THE International Religious Liberty Association addressed a letter to the secular and religious papers of the country asking them to join in protest against the imprisonment of Mr. Capps, a Seventh-day Adventist, for doing common farm labor on Sunday. It was expected that Baptists, above all others, would be most unanimous in their protest; but we fear, from the returns which are coming in, that in this we are to be disappointed. The Alabama Baptist, of Aug. 9th, whose motto is, “Speaking the truth in love,” replies as follows:—
Now, Baptist believer in liberty of conscience as we are, we cannot accept the invitation. We do not see persecution in the case. The people of Tennessee, like those of other States, by statute law recognized the Christian Sabbath as God’s holy day, and they  declared that certain things must not be done on that day. Mr. Capps did one of those things, and thereby violated the law. Whether the law be good or bad, or whether Mr. Capps’ convictions or conscience may be right, are not questions to be considered. The simple fact is that he deliberately violated a plain law of the State, of long standing, and which expresses the will of a large majority of the people, and he could not reasonably expect anything else than to pay the penalty of such violation.
As a part of our comment we introduce the following quotation from the Baptist Examiner, of this city, which is an effort to convert another Baptist organ to the scriptural and time-honored Baptist principle of religious liberty:—
We did not expect that any Baptist would defend the prosecution of otherwise inoffensive Christians for labor on the first day of the week that disturbs nobody else. The Baptist and Reflector, of Nashville, however, undertakes to justify this persecution in the State of Tennessee, which is similar to the cases that have recently occurred in Maryland and Georgia. It would have been easy, by the use of similar arguments, for those who persecuted Baptists in the past, to have justified their conduct and policy. If there is any body of Christians that has solemnly and stoutly protested against such persecution, no matter who were its victims or its authors, it is the Baptists. We have never before seen an attempt at justification of religious persecution in the Baptist Church newspaper. We hope never to see one again.
And now to show how “easy” it would have been for the persecutors of Baptists to have justified themselves “by the use of similar arguments” we will put the “arguments” of the Alabama Baptist into the mouth of Massachusetts Puritans and address them to Elder Holmes and other Baptist victims.
The people of this colony, like those of other colonies, by statute law recognized sprinkling as God’s holy mode of baptism, and they declared that baptism by immersion or rebaptism must not be done. Mr. Holmes did both of these things, and thereby violated the law. Whether the law is good or bad, or whether Mr. Holmes’ convictions or conscience may be right, are not questions to be considered. The simple fact is that he deliberately violated a plain law of the colony, of long standing, and which expresses the plain will of a large majority of the people, and he could not reasonably expect anything else than to pay the penalty of such violation.
We appeal to all Baptists. Are the cases not parallel? The penalty in the case of Elder Holmes was thirty pounds or thirty lashes. The penalty in the case of Mr. Capps was $68.65 or 280 days’ imprisonment. Elder Holmes conscientiously refused to pay the fine and was whipped. Mr. Capps conscientiously refused to pay the fine and was imprisoned. And the difference between Mr. Capps and the editor of the Alabama Baptist is that Mr. Capps is the legitimate successor of Elder Holmes in suffering for conscience’ sake, and the editor of the Alabama Baptist though claiming to be a Baptist, is a legitimate successor of Cotton Mather in defending the persecutors of a Seventh-day Adventist who is suffering for conscience’ sake.