SOME of our readers may wonder how it is that seventh-day observers in Tennessee can be punished so severely when the only statute forbidding Sunday labor provides for a fine of but three dollars, recoverable before a justice of the peace. The explanation lies in the fact that the Supreme Court of the State has decided that a repetition of Sunday work constitutes a “nuisance,” and is indictable. And to carry this judicial legislation further, Judge Parks has decided that “a single act of work done under such circumstances as to amount to a nuisance, is indictable and punishable as such.” The term “such circumstances” is explained by the judge in the next sentence to mean “in such a public manner as to be open to the observation of the public.”
And now let the hundreds of thousands of men and women throughout this broad land, who read this number of the SENTINEL, remember that a man is in jail, or in the chain-gang, at Dayton, Tenn., for a term of seventy-five days, for the single act of lifting a wheelbarrow from a wagon over a fence into the yard of is brother Adventist on Sunday.
PROTESTANTS are being persecuted by means of State enactments in several Roman Catholic countries of South America. They have demanded of the pope that these persecuting acts be repealed. The papal Secretary of State answers in substance that these statutes are “civil” enactments, not religious. We are sorry for these persecuted Protestants, and we denounce this “civil” excuse as a mere dodge. However, we expect good will come from it. Many Protestants in America try to dodge the fact that Seventh-day Adventists are persecuted by asserting that Sunday statutes under which they suffer, are “purely civil,” not religious.
Now the papacy is trying to make these Protestants swallow some of their own medicine. We say to them, Don’t you swallow it. Spit it out. That’s what Seventh-day Adventists are dong with the abominable stuff.
EIGHT honest, conscientious Seventh-day Adventists of Rhea County, Tenn., have been condemned to serve terms of from seventy-five to ninety days in the county jail at Dayton, Tenn., for the offense of doing common labor on Sunday—labor which disturbed no other person’s private or public devotion. It has also been decided to work these honest men in the chain-gang, and by the time this reaches our readers this will doubtless be accomplished. For an account of the trial and condemnation of these men, see page 229.