January 14, 1892
ROBERT BAIRD, of Edinburgh, writing on “Religion in America” in the year 1843, having narrated the story of the discovery and early settlement of North America says:—
He who “hath made of one blood, all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation,” had resolved in this manner to prepare a place to which, in ages then drawing near, those who should be persecuted for Christ’s sake might flee and find protection, and thus found a Protestant empire.
This is a candid statement of the hope and expectation held by a certainly body of religionists, in reference to this country, nearly fifty years ago; that there might be founded here “a Protestant empire.” The expression is without reserve, because at that time, and writing in Scotland, there was no need to vail such a thought behind any wordy sophistry, as now.
The idea that the new world should be a refuge for the persecuted of all nations meant, with them, always, persecuted Protestants; and it never so much as entered their minds that the Lord had opened a refuge for the down-trodden of any sect or denomination, or all; and also equally, for those who know not God or any church.
It is certain that man’s ways are not God’s ways. He did not direct that those who first took sanctuary in his city of refuge should monopolize its privileges and deny them to others.
THE ministers of Minneapolis, Minnesota, have presented to the common council of that city a draft of an ordinance in reference to Sunday amusements, containing six sections, in the drawing of which they have employed able legal counsel, and which they place before the city fathers with the evident assurance that in consideration of the source from which it originates, and the moral purpose it is to subserve, they must necessarily adopt it and enforce its regulations. Such systematic effort on the part of organized ministerial and religious bodies, with the intent to control of direct municipal government in the interest of their own views of moral and religious “reform,” is no longer unique in this country. In fact, cities where such movements have not been inaugurated are now rather than exception than the rule. Over the entire country, from east to west, and from north to south, the delusion has passed that the State and the citizen must be evangelized, undergo moral reformation, by force of law, and that the clergy and the Church bear the responsibility, not only of asserting this as a fact, but of providing the necessary legal remedies, and securing the enforcement of them, with the application of their penalties. This is a remarkable condition of affairs to exist thus early in a country, the Government of which, national, State and municipal, was supposed to have been established on the principle of absolute separation of Church and State.