“A Judicial Profession of Christianity for the Nation” The American Sentinel 7, 25, p. 196, 197.

June 23, 1892

[Further extracts from an address by A. T. Jones, delivered at Battle Creek, Mich., May 14, 1892, as reported in the Review and Herald.]

WHEN Henry VIII wanted a divorce from his wife the Pope could not make his political ends meet so as to grant it; and Henry took the matter into his own and Cranmer’s hands, and divorced both his wife and the Pope. This separated the Church in England from the Catholic Church. Then that which had formerly been the Catholic Church in England, became the Church of England, the only difference being that Henry was head of the church instead of the Pope. Thus Henry still maintained his title of “Defender of the Faith,” and it was the same faith—except only as to the head of it.

Under Edward VI., a few very slight steps were taken further away from the absolute Catholic faith. Under Mary, a powerful effort was made to bring all back into full harmony with the papal religion. Mary soon died, and Elizabeth succeeded, and would have been glad to complete Mary’s scheme, but could not, and was obliged to be content with things as they were left by Edward, for the nation and people, while in her own private individual life, she inclined strongly to the papal religion outright. So that the sum of the matter is, that the religion professed in the Church of England in Queen Elizabeth’s time, was a religion which was just as near to the Roman Catholic religion as was possible, without being precisely that religion.

And this is the religion which the Supreme Court of the United States finds to be historically intended to be established here, and which by this decision the court declares now to be established here, according to the meaning of the Constitution of the United States; because the language of the Constitution and the language of all these other documents is one language, “having one meaning.” It is to be expected also that the religion established should be as much like the papal religion as possible, without being precisely that religion itself, as the prophecy says that it would be said “that they should make an image to the beast”—the Papacy.

Yet the court does not propose to be partial, nor presume to establish strictly this particular phase of religion without giving any other any chance or recognition. It proceeds next to introduce Puritanism, as follows:—

The celebrated compact made by the Pilgrims in the “Mayflower,” 1620, recites:—

“Having undertaken for the glory of God and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the honor of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the ends aforesaid.”

Having thus established what it chooses to declare to be “the Christian faith” as the religion of this Nation, the court next proceeds to cite historical evidence that it is legitimate to use the civil power to maintain “the disciples of the churches.” This is done by citing the compact of the Puritans who settled Connecticut, as follows:—

Forasmuch as it hath pleased the Almighty God by the wise dispensation of his dinyne pruidence so to Order and dispose of things that we the inhabitants and Residents of Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield are now cohabiting and dwelling in and vppon the River of Conectecotte and the Lands thereunto adioyneing; And well knowing where a people are gathered together, the word of God requires that to mayntayne the peace and vnion of such a people there should be an orderly and decent Government established according to God, to order and dispose of the affayres of the people at all season as occation shall require; doe therefore assotiate and conioyne ourselues to be as one Publike State or Comonwelth; and doe, for our seluce and our Successors and such as shall be adjoined to us all day tyme hereafter, enter into Combination and Confederation together, to mayntayne and preserve the liberty and purity of the gospel of our Lord Jesus wch we now prfesse, AMS ALSO THE DISCIPLYNE OF THE CHURCHES, wch according to the truth of the said gospel is now practiced amongst vs.

By this “historical” citation, the Supreme Court just as certainly establishes and justifies the employment of the “Civil Body Politick” for the maintenance of “the discipline of the churches,” as by the previous ones it establishes the Christian religion as the religion of this nation. And this decision declares that the language of this citation and the language of the national Constitution is “one language,” “having one meaning.” By this, therefore, the Supreme Court has decided that the civil power, even of the United States government, can rightly be employed to maintain the discipline of the churches. And this, as we know and have shown over and over again, is exactly what the churches are aiming to bring about by the national enforcement of Sunday laws; and this is precisely what is done by the enforcement of Sunday laws, either State or national. And this the decision of the Supreme Court fully establishes by its decision, and sanctions and justifies by its (mis)interpretation of the national Constitution.

So far, therefore, in this decision, we find a national religion established with the maintenance of the discipline of the churches. What next?—Why, the requirement of the religious oath of witnesses, and the religious test oath as a qualification for office. After citing William Penn’s grant of privileges to the province of Pennsylvania, and the Declaration of Independence, in which “the Creator,” “the Supreme Judge of the world,” and “Divine Providence” is referred to, and the constitution of Illinois, in which God is recognized, the court quotes from the Constitution of Maryland, as follows, and for the purpose of establishing the legality of the religious oath and the religious test oath:—

“That as it is the duty of every man to worship God in such manner as he thinks most acceptable to him, all persons are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty; wherefore, no person ought, by any law, to be molested in his person or estate on account of his religious persuasion or profession, or for his religious practice, unless, under the color of religion, he shall disturb the good order, peace, or safety of the State, or shall infringe the laws of morality, or injure others in their natural, civil, or religious rights; nor ought any person to be compelled to frequent or maintain or contribute, unless on contract, to maintain any place of worship, or any ministry; nor shall any person, otherwise competent, be deemed incompetent as a witness, or juror, on account of his religious belief; Provided, He believes in the existence of God, and that, under his dispensation, such person will be held morally accountable for his acts, and be rewarded or punished therefor, either in this world or the world to come.”

“Provided he believe in the existence of God.” That is, in other words, no man ought to be interfered with in his profession or principles of religious belief, provided he holds these according to the dictates in all the history of the Catholic Church. It is the very doctrine of the papacy. It was also the doctrine of pagan Rome, before the Papacy supplanted it. Paganism declared that “no man should have particular gods of his own, except they are recognized by the laws of the State.” But the court continues this quotation, providing further:—

That no religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God; nor shall the Legislature prescribe any other oath of office than the oath prescribed by this Constitution.

That is the provision and the requirement of the constitution of Maryland. But, says the Supreme Court, that speaks the same language as the Constitution of the United States, and that the Constitution of the United States and this quotation have “one meaning.” And although the Constitution of the United States positively declares that no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under this government, this decision says that it means that no other religious test shall ever be required, as does the constitution of Maryland, for these documents “all” have “one language” and “one meaning.”

So, then, we find that so far, this decision establishes a national religion, with the maintenance of the discipline of the churches, and the requirement of the religious oath in court, and the religious test-oath as a qualification for office. And what next?—Why, public taxation for the support of religion. This is justified and established by a quotation from the constitution of Massachusetts, as follows:—

It is the right as well as the duty of all men in society, publicly and at stated seasons, to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe…. As the happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government essentially dependent upon piety, religion, and morality, and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community but by the institution of the public worship of God, and of public instructions in piety, religion, and morality: Therefore, to promote their happiness and to secure the good order and preservation of their government, the people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorize and require, and the Legislature shall, from time to time, authorize and require, the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies-politic or religious societies to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God, and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality in all cases where such provision shall not be made voluntarily.

And says the court, This document and the Constitution of the United States have the same language, have “one meaning,” and both alike, with all the other quotations, “speak the voice of the entire people.” So far, then, by this decision there is [197] established here a national religion, with maintenance of the discipline of the churches by the civil power, the requirement of the religious oath and the religious test-oath, and public taxation for “the worship of God” and for “the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of religion.” The wicked thing grows rapidly as it goes.

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