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The Two Republics, or Rome and the United States of America

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    PROPOSED NATIONAL SUNDAY LEGISLATION

    But it is in behalf of the bond of union between the National Reform combination and the papacy, it is in behalf of this great sign manual of the papacy, it is in behalf of Sunday-laws that the strongest effort is being made by this whole religious combination. These other measures are mere feelers, as compared with the universal movement and determination to secure a national Sunday law, or at least some congressional action which shall establish Sunday as the national holy day, the sign and test of the national religion. The direct effort upon this point was begun by the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, which in the winter of 1887-88 presented to Congress by Mrs. Bateham a petition for a national Sunday law, which they said represented “a million and a quarter” petitioners. The petitions were referred, in the Senate, to the Committee on Education and Labor, of which Senator Blair was chairman.TTR 829.1

    April 6, 1888, a hearing was held by this committee, at which Mrs. Charles St. John, and “Rev.” W. F. Crafts by request of Mrs. Bateham, appeared in behalf of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. “Rev.” T. A. Fernley, D. D., appeared as the representative of the Philadelphia Sabbath Association, which represents all of the churches of Philadelphia; whom Archbishop Ryan had told “that he is cordially with us in the effort to secure a proper and rigorous enforcement of Sabbath [Sunday] laws;” and bearing a petition indorsed by the National Reform Association. “Rev.” G. P. Nice represented the “Maryland Sabbath Association.” “Rev.” Yates Hickey represented the “International Sabbath Association,” which “proposes to bring the divine law to bear” upon Sunday working corporations, such as railroads, etc., and guarantee that the Lord will assure them “dividends.” “Rev.” George Elliott, pastor of Foundry Church, Washington, D. C., who was introduced to the committee as “the author of a book on the Sabbath,” and who very appropriately cited the Sunday legislation of Constantine, and congratulated the committee on the “considerable amount of Puritan blood” “an the feeling of the Puritan,” which he professed to see “represented in it.” Senator Blair closed the hearing with the following words:—TTR 829.2

    “If any gentlemen interested in this matter will formulate a bill, or if different gentlemen will formulate different bills, and forward them to the committee, it would be of assistance in the way of enabling us to reduce these suggestions to a practical form, so that they can be better considered. The hearing is now closed.”TTR 830.1

    The result was that May 21 following, Mr. Blair introduced in the Senate the following bill:—“50th CONGRESS, S. 2983. 1st SESSION.TTR 830.2

    “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.TTR 830.3

    “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 employee 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.TTR 830.4

    “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 a 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 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.TTR 831.1

    “SECTION 3. That the prosecution of commerce between the States and with the Indian tribes, the same not being work of necessity, mercy, or humanity, by the transportation of persons or property by land or water in such a 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 or rest from labor, the same not being labor of necessity, mercy, or humanity, or its observance as a day or religious worship, is hereby prohibited; and any person, or corporation, or the agent, servant, or employee of any person or corporation who shall willfully violate this section, shall be punished by a fine of not less than ten, or 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.TTR 831.2

    “SECTION 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.TTR 831.3

    “SECTION 5. That it shall be unlawful to pay or 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.TTR 831.4

    “SECTION 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.”TTR 832.1

    This was at once met with strong opposition throughout the country; and it was so manifestly religious legislation, that its advocates found themselves at a disadvantage everywhere on account of the force of popular sentiment against any measures of religious legislation. The second session of the Fiftieth Congress had therefore no sooner convened than—December 13, 1888—a hearing was obtained of the Senate Committee having the bill in charge, strongly urging the passage of the bill, recommending, however, certain changes which would give it less of a religious appearance, while at the same time not only retaining all its religious sense and meaning, but making its provisions more strict. They asked that the title of the bill should be changed so as to read as follows:—TTR 832.2

    “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 or religious worship.”TTR 832.3

    Although Mrs. Bateham stated to the committee that the bill as it was, had “been specifically indorsed by hundreds of thousands,” not including those who “not having seen the bill, ask in general terms for a Sunday law,” she said:—TTR 832.4

    Mrs. Bateham,—“One of requests of our National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union was that the word ‘promote’ should be changed to ‘protect,’ in the title of the bill. so that it should have no appearance of what all Americans object to, any union of Church and State. That amendment was proposed and accepted by the American Sabbath Union, the organized body which has just been in session in this city.”TTR 833.1

    Senator Blair—“Do you not think that the word ‘protect’ implies power to command and compel? An army protects.”TTR 833.2

    Mrs. Bateham.—“All our laws protect us, do they not?”TTR 833.3

    Senator Blair.—“You would make this a law?”TTR 833.4

    Mrs. Bateham.—“I suggest that the bill be made a law. and that it be a law which shall protect the civil Sabbath; not promote religious worship, but protect the day as a day of rest and religious worship.”TTR 833.5

    Senator Blair.—“It seems to me that the word ‘protect’ is a stronger and more interfering word than ‘promote.’”TTR 833.6

    Senator Blair is certainly correct in saying, particularly in this connection, that the word “protect” is a stronger and more interfering term that “promote;” because it is particularly to be noticed that with the change the title would not read that the object of the bill was to protect them, not to protect the observers of the day, but the observance of the day as a day of religious worship. That is, the government must exert its authority to protect the day from everything that would be out of harmony with its character and observance as a day of religious worship. But as the change was only proposed as a contrivance to save appearances, the stronger the bill was made, the better they would be pleased, if only its “appearance of a union of Church and State” could be taken away.TTR 833.7

    Again: although the term “Lord’s day” was retained in the title, in the body of the bill asked that the word “Sunday” be inserted, instead of the term “Lord’s day” or “Sabbath;” and this “in order to preserve uniformity in using the less religious term.” And then they closed their request for changes with the following words:—TTR 833.8

    “We covet from Congress a law that shall make itself effective by small exceptions and large penalties.”TTR 834.1

    Dear pious souls! they are very anxious to “abstain from all appearance of evil,” but they have no compunctions as to the fact, if only appearances can be saved.TTR 834.2

    At this hearing, seventeen speeches were made in favor of the bill, by Mr. Crafts for the American Sabbath Union; Mrs. Bateham for the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union; T. P. Stevenson for the National Reform Association; Hon. G. P. Lord, of Elgin, Ill., and Herrick Johnson, D. D., of Chicago, for the Illinois Sunday-law Association, and other prominent preachers. The Fiftieth Congress expired, however, without reaching even a report upon the bill. In the interval between the expiration of the Fiftieth Congress and the opening of the Fifty-first, the advocates of the Sunday-law found by experience that even their proposed title had a stronger religious cast than could well be defended in legislation, consequently when the Fifty-first Congress began, the bill was re-introduced by Senator Blair, with the term “first day of the week” instead of either “Lord’s day” or “Sabbath” in the body of the bill, and with the following head:—TTR 834.3

    “A bill to secure to the people the privileges of rest and of religious worship, free from disturbance by others, on the first day of the week.”TTR 834.4

    Now it is a fact, and the advocates of this bill, as well as all others, know it to be so, that there are no people in all this land who have not the privileges of rest and religious worship free from disturbance by anybody, on the first day of the week and all other days and nights of the week. And that the title does not in any sense describe the real intent of the bill is evident from a glance at the provisions of the body of the bill, even with the substitution of the term “first day of the week” for the religious names of the day.TTR 834.5

    Section 1 declares that “no person within the jurisdiction of the United States shall perform or authorize to be performed, any secular work, labor, or business to the disturbance of others upon the first day of the week.” Now secular means “pertaining to this present world, or to things not spiritual or holy; relating to things not immediately or primarily respecting the soul, but the body; worldly.” Therefore this bill proposes to prohibit all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States from performing or authorizing to be performed on Sunday any work, labor, or business pertaining to this present world or to things not spiritual or holy. It proposes to prohibit them from performing any work, labor, or business relating immediately or primarily to the body (works of necessity, mercy, and humanity excepted); to prohibit them from doing anything worldly, that is, pertaining to this world or to this life. Consequently, the only kind of works that can properly be done on Sunday under that bill are works that pertain to another world, works that pertain to things spiritual or holy, work respecting the soul, and the life to come.TTR 835.1

    Now we should like some of the Sunday-law advocates to tell how the Congress of the United States is going to find out, so as authoritatively to state, what work, labor, or business it is that properly pertains to another world, on Sunday or at any other time. More than this, we should like them to tell how Congress is to find out whether there is any other world than this, and especially how it is to find this out and make it to be so clearly discerned, that the recognition of it can be enforced by law upon all the people. We should like, also, some of these to tell how Congress is to discover what work it is that properly pertains to the people’s souls on Sunday; or indeed, whether the people have any souls. How is Congress to know whether there is a life to come? And even if Congress should discover all this to its own satisfaction, then will Congress insure to all the people a happy issue in that life to come, upon condition that they observe the Sunday laws?TTR 835.2

    These are not captious questions, they are entirely pertinent. For when it is proposed that this nation by legislative acts shall commit itself to the guardianship of the affairs of the world to come, of men’s souls, and of another life; and when the people are asked to consent to it, it is strictly proper for the people to inquire, How shall the State make that thing a success?TTR 836.1

    The truth is, that the State can never of right have anything to do with the world to come, or with the question as to whether there is one to come at all. The State can never of right have anything to do with men’s souls, or with the question as to whether men have any souls. The States can never have anything to do with the life to come, or with the question as to whether there is any life to come. No State will ever reach the world to come, nor will any State ever, in the least degree, be partaker of the life that is to come. The State is of this world wholly; it has to do only with the affairs of this world, and with men as they are in this world. The State has to do only with men’s bodies, and to see that the lives which men lead are civil. By this it is clearly seen that the Blair Sunday bill at the very first step, proposes to lead the government of the United States into a field where it is impossible for it to exercise any proper jurisdiction.TTR 836.2

    Nor do we raise these questions because we doubt that there is another world, or that there is a life to come. We are fully persuaded that there are both another world and a life to come. But the discerning of this a matter of faith, and that on the part of each individual for himself alone. Nobody on this earth can discern or decide this for anybody else. We thoroughly believe that there are both another world and a life to come; and anybody in this world has an equal right not to believe it if he chooses so to do. We have the right to believe this without the sanction of the government; and any other man has a right not to believe it, and that without any interference by the government. We deny the right of any of the senators or representatives in Congress to decide any of these matters for anybody but himself.TTR 836.3

    Under the first proviso of Section 2, there is a clause that is of considerable moment, especially to those who observe Sunday. That is the clause which refers to “the due observance of the day as one of worship and rest.” Who is to decide what is the due observance of the day? Without any such law, this remains for each person to decide according to the dictates of his own conscience. But just as soon as such a law as this should be enacted, this would devolve upon the courts. And the individual could no longer decide this according to the dictates of his own conscience, but must decide according to the dictate of the State. Are the people who believe in keeping Sunday ready to have the government regulate their observance of that day? Are they ready to have the State assume the prerogative of deciding what is the due observance of that day as a day of worship and rest? This is what they do when they consent to the enactment of such a law as the Blair Sunday bill is. Every man who believes in keeping Sunday, when he consents to this bill, resigns his religious liberty. He resigns his right to worship according to the dictates of his own conscience, and yields to the government the right to dictate how he shall observe that day as a day of worship.TTR 837.1

    The fact is, that in this thing the people who desire to keep Sunday, and who believe that it should be religiously observed, have more at stake than any other people, and it is a mystery that they cannot see it. It is a mystery that the leaders in the movement cannot see that they are deliberately robbing themselves of the dearest rights known to man. The mystery is solved, however, by the fact that the lust for power has blinded them to the consideration, not only of the rights of other people, but of their own rights. It is in behalf of the rights of those who believe in keeping Sunday and of worshiping according to the dictates of their own consciences, no less than in behalf of the rights of all other people, that we carry on this uncompromising opposition to all manner of governmental sanction or interference in the matter of Sabbath observance.TTR 837.2

    State regulation of the religious observance of the day, and the worship of the people, is the inevitable outcome of the legislation that is proposed; yet it is not intended by the managers of this movement that the State shall do this of itself. They intend that the church shall assume the supremacy, and dictate the action and wield the power of the State. Thus a union of Church and State, the rule of a despotic hierarchy, is to be the logical and certain outcome of such legislation. It cannot be escaped when once the legislation is begun.TTR 838.1

    Upon Section 3 we simply remark that, by a penalty of a thousand dollars upon the exercise of honest occupations, and such a premium upon idleness, the government ought to be able soon to create enough evil to ruin itself, which it surely will if the thing should be carried into effect in all the States. 13[Page 839] See page 317, this book.TTR 838.2

    As to Section 4: when everything shall have been forbidden the soldiers, sailors, marines, and cadets, as is here proposed, “except assemblies for the due and orderly observance of religious worship,” suppose that they do not want to assemble for the observance of religious worship, will they then be assembled for that purpose? And how are they to know what is the “due” observance of religious worship in the meaning of the law, except they shall be instructed? Having gone so far in religion-political chicanery after the manner of Constantine, the government might take the next and requisite step also, according to the example set by him, and teach them the “due” observance of religious worship, as he did, by having them assemble and repeat at a given signal a prayer, also enacted by Congress and adapted to the governmental authority of the United States. 14[Page 839] See pages 88 and 115, this book.TTR 838.3

    Section 5 is identical, word for word, with the one in the original bill. Whenever anybody receives any pay at any time for work done on Sunday, the first man that will sue for the money shall have it. It makes no difference who he is or where he comes from, if he finds out that anybody has received money for work done on Sunday, all he has to do is to enter suit, and the law says he shall have it.TTR 839.1

    This section aptly befits the cause to which this bill is committed. The only effect the bill as a whole can have upon those who are not really religious, is to compel them to be idle, and this section simply proposes to put a further premium upon idleness by compelling the man who chooses to work rather than to be idle, to pay the idler for the exercise of his own honest industry. The lazy loafer who will never do anything if he can help it, can spend his time watching the industrious citizen, and if he can detect him in committing the heinous crime of performing any honest work on Sunday, for which he shall receive any pay, the loafer can recover from the industrious man a sufficient amount to support him in his idleness several days. This is a fine thing indeed, an excellent provision of law, for the loafers.TTR 839.2

    Government is supposed to be founded in justice. Courts are supposed to be courts of justice. But we should like very much indeed for somebody to show upon what principle of justice this section is founded, and by what principle of justice any court could be guided in enforcing the provisions of it. The principle of this section is identical with that by which Tiberius and Domitian encouraged the informers about them. 15[Page 847] That this point not misplaced was made evident shortly afterward in Plainfield, N. J. The Pearl of Days, the official organ of the American Sunday Union, in March, 1889, gave the following statement from the Plainfield [N. J.] Times [no date]: “As a rule Plainfield, N. J., is a very quiet city on Sunday. Liquor, provision, and cigar stores are closed by the enforcement of a city ordinance. If a resident wants a cigar, he will either have it given to him by one of the many pharmacists who refuse to sell on? Sunday, or he will go to the two dealers who are allowed to open their places on Sunday because they observe Saturday as their Sabbath. Some time ago a man of Catholic faith, who had an eye to Sunday business in that line, became a regular attendant at the Seventh day Baptist church Eventually he asked to be admitted into the fellowship of the church. A member of the official board was advised that the applicant for membership was only working for business ends He was closely examined by the church officers, and he finally admitted that he wanted to open a cigar store and do business on Sunday. The man appeared at the wrong place for aid in carrying out his mercenary purpose He was not received into membership and the southern sentinel of Dallas we have an example of how the law can he evaded. Parties have leased the billiard hall of the new McLeod Hotel, and have stipulated in their lease that they are conscientious observers of the seventh day [though to the best of the common knowledge and belief they are not]; that, in consequence, their business house will be closed on Saturday, and will be open on Sunday.”TTR 839.3

    In Section 6 of the revised bill, there is an important change from the original bill. In the original bill the provisions of the act were to be so construed as to “secure to all the people the religious observance of the Sabbath day.” But as revised, they are to be so construed as neither “to prohibit nor to sanction labor on Sunday by individuals who conscientiously believe in and observe any other day than Sunday as the Sabbath or a day of religious worship.” Thus the government proposes to allow labor on Sunday by those who observe another day, yet it carefully refrains from adding to the permission any such sanction as would imply that it is right such people to work on Sunday.TTR 839.4

    Yet nobody can be partaker of even this permission, unless he conscientiously believes in, and observes another day than Sunday as the Sabbath or a day of religious worship. The conscientious belief in and observance of a day, therefore as a day of religious worship, is required by the bill on the part of those who do not want to keep Sunday; and as the other sections of the bill require that Sunday shall be duly observed as a day of religious worship, that nothing shall be done that day except that which pertains to another world, to that which is sacred and holy, to the souls of men, and to the life to come, it is manifest that the sole object of the Blair Sunday-rest bill is the enforcement of THE RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCE OF A DAY.TTR 840.1

    Consideration of the whole bill makes it plain that the modification of the title is utterly disingenuous. The object of the bill is not to secure to the people of privilege of rest and worship upon the first day of the week. It is to compel them to rest and to religiously worship on the first day of the week, or else on some other day, if they do not choose to do it on Sunday. The clause in the title relating to “disturbance by others,” is as disingenuous as is the other part.TTR 840.2

    Every State in this Union already does by statute prohibit at all times disturbances of religious worship or religious meetings, or peaceable assemblies of any sort. These are strictly civil statutes, prohibiting incivility. The Sunday-law workers complain of the disturbance of their worship on Sunday. If they are sincere in this, why do they not enforce the laws already on the statute books prohibiting disturbance of worship, California? for instance, prohibits disturbance of worship, under penalty of five hundred dollars fine and six months in jail. But instead of having such legitimate laws enforced, they demand laws to “prohibit the disturbance” of their worship on Sunday, by compelling everybody to keep Sunday. That is, they would have the State prohibit incivility by compelling everybody to be religious. We say always, If worship is disturbed on Sunday or at any other time, let the State punish the person or persons who create the disturbance. Let the State punish them by such strictly legitimate statutes as the States already have on this subject. But let the State never attempt to prohibit disturbance of worship by trying to compel men to worship; not attempt to prohibit incivility by enforcing religious observances.TTR 840.3

    But that Sunday work does not really disturb the rest or the worship of those who keep Sunday, is proved by the fact that the people who make this the ground of their demand for Sunday laws, do not recognize for an instant that work on Saturday disturbs the rest or the worship of the people who keep Saturday. If the work of all the people on Saturday does not disturb the rest or the worship of those who keep Saturday, how is it possible for the work of the very few who work on Sunday to disturb the rest or the worship of those who keep Sunday?TTR 841.1

    But look at this from the standpoint of actual experience. There are, for instance, Seventh-day Adventists in every State and Territory of this nation, in Canada, nearly every country of Europe, the Sandwich Islands, Australia, South America, China, Japan, India, South Africa, and other places. They all rest every Saturday; they all keep it as the Sabbath unto the Lord. But no person has ever yet heard of a Seventh-day Adventist who ever complained that his rest on the Sabbath was disturbed by other men’s work. More than this: the Seventh-day Adventists have organized churches in the great majority of the States and Territories of this Union, and in these foreign countries. These churches are found in country places, in villages, in towns, and in cities. They meet for worship every Saturday; and although, as everybody knows, Saturday is the busiest day of the week, in the midst of such busy cities as Brooklyn, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and London, England, these churches of Seventh-day Adventists assemble regularly for worship; and no person has ever yet heard of any Seventh-day Adventist’s making a complaint that their worship was disturbed by the work, the business, or the traffic that is carried on by other people on that day. The fact is, their worship is not disturbed by these things.TTR 841.2

    Now, if all the labor, the business, and the traffic that is done on Saturday, the day which is acknowledged by all to be the busiest day of the week,—if all this, in such cities as we have named, does not disturb their rest or their worship, how is it that the rest or the worship of those who keep Sunday is disturbed on Sunday, when there is not one one-thousandth part as much labor, or business, or traffic done on that day as is done on Saturday?TTR 842.1

    This argument rests on the living experience of thousands of people every seventh day, and conclusively shows that the plea for Sunday laws to prevent disturbance of worship, is a fraud. These evidences prove also that the modification of the title of the bill, while the body of the bill remains essentially the same, is only to save appearances, and to disarm suspicion of religious legislation.TTR 842.2

    Nor is this the only effort that is made to disarm suspicion and check opposition. In some places the organizations that are formed auxiliary to the American Sabbath Union, take the name of “Civil Sunday” associations. And in conventions where they cannot carry resolutions indorsing the Sabbath as a religious institution, they will modify them so as to carry them in favor of Sunday as a civil institution. By such modifications and compromises, they hope at last to succeed. But whatever turn they may take, now or in the future, will not relieve them from the just charge of desiring the enactment of a national law for the enforcement of the religious observance of a day; because their real intention has been clearly revealed in the first steps taken; and whatever modifications they may afterward adopt, will not in the least change the original intention but only the appearance, and that simply for policy’s sake.TTR 842.3

    At the opening of the Fifty-first Congress, they had a Sunday bill introduced in the House of Representatives—not a national bill, however, but for the District of Columbia. Yet, though it was only for the District of Colombia, as it necessarily had to be enacted by Congress, the Principle involved was the same as in a national bill. Their purpose, therefore, was to use this as a stepping stone to a national act by having Congress commit itself to the sacredness of Sunday and the propriety of the legislation. This is manifest from their own statements as well as from all the proceedings in the case. The bill was introduced January 6, 1890, by the Hon. W. C. P. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, and is as follows:TTR 843.1

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