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    June 13, 1895

    “An Atlanta Paper Defends the Georgia Inquisition” American Sentinel 10, 24, p. 187.


    THE Atlanta Constitution, of May 25, has an article in defense of the persecution of J. Q. Allison, by means of the Georgia Sunday law.AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.1

    The Constitution attempts to make the following points, which we have numbered for easy reference in replying:—AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.2

    (1.) In the Christian world the first day of the week is now observed as the Sabbath, and the seventh day is only an ordinary working day. Are the millions of Christians who observe the first day to have their devotions interrupted by a very few persons, perhaps not more than a score or so in a State, who claim that they have the right to do any kind of work and make as much noise as they please on that day?AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.3

    (2.) We think not. The minority should follow the example of the pious Jews who observe both days, the seventh and the first, thus keeping their Sabbath and respecting the one observed by the majority.AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.4

    (3.) Allison was not persecuted on account of his religious belief. He was punished because he violated a penal law of the State. Under the police powers of every commonwealth there are much severer statutes in relation to very small matters. Even under the municipal ordinances great hardships result when a man exercises natural and God-given rights in some cases where the law restrains him in the interests of the public.AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.5

    (4.) The Douglasville man should have observed his own Sabbath, and then he should have respected the Sabbath of his neighbors who are in accord with the overwhelming majority of the State and the nation and all Christian lands. For the sake of peace and order we cannot allow a few to bring anarchy into our system simply because they claim to be acting according to their religious convictions. Once give way to this plea, and we would then have no right to prohibit polygamy among the Mormons. In a republic the majority rule, and it would be a dangerous thing to admit the right of the minority to defy the laws under pretense of living up to their religion. If the Douglasville man wants to smash the Georgia Sabbath let him pay the penalty or go elsewhere.AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.6

    (1.) The fact that those who keep Sunday are overwhelming in the majority does not touch the question at all. Mr. Allison was not sentenced to the chain-gang “for disturbing anybody.” This is the statement of Judge Janes himself. The charge was “Sabbath-breaking,” and the State’s witnesses testified that they were not disturbed. Nobody’s devotions were interrupted; nor do observers of the seventh day claim the right to interrupt the devotions of anybody upon any day. Moreover, there are ample laws upon the statute books of Georgia, and of every other State, for the protection of religious worship upon any day.AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.7

    Special laws to prevent the interruption of devotion on Sunday are not needed. The idea that private work, such as Mr. Allison was doing, could by any possibility interrupt anybody’s devotions is absurd and reveals the deliberate dishonesty of such a plea.AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.8

    (2.) And pray, why should the minority respect the day “observed by the majority”? There can be only one reason, namely, its supposed sacred character. And the expression, “respecting the one [i.e., the Sabbath] observed by the majority,” is a confession that the purpose of the law is to guard the day and not the rights of the people.AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.9

    But what right has the State of Georgia to require any man to show any respect whatever to any religious institution? No more right than has Spain and other Roman Catholic countries to require all men to remove their hats in the street while a religious procession is passing.AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.10

    The constitution of Georgia says:—AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.11

    Perfect freedom of religious sentiment shall be, and the same is hereby secured, and no inhabitant of this State shall ever be molested in person or property or prohibited from holding any public office or trust, on account of his religious opinion.AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.12

    It may be objected that this guarantees only freedom to believe, but not to practice. But that is to charge the framers of it with trifling and dishonesty. The principle which should govern in all such cases is thus stated by Hon. James G. Parks, a native of Georgia, and judge of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit of Tennessee. Speaking of dissenters from the prevailing creed, Judge Parks said:—AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.13

    It there were only one of them he would be entitled not only to his honest belief, but to the exercise of that belief, so long as in so doing he did not interfere with some natural right of his neighbors.AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.14

    This was said of Tennessee, but it is just as true of Georgia; and that it is just what the constitution of Georgia means is evident from the limiting words of the same section previously quoted: “But the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of the people.”AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.15

    Here, again, the line is drawn just where Judge Parks draws it, namely, at the rights of the people. It may be urged that the phrase, “acts of licentiousness” has nothing necessarily to do with the rights of others; but even were that granted, the defenders of the Georgia Sunday statute would have gained nothing, for by no possibility could it be made to appear that plowing in one’s own field on Sunday was an act of licentiousness in any proper sense of the word; for only the sacred character of the day could make it such, and with such matters the State of Georgia has of right nothing to do.AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.16

    Again, what right, either natural or constitutional, has the majority, however great, to require any man to yield up one-seventh of his time as a tribute to their religion? It is a principle of law that even the State has no power to take private property for public use without adequate compensation. But what compensation does the State of Georgia give to J. Q. Allison, or to any other man, for the one day which it demands each week as a tribute to Sunday sacredness? None whatever.AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.17

    (3.) It is not true that Mr. Allison “was persecuted because he violated a penal law of the State.” He did violate a statute of the State, but not a law; for an unconstitutional statute is not law: and as we have seen, the constitution of Georgia gives the legislature no power to require of anybody anything contrary to conscience. Aside from “acts of licentiousness,” and in all matters not trenching upon the equal rights of others, conscience is supreme according to the fundamental law of Georgia, and all so-called laws violative of this principle are null and void, and the enforcement of them is only anarchy and tyranny; for “in a society, under the forms of which the stronger faction can readily united and oppress the weaker, anarchy may as truly be said to reign as in a state of nature, when the weaker individual is not secure against the violence of the stronger.” 1Alexander Hamilton, Federalist I.I.AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.18

    It is a fundamental principles of American government that natural rights are inalienable, and yet the Atlanta Constitution solemnly publishes to the world the statement that “under the municipal ordinances great hardships result when a man exercises natural and God-given rights in some cases where the law restrains him in the interests of the public.”AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.19

    Are we living in America in the closing decade of the nineteenth century, or are we still in the Dark Ages? Have Washington, Jefferson and Madison lived in vain? They certainly have if such principles as those advocated by the Atlanta Constitution are to prevail.AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.20

    Thomas Jefferson said: “Our legislators are not sufficiently apprised of the rightful limits of their powers; that their true office is to declare and enforce only our natural rights and duties, and to take none of them from us.” 2Works of Jefferson, Vol. 7, p. 3. And again: “The idea is quite unfounded that on entering into society we give up any natural right.” 3Id.AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.21

    The government that restrains any man from the exercise of his natural rights, either for the supposed good of society or upon any other pretext whatever, is a despotism, no matter by what name it may be called.AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.22

    (4.) Little remains to be said on this paragraph. Only an intolerant bigot can read it and find himself in harmony with it. The cry of “anarchy” raised in it will certainly fail to alarm any considerate and liberal-minded man. The anarchy most to be dreaded is the anarchy of despotic government, in which, under the forms of law, natural rights are denied and men sentenced to the chain-gang for exercising the soul-liberty given them by God and guaranteed to them by the Constitution.AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.23

    The cry of Mormonism and polygamy is a favorite one with the bigot who would justify himself in forcing his religion upon his neighbor; but the candid and thoughtful will not be deceived by it. Marriage is a civil relation and involves duties and responsibilities which those who enter into it must not be permitted to shirk. For this reason and to preserve inviolable the contract rights of the parties and the rights of their offspring, the State properly regulates marriage and prohibits polygamy. With polygamy legalized anywhere in the United States no woman would have any legal guarantee of the inviolability of her marital right, for any man who so desired might, by merely changing his residence, take other wives, and his first wife would have no redress.AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.24

    In no sense can the prohibition of plural marriages be shown to be parallel with the prohibition of Sunday labor, which in no wise interferes with the rest or devotion of others. The use of the Mormon argument shows plainly one of two things, either the absence of thought or the presence of intellectual dishonesty.AMS June 13, 1895, page 187.25

    “Methodists and Pope Leo XIII” American Sentinel 10, 24, p. 188.


    THE Methodist ministers of Chicago are making the papal prelates of this country no little trouble. They are demanding that the papal church practice what it preaches; that Methodists in Roman Catholic South America be permitted to enjoy that religious liberty which Roman Catholics enjoy in the United States and which American Catholics profess to indorse so warmly, and which they claim is the religious liberty they would ensure to Protestants in America were they to become the controlling majority. However, the Methodist ministers of Chicago are so unreasonable as to ask that the Roman Catholic Church show her faith by her works, or in other words, secure to Protestants in the Roman Catholic countries of South America the same liberty enjoyed by Roman Catholics in the United States and thereby give the world a practical object lesson of the principles so enthusiastically professed in theory. Of course, this is a perplexing problem, since the religious-liberty principles advocated by Roman Catholics in the United States are intended only for home consumption and not for export to Spain or South America.AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.1

    Since the Methodist ministers are persistent in their demand for religious liberty in South America, and are liable to create quite a stir by their repeated prodding of pope and prelates, it may be profitable to give a history of the case up to date.AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.2

    On April 2, 1894, the Methodist ministers’ meeting of Chicago, a body which includes the Methodist ministers of Chicago and adjacent cities, and which holds a regular weekly session, sent the following preamble and resolution to Archbishop Ireland with a request that they be by him forwarded to Monsignor Satolli:—AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.3

    WHEREAS, It has been made evident to us that our Protestant brethren in the republics of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia labor under oppressive disabilities that effect not only their faith and the public worship of God according to the dictates of their conscience, but also their civil and inalienable right to be married without being compelled to forswear their religious convictions,AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.4

    Resolved, That as representatives of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Chicago, we forward the following request to Archbishop Ireland, asking him to pass it on to Monsignor Satolli, in order that he may, in the most effective manner, bring it to the notice of the head of the Roman Catholic Church.AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.5

    In view of the repeated and warm approval by the clergy and laymen of the Roman Catholic Church in this country of religious freedom as existing by law in these United States, we respectfully and earnestly request that the proper authorities of that church use their good offices, under the direction of Pope Leo XIII., to secure for the Protestants of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia for the same liberty of conscience that is enjoyed by Roman Catholic citizens of this country.AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.6

    N. H. AXTELL, President.AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.7

    J. T. LADD, Secretary.AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.8

    Chicago Methodist Preachers’ Meeting.AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.9

    JOHN G. FOSTER,AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.10

    JOHN LEE,AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.11

    M. M. PARKHURST, Committee.AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.12

    After waiting some time, two members of the committee wrote Archbishop Ireland, inclosing stamped envelope for reply, asking after the fate of the first communication; but again no answer was received. On June 22, a member of the committee wrote direct to Monsignor Satolli, asking him the following questions:—AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.13

    1. Has Archbishop Ireland invited your attention to the action of the Chicago Methodist Ministers’ meeting of April 2, 1894?AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.14

    2. Will you, in the most effective manner, bring this request, a copy of which I inclose, to the notice of Pope Leo XIII.?AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.15

    3. If so, when?AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.16

    Receiving no reply to this, a registered letter, dated July 15, and signed by all members of the committee, was sent to Monsignor Satolli, asking the apostolic delegate if he would “have the goodness to give a direct answer to the questions found in his first letter.” The following is Monsignor Satolli’s reply:—AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.17

    Washington, July 31, 1894.
    MR. JOHN LEE, M.A., B.C.,

    Dear Sir:—Your letter of June 22 and document dated July 12, came duly to hand. The inclosed copy of encyclical letter from our holy father is, I think, the most fitting reply I can make.AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.18

    Yours very sincerely in Christ,

    FRANCIS ARCHB. SATOLLI, Deleg. Apostol.

    As we have before stated in commenting on this reply, it said in substance, “If your brethren in South America want to enjoy religious liberty, let them become Roman Catholics.”AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.19

    Not satisfied with this reply, the matter was again brought before the ministers’ meeting on September 3, and it was decided to send the documents and correspondence in the case to the various Protestant bodies of the country for action.AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.20

    Failing to reach Rome through Ireland and Satolli, the committee next sent a registered communication direct to the pope. Not hearing from him in due time, another registered communication was sent, and not hearing from him this time and learning that Cardinal Gibbons was going to Rome, the persistent Methodist ministers forwarded to him a communication to be carried to Leo XIII., and thus matters stand at this writing.AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.21

    The AMERICAN SENTINEL is not in favor of Protestants’ petitioning the pope or any of his prelates for anything, not even religious liberty in South America. However, we presume that our Methodist friends would insist that it was a shrewd diplomatic protest rather than a petition, for the purpose of compelling the Roman Catholic Church to permit religious liberty in Catholic South America, or stand before the world as the advocates of religious freedom when in the minority and as persecutors when in the majority.AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.22

    Methodists in general look upon this move to make the pope show his hand as not only just and reasonable, but quite diplomatic. If this is true what would Methodists think and say if Seventh-day Adventists in Maryland. Tennessee and other States should write a similar letter to the heads of the Methodist Church in America protesting against being fined and imprisoned at the hands of Methodists who attempt to compel them to recognize their State-enforced Sunday dogma? The facts in the case are that the first Seventh-day Adventist who was imprisoned in Maryland for laboring on Sunday (husking corn) was imprisoned on complaint of a Methodist minister; and the Seventh-day Adventist now in jail at Centerville, Md., for hoeing in his garden on Sunday, was placed there on complaint of his Methodist neighbors: while the Catholic Mirror, of Baltimore, about two years since, published a strong denunciation of these Maryland persecutions and demanded the repeal of the law under which they are carried on.AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.23

    One of the complaints which Protestants sometimes make against Roman Catholics is, that the latter attempt to compel them to remove their hats or in some other way recognize a procession bearing the consecrated bread. This our Methodist friends condemn as a violation of religious liberty; but it is no more a violation religious liberty than is the attempt to compel the Seventh-day Adventist to bow to the Methodist idea of Sunday sacredness. There is absolutely no difference between an attempt on the part of Roman Catholics to compel a recognition of a portion of bread which they consider holy, and an attempt on the part of Methodists to compel seventh-day observers to recognize a portion of time which Methodists consider holy. And now, we ask in all sincerity, would not an Adventist letter addressed to the Methodist Church in America, demanding religious freedom from Methodists in Maryland and elsewhere in the United States, on the ground that Methodists claim to be in favor of religious liberty, be just as pertinent as a Methodist letter addressed to the pope demanding religious liberty in South America in the United States claim to be in favor of religious freedom? If not, why not?AMS June 13, 1895, page 188.24

    “Back Page” American Sentinel 10, 24, p. 192.


    MARTIN LUTHER, though dead, yet speaketh. The German Lutheran paper, Die Rundschau, of Chicago, is watching the signs of the times and interpreting their meaning with a keenness of perception that is truly refreshing. After narrating in its issue of May 22 the humiliating course of certain Christian Endeavors in petitioning Satolli to degrade “Father” Phelan as a punishment for his grossly false charges against the morality of the members of the society, the wide-awake Lutheran editor comments thus:—AMS June 13, 1895, page 192.1

    “In fine, we have this yet to say: no one is more powerfully into the hands of popery than is the false Protestantism of our day. There be few to-day that do clearly perceive this and are preparing for the consequences. And, as detrimental as are the consequences to our land, they cannot and will not fail to transpire, if the eyes of the ‘Protestants’ of America are not opened in time, and if they do not, above all, rid themselves of the pope and all popery.”AMS June 13, 1895, page 192.2

    A PETITION “to the authorities” is being circulated in Rhea County, Tenn., praying that the Sunday law shall be more strictly observed than heretofore. The Graysville Adventists know what that means and are preparing for whatever may come at the July term of the Circuit Court.AMS June 13, 1895, page 192.3

    The regular time for the third quarterly meeting of the year in all the Adventist churches is the first Sabbath in July, which, this year, comes on the 6th. But as eleven of the male members of the church, including the elder, are likely to be in prison at that time, the meeting will be held one week earlier, namely, June 29. The story is thus told in a private letter written by one of the indicted Adventists to a minister of the denomination, whom he urges to be present at the meeting referred to:—AMS June 13, 1895, page 192.4

    We have changed our quarterly meeting so as to come one week earlier this time. As the usual time of holding the meeting comes the same week that the Circuit Court for this county is in session, and as it is more that probable that a large number of the male members of the church will be in jail, we have concluded to make this change.... Has there ever before been a quarterly meeting among us changed for such a reason? ... We are living in a wonderful time. May the dear Lord help us.AMS June 13, 1895, page 192.5

    The brethren are all well, and good courage is full in the hearts of all. Our meetings are better and better as week succeeds week. Don’t forget us at the throne of grace.AMS June 13, 1895, page 192.6

    The writer of the letter from which this extract is made, is a man of intelligence and refinement. He was an officer in the Union Army during the Rebellion, was subsequently a member of years been an official member of the Seventh-day Adventist church at Graysville. He is one of the most gentle, inoffensive and exemplary Christian men to be found anywhere, loved and respected by all who know him; but the first week in July is almost certain to see him a convicted inmate of the Rhea County Jail. Such is the practical working of the Tennessee Sunday statute.AMS June 13, 1895, page 192.7

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