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    November 6, 1889

    “Is the Constitution Infidel?” American Sentinel 4, 41.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Christian Statesman, of August says that the statement that the American government was established on the secular principle, is untrue. It says that to represent the National Reform movement as revolutionary is to forget, or intentionally ignore, the plainest facts of history. It says that the government is Christian, but overturns this in the same short article by saying: “We admit that infidelity stole a march on the American people in the framing of the Constitution of the United States, and we admit that, largely through the unsettling influences of that instrument, the relation of government to religion has become an open question, now in process of settlement, in this country. But the claim that the secular theory is the established American theory is false and unfair, and, like all unfair attempts in controversy, will yet bring confusion to those who make it.”AMS November 6, 1889, page 316.3

    To the covert threat in this last clause we have nothing to say. But we would like to ask the Statesman what it is that determines the character of the government, if it is not the Constitution. If, as it admits, the Constitution of the United States is a secular document, then the American theory of government must be the secular theory of government. And therefore the unfairness is wholly on its own part, in claiming that the American theory of government is to combine religion with the government, when, according to its own admission, such a claim is a false one. Whatever confusion results, must necessarily come to those who make such false claims.AMS November 6, 1889, page 316.4

    But mark, that while we say the American theory of government is the secular theory, we do not at all admit the Statesman’s charge that it is an infidel theory. Infidelity did not steal a march on the American people in the framing of the Constitution of the United States, and that document is not an infidel document, it does not teach infidelity. It has no tendency whatever towards infidelity. To show the falsity of the statement that infidelity stole a march on the American people in the framing of the Constitution of the United States, it is only necessary to say that there were religious men in the Constitutional Convention, and serious consideration was given to the matter of recognizing God and religion in the Constitution; and the omission of such recognition was the result of careful, deliberate, conscientious consideration. This is more clearly apparent from the fact that within two years after the Constitution was adopted, ten amendments were added, the first of which is the following: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” If the omission of the name of God, or the recognition of religion, was an oversight, the, first amendment, instead of declaring against an establishment of religion, would have provided for it. Nay; the original Constitution itself declared that no religious test should ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.AMS November 6, 1889, page 316.5

    But the fact that God’s name is not mentioned does not make the Constitution an infidel Constitution, any more than the fact that a murchant’s sign or his advertisement in the newspaper does not contain the name of God proves that he is an infidel. The Postmaster-General, John Wanamaker, is the pride of the National Reform party, although perhaps not a member of that organization. He is pointed to with pride as the Christian merchant. We have no disposition to question his Christianity; but we would simply call attention to the fact that in all his extensive advertisements the name of God does not occur once. Are we to judge from that that he is an infidel? His clerks transact his business and sell goods over the counter without making any mention of the name of God. Does that show that his business is an infidel business? Nobody thinks so. On the contrary, if he should flaunt the name of God in his advertisements, and if he should instruct his clerks to make some mention of God with every yard of cotton or silk that they tore off, the people would justly question the genuiness of his profession.AMS November 6, 1889, page 316.6

    In his book, “Church and State in the States,” Dr. Schaff speaks as follows concerning the proposed amendment recognizing God in the Constitution:—AMS November 6, 1889, page 316.7

    “Our chief objection to such an amendment, besides its impracticability, is that it rests upon a false assumption, and casts an unjust reflection upon the original document, as if it were hostile to religion. But it is neither hostile nor friendly to any religion; it is simply silent on the subject, as lying beyond the jurisdiction of the general government. The absence of the names of God and Christ, in a purely political and legal document, no more proves denial or irreverence than the absence of those names in a mathematical treatise, or the statutes of a bank or railroad corporation. The title ‘holiness’ does not make the Pope of Rome any holier than he is, and it makes the contradiction only more glaring in such characters as Alexander VI. The book of Esther and the Song of Solomon are undoubtedly productions of devout worshipers of Jehovah; and yet the name of God does not occur once in them.”AMS November 6, 1889, page 316.8

    According to the National Reform view, the book of Esther and the Song of Solomon would be called infidel documents. But of all who talk about infidelity, the National Reformers show the least knowledge of what infidelity is; and this for the reason that they have the least knowledge of what constitutes Christianity.AMS November 6, 1889, page 316.9

    E. J. W.

    “The Christian Statesman in Favor of Church and State Union” American Sentinel 4, 41.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In the Christian Statesman of August 29 the AMERICAN SENTINEL 18 described as chronically unfair, in that it charges the National Reform Association with working for a union of Church and State. There are two noticeable things in connection with this controversy. The first is that the Statesman has never yet attempted to prove that it is not in favor of Church and State; it simply denies the charges. This would be all that is required, if our charges consisted simply of assertions; but when we cite facts, and make arguments, and draw conclusions, to show that it is in favor of Church and State union, they have never yet attempted to show the fallacy of one of the arguments, or to disprove one of the conclusions. And the other noticeable thing is that the Statesman scarcely ever makes a denial of its desire for Church and State union without in that same denial furnishing proof that it is desirous of such a union. In this very article it says:—AMS November 6, 1889, page 323.1

    “We hold as strenuously as do our opponents to the absolute separation and independence of Church and State, but we also hold, with Professor Leiber, that the theory of American institutions requires the total separation of the State from the Church-not from religion.”AMS November 6, 1889, page 323.2

    As Dr. Edwards said in the New York convention, they believe in a union of religion and State, but not in Church and State. Now if that were true, it would seem to be proof that they do not believe in religion in the church; and surely that admission must be worse than the other; for a church without religion is a deplorable thing. We are, however, convinced that the National Reformers do not believe in religion in the church, from the very fact that they believe in religion and the State, that is, in making the State the Church; for when this is done there will be no religion in it-only an empty shell.AMS November 6, 1889, page 323.3

    But on the first page of the same paper, the Statesman shows in an editorial that it is the champion of the union of Church and State. It notes the call for the annual congress of the American Secular Union for 1889, and publishes a statement of the object of that union, which object is to secure the total separation of Church and State. After quoting this declaration of principles, the Statesman says:—AMS November 6, 1889, page 323.4

    “We cheerfully and zealously assist in giving publicity to this call. Nothing could give the American people a clearer view of the pending situation than these frank, logical, and comprehensive demands of the American Secular Union.”AMS November 6, 1889, page 323.5

    The Statesman recognizes itself as the direct antagonist of the object of the American Secular Union; we do not say the antagonist of the infidel views of its members, but the antagonist of the work of the association. Therefore, it declares itself to be the champion of a union of Church and State.AMS November 6, 1889, page 323.6

    This is still further shown by the fact that the Statesman is one of the most virulent opposers of the petition which has been circulated asking Congress to pass no laws which would look toward a union of Church and State. It is no use for the Statesman to try to conceal its motives. It would be much more honorable for it to boldly avow its advocacy of Church and State union. As it says, nothing can be gained by persistent misrepresentation. It might as well declare the real object of the National Reform Association; for it cannot make a denial of that object without in that very denial revealing it. E. J. W.AMS November 6, 1889, page 324.1

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