American Sentinel, vol. 4

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American Sentinel, Vol. 4

1889

January 1889

“Principles Not Parties” American Sentinel 4, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

From a gentleman in the State of New York, a minister of the gospel, we have received a letter inquiring into the political affiliations of the AMERICAN SENTINEL. The letter is too long to be published entire, but we will give enough of it so that the reader may have a good idea of its contents. After stating that in his section the extra SENTINEL was circulated by Republicans, as campaign literature against the Prohibition party, he says:- AMS January 1889, page 2.1

“With the SENTINEL, I am uncompromisingly opposed to anything tending toward union of Church and State either in name or in fact. My pen and voice have been and still will be against it. I have recently lectured against the encroachments of Rome, and opposed also the legislation that fined and imprisoned your people for quietly and lawfully working on Sunday. AMS January 1889, page 2.2

“But your articles in the SENTINEL, as far as I have been able to see, would lead one to infer that you are not alarmed in regard to Republicans, and their attitude on the Sunday question, but are fully awake to the tendency of Prohibitionists to link in the question with that of temperance.... AMS January 1889, page 2.3

“Dr. Carroll, editor of the N. Y. Independent, in a speech in favor of his party (anti-saloon Republican) declared that all legislation for the better observance of Sunday had come from the Republican party; and intimated that such would be the case in the future. In your article against such legislation, you say much about Senator Blair’s bill, styling him a Prohibitionist, etc. AMS January 1889, page 2.4

“Senator Blair is a staunch Republican, sent to the Senate by Republicans. His hope of passing his bills, and securing Sunday legislation, is in the attitude of a Republican Congress. From a Republican Congress and a Republican President, he hopes to secure what you and I denounce as a menace to religious liberty. He has no hopes of doing this inside of any other party, for he does not believe a third party can obtain control of the Government. Republicans in Congress are working together to secure legislation in the interests of Rome. Protestant Republicans are the men who to-day are the greatest plotters against religious freedom. Why, then, are you so much against Prohibitionists, but fail to say much, if anything, against the Republican party, to which Carroll, Blair, and company look for future Sunday legislation?” AMS January 1889, page 2.5

We have quoted the principal part of the letter. From a perusal of the whole, it seems to us that our brother is moved quite as much by hatred of the Republican party as by desire to see justice done to the Prohibition party. As for the SENTINEL, we can say with truth that it is strictly non-partisan. It deals only with principles, and with facts as they illustrate or stand in opposition to those principles. And here we will say that the greatest fault that we have seen in the Prohibition party is the intense, bitter, and almost unreasoning partisan spirit manifested by its leaders. In the late campaign we listened to several speeches by prominent Prohibitionists, and their whole animus seemed to be hatred of the two old parties. The Prohibition journals were the same. Their whole campaign stock seemed to be vituperation and abuse of Republicans and Democrats. We are no apologist for either of the old parties, and are not claiming that much that was said against them was not true; but such political methods seem to use decidedly out of place in a party which professes to be the party of moral ideas. AMS January 1889, page 2.6

Our friend charges all the alliance with Romanism upon the Republican party. This seems to us a little strange, since the Democratic party has been proverbial for years as the party that was dominated by the Catholics. President Cleveland’s obsequious attention to Cardinal Gibbons is well known to all our readers; and who has forgotten the insult which his administration gave to the whole American nation, when it sent a Government vessel to meet the emissaries of the Pope, when they came on a church mission, and how the Papal flag was hoisted above the stars and stripes? AMS January 1889, page 3.1

The fact of the matter is that both the old parties are like the Prohibition party, in that they favor whatever will bring them the most votes at any particular time. No man is warranted in saying that any particular party will be the party that will offer the greatest menace to religious liberty. It is highly probable that some entirely new party will be instrumental in consummating that work. We have nothing to do with parties as such. The SENTINEL has no fight against any political party. But when it sees movements on foot that tend most directly to overthrow religious liberty, it will vigorously oppose them, no matter by whom they are championed. To show that this is true, we need only say that six years ago, when the matter of a Sunday law was the only issue between the two great parties in California, we circulated hundreds of thousands of papers opposing the stand taken by the Republican party, and it was said that the work done by the publishers of the SENTINEL contributed in no small degree to the defeat of that party. When the party dropped that issue, there was no longer any necessity for opposing its work. It is not true that the Blair Bill is a Republican measure, for we know of a surety that the most vigorous opposition that it will meet in the House will be from Republicans. Moreover, we have seen Mr. Harrison’s statement, signed with his own hand, to the effect that he does not favor such legislation as is proposed by Senator Blair. AMS January 1889, page 3.2

We well know that Senator Blair is a Republican, but we have no evidence that his measure is a Republican measure. The readers of the SENTINEL can testify that Senator Blair’s Republicanism has not prevented us from opposing his work; and we think that our action in the past is ample proof that we should pursue a like course in regard to the Republican party as a whole, if it should endorse Senator Blair’s bills. AMS January 1889, page 3.3

And now for a few facts to show that the Prohibition party is pre-eminently the party that is devoted to religious legislation. AMS January 1889, page 3.4

1. Chairman Dickie said in answer to a question, that the disfranchisement of woman is a greater curse than all the saloons in the country. And Sam Small, secretary of the National Prohibition Convention, said: “One reason why I favor woman suffrage is because we would have more Christian voters if the women were allowed to vote.” Thus it appears from the highest authority that the Prohibition party is not primarily a temperance party, but is a woman suffrage party, and that for the purpose of advancing its religio-political designs. AMS January 1889, page 3.5

2. In a speech in Kansas City, Sam Small, who is one of the Prohibition party leaders, said:- AMS January 1889, page 3.6

“I want to see the day come when the church shall be the arbiter of all legislation, State, national, and municipal; when the great churches of the country can come together harmoniously and issue their edict, and the legislative powers will respect it and enact it into laws.” AMS January 1889, page 3.7

Talk about the encroachments of Rome! How much better would this be? Not a bit better, but rather worse, because it would include the Catholic Church, and so to its despotism would be added that of all the other churches. For ourselves we can say that we shall never cease to antagonize any effort tending in that direction, no matter how highly “moral” the party making them may profess to be. AMS January 1889, page 3.8

3. Speaking about the morality of the Prohibition party reminds us of what the Lever said some time ago:- AMS January 1889, page 3.9

“At this point the Prohibition party stands out in bold contrast with the old parties. It recognizes the authority of God in human government, and proposes that all legislation shall be in harmony with Christian morality.” AMS January 1889, page 3.10

Here we see that the religious character of the Prohibition party is set forth as its great point of superiority over the old parties. AMS January 1889, page 3.11

4. In the Christian Statesman of November 22, 1888, there appeared an editorial entitled, “Have We a Christian Party?” in which, after saying that “no one will claim that either one of the dominant parties in American politics is a Christian party,” and that the character of the Prohibition party in this respect has not yet been definitely settled, it says of it:- AMS January 1889, page 3.12

“We acknowledge with cheerful thankfulness the religious utterances which from time to time have appeared in its platforms. It has definitely acknowledged almighty God as the source of all power in civil Government. It has declared for the maintenance of the Christian Sabbath. Some of its State platforms have avowed the purpose of the party to be to apply the principles of the Christian religion to our whole political life, and several county platforms have made express acknowledgment of Jesus Christ as the ruler of nations. These are new utterances in American politics. They have no precedent and no parallel in the history of parties among us. They have awakened the brightest hopes among those who feel that the question of all questions, of which the temperance question itself, in its deepest aspects, is only a part, is whether we shall maintain or shall forego our national Christianity.” AMS January 1889, page 3.13

This shows that the National Reform Association, of which the Statesman is the chief organ, looks with great expectation to the rising Prohibition party to further its aims. That its expectations are based on reason appears not only from the above, but from many other things. In last month’s SENTINEL, page 94, there appeared a short article showing from the statement of an intelligent Prohibition worker that the Prohibition party is the Church and State party. AMS January 1889, page 3.14

These are points enough to show that the SENTINEL could not be true to itself if it did not antagonize, not temperance, nor Constitutional Prohibition, but that which constitutes the chief work of the nominally prohibition party. When the Republican party, or any other party, makes religion an issue, we shall oppose its work just as vigorously. We should oppose them as vigorously even if they were advocated by the church of which we are members. AMS January 1889, page 3.15

E. J. W. AMS January 1889, page 3.16

“The Amended Sunday Bill” American Sentinel 4, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

We have already, in two separate issues of the SENTINEL, printed and commented upon the Blair Sunday Rest Bill; but certain changes have been made in it of late, and in order that our readers may keep informed as to the spirit of Sunday legislation, we once more print the bill, together with the amended form. First, we print the bill as it is, and second, the bill with the changes desired by the “American Sabbath Union,” followed by the reasons for the changes, and our comments thereon. The “Special Committee” spoken of in the title of the report consisted of Col. Elliot F. Shepard, Bishop Hurst, Dr. Sunderland, Dr. Ruskin, Dr. Knowles, Dr. Elliott, and others, with Mrs. J. Ellen Foster as legal adviser. The report is as follows:- AMS January 1889, page 6.1

REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON CHANCES DESIRED IN THE SUNDAY REST BILL.

THE BILL AS IT IS

In the Senate of the United States, May 21, 1888, Mr. Blair introduced the following bill, which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Education and Labor:- AMS January 1889, page 6.2

50th Congress, 1st Session, S. 2983. AMS January 1889, page 6.3

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. AMS January 1889, page 6.4

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 employe 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. AMS January 1889, page 6.5

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 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 the 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. AMS January 1889, page 6.6

SEC. 3. That the prosecution of commerce between the States and with the Indian tribes, the same not being work of necessity, mercy, nor humanity, by the transportation of persons or property by land or water in such 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 of rest from labor, the same not being labor of necessity, mercy, or humanity, or its observance as a day of religious worship, is, hereby prohibited, and any person or corporation, or the agent or employe of any person or corporation, who shall willfully violate this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than ten nor 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. AMS January 1889, page 6.7

SEC. 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. AMS January 1889, page 6.8

SEC. 5. That it shall be unlawful to pay or to 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. AMS January 1889, page 6.9

SEC. 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. AMS January 1889, page 6.10

THE BILL WITH CHANGES DESIRED BY THE AMERICAN SABBATH UNION

(Changes indicated by full-face letters and stars.) Unanimously adopted December 12, 1588. AMS January 1889, page 6.11

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 of Religions Worship. AMS January 1889, page 6.12

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That on Sunday, no person or corporation, or the agent, servant, or employe of any person or corporation, shall perform, or authorize to be performed, any secular work, labor, or business * * * works of necessity, mercy, and humanity excepted; nor shall any person engage in any play, game, show, exhibition, or amusement * * * open to the public, or of a public character, 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. AMS January 1889, page 6.13

SEC. 2. That no mails or mail matter shall here-after 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 Sunday. AMS January 1889, page 6.14

SEC. 3. That the prosecution of commerce between the States and with the Indian tribes, * * * by the transportation of persons or property by land or water * * * on the first day of the week * * * is hereby prohibited, and any person or corporation, or the agent or employe of any person or corporation, who shall * violate this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than ten nor 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. AMS January 1889, page 6.15

SEC. 6. That labor or service performed and ordered on Sunday in consequence of accident or disaster, or unavoidable delays in making the regular connections upon postal routes and routes of travel and transportation, the * * * transportation and delivery of milk before 5 A.M. * * * and after 10 P.M. but the same shall be construed, so far as possible, to secure to the whole people rest from toil during Sunday, their mental and moral culture, and the protection of the religious observance of the * day. AMS January 1889, page 6.16

The reasons for the changes asked are, in part, as follows:- AMS January 1889, page 6.17

For religious purposes we prefer the name Lord’s day or Christian Sabbath, but as Sunday is already used in National laws, we think it better to use that uniformly in this bill, with the one exception of the double name in the title. AMS January 1889, page 6.18

The word “promote” in the title goes beyond what many, even your Christian citizens, believe to be the proper function of Government with reference to “religious worship,” while the word “protect” (we also last line) expresses a duty which Government owes to all legitimate institutions of the people. AMS January 1889, page 6.19

Experience in the courts has shown that the words “show, exhibition,” should be added to the list of prohibited Sunday amusements, and the words “in public,” in place of “to the disturbance of others,” as the latter clause has been construed as requiring that persons living in the neighborhood of a Sunday game or show must testify that they have been disturbed, in order to a conviction, which cannot be done in some cases without personal peril. AMS January 1889, page 6.20

In Section 2, we believe that the exceptions for letters relating to sickness, etc., are unnecessary in this age of the telegraph; and that they would be used by unscrupulous men in business correspondence, and that this would destroy most of the benefits of the law in its bearing on Sunday mails. AMS January 1889, page 6.21

In Section 3, we believe the exceptions made would greatly interfere with the law. The exception for work of mercy and neccessity is made, once for all, in the first section. The reference to “the disturbance of others” is objectionable for reasons already given, and the word “willfully” is an old offender in Sabbath legislation, and requires evidence very hard to get in regard to one’s motive and knowledge of the law. In other laws it is assumed that one knows the law, and the law-making power should see that the laws are well published, and leave no room for one to escape by agnosticism. AMS January 1889, page 6.22

In Section 5 (as in section 1 also), we would omit “Lord’s day,” and in Section 6, “Sabbath,” in order to preserve uniformity in using the less religious term, Sunday. AMS January 1889, page 6.23

In Section 6, we think refrigerator cars make Sunday work in transportation of perishable food, except milk, unnecessary, and the new stock cars, with provision for food and water, do the same for stock trains. So many of the State Sunday laws have proved almost useless in protecting the rights of the people to Sunday rest and undisturbed worship, by the smallness of their penalties and the largeness of their exceptions, that we covet from Congress a law that shall make itself effective by small exceptions and large penalties. AMS January 1889, page 6.24

With a little care in comparison, the reader can readily see what changes have been made in the bill. We have omitted sections 4 and 5 from the revised bill, because they are the same as the corresponding sections in the original bill, with the single exception of “Sunday” being substituted for “Lord’s day,” in last line of section 4. We hope that everyone will study both bills thoroughly, together with the committee’s reasons for the changes. Anyone can see that the changes are in the line of greater stringency. We note only the most prominent points. AMS January 1889, page 6.25

1. The change from “Lord’s day” to Sunday, although a proper one, is in reality no change at all, since the term “Lord’s day” is still used at the beginning, and it is expressly stated that Sunday is used a matter of custom. It is understood that it is as a religious day, indicated by the term “Lord’s day” that they want the observance of the first day of the week enforced; but if the term “Sunday” is quite generally used, it will no doubt “take” better. AMS January 1889, page 6.26

2. In asking for the “protection of the religious observance of the day,” instead of the promotion of its observance as a day of religious worship, the committee threw a sop to those who are “on the fence” in regard to religious legislation. As it stands, it amounts to nothing; for there is not a State or Territory in the Union where any religious service held on Sunday would not be protected. AMS January 1889, page 7.1

3. The most important change of all, however, is the substitution of the words “in public” instead of “to the disturbance of others,” in section 1. This will certainly make the law more effective. It is obvious that if a man were to engage in work a mile from a dwelling-house, it would be quite a task for the owner of the house to convince even an ordinary jury that such labor disturbed him; but by the terms of the amended bill, the man may be convicted if he is working in a public place, provided anybody can get near enough to him to see him. AMS January 1889, page 7.2

4. Notice the radical change made in section 2. As amended, it is most sweeping, allowing of no exception. The mail is not to be carried at all on Sunday, even in case of sickness and death, lest some “unscrupulous” person should mention business on that day. If the mail is not carried, of course that will make him a good man! It is no concern of ours how they propose to carry out this law, but we can’t help wondering what they will do when Sunday comes, and a train carrying the mail is on the way, say from Chicago to New Orleans. The train is owned by a corporation, and is not in a part of the country “subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States,” and therefore could not be forced to lie over. The only way out of the difficulty, under the provision of this bill, would be to dump all the mail out at the nearest station, and let it lie there till Sunday was past. AMS January 1889, page 7.3

This, however, would not be done. What would be done would be the passing of laws by the several States, forbidding all labor within their jurisdiction, and it is this for which these zealous people are scheming. This United States law is designed as a precedent, and as a lever with which to secure the religious observance of Sunday by all the people in the United States, whether they are religious or not. AMS January 1889, page 7.4

5. We wish to call special attention, also, to the last sentence of the “reason for the changes asked.” It says: “So many of the State Sunday laws have proved almost useless in protecting the rights of the people to Sunday rest, and undisturbed worship, by the smallness of their penalties and the largeness of their exceptions, that we covet from Congress a law that shall make itself effective by small exceptions and large penalties.” There the real spirit of the dragon exhibits itself. In that simple statement is compressed a world of bigotry and animosity. History has abundantly shown that the bitterness and hate which bigoted men feel toward those who differ with them in religious opinion, are the worst of all. It is very natural for a bigoted man to imagine that when his views are not respected it is a direct insult to the Lord, and that he is the divinely appointed agent to punish all such offenses. The spirit of the statement which we have just quoted is this: “We want things fixed so that those who do not believe as we do can be fully within our power, so that we can wreak on them all the hatred which we feel for them.” AMS January 1889, page 7.5

We speak strongly, because the case demands it. We do not speak thus in order to arouse a feeling against those who are engineering this thing, but that all who read it may be led to examine the matter for themselves more closely, that they may see the wickedness of the whole business, and may protest. Petitions against tampering with the Constitution, and dabbling in religious legislation, have been sent far and wide, and we believe that it will be seen that there are many thousands of people in the United States who are not willing to forge chains with which to bind themselves, nor to lend themselves to the work of binding others. No scheme more iniquitous, nor more opposed to the spirit of the gospel of Christ, was ever set on foot in this country. AMS January 1889, page 7.6

E. J. W.