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    THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

    A. T. JONES, editor of the American Sentinel, gave the second of his able series of discourses on the relation of Religion to the State at Tremont Temple, Wednesday evening, Jan. 9. He spoke as follows:—TTL 4.8

    In considering the facts as they are, we wish, if possible, to determine whether there is any danger threatening our liberties and rights as they are now assured us under our National Constitution. Is there any attack upon the Constitution of sufficient importance to justify any defence? We gave the principles last evening upon which our Constitutional rests, and we found that it is strictly in harmony with the principles of Christ. It is plain, therefore, that any attempt to subvert or change the Constitution from what it is, so far as religion is concerned, can be nothing but opposition to the principles of Christ, and therefore anti-Christian.TTL 4.9

    The proposed Blair amendment to the Constitution was introduced, May 25, 1888, and provides for religious legislation.TTL 5.1

    The Amendment is as follows:—TTL 5.2

    SECTION 1. No State shall ever make or maintain any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.TTL 5.3

    SEC. 2. Each State in this Union shall establish and maintain a system of free public schools adequate for the education of all the children living therein, between the ages of six and sixteen years, inclusive, in the common branches of learning, in virtue and morality, and in knowledge of the fundamental and non-sectarian principles of Christianity. But no money raised by taxation imposed by law or any money or other property or credit belonging to any municipal organization, or to any State, or to the United States, shall ever be appropriated, applied, or given to the use or purposes of any school, institution, corporation, or person, whereby instruction or training shall be given in the doctrines, tenets, beliefs, ceremonials, or observances peculiar to any sect, denomination, organization, or society, being, or claiming to be, religious in its character, nor shall such peculiar doctrines, tenets, belief, ceremonials, or observances, be taught or inculcated in the free public schools.TTL 5.4

    SEC. 3. To the end that each State, the United States, and all the people thereof, may have and preserve governments republican in form and in substance, the United States shall guaranty to every State, and to the people of every State and of the United States, the support and maintenance of such a system of free public schools as is herein provided.TTL 5.5

    SEC. 4. That Congress shall enforce this article by legislation when necessary.TTL 5.6

    This amendment to the National Constitution has been offered by Senator Blair, and is now pending in Congress. It is a singular sort of document, though hardly any more so, than was to be expected in the promotion of the scheme which underlies it, i.e., the establishment of a National Religion.TTL 5.7

    Section 1 says:—TTL 5.8

    “No State shall ever make or maintain any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.TTL 5.9

    The first sentence of Section 2, says:—TTL 5.10

    “Each State in this Union shall establish and maintain a system of free public schools adequate for the education of all the children living therein, between the ages of six and sixteen years, inclusive, in the common branches of learning, in virtue and morality, and the principles of the Christian Religion.”TTL 5.11

    That is to say, no state shall ever make or maintain a law respecting an establishment of religion; but every state in the Union shall make and maintain laws establishing the principles of the Christian religion. And to make assurance doubly sure, Section 3 declares—TTL 5.12

    “The United States shall guarantee to every State, and to the people of every State and of the United States, the support and maintenance of such a system of free public schools as is herein provided.TTL 5.13

    And that is to say that the United States Government pledges itself that every State shall establish and maintain the Christian religion. This proposed amendment, therefore, at one stroke, establishes Christianity as the National Religion, because it declares that every State shall maintain the principles of the Christian religion in the public schools, and the nation is pledged to see that this is done. Therefore there must be a national decision of some kind declaring what are the principles of the Christian religion. Then when that decision shall have been made, every state will have to receive from the nation just those principles of religion which the Nation shall have declared to be the principles of the Christian religion, and which the nation will have pledged itself shall be taught in the public schools of every state. In other words, the people of the United States will then have to receive their religion from the Government of the United States. Therefore, if Senator Blair’s proposed amendment to the National Constitution does not provide for the establishment and maintenance of a National Religion, then no religion was ever established or maintained in this world.TTL 5.14

    But how shall this National decision be made as to what are the principles of the Christian religion? It would seem that the second sentence of Section 2 makes provision for this. It declares that no “instruction or training shall be given in the doctrines, tenets, beliefs, ceremonials, or observances peculiar to any sect, denomination, organization, or society, being, or claiming to be, religious in its character; nor shall such peculiar doctrines, tenets, belief, ceremonials, or observances, be taught or inculcated in the free public schools.”TTL 5.15

    As therefore no religious tenets, doctrines, or beliefs, can be taught in the schools, except such as common to all denominations of the Christian religion, it follows inevitably that there shall be officially called a National council of the churches, to decide what are the principles common to all, and to establish by the National power in all the public schools in the United States. And that will be but the establishment of a National religion. And that is exactly what Senator Blair’s constitutional amendment assures, so surely as it or anything similar to it shall ever be adopted. And that is what the National Reformers intend shall be.TTL 5.16

    It was in this way precisely that the thing was worked in the fourth century. Constantine made Christianity the recognized religion of the Roman Empire. Then it became at once necessary that there should be an imperial decision as to what form of Christianity should be the imperial religion. To effect this an imperial council was necessary to formulate that phase of Christianity which was common to all. The Council of Nice was convened by imperial command, and an imperial creed was established, which was enforced by imperial power. That establishment of an imperial religion ended only in the imperious despotism of the Papacy.TTL 5.17

    As surely as the complete establishment of the Papacy followed, and grew out of that imperial recognition of Christianity in the fourth century, just so surely will the complete establishment of a religious despotism after the living likeness of the Papacy, follow, and grow out of this National recognition of Christianity provided for in the constitutional amendment proposed by Senator Blair, and which is now pending in Congress.TTL 5.18

    Now let us see how much influence there is being exerted in the country in favor of this amendment, and its accompanying religious legislation.TTL 5.19

    There is in the country an organization called the National Reform Association. I read what that association thinks of the Constitutional amendment offered by Senator Blair. The Christian Statesman is the official organ of the Association, and in its issue of July 12 says the amendment “should receive the strenuous support of all American Christians.” In its issue of July 19, the Statesman says:—TTL 5.20

    “Senator Blair’s proposed constitutional amendment furnishes an admirable opportunity for making the ideas of the National Reform Association familiar to the minds of the people.”TTL 5.21

    Then after meeting “Christianity, the religion of the National Reform Association familiar to the minds of the people.”TTL 5.22

    Then after mentioning “Christianity, the religion of the Nation,” and “The Bible, the text book of our common Christianity, in all the schools,” it says:—TTL 5.23

    “These have been our watch-words in the discussions of a quarter of a century. And now these ideas are actually pending before the United States in the form of a joint resolution proposing their adoption as a part of the Constitution of the United States. Here is a great opportunity. Shall we boldly and wisely improve it?”TTL 5.24

    I read from the Statesman of July 26, from Rev. J. C. K. Milligan—John Calvin, Knox Milligan, that means—a leading man of that Association, who says to the editor:—TTL 5.25

    “Your editorial of July 12 on a Christian constitutional amendment pending in the Senate is most gratifying news to every Christian patriot. It seems too good to be true. It is too good to prevail without a long pull, a strong pull and a pull altogether on the part of its friends; but it is so good that it surely will have many friends who will put forth the necessary effort. True, the pending amendment has its chief value in one phrase, ‘The Christian religion,’ but if it shall pass into our fundamental law, then our phrase will have all the potency of Almighty God, of Christ the Lord, of the Holy Bible, and of the Christian world with it. By letters to senators and representatives in Congress by petitions numerously, signed and forwarded to them, by local, state, and national conventions held and public meetings in every school district, such an influence can quickly be brought to bear as will compel our legislators to adopt a measure, and enforce it by the needed legislation. The Christiaian [sic.] pulpits, if they would, could secure its adoption before the dog days end. The National Reform association, the Christian Statesman, and the secretaries in the field are charged with this work, and will not be wanting as leaders in the cause.”TTL 5.26

    John Alexander, the father of the movement, who gives five hundred dollars every year to its advancement, and in his will has provided that the same amount shall be paid every year from his estate until the movement shall have proved a success, and who gives a thousand dollars at times on the side, in the Christian Statesman of September 6, congratulating the Association on the introduction of the Blair religious amendment to the constitution declares, “The National Reform Association ought to spare no pains and omit no effort which may promise to secure its adoption:” and further says:—TTL 6.1

    “Let us begin without delay the circulation of petitions (to be furnished in proper form by the Association,) and let an opportunity be given to all parts of the country to make up a roll of petitions so great that it will require a procession of wheelbarrows to trundle the mighty mass into the presence of the representatives of the Nation in the Houses of Congress.” And “let a mass convention of the friends of the cause be held in Washington, when the Blair resolution shall be under discussion, to accompany with its influence the presentation of the petitions, and to take such other action as may be deemed best to arouse the Nation to a genuine enthusiasm in behalf of our National Christianity.”TTL 6.2

    This is how the Blair Constitutional Amendment is viewed by these people. What do they propose to do with it when they get it?TTL 6.3

    The Christian Stateman [sic.], of Oct. 2, 1884, said:—TTL 6.4

    “Give all men to understand that this is a Christian Nation, and that, believing that without Christianity we perish, we must maintain by all means, our Christian character. Inscribe this character on our Constitution. Enforce upon all who come among us the laws of Christian morality.”TTL 6.5

    To enforce upon men the laws of Christian morality is nothing else than an attempt to compel them to be Christians, and does in fact compel them to be hypocrites.TTL 6.6

    It will be seen at once that this will be but to invade the rights of conscience, and this, one of the vice presidents of the Association declares, civil power has a right to do. Rev. David Gregg, D. D., new pastor of Park Street Church, Boston, a vice-president of the National Reform Association, plainly declared, in the Christian Statesman of June 5, 1884, that the civil power “has the right to command the consciences of men.”TTL 6.7

    Rev. M. A. Gault, a district secretary, and a leading worker, of the Associations says:—TTL 6.8

    “Our remedy for all these malefic influences is to have the Government simply set up the moral law, and recognize God’s authority behind it, and lay its hand on any religion that does not conform to it.”TTL 6.9

    Rev. E. B. Graham, also a vice-president of the Association, in an address delivered at York, Nebraska, reported in the Christian Statesman of May 21, 1885, said:—TTL 6.10

    “We might add in all justice, if the opponents of the Bible do not like our Government and its Christian features, let them go to some wild, desolate land, and in the name of the devil, and for the sake of the devil, subdue it, and set up a government of their own on infidel and atheistic ideas, and then if they can stand it, stay there till they die.”TTL 6.11

    How much is that different form the Russian despotism? You remember in the April Century, Mr. Kennan gave a view of the statutes of Russia on the subject of crimes against the faith. Quoting statute after statute providing that whoever shall censure the Christian faith or the orthodox church, or the scriptures, or the holy sacraments, or the saints, or their images, or the Virgin Mary, or the angels, or Christ, or God, shall be deprived of all civil rights, and exiled for life to the most remote parts of Siberia. This is the system in Russia, and it is in the direct line of the wishes of the National Reformers, with this difference, however, that Russia is content to send dissenters to Siberia, while the National Reformers want to send them to the devil, straight.TTL 6.12

    In a speech in a National Reform convention, held in New York city, Feb. 26th and 27th, 1873, Jonathan Edwards, D. D., said: “We want State and Religion—and we are going to have it. It shall be that so far as the affairs of State require religion, it shall be revealed religion, the religion of Jesus Christ. The Christian oath and Christian morality shall have in this land ‘an undeniable legal basis.’ We use the word religion in its proper sense, as meaning a man’s personal relation of faith and obedience to God.”TTL 6.13

    According to their own definition, then the National Reform Association intend that the state shall obtrude itself into every man’s personal relation of faith and obedience to God. Mr. Edwards proceeds: “Now, we are warned that to engraft this doctrine upon the Constitution will be found oppressive; that it will infringe the rights of conscience; and we are told that there are Atheists, Deists, Jews, and Seventh-day Baptists, who would be sufferers under it.” He then defines the terms, Atheist, Deist, Jew, and Seventh-day Baptist, and counts them all Atheists, as follows:—TTL 6.14

    “These all are, for the occasion, and so far as our amendment is concerned, one class. They use the same arguments and the same tactics against us. They must be counted together, which we very much regret, but which we cannot help. The first named is the leader in the discontent and in the outcry—the atheist, to whom nothing is higher or more sacred than man, and nothing survives the tomb. It is his class. Its labors are almost wholly in his interest; its success would be almost wholly his triumph. The rest are adjuncts to him in this contest. They must be named from him; they must be treated as, for this question, one party.”TTL 6.15

    What now are the rights of the National Reform classification of Atheists? Mr. Edwards asks the question and answers it thus: “What re the rights of the Atheist? I would tolerate him as I would tolerate a poor lunatic, for in my view, his mind is scarcely sound. So long as he does not rave, so long as he is not dangerous, I would tolerate him. I would tolerate him as I would a conspirator. The Atheist is a dangerous man.”TTL 6.16

    Let us inquire for a moment, what are the rights of Atheists. So far as earthly governments are concerned, has not any man just as much right to be an Atheist as any other man has to be a Christian? If not, why not? I wish somebody would tell. Has not any man just as much right to be an Atheist as Jonathan Edwards has to be “Doctor of Divinity”? Can you compel him to be anything else? But how long does he propose to tolerate him? “So long as he does not rave.” A lunatic may be harmless and may be suffered to go about as he chooses; yet he is kept under constant surveillance because there is no knowing at what moment the demon in him may carry him beyond himself, and he become dangerous. So it has been proposed to treat these men who disagree with them. So long as dissenters allow themselves to be cowed down like a set of curs, and submit to be domineered over by these self-exalted despots, all goes very well; but if a person has the principle of a man, and asserts his convictions as a man ought to, then he raves, then he becomes dangerous, and must be treated as raving, dangerous lunatics are.TTL 6.17

    Next, dissenters are to be tolerated as conspirators are. A political conspirator is one who seeks to destroy the government itself; he virtually plots against the life of every one in the government; and in that he has forfeited all claims to the protection of the government or the regard of the people. And this is the way dissenters are to be treated by the National Reformers, when they shall have secured the power that they want. And these are the men to whom Senator Blair’s proposed constitutional amendment is intensely satisfactory, as that which assures them in the end that which they want.TTL 6.18

    Mr. Edwards proceeds:—TTL 6.19

    “Yes, to this extent I will tolerate the atheist, but no more. Why should I? The atheist does not tolerate me. He does not smile either in pity of in scorn upon my faith. He hates my faith, and he hates me for my faith.”TTL 6.20

    Remember that these men propose to make this a Christian nation. These are they who propose themselves as the supreme expositors of Christian doctrine in this nation. What a beautiful harmony there is between these words of Mr. Edwards and those of the sermon on the mount. The Saviour said, Hate them that hate you: despise them that will not tolerate you and persecute them that do not smile upon your faith. Didn’t he? Don’t you remember the words? Is not that the sermon on the mount? It is not the sermon on the mount. Jesus said, “Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you; and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven. But this National reforms style of christianity would have it, “Hate your enemies: oppose them that hate you; and perse- cute them who will not smile either in pity or scorn upon your faith, that you may be the true children of the National Reform party,” and that is what you will be if you do it.TTL 6.21

    But Mr. Edwards is not yet done in displaying his toleratnt ideas; he says:—TTL 7.1

    “I can tolerate difference and discussion; I can tolerate heresy and false religion; I can debate the use of the Bible in our common schools, the taxation of church property, the propriety of chaplaincies and the like, but there are some questions past debate. Tolerate atheism, sir? There is nothing out of hell that I would not tolerate as soon. The atheist may live, as I said, but, God helping us, the taint of his destructive creed shall not defile any of the civil institutions of all this fair land! Let us repeat, atheism and Christianity are contradictory terms. They are incompatible systems. They cannot dwell together on the same contintent.”TTL 7.2

    Worse than Russia again. Russia will suffer dessenters to dwell on the same continent with her, though it be in the most remote part of Siberia, but these men to whom Senator Blair’s religious amendment is so satisfactory, purpose to go beyond that, and not suffer dessenters to dwell on the same continent with them. Is it necessary here to say that Senator Blair’s religious amendment to the Constitution is directly in the line of a religious despotism more merciless than that of Russia, and paralled only by that of the papacy in the supremacy of its power? Please do not think that because this was spoken fifteen years ago that it is now out of date, for the association this day advertises and sells this speech as representative National Reform literature, and the pamphlet in which it is contained can be had by sending 25 cents to Christian Statesman 1520 Chestnut street, Philadelphia.TTL 7.3

    But as though this were not enough, and as though their tolerant intents were not sincere enough, they propose in addition to all this to join hands with the Catholic Church, and enlist her efforts in their work. The Christian Statesman of December 11, 1884, said:—TTL 7.4

    “Whenever they [the Roman Catholics] are willing to co-operate in resisting the progress of political atheism, we will gladly join hands with them.”TTL 7.5

    What does Pope Leo VII command all Catholics to do? This:—TTL 7.6

    “All Catholics should do all in their power to cause the constitutions of the State and Legislature to be modeled on the principles of the true Church.”TTL 7.7

    The National Reformers are doing precisely what the Pope has commanded all Catholics to do; and why shouldn’t they gladly join hands with them? And we may rest assured that Rome will accept the National Reform proffer just as soon as the influence of that association becomes of sufficient weight to be profitable to her.TTL 7.8

    Now the question may be asked, whether we mean soberly to say that an association in this enlightened age that sets forth such a proposition can have any influence at all, or can be counted worthy of recognition or the fellowship of respectable people? Well let us see. Joseph Cook the Boston Monday lecturer, is a vice-president of that association. Pres. Seeley of Amherst College, is also one of their vice-presidents. Bishop Huntington of New York, is another. The president of the W. C. T. U., Mrs. J. C. Bateham of the National Union is another; Mrs. Woodbridge, of the same Union is another. Miss Mary A. West, editor of the Union Signal, is another; Mrs. Hoffman, Pres. of the Missouri Union, Mrs. Lathrap, Pres. of the Michigan Union, Mrs. Sibley of the Georgia Union—all these are upon the printed list of vice-presidents of that association for the present year, and all these are eminently respectable people. They are people of influence.TTL 7.9

    In the Christian Statesman of Nov. 15, I read the following from a report of labor by Secretary M. A. Gault:—TTL 7.10

    “The four weeks I spent recently in the eighth Wisconsin district lecturing under the auspices of the W. C. T. U., were among the most pleasant weeks since I went into the lecture field. The weather was unusually fine, and there were but very few meetings in which everything was not in apple-pie order. Ladies wearing the significant white ribbon met me at the train, and took me often to the most elegant home in town.... The W. C. T. U. affords the best facilities for opening for such workers more than any organization. It is in sympathy with the movement to enthrone Christ in our government.”TTL 7.11

    The National Reform Association proposes to turn this government into the kingdom of Christ; and the W. C. T. U. in National Convention, 1887, said, “The Women’s Christian Temperance Union, local, state, national, and world wide, has one vital, organic thought, one all-absorbing purpose, one undying enthusiasm, and that is that Christ shall be this world’s king. Yes verily, this world’s king in its realm of cause and effect, king of its courts, its camps, its commerce, king of its colleges and cloisters, king of its customs and constitutions.... The kingdom of Christ must enter the realm of law through the gateway of politics.”TTL 7.12

    In conformity with this idea the National Reformers have bestowed upon the Saviour the title of “The Divine Politician.” The Saviour himself said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” These two organizations declare that Christ shall be this world’s king. I have not the slightest hesitation in deciding on which side of this question the truth lies.TTL 7.13

    I know that not one tenth of the great body of the W. C. T. U. has any idea of what this alliance with the National Reform Association Party amounts to. I know that there are multitudes of women in the Union that have sympathy at all with the political workings of the leadership of the Union. I personally know that there are scores of women who have separated from the Union on account of the political workings and alliances of the National Union. There is no one who has more respect or more good wishes for the W. C. T. U. in the line of its legitimate work than I. I am heartily in favor of union, of temperance union, of Christian temperance union, and of woman’s Christian Temperance Union; but I am not in favor, of any kind of a political Christian temperance union, nor of a theocratical temperance union. Would, that the W. C. T. U. would stick to their text and work for Christian temperance by Christian means! The Iowa Union has done itself the credit to separate from the political workings of the National Union, and all the rest of that body would do well to protest against the political workings of its present leadership, and especially to protest against the union’s any longer being made a tool of the National Reform Association. By means of the W. C. T. U. that association is having a thousand times as much influence as it could have if left to itself to make its own way and secure a hearing.TTL 7.14

    Nor is this all. This third party, prohibition party, is another all in this attack upon the Constitution. George W. Bain is a vice-president of the Association.TTL 7.15

    Opposition to Church and States was hissed and yelled down in the California Prohibition Convention last summer. Sam Small was Secretary of the National Prohibition Convention held at Indianapolis, and what he wants to see is this:—TTL 7.16

    “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.”TTL 7.17

    What more was the papacy ever than that? What more did it ever claim to be?TTL 7.18

    (Have we a right to close their parochial schools? from the audience.) We have no such right. (But I understand they are unlawful.) If they are, it’s a bad law. We must be careful that in the reaction against Catholicism we do not make Catholics of ourselves. We want to be careful that in opposing the progress of Papacy we do not turn ourselves into Popes. (Applause.) We must not forget that any Catholic in the world has as much personal right as any other man in the world. (And no more: from the gallery.) No more, of course not. You, my friend, have just as much right to be a Methodist, as I, or any one else, has to be a Baptist; but you have no right to seize upon the civil power in order to force me to act as though I were a Methodist. Any man has a perfect right to be a Catholic; but he has no right to force me to act as though I were a Catholic. (What will we do with the Catholic’s false system? from the audience.) He is responsible to God for his system. If you by law attempt to abolish his system of worship, that makes a pope again. (Applause.) A Protestant pope is no better than a Catholic pope. He is a pope anyhow. (Applause.) We don’t want any kind of a pope in this country. (Applause.) We want Americans to have the rights of American; and that is all any man is entitled to. We must not forget the glorious principles embodied in the American Constitution,—the right of a man to be a man, to worship as he pleases, or not at all if he pleases. You can not compel a man, by law, to be a Christian; but you can make a fine specimen of a hypocrite.TTL 7.19

    Sam Jones is another ardent Third Party Prohibitionist. The latter part of July he preached in Windsor, Canada, to an audience composed mostly of Americans, who went over there to hear him. One of his devout, elegantly refined, and intensely instructive passages, is this:—TTL 8.1

    “Now I’ll tell you, I think we are running the last political combat on the lines we have been running them on. It is between the Republicans and Democrats, this contest, and it is the last the Republicans will make in America. The Democrats are going in overwhelmingly. Four years from now the Prohibition element will break the solid South. The issue then will be, God or no God, drunkenness or sobriety, Sabbath or no Sabbath, Heaven or hell. That will be the issue. Then we will wipe up the ground with the Democratic party, and let God rule America from that time on.” And this the Christian Statesman inserts under the heading, “The National Reform Movement!” It is very appropriately placed. It is a worthy addition to the literature of the National Reform movement.TTL 8.2

    Now my friends, when it is seen that this legislation is the first step toward the establishment of religious despotism modeled upon the principles in the dark ages, and when this legislation is supported by such men as Joseph Cook, President Seeley, Bishop Huntington, and the others named, and by the W. C. T. U., and the Third Party Prohibition Party, the Knights of Labor, and when this legislation is already pending in the United States Senate and only waits to be put upon its passage with the promise of Senator Blair that it should be brought forward as soon as possible,—is it not high time that somebody was saying something in behalf of our constitution as it is, and of the rights of men under it?TTL 8.3

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