The Captivity of the Republic

2/17

REASONS FOR OPENING

The organized movement for opening the Fair on Sunday originated in Chicago. The Chicago Herald started it, and the city council of Chicago took it up, and drafted a memorial to Congress, which the city council, with the mayor at its head, as representatives from the city of Chicago, took to Washington, and presented, the first day of four days hearing. This memorial had the endorsement also of the Directory of the Fair. Some of the reasons that were given upon which they asked that the Fair should be opened on Sunday, we will now give:- CAR 6.1

“The wish of the Council is,- CAR 6.2

“That the gates of the World’s Columbian Exposition be not closed Sunday. CAR 6.3

“That all machinery be stopped, and that noise be suppressed that day, to the end that quiet may prevail, which is in keeping with the Sabbath.” CAR 6.4

That recognizes Sunday as the Sabbath, and of course there is a certain “quiet” that becomes it; and they wanted it open with the machinery stopped “that this quiet may prevail.” That is the same reason that the other folks gave why it should be shut on Sunday. CAR 6.5

“That suitable accommodations be provided within the Exposition grounds for holding religious services the Sabbath-day, to the end that all the denominations may have worship conducted according to their several customs without obstruction or hindrance.” CAR 7.1

That is the same reason that the other folks wanted it shut-only that they want to have “religious services” in their churches. CAR 7.2

“We recognize and rejoice in the fact that our country is and always has been a Christian nation.” CAR 7.3

And the leading reason urged by the churches for closing it, is that “this is a Christian nation.” CAR 7.4

“We believe that the United States as a Christian country, should open the gates Sunday as a recognition of the fact that in no branch of human interest or thought has there been more progress during that four hundred years of time than in the Christian Church.” CAR 7.5

That is exactly the reason that the other folks gave for shutting it: that the United States, “as a Christian nation,” should shut the Fair on Sunday “as a recognition of the advancement made in Christian ideas.” CAR 7.6

“Would it not be a good thing to throw the sanctity of religious worship about the great temple dedicated to the things of use and beauty?” CAR 7.7

And the reason given for shutting the Fair was that it would be a good thing to throw “the sanctity of religious worship” about the whole Fair, by shutting the gates entirely. CAR 7.8

So you can see, the reasons that were given for opening it are precisely the reasons that were given for shutting it. CAR 7.9

The Chicago Tribune, in mentioning the letter that Cardinal Gibbons wrote on the subject, introduced it in this form, in its issue of Dec. 3, 1892:- CAR 7.10

“There is a strong and growing sentiment in some religious circles in favor of the repeal of the World’s Fair Sunday-closing act. One eminent divine after another is coming out in favor of this liberal movement. The possibilities for a series of religious demonstrations at the Park become more and more manifest. With the leading religious and moral teachers of Europe and America to conduct services every Sunday, with sacred music produced by choruses embracing, perhaps, thousands of trained voices, Sunday at the World’s Fair will be one of the grandest recognitions of the Sabbath known to modern history.” CAR 7.11

So the other folks said, if the Fair be closed on Sunday, and the solemnity of the Sabbath overspreads it, and this nation sets the grand example of the recognition of the Sabbath, it will be “one of the grandest exhibitions of the Sabbath known to modern history.” CAR 8.1

More than this, those who worked for the opening of the Fair courted the Church interests precisely as the others did in working for the shutting of it. CAR 8.2

As soon as these things appeared in print, I wrote a letter to Mr. Allen Moon, who had charge of our petitions and work in Washington, sending him these marked passages; and I said to him: “You can readily see that the reasons that are given by these people for opening the Fair are precisely the reasons that were given for shutting it. Now that being so, for us to join with them would be to recognize the legitimacy of the legislation and the reasons for the legislation, whereas every one of these reasons is directly against everything that we have been working for all these years in Congress. So this makes it plain enough that we cannot put a single one of our petitions along with theirs. We cannot take a single step along with them; we cannot work with them at all, or connect with them in any way in the way they are working, or upon the reasons which they give for opening the Fair. We will have to maintain the position that the legislation is not, and never was, right at all. The only thing we can do therefore is to hold that the thing ought to be undone. The only position which we can take is that the Sunday part of the legislation should be unconditionally repealed.” CAR 8.3

Mr. Moon immediately replied that he had seen these statements in the Chicago Memorial, and had already taken the position that I spoke of in my letter. At the same time I wrote an article which appeared in the American Sentinel, December, 15 1892, setting forth the same facts and taking the same position; saying:- CAR 9.1

“Another significant phase of the contest is, that while Archbishops Ireland, Gross, and Riordan, of the Catholic Church, favor Sunday closing of the Fair, Cardinal Gibbons and other archbishops favor Sunday opening. While most of the bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and ministers of other professed Protestant churches demand Sunday closing, Bishop Potter, of the Protestant Episcopal Church and other prominent ministers of that and other so-called Protestant churches, demand Sunday opening. But whether the demand be for Sunday closing or for Sunday opening of the Fair, it is made by all these in the interests of Sunday, to promote its observance and the more to exalt it as the great ‘Christian’ institution. CAR 9.2

“The conclusion of the whole matter is, that instead of there being a movement to have Congress abandon the usurpation which it has practiced, unconditionally repeal this unconstitutional legislation, and take its position again where alone it belongs, this is a movement to have Congress continue its usurpation, multiply its unconstitutional legislation, and confirm itself in the unlawful position which it has taken. Instead of insisting that Congress can never of right have anything at all to do in any way with the question as to whether Sunday should be observed at all or not, this is only an effort to have Congress decide what will best and most powerfully promote the observance of that day which Congress has already unconstitutionally and irreverently decided is ‘the Christian Sabbath.’ CAR 9.3

“This movement and the legislation which it demands is just as much in the interest of the church power, and is just as much to please this power, as was the original legislation of Congress on the subject. And the effect which it will have-the only effect which it can have-is only the more fully to confirm in the hands of the church power, the governmental authority of which that lawless power has already robbed the people. CAR 9.4

“Because of all these facts the American Sentinel takes no part in this Sunday-opening campaign. Our position is just what it always has been. We do not, and never did, care the scratch of a pen whether the World’s Fair be open or shut on Sundays. We do care, and always have cared, more than can be told, whether the question should be decided by legislation; and whether the government should thus be surrendered into the hands of the church power. Against this we have always protested and worked with all our might, both before and since it was done. Our demand is that all Sunday legislation of all kinds everywhere be unconditionally repealed. But there is no possibility of this ever being done anywhere. This we know, consequently our position is one of positive, uncompromising and everlasting protest against all that has been done, against all that is being done, and against all that ever shall be done, by law, in behalf of Sunday; whether to open the Fair, or to close the Fair, or anything else under the sun.” CAR 9.5