“An Unchristian Petition” American Sentinel 12, 23, pp. 355, 356.

AT a special meeting of the Charleston (S. C.) Ministerial Union, May 14, as reported in the Charleston News and Courier, the following petition to the Postmaster-General was presented and unanimously indorsed:—

“To the Hon. James A. Gary, Postmaster-General—

Honored Sir: The Sunday railway train, by its ready and wide-extended inducement to travel, both for pleasure and business, is undoubtedly the most influential agency now undermining public reverence for the divinely appointed sabbath.

“The transportation of the mail, except in the vicinity of large cities, is the chief cause and support of the Sunday train.

“The great facilities for daily intercommunication by rail, telegraph and telephone leave no excuse for the Sunday mail as a necessity, a fact sustained by the diminished mail service and almost universal closing of post-offices in England and Canada.

“State legislation cannot stop United States mail trains, therefore the responsibility for Sunday mail service and largely for all Sunday travel rests solely upon the post-office department.

“If the United States Government, through you and your department, by the approval and direction of the President, would set the example of reverence for the Lord’s day by stopping the transmission of mails and closing all post offices on Sunday, it would evoke a divine blessing upon itself and the whole country; would teach a sublime lesson to the world; would confer a great boon upon thousands of its own and other officials and employés, and would put such a stamp of condemnation upon all acts of public desecration of the sabbath as would deter good citizens from their commission, and render all proper Sunday laws, State and municipal, easy of enforcement.

“We, therefore, do most earnestly but respectfully petition you, and through you his Excellency the President, to forbid the transmission of any mails on Sunday, and order the closing of all post-offices throughout the United States on that day.”

Let it be observed that this petition is avowedly in behalf of “the divinely-appointed sabbath.” It does not [356] claim to speak for any “civil” institution. Also, that it asks the Government to “set the example of reverence for the Lord’s day,” and thus—as it says—“evoke a divine blessing upon itself and the whole country,” and “put such a stamp of condemnation upon all acts of public desecration of the sabbath” as would give life to “all proper Sunday laws, State and municipal.”

As the matter now stands, these State and municipal Sunday statutes are for the most part shorn of their intended force by their manifest hostility to the spirit of the Constitution, which declares that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The Postmaster-General is asked by this petition to take a step which will commit the Government to the recognition and enforcement of religion, and thus get over the objection offered by the Constitution.

All this is plain enough to the view of any person who will look at the facts; and that such undisguised Church-and-State demands are being made upon the Government is a fact which should cause American citizens who love liberty and believe in the separation of Church and State to do some serious thinking.

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