The American Sentinel 3


The American Sentinel 3


January 1888

“A ‘Godless’ School” American Sentinel 3, 1, pp. 2, 3.


THE following ringing sentences are from the New York Observer, and although Father McTighe is said to have abandoned his attempt, at least for the present, this is a sound opinion upon the merits of the case:— AMS January 1888, page 2.1

“Pittsburg presents the climax of Roman Catholic arrogance in destroying or capturing our public schools. Father McTighe, of St. Michael’s Church, has actually succeeded in having himself appointed principal of the Thirty-third Ward public school in that city. This is the very consummation of unprincipled audacity. Having denounced the schools officially everywhere as ‘immoral and godless,’ a priest, sanctioned by his superiors, takes possession and pretends to administer an ‘immoral, godless’ school. Either he intends secretly to make it Romanist, or else he attempts to do precisely what Protestants wish, and therefore stultifies himself and his church as haters of our public schools. It is believed that he intends to keep what he and his church call a ‘godless’ school during the regular school hours, and then retain all those who will stay, for the purpose of giving them religious teaching in other hours. It is said that the nuns are to be employed as teachers. Such an illustration as this of the purpose and spirit of Romanists ought to rouse the nation. They ought to be taught a lesson now which will need no repetition. Our people will not tolerate this trifling with the very first principles of our polity, namely, that the State shall not in any way whatever engage in sectarian education, sectarian benevolence, or sectarian enterprises of any kind whatever. It is a disgrace to the civilization of any neighborhood, when it permits, for the sake of conciliating the enemies of the public schools, these gross violations of both the letter and spirit of our laws.” AMS January 1888, page 2.2

But if this “be the very consummation of unprincipled audacity,” what shall be thought and said of the National Reform Association, which proposes to give the Catholic Church authority by law to do this same thing, or worse, in all places in the United States where the Catholics are in the majority? If this action of a single priest in Pittsburg ought to rouse the Nation, what ought the action of Herrick Johnson, Joseph Cook, and nearly a hundred other Protestant (?) preachers, under the lead of Secretary T. P. Stevenson, of the National Reform Association, in Saratoga last August, to do? That action was to adopt a motion requesting the National Reform Association to bring to the attention of “Roman Catholic authorities” a scheme of religious exercises, worship, and instruction, in the public schools throughout the Nation, “with a view of securing, if possible, a basis of agreement” between Catholics and Protestants, whereby the Catholic Bible, Catholic worship, and Catholic instruction, shall be established in the public schools, wherever the Catholics may be in the majority, provided the Catholics will help these Protestants to secure a like power for themselves wherever the Protestants may be in the majority. AMS January 1888, page 2.3

In the Thirty-third Ward in Pittsburg the Catholics are in the majority; Father McTighe became principal, and his nuns teachers in the public school of that ward; had they remained they would have used the Catholic Bible, would have conducted Catholic worship, and would have given Catholic instruction in that school; that is precisely what the Saratoga National Reform meeting decided by vote to secure if possible throughout the Nation; this action of the Saratoga meeting was taken expressly to “satisfy the Roman Catholics” and to “conciliate them to our school system.” By the action of the Pittsburg School Board Father McTighe, a “Roman Catholic authority,” is satisfied and conciliated with the school system in that city; Father McTighe was doing in Pittsburg exactly what the Saratoga meeting decided to get, if possible, the Roman Catholic authorities to agree to do throughout the Nation; therefore, as this case “is a disgrace to the civilization” of the neighborhood of Pittsburg, the action of the National Reform Association is a disgrace to the civilization of the Nation and of the age. AMS January 1888, page 2.4

The National Reform Association “ought to be taught a lesson now which will need no repetition.” But, alas! “our people” do “tolerate,” and without a word or murmur of protest, “this trifling with the very first principles of our polity,” and” these gross violations of both the letter and spirit” of our American institutions. “How long, O Lord, how long?” AMS January 1888, page 3.1

A. T. J.

“A Sunday-Law Convention” American Sentinel 3, 1, pp. 4, 5.


IN the Union Signal of October 20, 1887, Mrs. Lydia B. Clark gives an article on the “Hopeful Outlook for Sabbath Observance,” and says that in its Sunday-law work the W. C. T. U. has found “most cordial helpers” in the World’s Prayer Union, the International Sabbath Association, and the National Reform Association. She reports certain legislative action that was taken last year in several States. Of the matter in California she says:— AMS January 1888, page 4.1

“Two years ago in California the Sunday law was repealed, but the people last winter plied the Legislature with petitions to replace the repealed law with an improved statute, and in San Francisco a convention of ministers was called, a bill prepared and introduced in the Legislature demanding protection of the Sabbath.” AMS January 1888, page 4.2

Yes, that is so. And as such things are now quite widely prevalent, we propose to show to the people the way in which a typical Sunday-law convention works to secure the “demanded” legislation. This excellent lady has given us the text, and we shall supply the sermon. The Sentinel was at the Convention named, and took copious notes of the proceedings, and has preserved the report for just such a time as this. This work has now become so general that it is highly important that the public in general and legislators in particular should know the methods employed to secure the enactment of “civil” and “protective” Sunday laws. AMS January 1888, page 4.3

This San Francisco Convention, like most of such conventions, was composed almost wholly of preachers. The thing originated in the “Pastors’ Union” of Sacramento, it being “the sense of the Pastors’ Union of Sacramento that a meeting of the pastors and members of the churches of the State, and of all other friends of Sun-day legislation in the State, should be called... to secure the passage of a Sunday law,” etc. This “sense” was approved by “the preachers of the Methodist Church” and the Convention was called, and met accordingly in the Young Men’s Christian Association building, November 29, 1886. AMS January 1888, page 4.4

The first and perhaps the most notable thing about the Convention that would be noticed by a looker-on was the perfect confusion of ideas as to what was really wanted. It is true that there was perfect unanimity on the point that there should be a law demanded of the Legislature, but that was the only single thing upon which there was any real agreement. AMS January 1888, page 4.5

With some, nothing but a Sunday law would do; with others, nothing but a Sabbath law would answer. With some, it must be a civil Sabbath law; with others, a religious Sabbath law. With some, it must be a civil Sunday law; with others, a religious Sunday law. With some, it was a Christian Sunday that was wanted; with others, a Christian Sabbath. With some it was a religious Sabbath law that was wanted, and a religious Sabbath law that must be had, and they were ready to go to the Legislature upon that basis; but these were very few. While with others, and these the great majority, it was a religious Sunday law or a religious Sabbath law that was wanted, but at the same time it was naively argued that to go to the Legislature with such a request would be all in vain, for the Legislature would not act upon any question of a religious nature; therefore, to get what they wanted, they must ask only for a civil Sunday law. AMS January 1888, page 4.6

It was upon this last point that the discussion and the action of the Convention culminated. And by this action there was irresistibly forced upon the mind of an observer a strong impression of the insincerity of the great majority of the members of this Sunday-law Convention. The course of the discussion and this culminating action show that the majority of the members of that convention were willing to cover up the real purpose which they had in view, and deliberately to go to the Legislature of California under a false pretense. They show that while a religious law, and nothing else, is what they wanted, yet, as to openly ask the Legislature for that would be fruitless, they proposed to obtain what they wanted—a religious Sunday law—by getting the Legislature to pass a civil Sunday law. That is, they would have the Legislature to pass a civil Sunday law, and then they would enforce it as a religious Sunday law. In other words, they proposed to hoodwink the Legislature of California. They didn’t succeed. AMS January 1888, page 4.7

Another evidence of this insincerity was the ringing of the now familiar changes upon the “workingman.” One had very great sympathy for the “toiling multitudes.” Another was the “friend of the workingman,” and “if any people are the friends of the workingman, they are the ministers.” And yet not one of them was there as the representative of the workingman, nor was it the needs of the workingman upon which the call of the Convention was based. When that which gave rise to the calling of the Convention was officially stated, it was that “the Christian people of Sacramento had been disturbed in their worship, and their religious feelings had been outraged by the disregard of the Sabbath; the matter had come before the Pastors’ Conference; a correspondence opened with divines throughout the State on the subject of a Sunday law; and accordingly the present Convention had been called.” And one of the principal speakers in the Convention, in the speech that was the most applauded of any made in the Convention, said plainly that the movement was a religious one and that he was decidedly opposed to divorcing it from a Christian standpoint. AMS January 1888, page 4.8

It was that “the Christian people” had been disturbed in their “worship,” and not that the workingmen had been deprived of their rest; it was that the “religious feelings” of “the Christian people” had been outraged, and not that the workingman had been oppressed, nor that his feelings had been outraged; it was with the “divines,” and not with the workingmen throughout the State that a correspondence had been opened; it was these considerations and not the needs of the workingman that formed the basis of the call for the Convention. And yet in the face of these definite statements, some of these “divines” would get up in the Convention, and fish for the favor and try to catch the ear of the workingman, by trying to make it appear that they came there as “the friends of the workingman.” AMS January 1888, page 5.1

And, too, just think of a lot of “divines” called in general convention to secure the enactment of a Sunday law to protect the “worship” and the “religious feelings” of “Christian people;” and then to fulfill the purpose, and to attain to the object of that call, they, in convention assembled, unanimously decide to go up to the Legislature and demurely ask for a law entirely civil! And why is this? Why could they not go to the Legislature in the name of that purpose for which they were called? Oh, that would never do! For if the word “civil” be stricken out, “you cannot reach the Legislature.” Therefore just put in the word “civil and the purpose of the Convention will be accomplished, for we will get all we want and the Legislature will not know it.” But the Legislature of California was not so exceedingly verdant as to be unable to see through that piece of wire-work, so deftly woven by these worthy divines. AMS January 1888, page 5.2

The demand of these “Christian people” for a Sunday law, because their worship was disturbed, is just as hollow a pretense as is any other part of their scheme. For if their worship was really disturbed, they have already a sufficient resource. For the protection of religious worship from disturbance, the statutes of California make provision that ought to satisfy any ordinary mortal. Section 302 of the Penal Code of California reads as follows:— AMS January 1888, page 5.3

“Every person who willfully disturbs or disquiets any assemblage of people met for religious worship, by noise, profane discourse, rude or indecent behavior, or by any unnecessary noise either within the place where such meeting is held, or so near as to disturb the order and solemnity of the meeting, is guilty of a misdemeanor.” AMS January 1888, page 5.4

And such misdemeanor is, punishable by “imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars, or both.”—Id., sec. 19. AMS January 1888, page 5.5

Are not six months in jail and a fine of five hundred dollars a sufficient punishment for the disturbance of worship? Or is this penalty so insignificant that these “divines” and “Christian people” disdain to inflict so light a punishment and therefore demand a Sunday law to make the punishment heavier? AMS January 1888, page 5.6

But if the present penalty is insufficient to properly punish those who disturb their worship, then what will satisfy these “divines”? Where the State chastises with whips, do they want to chastise with scorpions? Do they want to imprison a man for life and mulct him of all his property for disturbing (?) their worship by working on Sunday on his farm, in his shop or garden, far away from any place of worship? We firmly believe that if the truth were told it would appear that it is not their worship at all but their doctrine that has been disturbed. AMS January 1888, page 5.7

Just a word more on their pretended friendship for the workingman. We freely hazard the opinion that if they should obtain the “civil” Sunday law which they seek, then the poor workingman, who, to support his needy family, should work on Sunday, will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We venture this opinion because of facts of which we know. In Tennessee there were at that time lying in prison, honest, hard-working men, whose families were dependent upon their daily labor, and these men were in that prison for working on Sunday to obtain the necessary means to support their families, and while they were in prison their families were in want, and had to be supported by the charity of Christian friends. That is the kind of friendship for the workingman that is shown in the enactment of these “civil” Sunday laws. And if the people of California, or in any other State, want to see the same thing repeated in their State, or in the Nation, then just let them allow these “divines” to secure the enactment of the “civil” Sunday law that they want. Then may be seen exemplified everywhere this solicitous friendship for the workingmen. AMS January 1888, page 5.8

One of the leading members of the Convention remarked that he had “been in politics long enough to know that legislators keep their finger on the public pulse, and that they generally give what the people want.” From our observations in the Convention, of the speeches, and of its workings, we are prepared to give it as our private opinion, publicly expressed, that the most of the members of the Convention have been in politics enough to know a good deal about the ways and means by which politicians too often compass their ends. AMS January 1888, page 5.9

A. T. J.

“‘A Pen-Picture’” American Sentinel 3, 1, pp. 6, 7.


IN the Interior of October 20 there is a racy report of the State Convention of the Ohio W. C. T. U. It is entitled “A Pen-Picture of the Ohio W. C. T. U. Convention.” We have no, doubt that that is what it is, and a well-drawn picture too, for some of the scenes are decidedly realistic—much more so in fact than we should have thought becoming in a woman’s temperance convention, to say nothing of a woman’s Christian temperance convention. In one of the scenes Miss Willard very properly paid a glowing tribute to the influence of Mrs. Hayes, Miss Rose Elizabeth Cleveland, and the present Mrs. Cleveland, in the White House. She closed with the words, “God bless Frances Folsom Cleveland,” to which sentiment the applause was very properly immense. But to this sentiment one of the members of the Convention promptly took decided exception, at which the reporter, herself a member of the Union, expresses herself after this gentle, womanly, Christian style: “Out upon such littleness! Such a spirit shows a venom unworthy a civilized woman. Perhaps she was in the gall of bitterness because her husband had been turned out of office; if so we must try to excuse her.” AMS January 1888, page 6.1

Another, called in the report a “lively scene,” ensued when the Committee on Finance reported in favor of paying salaries to the leading officers, and in favor of the President’s visiting all the county and district meetings “at the expense of the Convention.” Against this there was strong opposition, and the report says: “Mrs. Foote led the opposition forces, and showed herself a fearless soldier, full of fire and spirit. In fact, she got mad, ... and for a few minutes it seemed quite like a masculine assemblage.” Yes, we have no doubt that it did. Women, fearless and soldierly, full of fire and spirit, and mad, at that, are not apt to appear very feminine-like. AMS January 1888, page 6.2

But says the excellent reporter: “Now some people might think this little fray not a very proper thing, but I don’t see why. It shows they are not afraid to do their own thinking, and although they are excellent women, they are very much like the excellent men—somewhat human.” Yes, that is just the trouble. It shows they are rather too much like the not very, excellent men. And the observation which we would here make upon it is this: One of the principal reasons upon which these excellent women base their claim of the franchise and political equality with the men is that politics will be purified and all its methods elevated. But if this is the way in which the Christian women of the country act in a convention exclusively their own, and wholly separated from political strife, what would be the result in mixed assemblages, where not only these, but un-Christian and anti-Christian women as well, should have free scope for their activities equally with the men, and all together stirred with all the elements of political strife? AMS January 1888, page 7.1

Hitherto we have been somewhat unsettled in our opinion in regard to woman suffrage, but now—well, we don’t know. AMS January 1888, page 7.2

This report was written by Virginia Sharpe Patterson. A. T. J. AMS January 1888, page 7.3