“Bad Tactics” The American Sentinel 4, 24, pp. 185, 186.

IN his argument before the Senate Committee in behalf of the amendment establishing religion in the public schools, February 15, 1889, Doctor Morris drew the line between “the evangelical church bodies on one side, and the Roman Catholics on the other.” Then he said: “Now the fact that the public sentiment of the United States stands divided along the lines suggested, gives importance to the question as to the relative strength of the two bodies.”

Then, in comparing the relative strength of the two bodies, he said: “According to the latest statistics, in the year 1886 the Roman Catholic population was 7,200,000. That estimate included every man, woman, and child of the Catholic faith in the United States of America at that time… All their children are baptized into the church, and every person of the Roman Catholic faith is a member of the Roman Catholic Church, and is so enumerated and reported… Along that line the Roman Catholics in 1886 were represented to be 7,200,000 citizens, including children. The evangelical population at that time—not the church-membership simply, but the population—numbered 42,646,279.”

Senator George“Those figures, I suppose, are assuring to us politicians that in getting after the Catholics and all that sort of thing, we are not getting in a minority.”

Doctor Morris—Well, sir, you are at liberty to make a very wise inference from the facts which are before you, without comment so far. And now that brings us to a consideration of the peril arising to the country from the method adopted by this minority, this acute, adroit, determined, and united minority, to accomplish their purposes. They seek to secure theta not so much by the American method of intelligent agitation before the great jury of the public, presenting the facts and discussing the principles in the open light of broad day, but by political methods, at the handling of which they are adepts.” [186]

Senator George—“Let me ask you a question there. Is not this proposed amendment, and are not these proceedings here, rather an imitation of what is charged against the Catholics, of attaining their ends by political methods?”

Doctor Morris—“It would be very strange, sir, if we would not follow an enemy into any battle-field to which he might resort to accomplish his purposes.”

This is a new sort of military tactics. That a general should leave a field in which he has every advantage, and follow an enemy into a field where he confesses that that enemy has every advantage, is certainly a novel method of conducting a campaign. He condemns the Catholics for not seeking to accomplish their purposes by the American method of intelligent agitation before the great jury of the public. He knows, and so do we all, that the Roman Catholic claim on the question of religion in the public schools cannot for a moment stand in the field of public discussion against the principles of the American Constitution. Therefore, the proper thing to do for those who oppose the Roman Catholic scheme is to make the public discussion as wide, as public, and as determined as possible. If Mr. Morris’s forty-two million of “evangelicals” will take the true American position and stand upon the position of the American Constitution, they need not fear for one moment any peril that might arise from Roman Catholicism; but instead of doing this, these men abandon that field where they have every advantage, and in their own words follow their enemy into the battle-field to which he resorts to accomplish his purposes and not only that, but in that field they undertake to meet the enemy with the very weapons at the handling of which they confess that the enemy are adepts. It is impossible in such a case that there can be any other result than that the evangelicals will be ingloriously defeated.

This, however, is not the first instance in which the “evangelicals” have done the same thing. They first went into the enemy’s field by demanding the teaching of religion in the public schools; they now find that they are getting worsted in the contest, and instead of honorably retreating to firm ground in a field in which they could have every possible advantage, they blindly follow the enemy yet further into the field of his own choosing, there to use weapons in the use of which they know the enemy are adepts. Was there ever another instance of such folly?

Senator George probed to the heart the scheme that underlies this whole movement, when he asked Doctor Morris whether these proceedings were not “rather an imitation of what is charged against the Catholics, of obtaining their ends by political methods.” That is precisely what it is, and that is all that it is. And as the Protestants, taken as a whole, are so overwhelmingly in the majority in this country, the probabilities are altogether in favor of their winning in the race, and the result can be nothing else than the establishment of a Protestant religious despotism after the model of the Catholic one of the Middle Ages. Will the American people be wise in time?

A. T. J.

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