March 19, 1896
“The Logic of Religious Legislation” The Signs of the Times 22, 12, p. 9.
IF the principle be admitted that the state has the right to legislate in regard to religion, and to enforce religious observances, then no blame can ever be attached to the Roman Empire for putting the Christians to death. Nor can it be admitted that such dealings with the Christians was persecution.SITI March 19, 1896, page 9.1
The enforcement of right laws can never be persecution, however severely the law may deal with the offender. To hand a murderer is not persecution. To hunt him down, even with bloodhounds, to bring him to justice, is not persecution. We repeat, therefore, that the enforcement of right laws never can be persecution.SITI March 19, 1896, page 9.2
If, therefore, religion or religious observances be a proper subject of legislation by civil government, then there never has been and there never can be any such thing as religious persecution. Because civil governments are ruled by majorities, the religion of the majority must of necessity be the adopted religion; and if civil legislation in civil things be right, the majority may legislate in regard to their own religion. Such laws made in such a case must be right laws, and the enforcement of them therefore can never be persecution.SITI March 19, 1896, page 9.3