all astir. The Christian Statesman of July 12, 1888, said that the proposed amendment "should receive the strenuous support of all American Christians." In the issue of July 19, it further said : --
" Senator Blair's proposed constitutional amendment furnishes an admirable opportunity for making the ideas of the National Reform Association familiar to the minds of the people."
Then after mentioning " Christianity, the religion of the nation," and " the Bible the text-book of our common Christianity in all the schools," it continues: --
" These have been our watch-words in the discussions of a quarter of a century. And now these ideas are actually pending before the Senate of the United States, in the form of a joint resolution proposing their adoption as a part of the Constitution of the United States. Here is a great opportunity. Shall we boldly and wisely improve if ?"
In the next issue of the Statesman July 26 "Rev." J. C. K. Milligan (the same one who speaks on page 708 of this book) said to the editor: --
" Your editorial of July 12, on a Christian constitutional amendment pending in the Senate, is most gratifying news to every Christian patriot. It seems too good to be true. It is too good to prevail without a long pull, as strong pull,and a pull all together on the part of its friends; but it is so good that it surely will have many friends who will put forth the necessary effort. True the pending amendment has its chief value in one phrase, `the Christian religion' but if it shall pass into our fundamental law, that one phrase will have all the potency of Almighty God, of Christ the Lord of the Holy Bible, and of the Christian world, with it. By letters to senators and representatives in Congress; by petitions numerously signed and forwarded to them; by local, State, and national conventions held, and public meetings in every school district; such an influence can quickly be brought to hear as will compel our legislators to adopt the measure, and enforce it by the needed legislation. The Christian pulpits, if they would, could secure its adoption before the dog-days end. The National Reform Association, the Christian Statesman, and the secretaries in the field, are charged with this work, and will not be wanting as leaders in the cause."
And in the same paper, September 6, Mr. John Alexander, the originator of the National Reform Association, published his congratulations to the Association on the introduction of the Blair "Joint Resolution," saying that "the National Reform Association ought to spare no pains and omit no effort which may promise to secure its adoption;" and continued as follows: --
"Let us begin without delay the circulation of petitions ( to be furnished in proper form by the Association), and let an opportunity be given to all parts of the country to make up a roll of petitions so great that it will require a procession of wheelbarrows to trundle the mighty mass into the presence of the representatives of the nation in the House of Congress . . . . Let a mass convention of the friends of the cause be held in Washington, when the Blair resolution shall be under discussion, to accompany with its influence the presentation of the petitions, and to take such other action as may be deemed best to arouse the nation to a genuine enthusiasm in behalf of our national Christianity."
The National Woman's Christian Temperance Union, in its annual convention, held in the Metropolitan Opera House, New York City, October 19-23, 1888 passed a resolution "that the Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, proposed by Senator Henry W. Blair, . . . deserves our earnest and united support."
A public meeting in support of the resolution was called and held by the National Reform Association in Philadelphia, December 11,1888. Senator Blair was invited to attend. He could not go in person, but sent a letter strongly approving the work of the Association, among other things saying : --
"I earnestly trust that your movement may become strong, general in fact, all-pervading ; for the time has fully come when action is imperative and further delay is most dangerous."
Just how the longest imaginable delay could possibly be as dangerous as would be the success of the movement, neither Mr. Blair nor anybody else has ever attempted to explain.
The meeting adopted a memorial to Congress, pleading for the speedy adoption of the resolution. This memorial was presented by the corresponding secretary of the Association, at a hearing before the Senate Committee, February 15,1889. At this hearing the National Reform Association was accompanied and supported by "Rev." James M. King, of New York City, as the representative of the American branch of the Evangelical Alliance. One week from that date -- February 22 -- another hearing was held, at which a delegation from the "Committee of One Hundred" of Boston led by the eminent Baptist minister, Philip S. Moxom of that city, urged the adoption of the proposed amendment. 9
The Fiftieth Congress expired without any further definite action in behalf of the resolution. The Fifty-first Congress was no sooner convened for business than the resolution was re-introduced by Senator Blair with no change whatever, except that the phrase, " The principles of the Christian religion," was made to read, "The fundamental and nonsectarian principles of Christianity."
That the National Reformers made no mistake in supposing that in its intent this resolution proposed exactly what they have been and are working for, is made plain by the following extract from a letter written by Senator Blair to the New York Mail and Express in the winter of 1889-90 : --
"I yet believe that instead of selecting a final toleration of so-called religions, the American people will by constant and irresistible pressure, gradually expel from our geographical boundaries every religion except the Christian in its varied forms. I do not expect to see the pagan and other forms existing side by side with the former, both peaceably acquiesced in, for any length of time. I do not think that experience will satisfy the American people that the inculcation of any positive religious belief hostile to the Christian faith, or the practice of the forms of any other worship, is conducive to the good order of society and the general welfare. There may not be any exhibition of bigotry in this. I believe that religious toleration will yet come to be considered to be an intelligent discrimination between the true and the false, and the selection of the former by such universal consent as shall exclude by general reprobation the recognition and practice of the latter. . . . The people are considering these subjects anew. The are questioning whether there be not some mistake in theories of religious liberty, which permit the inculcation of the most destructive errors in the name of toleration, and the spread of pestilences under the name of liberty which despises the quarantine."
And that they made no mistake in the view that practically it means all that they intend, is clear from the briefest examination of its provisions. If this resolution were adopted and the proposed amendment were made a part of the Constitution, then the first of all questions to be decided would be, What are the fundamental and non-sectarian principles of Christianity ?
If Christianity, itself alone, is not sectarian, then none of the principles of Christianity can possibly be sectarian. If any of the principles of Christianity be sectarian, then all of them are. Because Christianity as it is, is a definite and positive thing. It is not a namby-pamby mixture of fast and loose principles. But granting the assumption of the resolution that such a distinction exists, the question then is, How shall the United States government discover just what they are ? Christianity is represented in the United States by probably a hundred different denominations. Each one of these holds to something different from all the others, which makes it the particular denomination it is. No one of these, therefore, can be taken as representing the non-sectarian principles of Christianity. Consequently, the only course to be pursued by which the United States government could find out what are the non-sectarian principles of Christianity, is by a general consensus of the principles of Christianity as held by all of the denominations in which Christianity is represented in the United States. This could not be secured by an examination of the creeds of the different denominations, because the leading denominations themselves do not agree upon their own creeds. There would be no remedy, therefore, other than to call a general convention of all the denominations of the United States, to discover what principles of the Christian religion are held in common by all, and are therefore non-sectarian in this country. This is the idea of the author of the resolution, as stated in a letter to the secretary of the National Reform Association, and which was read at the Philadelphia meeting mentioned above, December 11,1888. He said: --
"I believe that a text-book of instruction in the principles of virtue, morality, and of the Christian religion, can be prepared for use in the public schools by the joint effort of those who represent every branch of the Christian church, both Protestant and Catholic, and also those who are not actively associated with either."
Does anybody who has any acquaintance with history need to be shown the perfect parallel between this and the formation of that union of Church and State in the fourth century, which developed the papacy and all the religious despotism and intolerance that has been witnessed in Europe and America from that time to this ? It was in this way precisely that the thing was worked in the fourth century. Let the reader turn back and review chapters XII and XIV of this book, and glance again at the succeeding chapters, and bear in mind that the great changes, tests, and contests that there occurred only at the deaths of the successive emperors, would all occur here at each successive congressional election and at each change of administration -- that is to say, every two years. And as surely as the complete establishment of the papacy followed, and grew out of, that imperial recognition of Christianity in the fourth century, just so surely, and much more speedily, would the complete establishment of a religious despotism after the living likeness of the papacy, follow, and grow out of, such a national recognition of Christianity as is proved for the constitutional amendment proposed by Senator Blair, and aimed at and longed for by the National Reform religious combination.
A NATIONAL ESTABLISHMENT OF CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY
Nor is Senator Blair the only United States senator
who is enlisted in the scheme to create and establish a national
religion. Senator George F. Edmunds is scarcely second to Mr. Blair.
When in 1876 there had passed the House by the almost unanimous
vote of 180 to 7, a proposed amendment to the Constitution prohibiting
any State from making any law respecting an establishment of religion
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and forbidding any appropriations
of public money to religious sects or denominations, it went to
the Senate, where it was referred to the Judiciary Committee of
which Senator Edmunds ends was chairman. The National Reform Association
seeing how readily the resolution had passed the House, and fearing
it would pass the Senate, hastily called a meeting of its executive
committee, and framed a National Reform clause, and appointed a
committee to carry it to Washington to the Senate Committee; and
the National Reform Manualsays that "this very clause was introduced
into the amendment." This and other changes made an entirely
new, and in fact a National Reform, resolution of it, and fortunately
it failed to pass the Senate, but only by two votes.
Again: May 14, 1890 Senator Edmunds introduced in the United States Senate "a bill to establish the University of the United States," Section 10 of which reads as follows: --
"SECTION 10. That no special sectarian belief or doctrine shall be taught or promoted in said university, but this prohibition shall not be deemed to exclude the study and consideration of Christian theology."
It is evident that this section provides at once for the creation of a national god and the establishment of a national religion; for theology is the science which teaches about God. But it is only the Christian theology, science of the Christians' God, that can be taught there. It is only the wisdom concerning the Christians' God that could be studied and considered there. Therefore this section does as clearly and distinctly provide for the setting up of somebody's idea of God, and the establishment of the beliefs, doctrines, and views which conform to it, as anything can do. It just as clearly and distinctly provides for the establishment of some form of Christianity as the national religion, as it would be possible to do by an act of Congress. Because it would be at once a national recognition of Christianity as the only form of theology, belief, or doctrine worthy of study and consideration from a national point of view; and the national recognition of Christianity, and the teaching of it at national expense and by national authority, would be but the establishment of that form of Christianity as the national religion.
As with the Blair resolution, it is evident also that this would not be by any means the end of the story. The next thing to be decided would be, What form of "Christian theology" shall it be? Shall it be Roman Catholic " Christian theology," or shall it be Protestant " Christian theology," that shall be studied and considered in the National University at the national expense and by national authority? This would have to be decided; and as the bill provides that the Board of Regents shall be composed of the President and Cabinet, the Chief-Justice of the United States, and twelve citizens of the United States "appointed by a concurrent resolution of the two houses of Congress," as to how the question should be decided would be the issue in the very first presidential election after the passage of the bill, and in every other presidential and congressional election that ever would follow. At every national election "Christian theology" would be the one great question at issue. Mrs. Woodbridge's National Reform Woman's Christian Temperance Union idea of bringing the gospel to the masses, would be literally fulfilled in the perfect image of the original campaigns that made the papacy.
It may be said that even if such a bill as this were passed by Congress, it would at once be declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court. That it ought to be declared unconstitutional is very certain, but that it would be, is another question entirely. That such a bill is unconstitutional is clear from one consideration alone, to say nothing of any more. If Christian theology be taught in the University, there will have to be a teacher. Such a teacher would in the nature of the case be a holder of an "office or public trust" within the meaning of the Constitution. In order to be qualified to teach Christian theology, such a person must necessarily be a Christian. But to require such a teacher to be a Christian would be to require a religious test, and clearly a violation of that clause of the Constitution which declares that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this government."
Yet this would be hardly more of a violation of this clause, than is the appointment of chaplains under the law as enacted. And there is hardly a doubt that the teaching of "Christian theology" would be carried on under such an act as this, by teachers obliged to submit to such a religious test, just as the appointment and work of chaplains is now carried on. What does the Constitution amount to in the presence of such forces?
But whether it would be declared unconstitutional by Supreme Court, is by no means certain. Senator Edmunds, the author of the bill, is said to be one of best, if not the best, of constitutional lawyers, not only in the United States Senate, but in the whole country. True, it does not follow that this fact would necessarily have any influence with ?he Supreme Court; yet when a man with such a reputation as a constitutional lawyer, would deliberately frame and offer such a bill, it might be that a sufficient number of the judges on the Supreme Bench would view the constitutionality of the act as Mr. Edmunds does; especially if he should argue in favor of its constitutionality, as he would be certain to do, it being a favorite measure of his.10
PROPOSED NATIONAL SUNDAY LEGISLATION
But it is in behalf of the bond of union between the
National Reform combination and the papacy, it is in behalf of this
great sign manual of the papacy, it is in behalf of Sunday-laws
that the strongest effort is being made by this whole religious
combination. These other measures are mere feelers, as compared
with the universal movement and determination to secure a national
Sunday law, or at least some congressional action which shall establish
Sunday as the national holy day, the sign and test of the national
religion. The direct effort upon this point was begun by the Woman's
Christian Temperance Union, which in the winter of 1887-88 presented
to Congress by Mrs. Bateham a petition for a national Sunday law,
which they said represented "a million and a quarter"
petitioners. The petitions were referred, in the Senate, to the
Committee on Education and Labor, of which Senator Blair was chairman.
April 6, 1888, a hearing was held by this committee, at which Mrs. Charles St. John, and "Rev." W. F. Crafts by request of Mrs. Bateham, appeared in behalf of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. "Rev." T. A. Fernley, D.D., appeared as the representative of the Philadelphia Sabbath Association, which represents all of the churches of Philadelphia; whom Archbishop Ryan had told "that he is cordially with us in the effort to secure a proper and rigorous enforcement of Sabbath [Sunday] laws;" and bearing a petition indorsed by the National Reform Association. "Rev." G. P. Nice represented the "Maryland Sabbath Association." "Rev." Yates Hickey represented the "International Sabbath Association," which "proposes to bring the divine law to bear" upon Sunday working corporations, such as railroads, etc., and guarantee that the Lord will assure them "dividends." "Rev." George Elliott, pastor of Foundry Church, Washington, D.C., who was introduced to the committee as "the author of a book on the Sabbath," and who very appropriately cited the Sunday legislation of Constantine, and congratulated the committee on the "considerable amount of Puritan blood""an the feeling of the Puritan," which he professed to see "represented in it." Senator Blair closed the hearing with the following words: --
"If any gentlemen interested in this matter will formulate a bill, or if different gentlemen will formulate different bills, and forward them to the committee, it would be of assistance in the way of enabling us to reduce these suggestions to a practical form, so that they can be better considered. The hearing is now closed."
The result was that May 21 following, Mr. Blair introduced in the Senate the following bill: --
"50th CONGRESS, S. 2983.
"A bill to secure to the people the enjoyment of the first day of the week, commonly known as the Lord's day, as a day of rest, and to promote its observance as a day of religious worship.
"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That no person, or corporation, or the agent, servant, or employee of any person or corporation, shall perform or authorize to be performed any secular work, labor, or business to the disturbance of others, works of necessity, mercy, and humanity excepted; nor shall any person engage in any play game, or amusement, or recreation, to the disturbance of others, on the first day of the week, commonly known as the Lord's day, or during any part thereof, in any territory, district, vessel, or place subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States; nor shall it be lawful for any person or corporation to receive pay for labor or service performed or rendered in violation of this section.
"SECTION 2. That no mails or mail matter shall hereafter be transported in time of peace over any land postal-route, nor shall any mail matter be collected, assorted, handled, or delivered during any part of the first day of the week; Provided, That whenever any letter shall relate to a work of necessity or mercy, or shall concern the health, life, or decease of any person, and the fact shall be plainly stated upon the face of the envelope containing the same, the Postmaster-General shall provide for the transportation of such letter or letters in packages separate from other mail matter, and shall make regulations for the delivery thereof, the same having been received at its place of destination before the said first day of week, during such limited portion of the day as shall best suit the public convenience and least interfere with the due observance of the day as one of worship and rest: And provided further, that when there shall have been an interruption in the due and regular transmission of the mails, it shall be lawful to so far examine the same when delivered as to ascertain if there be such matter therein for lawful delivery on the first day of the week.
"SECTION 3. That the prosecution of commerce between the States and with the Indian tribes, the same not being work of necessity, mercy, or humanity, by the transportation of persons or property by land or water in such a way as to interfere with or disturb the people in the enjoyment of the first day of the week, or any portion thereof, as a day or rest from labor, the same not being labor of necessity, mercy, or humanity, or its observance as a day or religious worship, is hereby prohibited; and any person, or corporation, or the agent, servant, or employee of any person or corporation who shall willfully violate this section, shall be punished by a fine of not less than ten, or more than one thousand dollars, and no service performed in the prosecution of such prohibited commerce shall be lawful, nor shall any compensation be recoverable or be paid for the same.
"SECTION 4. That all military and naval drills, musters, and parades, not in time of active service or immediate preparation therefor, of soldiers, sailors, marines, or cadets of the United States on the first day of the week, except assemblies for the due and orderly observance of religious worship, are hereby prohibited; nor shall any unnecessary labor be performed or permitted in the military or naval service of the United States on the Lord's day.
"SECTION 5. That it shall be unlawful to pay or receive payment or wages in any manner for service rendered, or for labor performed or for the transportation of persons, or of property, in violation of the provisions of this act, nor shall any action lie for the recovery thereof, and when so paid, whether in advance or otherwise, the same may be recovered back by whoever shall first sue for the same.
"SECTION 6. That labor or service performed and rendered on the first day of the week in consequence of accident, disaster, or unavoidable delays in making the regular connections upon postal routes and routes of travel and transportation, the preservation of perishable and exposed property, and the regular and necessary transportation and delivery of articles of food in condition for healthy use, and such transportation for short distances from one State, district, or Territory into another State, district, or Territory as by local laws shall be declared to be necessary for the public good, shall not be deemed violations of this act, but the same shall be construed so far as possible to secure to the whole people rest from toil during the first day of the week, their mental and moral culture, and the RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCE OF THE SABBATH DAY."
This was at once met with strong opposition throughout the country; and it was so manifestly religious legislation, that its advocates found themselves at a disadvantage everywhere on account of the force of popular sentiment against any measures of religious legislation. The second session of the Fiftieth Congress had therefore no sooner convened than -- December 13, 1888 -- a hearing was obtained of the Senate Committee having the bill in charge, strongly urging the passage of the bill, recommending, however, certain changes which would give it less of a religious appearance, while at the same time not only retaining all its religious sense and meaning, but making its provisions more strict. They asked that the title of the bill should be changed so as to read as follows: --
"A bill to secure to the people the enjoyment of the Lord's day, commonly known as Sunday, as a day of rest, and to protect its observance as a day or religious worship."
Although Mrs. Bateham stated to the committee that the bill as it was, had "been specifically indorsed by hundreds of thousands," not including those who "not having seen the bill, ask in general terms for a Sunday law," she said: --
Mrs. Bateham, -- "One of requests of our National Woman's Christian Temperance Union was that the word `promote' should be changed to 'protect,' in the title of the bill. so that it should have no appearance of what all Americans object to, any union of Church and State. That amendment was proposed and accepted by the American Sabbath Union, the organized body which has just been in session in this city."
Senator Blair -- "Do you not think that the word 'protect' implies power to command and compel? An army protects."
Mrs. Bateham. -- "All our laws protect us, do they not?"
Senator Blair. -- "You would make this a law?"
Mrs. Bateham. -- "I suggest that the bill be made a law. and that it be a law which shall protect the civil Sabbath; not promote religious worship, but protect the day as a day of rest and religious worship."
Senator Blair. -- "It seems to me that the word `protect' is a stronger and more interfering word than `promote.'"
Senator Blair is certainly correct in saying, particularly in this connection, that the word "protect" is a stronger and more interfering term that "promote;" because it is particularly to be noticed that with the change the title would not read that the object of the bill was to protect them, not to protect the observers of the day, but the observance of the day as a day of religious worship. That is, the government must exert its authority to protect the day from everything that would be out of harmony with its character and observance as a day of religious worship. But as the change was only proposed as a contrivance to save appearances, the stronger the bill was made, the better they would be pleased, if only its "appearance of a union of Church and State" could be taken away.
Again: although the term "Lord's day" was retained in the title, in the body of the bill asked that the word
"Sunday" be inserted, instead of the term "Lord's day" or "Sabbath;" and this "in order to preserve uniformity in using the less religious term." And then they closed their request for changes with the following words: --
"We covet from Congress a law that shall make itself effective by small exceptions and large penalties."
Dear pious souls! they are very anxious to "abstain from all appearance of evil," but they have no compunctions as to the fact, if only appearances can be saved.
At this hearing, seventeen speeches were made in favor of the bill, by Mr. Crafts for the American Sabbath Union; Mrs. Bateham for the Woman's Christian Temperance Union; T. P. Stevenson for the National Reform Association; Hon. G. P. Lord, of Elgin, Ill., and Herrick Johnson, D. D., of Chicago, for the Illinois Sunday-law Association, and other prominent preachers. The Fiftieth Congress expired, however, without reaching even a report upon the bill. In the interval between the expiration of the Fiftieth Congress and the opening of the Fifty-first, the advocates of the Sunday-law found by experience that even their proposed title had a stronger religious cast than could well be defended in legislation, consequently when the Fifty-first Congress began, the bill was re-introduced by Senator Blair, with the term "first day of the week" instead of either "Lord's day" or "Sabbath" in the body of the bill, and with the following head: --
"A bill to secure to the people the privileges of rest and of religious worship, free from disturbance by others, on the first day of the week."
Now it is a fact, and the advocates of this bill, as well as all others, know it to be so, that there are no people in all this land who have not the privileges of rest and religious worship free from disturbance by anybody, on the first day of the week and all other days and nights of the week. And that the title does not in any sense describe the real intent of the bill is evident from a glance at the provisions of the body of the bill, even with the substitution of the term "first day of the week" for the religious names of the day.
Section 1 declares that "no person within the jurisdiction of the United States shall perform or authorize to be performed, any secular work, labor, or business to the disturbance of others upon the first day of the week." Now secular means "pertaining to this present world, or to things not spiritual or holy; relating to things not immediately or primarily respecting the soul, but the body; worldly." Therefore this bill proposes to prohibit all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States from performing or authorizing to be performed on Sunday any work, labor, or business pertaining to this present world or to things not spiritual or holy. It proposes to prohibit them from performing any work, labor, or business relating immediately or primarily to the body (works of necessity, mercy, and humanity excepted); to prohibit them from doing anything worldly, that is, pertaining to this world or to this life. Consequently, the only kind of works that can properly be done on Sunday under that bill are works that pertain to another world, works that pertain to things spiritual or holy, work respecting the soul, and the life to come.
Now we should like some of the Sunday-law advocates to tell how the Congress of the United States is going to find out, so as authoritatively to state, what work, labor, or business it is that properly pertains to another world, on Sunday or at any other time. More than this, we should like them to tell how Congress is to find out whether there is any other world than this, and especially how it is to find this out and make it to be so clearly discerned, that the recognition of it can be enforced by law upon all the people. We should like, also, some of these to tell how Congress is to discover what work it is that properly pertains to the people's souls on Sunday; or indeed, whether the people have any souls. How is Congress to know whether there is a life to come?
And even if Congress should discover all this to its own satisfaction, then will Congress insure to all the people a happy issue in that life to come, upon condition that they observe the Sunday laws?
These are not captious questions, they are entirely pertinent. For when it is proposed that this nation by legislative acts shall commit itself to the guardianship of the affairs of the world to come, of men's souls, and of another life; and when the people are asked to consent to it, it is strictly proper for the people to inquire, How shall the State make that thing a success?
The truth is, that the State can never of right have anything to do with the world to come, or with the question as to whether there is one to come at all. The State can never of right have anything to do with men's souls, or with the question as to whether men have any souls. The States can never have anything to do with the life to come, or with the question as to whether there is any life to come. No State will ever reach the world to come, nor will any State ever, in the least degree, be partaker of the life that is to come. The State is of this world wholly; it has to do only with the affairs of this world, and with men as they are in this world. The State has to do only with men's bodies, and to see that the lives which men lead are civil. By this it is clearly seen that the Blair Sunday bill at the very first step, proposes to lead the government of the United States into a field where it is impossible for it to exercise any proper jurisdiction.
Nor do we raise these questions because we doubt that there is another world, or that there is a life to come. We are fully persuaded that there are both another world and a life to come. But the discerning of this a matter of faith, and that on the part of each individual for himself alone. Nobody on this earth can discern or decide this for anybody else. We thoroughly believe that there are both another world and a life to come; and anybody in this world has an equal right not to believe it if he chooses so to do. We have the right to believe this without the sanction of the government; and any other man has a right not to believe it, and that without any interference by the government. We deny the right of any of the senators or representatives in Congress to decide any of these matters for anybody but himself.
Under the first proviso of Section 2, there is a clause that is of considerable moment, especially to those who observe Sunday. That is the clause which refers to "the due observance of the day as one of worship and rest." Who is to decide what is the due observance of the day? Without any such law, this remains for each person to decide according to the dictates of his own conscience. But just as soon as such a law as this should be enacted, this would devolve upon the courts. And the individual could no longer decide this according to the dictates of his own conscience, but must decide according to the dictate of the State. Are the people who believe in keeping Sunday ready to have the government regulate their observance of that day? Are they ready to have the State assume the prerogative of deciding what is the due observance of that day as a day of worship and rest? This is what they do when they consent to the enactment of such a law as the Blair Sunday bill is. Every man who believes in keeping Sunday, when he consents to this bill, resigns his religious liberty. He resigns his right to worship according to the dictates of his own conscience, and yields to the government the right to dictate how he shall observe that day as a day of worship.
The fact is, that in this thing the people who desire to keep Sunday, and who believe that it should be religiously observed, have more at stake than any other people, and it is a mystery that they cannot see it. It is a mystery that the leaders in the movement cannot see that they are deliberately robbing themselves of the dearest rights known to man. The mystery is solved, however, by the fact that the lust for power has blinded them to the consideration, not only of the rights of other people, but of their own rights.
It is in behalf of the rights of those who believe in keeping Sunday and of worshiping according to the dictates of their own consciences, no less than in behalf of the rights of all other people, that we carry on this uncompromising opposition to all manner of governmental sanction or interference in the matter of Sabbath observance.
State regulation of the religious observance of the day, and the worship of the people, is the inevitable outcome of the legislation that is proposed; yet it is not intended by the managers of this movement that the State shall do this of itself. They intend that the church shall assume the supremacy, and dictate the action and wield the power of the State. Thus a union of Church and State, the rule of a despotic hierarchy, is to be the logical and certain outcome of such legislation. It cannot be escaped when once the legislation is begun.
Upon Section 3 we simply remark that, by a penalty of a thousand dollars upon the exercise of honest occupations, and such a premium upon idleness, the government ought to be able soon to create enough evil to ruin itself, which it surely will if the thing should be carried into effect in all the States.11
As to Section 4: when everything shall have been forbidden the soldiers, sailors, marines, and cadets, as is here proposed, "except assemblies for the due and orderly observance of religious worship," suppose that they do not want to assemble for the observance of religious worship, will they then be assembled for that purpose? And how are they to know what is the "due" observance of religious worship in the meaning of the law, except they shall be instructed? Having gone so far in religion-political chicanery after the manner of Constantine, the government might take the next and requisite step also, according to the example set by him, and teach them the "due" observance of religious worship, as he did, by having them assemble and repeat at a given signal a prayer, also enacted by Congress and adapted to the governmental authority of the United States.12
Section 5 is identical, word for word, with the one in the original bill. Whenever anybody receives any pay at any time for work done on Sunday, the first man that will sue for the money shall have it. It makes no difference who he is or where he comes from, if he finds out that anybody has received money for work done on Sunday, all he has to do is to enter suit, and the law says he shall have it.
This section aptly befits the cause to which this bill is committed. The only effect the bill as a whole can have upon those who are not really religious, is to compel them to be idle, and this section simply proposes to put a further premium upon idleness by compelling the man who chooses to work rather than to be idle, to pay the idler for the exercise of his own honest industry. The lazy loafer who will never do anything if he can help it, can spend his time watching the industrious citizen, and if he can detect him in committing the heinous crime of performing any honest work on Sunday, for which he shall receive any pay, the loafer can recover from the industrious man a sufficient amount to support him in his idleness several days. This is a fine thing indeed, an excellent provision of law, for the loafers.
Government is supposed to be founded in justice. Courts are supposed to be courts of justice. But we should like very much indeed for somebody to show upon what principle of justice this section is founded, and by what principle of justice any court could be guided in enforcing the provisions of it. The principle of this section is identical with that by which Tiberius and Domitian encouraged the informers about them.13
In Section 6 of the revised bill, there is an important change from the original bill. In the original bill the provisions of the act were to be so construed as to "secure to all the people the religious observance of the Sabbath day." But as revised, they are to be so construed as neither "to prohibit nor to sanction labor on Sunday by individuals who conscientiously believe in and observe any other day than Sunday as the Sabbath or a day of religious worship." Thus the government proposes to allow labor on Sunday by those who observe another day, yet it carefully refrains from adding to the permission any such sanction as would imply that it is right such people to work on Sunday.
Yet nobody can be partaker of even this permission, unless he conscientiously believes in, and observes another day than Sunday as the Sabbath or a day of religious worship. The conscientious belief in and observance of a day, therefore as a day of religious worship, is required by the bill on the part of those who do not want to keep Sunday; and as the other sections of the bill require that Sunday shall be duly observed as a day of religious worship, that nothing shall be done that day except that which pertains to another world, to that which is sacred and holy, to the souls of men, and to the life to come, it is manifest that the sole object of the Blair Sunday-rest bill is the enforcement of THE RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCE OF A DAY.
Consideration of the whole bill makes it plain that the modification of the title is utterly disingenuous. The object of the bill is not to secure to the people of privilege of rest and worship upon the first day of the week. It is to compel them to rest and to religiously worship on the first day of the week, or else on some other day, if they do not choose to do it on Sunday. The clause in the title relating to "disturbance by others," is as disingenuous as is the other part.
Every State in this Union already does by statute prohibit at all times disturbances of religious worship or religious meetings, or peaceable assemblies of any sort. These are strictly civil statutes, prohibiting incivility. The Sunday-law workers complain of the disturbance of their worship on Sunday. If they are sincere in this, why do they not enforce the laws already on the statute books prohibiting disturbance of worship, California? for instance, prohibits disturbance of worship, under penalty of five hundred dollars fine and six months in jail. But instead of having such legitimate laws enforced, they demand laws to "prohibit the disturbance" of their worship on Sunday, by compelling everybody to keep Sunday. That is, they would have the State prohibit incivility by compelling everybody to be religious. We say always, If worship is disturbed on Sunday or at any other time, let the State punish the person or persons who create the disturbance. Let the State punish them by such strictly legitimate statutes as the States already have on this subject. But let the State never attempt to prohibit disturbance of worship by trying to compel men to worship; not attempt to prohibit incivility by enforcing religious observances.
But that Sunday work does not really disturb the rest or the worship of those who keep Sunday, is proved by the fact that the people who make this the ground of their demand for Sunday laws, do not recognize for an instant that work on Saturday disturbs the rest or the worship of the people who keep Saturday. If the work of all the people on Saturday does not disturb the rest or the worship of those who keep Saturday, how is it possible for the work of the very few who work on Sunday to disturb the rest or the worship of those who keep Sunday?
But look at this from the standpoint of actual experience. There are, for instance, Seventh-day Adventists in every State and Territory of this nation, in Canada, nearly every country of Europe, the Sandwich Islands, Australia, South America, China, Japan, India, South Africa, and other places. They all rest every Saturday; they all keep it as the Sabbath unto the Lord. But no person has ever yet heard of a Seventh-day Adventist who ever complained that his rest on the Sabbath was disturbed by other men's work. More than this: the Seventh-day Adventists have organized churches in the great majority of the States and Territories of this Union, and in these foreign countries. These churches are found in country places, in villages, in towns, and in cities. They meet for worship every Saturday; and although, as everybody knows, Saturday is the busiest day of the week, in the midst of such busy cities as Brooklyn, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and London, England, these churches of Seventh-day Adventists assemble regularly for worship; and no person has ever yet heard of any Seventh-day Adventist's making a complaint that their worship was disturbed by the work, the business, or the traffic that is carried on by other people on that day. The fact is, their worship is not disturbed by these things.
Now, if all the labor, the business, and the traffic that is done on Saturday, the day which is acknowledged by all to be the busiest day of the week, -- if all this, in such cities as we have named, does not disturb their rest or their worship, how is it that the rest or the worship of those who keep Sunday is disturbed on Sunday, when there is not one one-thousandth part as much labor, or business, or traffic done on that day as is done on Saturday?
This argument rests on the living experience of thousands of people every seventh day, and conclusively shows that the plea for Sunday laws to prevent disturbance of worship, is a fraud. These evidences prove also that the modification of the title of the bill, while the body of the bill remains essentially the same, is only to save appearances, and to disarm suspicion of religious legislation.
Nor is this the only effort that is made to disarm suspicion and check opposition. In some places the organizations that are formed auxiliary to the American Sabbath Union, take the name of "Civil Sunday" associations. And in conventions where they cannot carry resolutions indorsing the Sabbath as a religious institution, they will modify them so as to carry them in favor of Sunday as a civil institution. By such modifications and compromises, they hope at last to succeed. But whatever turn they may take, now or in the future, will not relieve them from the just charge of desiring the enactment of a national law for the enforcement of the religious observance of a day; because their real intention has been clearly revealed in the first steps taken; and whatever modifications they may afterward adopt, will not in the least change the original intention but only the appearance, and that simply for policy's sake.
At the opening of the Fifty-first Congress, they had a Sunday bill introduced in the House of Representatives -- not a national bill, however, but for the District of Columbia. Yet, though it was only for the District of Colombia, as it necessarily had to be enacted by Congress, the Principle involved was the same as in a national bill. Their purpose, therefore, was to use this as a stepping stone to a national act by having Congress commit itself to the sacredness of Sunday and the propriety of the legislation. This is manifest from their own statements as well as from all the proceedings in the case. The bill was introduced January 6, 1890, by the Hon. W.C.P. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, and is as follows:
"A BILL" TO PREVENT PERSONS FROM BEING FORCED TO LABOR ON SUNDAY
" Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representative
of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That it shall
be unlawful for any person or corporation, or employee of any person
or corporation in the District of Columbia, to perform any secular
labor or business, or to cause the same to be performed by any person
in their employment on Sunday, except works of necessity or mercy;
nor shall it be lawful for any person or corporation to receive
pay for labor or services performed or rendered in violation of
"Any person or corporation, or employee of any person or corporation in the District of Columbia, who shall violate the provisions of this act shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by fine of not more than one hundred dollars for every offense: Provided, however, That the pro visions of this act shall not be constructed to apply to any person or persons who conscientiously believe in and observe any other day of the week than Sunday as a day of rest."
It is seen that this bears the same marks as the revised Blair bill The title says one thing and the body of the bill another The title proposes to prevent persons from being forced to labor on Sunday, while the body of the bill prohibits all persons form working even voluntarily on Sunday. Besides this, even though it were true that there are persons in the District of Columbia who are being forced to labor on Sunday or at any other time, there is an ample remedy already supplied. Article XIII of Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, declares that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction," Now the District of Columbia is exclusively within the jurisdiction of the United States; therefore if there is any forced labor or involuntary service anywhere in the District of Columbia, on Sunday or any other day all that is necessary for any to do who are so oppressed is to present their plea, under this article, to the United States Court and the whole power of the United States government will be exerted, if necessary, to release them from their bondage.
No Sunday law, therefore, is needed to prevent persons from being forced to labor on Sunday or at any other time, either in the District of Columbia or anywhere else in the United States, Nor is this the real intent of this bill. The body of the bill in forbidding any "secular labor or business and in requiring the "conscientious belief in and observance of another day by those who do not keep Sunday does distinctly pledge the legislation to the religious character of the day and to the jurisdiction of the conscientious beliefs and observances of the people. it is evident, therefore that with this bill as with the revised Blair bill, the title that it bears is intentionally misleading and is only for the sake of appearances and policy.
The exemption clause inserted in this bill as also in Section 6 of the revised Blair bill is of the same character -- its sole purpose is to ward off the opposition of the observers of the seventh day, until the government shall have been committed to the legislation. This we know, and this they know; and with this item there is a bit of history that is worth relating, not only for the sake of the facts, but of the principles involved.
At the hearing before the Senate Committee on the Sunday bill, Mrs. Bateham mentioned "the Seventh-day Baptists" as "a class not large in numbers," and requested that "the conscientious scruples of this class be respected" by "the following addition to the bill:"
"Section 7 Any person that has habitually and conscientiously refrained from all labor on Saturday believing that to be the Sabbath, shall; on proof thereof be exempt from the penalties of this law provided he has not on Sunday interfered with e rights of others to a day for rest and worship."
A. H. Lewis, D. D., who was present as the representative of the Seventh-day Baptists, also asked that a section be added exempting observers of the seventh day. But there was present a representative of the Seventh-day Adventists who objected to the whole matter, exemption and all. From the report of the hearing (pages 96, 97), we copy the following upon the point:
The Chairman (Senator Blair). -- "You object to it? "
Mr. Jones. -- "We object to the whole principle of the proposed legislation. We go to the root of the matter and deny the right of Congress to enact it."
The Chairman. -- "Your say that the proposed exemption does not make it any better?"
Mr. Jones. -- "Not a bit. because if the legislation be admitted, then we admit that it is the right of a majority to say that such and such a day shall be the Sabbath or the Lord's day, and that it shall be kept. The majorities change in civil government. The majority may change within a few years, and then the people may say that the day we believe shall be kept must be observed, or they may say that this day shall not be kept. If we admit the propriety of the legislation, we also admit the propriety of legislation to the effect that a certain day shall not be kept, and it makes every man's observance of Sunday or otherwise simply the foot-ball of majorities."
The Chairman. -- "Do you not think there is a distinction between the majority in a monarchical government and a republican government? In a monarchical government the majority is simply one man who has power."
Mr. Jones. -- "But in a republic, when you throw this legislation into civil affairs it makes a great deal of difference. There is another principle involved. If we admit the exemption clause, it will not help the thing. It will be exceedingly short. Suppose an exemption clause were given There are people who will profess to be Seventh-day Adventists for express purpose of getting chances to open saloons or houses of business on Sunday. Therefore in outright self-defense, majority will have to repeal the exemption clause."
The Chairman. -- Call Mrs. Bateham's attention to that."
Mr. Jones. -- "Let me repeat it. If you give an exemption clause, -- it has been tried, -- there are reprehensible men, saloon keepers, who know they will get more traffic on Sunday than they can on Saturday, and they will profess to be Seventh-day Adventists; they will profess to be Sabbath-keepers. You cannot "go behind the returns" -- you cannot look into the heart, you cannot investigate the intention -- to see whether they are genuine in their profession or not. They will profess to be Sabbath keepers, and then they will open their saloons on Sunday. Then in outright self-defense, to make your position effective, you will have to repeal that exemption clause. It will last but a little while."
The Chairman, -- "I agree with you there." 14
Mr. Jones. -- "For that reason these people cannot afford to offer an exemption clause, and for e reason that it puts the majority in the power of our conscience, we deny the right to do anything of the kind. I ask the organizations represented here to think of that."
The Chairman. -- "I should like to call everbody's attention to the point. If you need any legislation of this kind, you had better ask for legislation to carry out your purposes, and be careful that in the effort to get the assistance of the parties against you, you do not throw away the pith and substance of all for which you ask."
To these same people, with others, Mrs. Bateham had already, in 1887, Addressed a printed "Letter to Seventh day Believers." proposing, in substance, that if they would help in securing a Sunday law, they should be exempt from its penalties. They replied "We will not help you to put upon others what we would not have put upon ourselves.
During the year 1889, Mr. Crafts made a tour of the whole country from the Atlantic to the Pacific in the interests of Sunday legislation working up "representative indorsements " of the following petition:
"To the United States senate [Duplicate to the House]
"The undersigned organizations and adult residents of the United States twenty one years of age or more hereby earnestly petition your honorable body to pass a bill forbidding in the nation's mail and military service and in interstate commerce and in the District of Columbia and the Territories all Sunday traffic and work except works of religion and works of real necessity and mercy and such private work by those who religiously and regularly observe another day of the week by abstaining from labor and business as will neither interfere with the general rest nor with public worship.
Everywhere that Mr. Crafts went, he denounced the Seventh day Adventists as the chief opponents of the Sunday-law movement. Not only did he do this from the platform, but through the press. For instance, in Our Day. the Boston magazine edited by Joseph Cook. for July, 1889, he reported as follows: --
"Every where are seen the footprints of the little but lively denomination of Seventh day Adventists, who are outdoing not only the Seventh day Baptists, but even Hebrews infidels, and liquor dealers in battling against Sunday law as if it were the worst of vices. They put beautiful tract holders into depots filled with their literature, which they also distribute from door to door with a generosity and industry that shame by contrast the meager gifts and efforts of the friends of the American Sabbath."
Yet these very ones, the very ones who are doing the most against Sunday laws and Sunday observance, are the ones who are to be exempt from the provisions and penalties of the law-enforcing. Sunday observance ! That is the government is asked to set itself by exempting from the requirements of its laws the ones who are most opposed to the laws! For if it should be done in this case, why not in every case? and then what are laws worth and what becomes of government? If a law be just, there can be no just exemption. If the law is right, exemption is wrong. And if exemption is right, then the law is wrong. Therefore their offer and advocacy of exemption, is an open confession that the law is unjust, and that under the law without the exemption, the people would be denied the equal protection of the laws. Yet though this be true, the exemption is neither offered nor advocated upon principle, but solely for policy's sake. Of this there is the clearest proof.
The Breckinridge bill was referred to the House Committee on District of Columbia. February 18, 1890, this committee held a hearing upon the bill. At that hearing , a representative of the Seventh day Adventists spoke upon this particular feature of the bill; and the argument sets forth this matter so plainly that it is given here in full.
Mr. Jones -- 'MR. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN OF THE COMMITTEE: I shall devote most of my remarks to the subject which was made so much of by the gentleman who spoke last on the other side [Mr. Crafts]; namely, the Seventh day Adventists and their opposition to this legislation. . . . Congress can make no law upon the subject of religion without interfering with the free exercise thereof. There fore the Seventh-day Adventists, while observing Saturday, would most strenuously oppose any legislation proposing to enforce the observance of that day. That would be an interference with the free exercise of our right to keep that day as the Sabbath. For we already have that right' --
The Chairman. -- "Would this law take away your right to observe the Sabbath? "
Mr. Jones. -- "Yes sir I was about to prove that it does interfere with the free exercise of our right to observe it; and having done that, I will prove that this bill does dis (contemplate the taking away of the right to observe it.
"First as to its interference with the free exercise of our right to observe the Sabbath. I take it that no one here will deny that now, at least, we, as citizens of the United States, have the constitutional right to observe Saturday as the Sabbath, or not to observe it, as we please. This right we already have as citizens of the United States. As we already have it by the constitution, their proposal to give it to us is only a concealed attempt to deprive us of it altogether. for If we consent to their right or their power to grant it, the power t grant carries with it the power to withhold. In consenting to the one, we consent to the other. And as the granting of it is, as I shall prove, for a purpose, and for a price, the withdrawing of it will surely follow just as soon as the purpose of it is accomplished, and especially if the price of it is not fully and promptly paid.
"Now this bill positively requires that whosoever does not observe Sunday shall "conscientiously believe in and observe' another day of the week. We do not keep Sunday. The bill does, therefore, distinctly require that we shall conscientiously believe in and observe another day. We maintain that we have the constitutional right to rest on Saturday, or any other day, whether we do it conscientiously or not, or whether we conscientiously believe in it or not. Haven't we? Congress has no constitutional power or right to require anybody to `conscientiously believe in anything or to conscientiously observe' anything.
"But when it is required, as is proposed in this bill, who is to decide whether we conscientiously believe in it or not? Who is to decide whether the observance is conscientious or not? That has already been declared in those State Sunday laws and decisions which have been referred to here to-day as examples for you to follow. It is that the burden of proof rests upon him who makes the claim of conscience, and the proof must be such as will satisfy the court. Thus this bill does propose to subject to the control of courts and juries our conscientious convictions, our conscientious beliefs, and our conscientious observances. Under this law, therefore, we would no longer be free to keep the Sabbath according to the dictates of our own consciences, but could keep it only according t the dictates of the courts. Gentlemen, it is not enough to say that would be an interference with the free exercise of our right to keep the Sabbath; it would be an absolute subversion of our right so to do.
"Nor is it for ourselves only that we plead. We are not the only ones who will be affected by this law. It is not our rights of conscience only that will be subverted, but the rights of conscience of everybody, of those who keep Sunday as well as those who keep Saturday, of those who are in favor of the law as well as those of us who oppose the law. When the law requires that those who do not observe Sunday shall conscientiously believe in and observe another day, by that it is conclusively shown that it is the conscientious belief in, and observance of, Sunday itself that is required and enforced by this law. That is, the law requires that everybody shall conscientiously believe in and observe some day. But every man has the constitutional right to conscientiously believe in and observe a day or not as he pleases. He has just as much right not to do it as he has to do it. And the legislature invades the freedom of religious worship when it assumes the power to compel a man conscientiously or religiously to do that which he has the right to omit if he pleases. The principle is the same whether the act compels us to do that which we wish to do, or whether it compels us to do that which we do not wish to do. The compulsory power does not exist in either case. In either case the State control of the rights of conscience; and the freedom of every man to worship according to the dictates of his own conscience is gone, and thenceforth all are required to worship according to the dictates of the State.
"Therefore in opposing this bill, and all similar measures, we are advocating the rights of conscience of all the people. We are not only pleading for our own right to keep the Sabbath according to the dictates of our own consciences, but we are also pleading for their right to keep Sunday according to the dictates of their own consciences. We are not only pleading that we, but that they also, in conscientious beliefs and observances, may be free from the interference and dictation of the State. And in so pleading we are only asserting doctrine of the national Constitution. In the history of the formation of the Constitution, Mr. Bancroft says that the American constitution `withheld from the Federal government the power to invade the home of reason, the citadel of conscience, the sanctuary of the soul.' Let the American Constitution be respected.
"Now to the point that this bill through its promoters, does distinctly contemplate the taking away of the right to observe the Sabbath. I read from the bill the exemption that is proposed; --
... This act shall not be construed to apply to any person or persons who conscientiously believe in and observe any other day of the week than Sunday as a day of rest.
"Now why is that clause put in the bill? The intention of the law maker is the law. If, therefore, we can find out why this was inserted, we can know what the object of it is. During the past year Mr. Crafts has advertised all over this country from Boston to San Francisco, and back again, and has repeated it to this committee this morning, that the Seventh-day Adventists and the Seventh day Baptists are the strongest opponents of Sunday laws that there are in this country, and that they are doing more than all others combined to destroy respect for Sunday observance. All this; and yet these are the very persons whom he proposes to exempt from the provisions of the law, which is expressly to secure the observance of Sunday!
"Why, then does he propose to exempt these? Is it out of respect for them, or a desire to help them in their good work? -- Not much. It is hoped by this to check their opposition until Congress is committed to the legislation.
"How do we know this? -- We know it by their own words. The lady who spoke here this morning as the representative of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, Mrs. Catlin, said in this city; We have given them an exemption clause, and that, we think, will take the wind out of their sails!' Well, if our sails were dependent upon legislative enactments, and must needs be trimmed to political breezes, such a squall as this might take the wind out of them. But so long as they are dependent alone upon the power of God, wafted by the gentle influences of grace of Jesus Christ, such squalls become only prospering gales to speed us on our way.
"By this, gentlemen, you see just what is the object of that proposed exemption -- that it is only to check our opposition until they secure the enactment of the law, and that they may do this the easier. Then when Congress shall have been committed to the legislation, it can repeal the exemption upon demand, and then the advocates of the Sunday law will have exactly what they want. I am not talking at random here. I have the proofs of what I am saying. They expect a return for this exemption. It is not extended as a guaranteed right, but as a favor that we can have if we will only pay them their own stated price for it. As a proof of this, I read again from Mr. Crafts's book [`The Sabbath For Man'], page 262: --
"`The tendency of legislatures and executive officers towards those who claim to keep a Saturday Sabbath, is to over leniency rather than to over strictness.
"And in the convention held in this city only about three weeks ago, January 30, Mr. Crafts said that this exemption is `generous to a fault,' and that 'if there is any fault in the bill, it is its being too generous' to the Seventh day Adventists and the Seventh day Baptists. But I read on: --
'For instance, the laws of Rhode Island allow the Seventh day Baptists, by special exceptions, to carry on public industries on the first day of the week in Hopkinton and Westerly, in each of which places they form about one fourth of the population. This local option method of Sabbath legislation after the fashion of Rhode Island or Louisiana, if generally adopted, would make not only each Stat, but the nation also, a town heap, some places having two half Sabbaths as at Westerly, some having no Sabbath at all, as at new Orleans, to the great confusion and injury of interstate commerce and even of local industry. Infinitely less harm is done by the usual policy, the only constitutional or sensible one, to let the insignificantly small minority of less than one in a hundred, whose religious convictions require them to rest on Saturday (unless their work is of a private character such as the law allows them to do on Sunday) suffer the loss of one day's was rather than have other ninety nine suffer by the wreaking of their Sabbath by public business.'
"Why, then, do they offer this `special exception' ? Why do they voluntarily do that which they themselves pronounce neither constitutional nor sensible? -- It is for a purpose.
"Again I read, and here is the point to which I wish especially to call the attention of the committee. It shows what they intend we shall pay for the exemption which they so `over generously' offer.
"Instead of reciprocating the generosity shown toward them buy the makers of Sabbath laws these seventh day Christians expend very large part of their energy in antagonizing such laws, seeking by the free distribution of tracts and papers, to secure their repeal or neglect."
"Exactly! That is the price which we are expected to pay for this "generous' exemption. We are to stop the distribution of tracts and papers which antagonize Sunday laws. We are to stop spending our energy in opposition to their efforts to promote Sunday observance. We are to stop telling the people that the Bible says "the seventh-day is t he Sabbath,' and that Sunday is not the Sabbath.
"But have we not the right to teach the people that `the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord,' even as the Bible says, and that only the keeping of that day is the keeping of the Sabbath according to the commandment? Have we not the right to do this Have we the not the right to tell the people there is no scriptural authority for keeping Sunday, the first day of the week? Why, some of these gentlemen themselves say that. Mr. Elliott here [Rev. George] confesses `the complete silence of the New Testament, so far as any explicit command for the Sabbath , or definite rules for its observance are concerned.' Many others speak to the same effect. Have we not as much right to tell this to the people as they have? They do not agree among themselves upon the obligations of Sabbath keeping, nor upon the basis of Sunday laws. In every one of their conventions one speaks one way and another in another and contradictory way. Have we not as much right to disagree with them as they have to disagree with one another? Why is it, then, that they want t stop our speaking these things, -- unless it is that we tell the truth?
"More than this: have we not the constitutional right freely to speak all this, and also freely to distribute tracts and papers in opposition to Sunday laws and Sunday sacredness? Does not the Constitution declare that 'the freedom of speech, or of the press,' shall not be abridged? then when these men propose that we shall render much a return for that exemption, they do propose an invasion of the constitutional guarantee of the freedom of speech and of the press. Why, gentlemen, this question of Sunday laws is a good deal larger question than half the people ever dreamed of.
"Now to show you that I am not drawing this point too fine, I wish to read another extract from a doctor of divinity in California. With reference to this specific question, he said: --
"`Most of the States make provision for the exercise of the peculiar tenets of belief which are entertained by the Adventists. They can worship on Saturday. and call it the Sabbath if they choose; but there let their privileges end.'
"They do, indeed seem by this to be generous enough to allow those of us who are already keeping Sabbath to continue to do so while we live; but there our privileges are to end. We are not to be allowed to speak or distribute papers or tracts to teach anybody else to keep it. Why, gentlemen of the committee, do you not see that they propose by this law t deprive us of all our rights both of conscience and of the Constitution? Therefore we come to you to plead for protection. We do not ask you to protect us by legislation. We do not ask you to legislate in favor of Saturday -- not even to the extent of an exemption clause. We ask you to protect us by refusing to give to these men their coveted power to invade our rights. We appeal to you for protection in our constitutional rights as well as our rights of conscience.
"` There let their privileges end.' If. Even this allowance is only conditional. And the condition is the same precisely as that laid by Mr. Crafts; namely, that we shall stop every phase of opposition to Sunday observance. Here it is in his own words, not spoken in the heat and hurry of debate, but deliberately written and printed in an editorial in Western Christian Union, March 22, 1889: --
"` Instead of thankfully making use of concessions granted them and then going off quietly and attending to their own business as they ought, they start out making unholy alliances. that they may defeat the purposes of their benefactors. None of these bills are aimed at them; but if they fail to appreciate the fact, they may call down upon them selves such a measure of public disfavor as that legislation embarrassing to them may result.'
" There, gentlemen, you have the story of that proposed exemption. 1. It is inserted to take the wind out of our sails, and stop our opposition to their efforts and to Sunday observance in general. 2. If we do not `appreciate' the benefaction, and `reciprocate the generosity' by stopping all opposition to their work and to Sunday observance, then legislation `embarrassing' to us may be expected to result.
"Gentlemen, do you wonder that we do not appreciate such benevolence, or reciprocate such generosity? Can you blame American Citizens for saying in reply to all that, that however `embarrassing' the result may be, we do not appreciate such benevolence, nor do we intend to reciprocate such generosity as that, in such way as is there proposed?
"There is one more word on this point that I desire to read. It sums up the whole matter is such a way as to be a fitting climax to t his division of my remarks. This is from "Rev.' M.A. Gault, a district secretary of the American Sabbath Union. Mr. Crafts, who is the American Sabbath Union, personally appointed him secretary of Omaha District. Mr. Gault wrote this to Elder J. S. Washburn, of Hawleyville, Iowa, and Mr. Washburn sent it to me. I read: --
"` I see most of your literature in my travels [that is the literature that Mr. Crafts says we do not stop distributing, and which we are not going to stop distributing], and I am convinced that your folks will die hard. But we are helping Brother Crafts all the time to set the stakes, and get the ropes ready to scoop you all in You will kick hard, of course. but we will make sure work.
"Yes, this bill is one of the `stakes,' and the exemption clause is one of the `ropes' by means of which they propose to rope us in. And Mr. Gault is one of the clerical gentlemen who demand that the government shall `set up the moral law and recognize God's authority behind it, and then lay its hand on any religion that does not conform to it.'
"This is the intent of those who are working for this bill. You heard Mr. Crafts say a few minutes ago that the Senate Sunday bill introduced by Senator Blair `includes this; ' and the Senate bill includes everybody within the jurisdiction of Congress. They trump up this District bill with the hope of getting Congress committed to the legislation with less difficulty than by the national bill, because the attention of the people is not so much turned to it. Then having by the District bill got Congress committed to such legislation, they intend to rally every influence to secure the passage of the national bill; and then they propose to go on in their `roping in career until they shall have turned this nation into a government of God, with themselves as the repositories of his will.'
Mr. Illeard. -- "Is there any reference to that letter in that book from which you have been reading?'
Mr. Jones. -- "No, sir. I pasted it on the margin of this book, merely for convenience of reference along with the `generous' proposition of his `Brother Crafts.'
"All this shows that the intent of the makers and promoters of this bill is to subvert the constitutional rights of the people. The intent of the law-maker is the law. As, therefore, by their own words, the intent of this exemption clause is to stop all effort to teach o to persuade people to keep the Sabbath instead of Sunday; as the intent of the body of the bill is to compel all to keep Sunday who do not keep the Sabbath; and as the intent of both together is to `scoop all in ' make sure work,' it follows inevitably, and my proposition is demonstrated, that the promoters of this legislation do distinctly contemplate the taking away of the right to observe the Sabbath in this nation, and to allow the keeping of Sunday only." 15
And this is but the preliminary step to the crushing out of all freedom of religious thought and action. For, by what right, or upon what authority, do they presume to do this? We have seen that by their own plain statements the confess that there is no command of God for Sunday observance. Yet they propose to compel all in the nation to keep Sunday as an obligation to God. By what right, then, does this great combination demand State and national laws compelling people to observe, as an obligation to God, that for which there is no command of God?
Where there is no command of God, there is no obligation towards God. In this demand, therefore, they do in fact put themselves in the place of God, and require that their will shall be accepted as the will of God. They require quire that their views, without any command from the Lord, shall be enforced upon all men; and that all men shall be required to yield obedience thereto as to an obligation enjoined by the Lord.
Now it is the inalienable right of every man to dissent from any and every church doctrine, and to disregard every church ordinance, institution, or rite. All but papists will admit this. Therefore, whenever the State undertakes to enforce the observance of any church ordinance or institution, and thus makes itself the champion of the Church it simply undertakes to rob men of their inalienable right think and choose for themselves in matters of religion and church order. Men are therefore, and thereby, compelled either to submit to be robbed of their inalienable right of freedom of thought in religious things, or else to disregard the authority of the State. And the man of sound principle and honest conviction will never hesitate as to which of the two things he will do.
When the State undertakes to enforce the observance of church ordinances or institutions, and thus makes itself the champion and partisan of church, then the inalienable right of men to dissent from church doctrines and to disregard church ordinances or institutions, is extended to the authority of the STATE in so far as it is thus exercised. And that which is true of church doctrines, ordinances, and institutions, is equally true of religious doctrines and exercises of all kinds.
Now Sunday is, and is acknowledged even by themselves to be, but a church institution only. and when the State enforces Sunday observance, it does compel submission to church authority, and conformity to church discipline; and does thereby invade the inalienable right of dissent from church authority and discipline. if the State can rightfully do this in this one thing, it can do so in all; and therefore in doing this it does in effect destroy all freedom of religious thought and action.
Yet strictly speaking, it is not their own will nor their own views which they propose to have enforced. Protestants did not create the Sunday institution; they did not originate Sunday observance. Protestantism inherited both the Sunday institution and Sunday observance. The Catholic Church originated Sunday observance. The papacy substituted the Sunday institution for the Sabbath of the Lord, enforced its acceptance and observance upon all, and prohibited under a curse the keeping of the Sabbath of the Lord She did it, and justified herself in it, precisely as these now do. That is, by tradition and "presumptions" and "spontaneous growths from the hearts of believers," and by what Christ "probably" taught, or intended to teach, or would have taught if the matter had only been brought to his attention.
There is authority for Sunday observance. It is the authority of the Catholic Church. [Fn17] Therefore, whoever observes Sunday does recognize the authority of the papacy, and does do homage to the Catholic Church. The enactment of Sunday laws does recognize the authority of the Catholic Church; the enforcement of Sunday observance does compel homage and obedience to the papacy. Just what there is in this movement, therefore, is the literal fulfillment of that prophecy in Revelation xiii, 11-17. It is the making of the image of the papal beast, and the enforcement of THE WORSHIP OF THE BEAST AND HIS IMAGE.
1 [Page 799] See page 271, this book.
2 [Page 800] Blakely's"American State Papers," p. 75.
3 [Page 806] "Government Chaplains," by Lorenzo D. Johnson, 1856.
4 [Page 806] Yet instead of allowing the institution to stand self-condemned upon his own positive evidence, and demanding its unconditional abolition, he advocated a "reform" that would be nothing less than a positive establishment of religion -- he wanted a governmental examining board of clergy to pass upon the qualifications for all candidates for chaplaincies in the army and navy. As for chaplains for Congress, he wanted them taken in succession, a week each, from thesettled pastors of Washington City.
5 [Page 810] Blakely's "American State Papers," pp. 56, 57. Id., p. 75.
6 [Page 811] See p. 297, this book.
7 [Page 811] Congressional Record, Fifty-first Congress, first session, p. 8,341.
8 [Page 812] Id., p. 8,353. All the quotations in this division are from the same number of the Record; that is, the Congressional Record dated July 25, 1890, giving the proceedings of the 24th.
8 [Page 819] In the New York Independent of March 19, 1891, Janes M. King, D. D., who was present at Washington, working against the appropriations, describes "the most humiliating spectacle, to see representatives of sovereign States, as well as the representatives of districts, . . . give expression to their fears that their vote in accord with their convictions would prejudice their political future." The opposition succeeded in reducing the appropriations to the Protestant denominations by the sum of $8,814, while in spite of all opposition, the appropriation to the Catholic Church was increased by the sum of $6,392, for the fiscal year 1891-92. (See Independent February 12, 1871, p. 13.)
9 [Page 823] The proceedings in both these hearings, are printed in full in the United States State Document, "Religion and Schools, Notes of Hearings," of above dates.
10 [Page 829] It is true that both Senator Blair and Senator Edmunds are now out of senatorial office; but their influence in behalf of such legislation as this is not much lessened by that, except in the power to vote for it.
11 [Page 828] See pages 323, 324 of this book.
12 [Page 839] See page 317, this book.
13 [Page 839] See pages 88 and 115, this book.
14 [Page 847] That this point not misplaced was made evident shortly afterward in Plainfield, N. J. The Pearl of Days, the official organ of the American Sunday Union, in March, 1889, gave the following statement from the Plainfield [N.J.] Times [no date]: "As a rule Plainfield, N. J., is a very quiet city on Sunday. Liquor, provision, and cigar stores are closed by the enforcement of a city ordinance. If a resident wants a cigar, he will either have it given to him by one of the many pharmacists who refuse to sell on ?Sunday, or he will go to the two dealers who are allowed to open t heir places on Sunday because they observe Saturday as their Sabbath. Some time ago a man of Catholic faith, who had an eye to Sunday business in that line, became a regular attendant at the Seventh day Baptist church Eventually he asked to be admitted into the fellowship of the church . A member of the official board was advised that the applicant for membership was only working for business ends He was closely examined by the church officers, and he finally admitted that he wanted to open a cigar store and do business on Sunday. The man appeared at the wrong place for aid in carrying out his mercenary purpose He was not received into membership and the southern sentinel of Dallas we have an example of how the law can he evaded. Parties have leased the billiard hall of the new Mc Leod Hotel, and have stipulated in their lease that they are conscientious observers of the seventh day [though to the best of the common knowledge and belief they are not]; that, in consequence, their business house will be closed on Saturday, and will be open on Sunday."
15 [Page 858] See pages 321, 322 of this book.
16 [Page 859] See page 688, par. 2, 3, of this book.
17 [Page 860] Let us not be misunderstood in this. We do not deny the right of any person to keep Sunday. So far as earthly government, or any authority of mankind is concerned, any person has just as much right to keep Sunday as anybody has to keep the Sabbath. This is their right, and they are responsible to God only, for the exercise of it. What we object to is their assumption of authority , and their demand for laws, to compel anybody to keep it. Nor do we object to their doing this because there is no command of God for it. We would object just as much to their doing it, though there were ten thousand commands of God for it. No authority but that of God can ever of right enforce a command of God. Men are responsible to God alone for their conduct with respect to anything by him.