March 14, 1895
THE Christian Statesman is badly frightened at the aggressions of Romanism. But who is the Christian Statesman?
The Christian Statesman is, and has been for more than twenty years, the mouth-piece of the National Reform Association, an organization that has persistently denounced the American idea of separation of Church and State as “political atheism.”
It is the mouth-piece of the organization that has demanded an amendment to the Constitution definitely declaring that this is a Christian nation, but leaving the question as to who are the Christians, to be settled by later enactments and decisions.
The Christian Statesman and this association were the agencies which organized and led the forces which browbeat Congress into legislating on the question of which day is the Sabbath.
The AMERICAN SENTINEL commenced its career by exposing the wickedness of the movement advocated by the Christian Statesman. The SENTINEL pointed out that the principles advocated by the Statesman were essentially papal, and that the papacy would build on the foundation which was being laid by the Statesman and its constantly augmenting forces.
But instead of listening to our warning, the Statesman made overtures to the Roman Catholics in the following words:—
Whenever they [the Roman Catholics] are willing to coöperate in resisting the progress of political atheism, we will gladly join hands with them.
Papists were appealed to to help resist the progress of “political atheism” by securing from Congress a law recognizing Sunday as the Christian Sabbath. In the meantime the Supreme Court decided that “this is a Christian nation.” Armed with this remarkable decision, these Romanizing Protestants redoubled their exertions. Roman Catholic prelates were appealed to for assistance. They responded and the conspiracy was successful.
A stock argument of these compromising Protestants in their demand for national legislation enforcing Sunday observance was to point to the decisions of courts that Christianity is a part of the common law, to State Sunday laws, to national and State Thanksgiving proclamations, and to the employment of chaplains by national and State governments.
The AMERICAN SENTINEL declared that all these things were violations of the spirit of the Constitution, and that, instead of demanding more legislation on the strength of these violations of the spirit of the Constitution, all these vestiges of the State-church polity of Europe should be abolished to harmonize with the Constitution. We declared that popular Protestantism in clinging to these vestiges of papal policy was nursing in its bosom the viper that would yet be used by the papacy to sting to death the principle of American liberty, and through America, the liberties of the world.
And now we see our predictions being literally fulfilled. We see Rome building on the platform so blindly laid and upheld by the Christian Statesman and its allies. Pope Leo XIII., the shrewdest political diplomat in the world, seeing that the time had come to strike a decisive blow at American liberty now so sorely wounded in the house of its friends, addressed an encyclical to the American Government and people, through the American bishops, condemning the American idea of separation of Church and State. Here is a part of it:—
The church among you, unopposed by the Constitution and Government of your nation, fettered by no hostile legislation, protected against violence by the common laws and the impartiality of the tribunals, is free to live and act without hindrance; yet, though all this is true, it would be very erroneous to draw the conclusion that in America is to be sought the type of the most desirable status of the church: or that it would be universally lawful or expedient for State and Church to be, as in America, dissevered and divorced…. She [the Catholic Church] would bring forth more abundant fruits if, in addition to liberty, she enjoyed the favor of the laws and the patronage of public authority.
A few compromised Protestants startled by this bold bid for the patronage of American law and public authority which they themselves were earnestly laboring to obtain, ventured to criticise the pope’s encyclical. But Rome expected this, and was ready for it. And what was her answer? She simply pointed to the platform which silly Protestants had themselves laid for her to build on. The following is the reply which, in substance, has appeared in nearly every Roman Catholic newspaper in the United States. Immediately upon the publication of the encyclical, the “Very Rev. A. F. Hewitt, D.D., Superior General of the Paulists,” and editor of the Catholic World, wrote this reply and had it telegraphed to the leading papers of the country:—
Our greatest jurists have declared that this is a Christian country. The Sunday is recognized and its observance protected by law. Thanksgiving and fast days are proclaimed by authority. Chaplains are appoint in legislatures, in the army and navy. Colleges, under the control of ecclesiastics, and institutes of charity have been liberally aided, and among these have been some institutions under the direction of Catholic authorities. There is nothing in this policy which is un-American.
In this manner does Rome defend its claim to the favor of the laws and the patronage of public authority. And all those who have worked and are working for Sunday laws with which to force universal obedience to their misinterpretation of the fourth commandment, and are pointing to governmental chaplains, Thanksgiving proclamations, and court decisions that this is a Christian nation, as arguments in support of their claims,—all such now stand stultified in the presence of Romish aggressions.
But our readers will be interested in reading the pitiable wail of the Christian Statesman as it sees the papacy building on its foundation. And let it be remembered while the following is perused, that it is from the same pen and the same paper that in 1884 wrote and published the before-quoted petition to Roman Catholics, asking that they “coöperate in resisting the progress of political atheism;” which being interpreted, was a request for Roman Catholic aid in breaking down the principle of separation of Church and State embodied in what they termed “that infidel document,“—the United States Constitution. We quote from the Christian Statesman, of Feb. 23, 1895:—
Romanism, with keen appreciation of the vast issues at stake, and with far-reaching calculations as to the future, is employing every possible means to gain and hold the commanding and decisive position when the crisis which is sure to come in our national life, shall be upon us. She is pouring in her millions of devotees from other lands to wield the sovereign ballot here. She is commanding them by her highest authority to take an active interest in political affairs, and to  subordinate all political conduct to the advancement of the Roman Catholic Church. She is determined to control the common school system of our country, or to break it up and substitute for it her own parochial schools in which her rapidly-multiplying youth shall be molded to her own liking, and prepared to do without question her own authoritative bidding. Not satisfied with holding as at present the balance of power as between the two great political parties, and receiving rich pay first from one and then from the other of these parties for her united vote that is sure to turn the tide of victory whichever way it goes, she aspires to positive and absolute direct control of our national life. And the ratio of the numerical increase of her youth will with absolute certainty bring this about, if her youth are not by the maintenance of our common schools molded into true and loyal American citizens. And this education of her own youth is what Rome is now with all her energies setting herself to accomplish.
In the final issue Romanism claims to decide all moral questions, and her “infallible” interpretation of moral law must be imposed upon the schools and upon the State itself. This is the Roman or papal principle: and its inexorable logic is the Inquisition for all who do not submit. This is the principle that now threatens the nations’ right to interpret God’s moral law for itself. The two systems are in their death-grapple these closing years of the nineteenth century. Our nation was born in the providence of God a Protestant nation, with the Bible as its ultimate law, and the nation itself the responsible interpreter of that law in its own proper sphere of action. Shall it continue such a nation? Shall it retain the Bible to its schools, and train its youth,—and al its youth,—in whom the nation’s future is bound up, to know God’s Word and the duties of citizenship as taught in that Word? Shall our legislators and judges and executive officers and our people at large go to God’s moral law or to the Roman Pontiff to know what are the rights and duties of the nation and of her citizens and subjects? This is the conflict on one side of the great moral and political battlefield on which the contending forces in our national life are already engaged. Do we know our danger? Are we on our guard? To be aware of the danger in time is half the battle won.
“The two systems” that “are in their death-grapple these closing years of the nineteenth century” are here presented as the infallibility of the pope and the infallibility of the “nation.” The papal system places the infallibility in the pope. The Christian Statesman professedly places the infallibility in “our legislators and judges and executive officers and our people at large.” Both systems demand an infallible interpretation of the moral law which shall be binding on all. But who shall interpret the moral law for these legislators and judges? Is each man to be left to his own private interpretation? No, indeed. The Christian Statesman and its allies will not permit this. One case will suffice to illustrate this truth. The “moral law” says, “The seventh day is the Sabbath.” The Christian Statesman “interprets” this moral law to mean “the first day is the Sabbath,” and then hands this interpretation to legislators and judges with the demand that it be accepted and acted upon under penalty of political death. This the Christian Statesman and its allies have done and are doing, thus actually claiming for themselves the infallibility they professedly claim for the nation. The death struggle now going on in this nation is therefore between the “infallibility” of the pope and the infallibility of popish-Protestant preachers,—between the “beast and his image.” The true child of God will refuse to bow to the dictates of either. He will “go to God’s moral law” to ascertain his duty, and will refuse to worship, by his obedience to, either the Roman Pontiff or his American image. “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:9-12.