The Union of Church and State in the United States

9/13

CAPTIVITY OF THE REPUBLIC

And now it is doubly too late to avoid the consequences by denying the principle, because the principle is not only established, but the consequences have begun to appear. On page 46 we stated that the president of the American Sabbath Union, in behalf of the whole ecclesiastical combination, took this decision and went before congressional committees and recited its arguments, and upon these demanded the closing of the World’s Fair by act of Congress, “because this is a Christian nation.” Congress has enacted two distinct laws, both of which close the World’s Fair on Sunday, because it is the “Christian Sabbath,” and because it was demanded with threats 1 by the ecclesiastical combination before mentioned. In this act Congress has not only legislated upon a religious subject, but has distinctly com- mitted itself to the decision of a religious controversy, and has placed the United States Government in the hands of the church power. UCS 57.1

This is proved by the clearest evidences, some of which we shall now give. In the discussion of the question in Congress it was treated as a religious question and nothing else; and this, too, because the churches demanded it. So entirely was this so that, in a communication to the New York Independent of July 28, 1892, the chaplain of the United States Senate said of the discussion in the Senate, these words:— UCS 58.1

“During this debate you might have imagined yourself in a general council or assembly or synod or conference, so pronounced was one senator after another.” UCS 58.2

Senator Hawley said:— UCS 58.3

“Everybody knows what the foundation is. It is founded in religious belief.” UCS 58.4

And Senator Peffer said of it:— UCS 58.5

“To-day we are engaged in a theological discussion concerning the observance of the first day of the week.” UCS 58.6

As Senator Colquitt is a National Reformer, nothing else was to be expected of him, and he fully sustained this character in his speech, about half of which was made up from extracts from a sermon by Father Hyacinthe, Old Roman Catholic of France. The rest of his speech was National Reform sentiment of his own manufacture. Altogether it was of such a sort that he himself began to see how incongruous it was in that place, and halted with these words:— UCS 58.7

“But I shall continue this no further, Mr. President, for it may to some sound like cant, like preaching, as though we were undertaking to clothe ourselves in overrighteous habiliments and pretend to be better than other men.”—Congressional Record, 52nd Cong., page 6755. UCS 58.8

In the Senate the two most influential advocates of the measure were Senators Hawley, of Connecticut, and Hiscock, of New York. And Senator Hiscock said flatly these words:— UCS 59.1

“If I had charge of this amendment in the interest of the Columbian Exposition, I would write the provision for the closure in any form that the religious sentiment of the country demands, and not stand here hesitating or quibbling about it. Rather than let the public sentiment against the Exposition being opened on Sunday be reënforced by the opposition in the other House against any legislation of this kind in the interest of the Exposition, I say to the junior senator from Illinois [Mr. Palmer], he had better yield to this sentiment, and not let it go out to the country that there is the slightest doubt that if this money shall be appropriated, the Exposition will be closed on Sunday.... If I were interested in this measure, as I might be interested if it were located in my own State, I should make this closure provision satisfactory to those petitioners who have memorialized us against the desecration of the Lord’s day.... I would not leave it uncertain whether the government might engage in business or not upon the Sabbath day.”—Congressional Record, July 13, 1892, p. 6755. UCS 59.2

Senator Vest, though professedly speaking for an open Fair, was constrained to say:— UCS 59.3

“If I abhorred anything it would be any public act of mine which would say to the honest, religious people of the United States, ‘I am prepared to flout your opinions, to entirely disregard them, and to stamp upon them my disapprobation by giving a vote directly in conflict with what you have asked.’”—Id., July 12, page 6697. UCS 59.4

Senator Hawley greatly regretted that he was not enough of an ecclesiastic to do justice to the subject, and exclaimed:— UCS 59.5

“I wish, Mr. President, that I were the most eloquent clergyman, the most eloquent of those staunch old sturdy divines who have honored American citizenship, as well as American Christianity, that I might give something more than this feeble expression of my belief in the serious importance of this vote.” UCS 59.6

And because he could not have his wish to be, for the occasion, “the most eloquent clergymen,” and “the most eloquent of those staunch old sturdy divines” (such as John Cotton, and John Davenport, and Cotton Mather), he did what evidently he counted the next best thing, and presented the views of Archbishop Ireland, Archbishop Gross, and Archbishop Riordan, of the Catholic Church, all the bishops of the Episcopalian Church, and most if not all the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church both North and South. UCS 60.1

He said, “There are more than 13,000,000 people recorded as members of churches in the United States.” He then added to these, “attendants,” “associates,” and “sympathizers,” “who go to church or send their wives and children, and subscribe for it, and have a profound respect for it, whether they believe in it or not,” and thus he made up the number of “from forty to fifty millions” who “have more or less of religious profession or sympathy” in this country, and then upon all this argued thus:— UCS 60.2

“There is no use in endeavoring to escape responsibility. If the Senate to-day decides that it will not close that Exposition on Sunday, the Exposition will be opened on that day, and you will have offended more than 40,000,000 of people—seriously and solemnly offended them. No wise statesman or monarch of modern times, no satrap of Rome, would have thought it wise to fly in the face of a profound conviction of the people he governed, no matter if he thought it a profound error. It is not wise statesmanship to do it.... Now, if gentlemen repudiate this, if they desire to reject it, if they deny that this is in the true sense of the word a religious nation, I should like to see the disclaimer put in white and black and proposed by the Congress of the United States. Write it. How would you write it? How would you deny that from the foundation of the country, through every fiber of their being, this people has been a religious people? Word it, if you dare; advocate it, if you dare. HOW MANY WHO VOTED FOR IT WOULD EVER COME BACK HERE AGAIN? None, I hope.”—Congressional Record, July 12, 1892, p. 6700, and July 13, p. 6759. UCS 60.3

It was the same way in the House. A dispatch from Washington to the Chicago Daily Post, April 9, 1892, gave the following from an interview with a member of the House Committee on World’s Fair:— UCS 61.1

“The reason we shall vote for it is, I will confess to you, a fear that, unless we do so, the church folks will get together and knife us at the polls; and—well you know we all want to come back, and we can’t afford to take any risks.” UCS 61.2

“Do you think it will pass the House?” UCS 61.3

“Yes; and the Senate too. We are all in the same boat. I am sorry for those in charge of the Fair; but self-preservation is the first law of nature, and that is all there is about it.” UCS 61.4

At this subservient attitude of Congress the Sunday-law managers are chuckling with great satisfaction. In the Union Signal, October 20, 1892, there was published an editorial interview with Joseph Cook on Congress and Sunday closing of the Fair, in which occurs this passage from Mr. Cook:— UCS 61.5

“In Boston the first question asked a stranger is, ‘Have you written a book?’ in New York, ‘How much are you worth?’ in Chicago, ‘How much do you expect to be worth?’ in Washington, ‘Do you hope to be reelected?’ The American people have convinced Congress that this latter question is of great and growing importance in connection with votes on Sunday closing.” UCS 61.6

And so the threats of the churches were not in vain. And for fear that they could not “come back here again, United States Senators repudiated the Constitution which they had sworn to maintain, and delivered the Government of the United States bodily into the hands of the churches. And, worse than all, they openly proclaimed to the churches that they did so and did not dare to do otherwise. Was there ever on earth a more cowardly or a more contemptible surrender? UCS 61.7

Now as to Congress making itself the interpreter of the divine law, and the expositor of Scripture for the people, that procedure will now be traced. UCS 62.1

In the Congressional Record of July 10, 1892, page 6614, is the following:— UCS 62.2

“MR. QUAY.—On page 122, line 13, after the word ‘act’ I move to insert:— UCS 62.3

“‘And that provision has been made by the proper authority for the closing of the Exposition on the Sabbath day.’ UCS 62.4

“The reasons for the amendment I will send to the desk to be read. The secretary will have the kindness to read from the Book of Law I send to the desk, the part inclosed in brackets. UCS 62.5

“THE VICE PRESIDENT.—The part indicated will be read. UCS 62.6

“The secretary read as follows:— UCS 62.7

“Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy; six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.’” UCS 62.8

The foregoing is all that was said or done in relation to the question that day. The next legislative day, however, the question was taken up and discussed. The debate was opened by Senator Manderson, of Nebraska. And in the Record of July 12, pages 6694, 6695, 6701, we read as follows:— UCS 62.9

“The language of this amendment is that the Exposition shall be closed on the ‘Sabbath day.’ I submit that if the senator from Pennsylvania desires that the Exposition shall be closed upon Sunday, this language will not necessarily meet that idea. The Sabbath day is not Sunday.... UCS 63.1

“The words ‘Sabbath day’ simply mean that it is a rest day, and it may be Saturday or Sunday, and it would be subject to the discretion of those who will manage this Exposition, whether they should close the Exposition on the last day of the week, in conformity with that observance which is made by the Israelites and the Seventh-day Baptists, or should close it on the first day of the week, generally known as the Christian sabbath. It certainly seems to me that this amendment should be adopted by the senator from Pennsylvania, and, if he proposes to close this Exposition, that it should be closed on the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday.... UCS 63.2

“Therefore I offer an amendment to the amendment, which I hope may be accepted by the senator from Pennsylvania, to strike out the words ‘Exposition on the Sabbath day,’ and insert ‘mechanical portion of the Exposition on the first clay of the week, commonly called Sunday.’ ... UCS 63.3

“MR. QUAY.—I will accept the modification so far as it changes the phraseology of the amendment proposed by me in regard to designating the day of the week on which the Exposition shall be closed. UCS 63.4

“THE VICE PRESIDENT.—The senator from Pennsylvania accepts the modification in part, but not in whole.... UCS 63.5

“MR. HARRIS.—Let the amendment of the senator from Pennsylvania, as modified, be reported. UCS 63.6

“THE VICE PRESIDENT.—It will be again reported. UCS 63.7

“THE CHIEF CLERK.—On page 122, line 13, after the word ‘act’ it is proposed to amend the amendment of the committee by inserting:— UCS 63.8

“‘And that provision has been made by the proper authority for the closing of the Exposition on the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday.’” UCS 64.1

This amendment was afterward further amended by the insertion of the proviso that the managers of the Exposition should sign an agreement to close the Fair on Sunday before they could receive any of the appropriation; but this which we have given is the material point. UCS 64.2

All of this the House confirmed in its vote accepting the Senate amendments. Besides this, the House had already, on its own part, by a vote of 131 to 36, decided that Sunday is the “Christian Sabbath;” and by a vote of 149 to 11 that the seventh day is not the Sabbath. And thus did the Congress of the United States, at the dictate of the churches, not only take sides in a religious controversy, and discuss and decide a religious question, but put itself in the place and assume to itself the prerogative of authoritative interpreter of the divine law; for, from the official record of the proceedings, there appears these plain facts:— UCS 64.3

1. The divine law was officially and in its very words adopted as containing the “reasons” and forming the basis of the legislation. In other words, the legislation proposed only to enforce the divine law as quoted from the Book. UCS 64.4

2. Yet those to whom the legislation was directed, and who were expected to execute its provisions, were not allowed to read and construe the divine law for themselves and this for the very reason that there was a possibility that they might take the divine word as it reads and as it was actually quoted in the official proceedings, and shut the Exposition on the day plainly specified in the divine word, which was cited as the basis and authority for the action taken. UCS 64.5

3. Therefore, to preclude any such possibility, Congress assumed the prerogative of official and authoritative interpreter of the divine law, and declared that “the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday,” is the Sabbath of the fourth commandment of the divine law—that “the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday,” is the meaning of the word of the Lord which says, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” UCS 65.1

This is what the Congress of the United States has done, and, in the doing of it, has violated every rule and every principle that governs in the interpretation of law. A leading rule for the interpretation of law is this:— UCS 65.2

“In the case of all law, it is the intent of the lawgiver that is to be enforced.” UCS 65.3

What, then, was the intent of the Lawgiver when the Sabbath commandment was given? Did the Lawgiver declare, or show in any way, his intention?—He did. He declared in plain words that the seventh day is the one intended to be observed. Nor did he leave them to decide for themselves which day they would have for the Sabbath. He did not leave it to the people to interpret his law for themselves, nor to interpret it at all. By three special acts every week, kept up continuously for forty years, the Lord showed his intent in the law. The people were fed on the manna in their forty years’ wanderings between Egypt and Canaan; but on the seventh day of the week no manna ever fell. On the sixth day of the week there was a double portion, and that which was gathered on the sixth day would keep over the seventh day, which it could not be made to do on any other day of the week. By this means the Lawgiver signified his intent upon the subject of the day mentioned in the law quoted by Congress, and, by keeping it up so continuously, and for so long a time, he made it impossible for the people then to mistake his intent, and has left all future generations who have the record of it, without excuse in gathering anything else as his intent than that the seventh day is the Sabbath. Therefore, when Congress decided that “the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday,” is the meaning of the divine law which says “the seventh day is the Sabbath,” it plainly set itself in contradiction to the word and intent of the Most High. UCS 65.4

Another established rule is this:— UCS 66.1

“When words are plain in a written law, there is an end to all construction; they must be followed.” And, “Where the intent is plain, nothing is left to construction.” UCS 66.2

Are the words of this commandment, quoted by Congress, plain words?—They are nothing else. There is not an obscure nor an ambiguous word in the whole commandment. Then under the rule there is no room for any construction; much less is there room for any such construction as would make the expression “the seventh day” mean the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday.” Fitting to the point the New Testament has given us an interesting and important piece of narrative. In Mark 16:1, 2 are these words:— UCS 66.3

“And when the Sabbath was past, Marry Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they cattle unto the sepulcher at the rising of the sun.” UCS 66.4

These people arose very early in the morning of the first day of the week; yet the Sabbath was past. Now Congress has legislated to secure respect for the Sabbath on “the first day of the week.” Such a thing can never be done, however, because Inspiration has declared that the Sabbath is past before the first day of the week comes. It matters not how early our illustrious and debout Congress and the World’s Fair Commission may get out and around “on the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday,” they will be too to find the Sabbath there, for the Lord says that then it is “past.” UCS 66.5

And it is the Sabbath according to the commandment, too, that is past when the first day of the week comes—the Sabbath according to this very commandment which Congress has officially cited. Here is the record:— UCS 67.1

“And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment. Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.” Luke 23:56; 24:1-3. UCS 67.2

Here is the plain word of the Lord, stating plainly and proving conclusively that “the Sabbath day” according to the very commandment which Congress has officially cited, is the day before “the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday,” and that the Sabbath day according to this commandment is past before “the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday,” comes at all, no matter how early they may get up the first day of the week. UCS 67.3

It is true that the churches are at the head of all this, and that Congress did it at the dictation and under the threats of the churches. It is true that the churches have put this false interpretation upon the commandment, and then saddled it off thus upon Congress. This is all true, but that does not relieve Congress from one whit of the guilt of perverting the law of the Most High, of forcing into that law a meaning that was never intended to he there, and of putting itself in the place of God and assuming the office of interpreter of his laws. Congress had no business to allow itself to be forced into such a position. UCS 67.4

Judge Cooley, “Constitutional Limitations,” page 67, says:— UCS 68.1

“A court or legislature which should allow a change of public sentiment to influence it in giving to a written Constitution a construction not warrante1 by the intention of its thunders, would be justly chargeable with reckless disregard of official oath and public duty.” UCS 68.2

The theologians gave to the Sabbath commandment a construction which was not in any sense warranted by the intention of the Author of the commandment. They then went to Congress and demanded with threats that it allow itself to be influenced by these theological sentiments and political threats, to give to the written Constitution of the government of the living God a construction which is not in any sense warranted by the intention of the Founder of that Constitution. And our national Legislature did allow this sentiment to influence it into doing that very thing. Such a thing done to a human Constitution, an earthly statute, being justly chargeable to reckless disregard of official oath and public duty, what must be chargeable against such an action with reference to the divine Constitution and the heavenly law? The national Legislature the Congress of the United States, has allowed the churches to draw it into the commission of an act with reference to the Constitution and laws of the living God, which, if done only with the laws of men, would be reckless disregard of official oath and public duty. And both Congress and the churches are without excuse in the doing of it. UCS 68.3

By this legislation, at the dictate of the churches, Congress has distinctly and definitely put itself and the Government of the United States into the place where it has established, and proposes to enforce, the observance of an institution as sacred, and as due to the Lord, which not only the Lord has neither established nor required, but which is directly contrary to the plain word of the Lord upon the subject of this very institution, and its observance as due to the Lord. And in the doing of this Congress has also been caused to assume to itself the prerogative of authoritative interpreter of Scripture for the people of the land and for all who come into the land, and puts itself in the place of God by authoritatively deciding that an observance established and required by the State, and which it calls the Lord’s, is the Lord’s indeed, although the Lord plainly declares the contrary. UCS 69.1

In thus submitting to the dictates of the churches, and making itself the official and authoritative mouthpiece for the theological definitions and interpretations of the divine law, the Congress of the United States has given over the Government of the United States into the hands of the combined churches. A forcible American writer has long ago stated the principle thus:— UCS 69.2

“To permit a church—any church—... to dictate, beforehand, what laws should or should not be passed, would be to deprive the people of all the authority they have retained in their own hands, and to make such church the governing power, instead of them.” 2 UCS 69.3

This is precisely what has been done before the eyes of the people of the United States in this Sunday legislation of the fifty-second Congress. The combined “evangelical” churches, including the Catholic Church, as a united body on this question, did dictate under threats that this law should be passed. Congress did permit it, and did yield to the dictation, and, in so doing, it did deprive the people of the governmental authority which they had retained iii their own hands by the Declaration and the Constitution, and did make the churches the governing power in the Government instead of the people. “Government of the people by the people and for the people” is gone, and there has been established, in its stead, the subjection of the people by the churches and for the churches. UCS 69.4

This the Congress of the United States has been led by the churches to do, and, in the doing of it, it has caused this enlightened nation, the example and glory of the world, to assume the place and the prerogatives of the governments of the Middle Ages in enforcing the dogmas and the definitions of the theologians, and executing the arbitrary and despotic will of the church. UCS 70.1

Not only has the Congress done this, but it has openly confessed to the churches that it has done so, and that it did not “dare” to do otherwise. UCS 70.2

Anybody with half the average amount of sense about him ought to have known enough not to openly confess it to the churches, even though it were so. But since this abject confession is so cravenly made, is it any wonder that the churches, realizing their power, should at once boast of it and begin to use it? This is just what they are doing. The Chaplain of the United States Senate, J. G. Butler, D. D., wrote the New York Independent, July 28, 1892, as follows:— UCS 70.3

“Say not that the former days were better than these, for the Congress of the United States never numbered abler, truer, nobler men than fill the chambers to-day! And never more surely than now would avowed hostility to God, his day and word and house and kingdom, remand a public servant to private life.” UCS 70.4

It is evident, therefore, that henceforth religious tests are to be made a qualification for office under the Government of the United States. UCS 71.1

“Rev.” J. D. Sands, of the Seventh United Presbyterian Church, Pittsburg, Pa., in a sermon preached July 17, 1892, said:— UCS 71.2

“That the church has weight with great political or governing bodies has been demonstrated most effectually in the late world’s Fair matter, when the United States Senate, the highest body in the country, listened to the voice of religion, and passed the World’s Fair $5,000,000 appropriation bill with the church instituted proviso that the gates of the great Exposition should not be opened upon Sunday. That grand good fact suggests to the Christian’s mind that if this may be done, so may other equally needful measure. The church is gaining power continually, and its voice will be heard in the future much oftener than in the past.” UCS 71.3

And one of the men who spent months in Washington as an avowed “Christian lobbyist,” and who sat in the gallery of the House and clapped his hands in exultation the moment when this World’s Fair closing bill finally passed, “Rev.” H. H. George, D. D., said, in a speech in Paterson, N. J., August 7, 1892, these words:— UCS 71.4

“I have learned that ... we hold the United States Senate in our hands.” UCS 71.5

That is true. Senators in their official place have openly told them so. Finally, the Christian Statesman, October 1, 1892, celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of founding for this very purpose, joyfully exclaimed:— UCS 71.6

“The forty millions in the Christian homes of the land, the ruling majority when they assert themselves, have won at least one great moral victory in each of the recent sessions of Congress.... The Sabbath-closing victory with which the quarter century closes, shows the way to others that will make the nineteenth century go out in glory eight years hence. For the great Christian majority has learned, by response to its great petition, and its host of letters with reference to the World’s Fair, that it can have of national and State governments whatever legislation against immorality it will ask unitedly and earnestly.” UCS 72.1

It stands, therefore, as an accomplished fact, that, by a specific religious act of Congress, the Government of the United States has been put into the hands of the combined churches, and is now at their disposal to use in enforcing upon the American people the dictates and decrees of the church. UCS 72.2

And thus by the decision of the Supreme Court and the act of Congress, the Constitution of the United States has been overridden; the distinguishing principle of the Government of the United States has been subverted; the intention of the makers of the Constitution and the government has been disregarded; and in the place of all these there has been established here the living image of the Papacy. UCS 72.3