“Church and State” The American Sentinel 1, 4, pp. 28, 29.

April 1886

WE have already proved, on two distinct counts, that the movement represented by the National Reform Association carries in itself “the promise and potency” of a union of Church and State in the United States. We shall here present additional proofs to the same purpose.

In the Cincinnati National Reform Convention, January 31 and February 1, 1872, Mr. Francis E. Abbot presented a remonstrance against the object of the convention. Rev. A. D. Mayo, D. D., of Cincinnati, replied to it. In his remarks he said:—

“One would think the gentleman had come all the way from Toledo to Cincinnati to utter a prophet’s warning against some future danger threatened by us. Why, he is now living as a citizen of Ohio, under a Constitution that substantially includes every idea we propose to place in the national charter. The Constitution of Ohio begins with a confession of dependence on Almighty God as the author of the liberties it is made to preserve. It declares that ‘religion is essential to good government.’ And by ‘religion’ it means just what this proposed amendment means,—that in order that a State shall endure, its citizens should be religious men; should live according to the highest idea of morality, which, in this State, is the moral system of Jesus Christ; and that the State itself should conform to that idea of morality in its legislation and character, as it hopes for life. Thats all there is in this thing.”

Dr. Mayo also cited the new Constitution of Missouri, formed after the war had closed, as another example, and said:—

“Just what the people of the State of Missouri did will the people of the United States finally do. They will plant in their great charter of liberties an acknowledgment of the nation’s dependence on Almighty God, and its duty to conform to the laws of religious or Christian morality.”

Here is a plain argument that the Constitutions of Ohio and Missouri contain and mean all that the religiously amended Constitution of the United States will mean; that the Constitution of Ohio “substantially includes every idea” that the National Reform Association proposes to place in “the national charter;” that the Constitution of Ohio embraces “all there is in this [National Reform] thing.” Very well, be it so. From this it follows that in the State of Ohio, under that Constitution, there should be found a condition of government and society such as is expected to be formed in the whole nation by the Religious Amendment to the National Constitution. That is the theory; how stands the fact?

The Constitution of Ohio declares that “religion is essential to good government,” and that “means just what this proposed [National Reform] amendment means.” Now how much more religion, or how much better government, is there in Ohio than there is in any other State in the Union? How much purer is politics in Ohio than it is anywhere else? Let the late elections in the State testify.

The Constitution of Ohio means just what the Religious Amendment means; and under this proposed amendment the National Reform party insists that our rulers must be “Christian men;” if not actually church members, they must be “men who believe in Christianity” (Christian Statesman, Feb. 8, 1877). How does this work under the Ohio Constitution? Why, in 1883 Hon. George Hoadly, an avowed infidel, was elected governor. And under the title of “An infidel Elected Governor,” the editor of the Christian Statesman, Nov. 1, 1883, said“—

“By a decision of the popular will, Mr. Hoadly, a pronounced unbeliever in the Christian religion, is governor-elect of the great State of Ohio. His record on this point is unmistakable, not merely in that he was counsel against the Bible in the schools, for a professed Christian like Stanley Matthews stood with him in that effort, but in that he has been for years one of the vice-presidents of the Free Religious Association. He is well known also to favor the programme of the Liberals as to the complete secularization of the State by the abolition of all vestiges of Christian usages from the administration of government. The Christian people of Ohio, therefore, believers in the supreme authority of the Christian religion, are to have for their chief magistrate a man who denies that the Christian religion is revealed from God, and who looks elsewhere for the grounds of moral obligation.”

The Constitutions of Ohio and Missouri mean, on this subject, just what the Religious Amendment means; and one of the chief, avowed purposes of the Religious Amendment is to secure forever the reading of the Bible in the public schools of the nation. Now, at the very time when Dr. Mayo uttered these words in Cincinnati, there was then pending in the courts of the State of Ohio this very question of the Bible in the schools. The case went to the Supreme Court of the State. And under that Constitution which they say means just what the proposed National Amendment means, the Supreme Court affirmed the legality of the Cincinnati School Board, prohibiting prayer and the reading of the Scriptures in the public [29] schools. In St. Louis, also, under their model Missouri Constitution, the Bible has been excluded from the schools. We might thus go through the whole list of subjects which they make prominent in the work; but these are enough to expose the sophistry of the National Reform advocates.

Therefore, if it be true that, on the subject of religion, the Constitution of Ohio means just what the proposed Religious Amendment to the National Constitution means; if in that there is “all there is in this,” then it is positively proven that when they shall have secured their Religious Amendment to the United States Constitution, a pronounced unbeliever in the Christian religion,” a man who is “well known to favor the abolition of all vestiges of Christian usages from the administration of government,”—in short, a man who is opposed to every principle which they advocate, may be president of the great nation of the United States. Under their religiously amended Constitution, the Bible may be excluded from all the schools in the land. Then, too, politics may be just as corrupt everywhere as they are now in Ohio. Where, then, will there be any practical difference between the workings of government under the amended Constitution, and those workings under the Constitution as it now is? None at all. If then they mean what they said at Cincinnati, where lies the efficacy of their movement? Ah! there is the point; they do not mean at all what they said by Mr. May, at Cincinnati. They know that the Ohio Constitution does not substantially include every idea which they propose to place in the national charter. They know that that is not “all there is in this thing.” Says the Christian Statesman of November 1, 1883:—

“An acknowledgment of God does not of itself impose any restraint on the conscience, nor fix a single law requiring obedience. We have it in our State Constitutions, and it has little or no force. It would be complimentary, but not itself binding…. But we do not stop here. This is simply the foundation for an imposing structure. These principles are only premises, the conclusion is yet to come, and it has this dangerous character of the syllogism, that the conclusion must come, and come with invincible power.”

And what is the conclusion? This:—

“That such changes with respect to the oath of office, and all other matters, should be introduced into the body of the Constitution as may be necessary to give effect to these amendments in the preamble.—Memorial to Congress, in 1864.

Exactly; and one of the very first changes that will have to be introduced into the body of the Constitution to give effect to the Christianized preamble, will be to so alter the First Amendment that Congress shall make laws establishing religion, and prohibiting the free exercise thereof; and the Sixth Article will have to be changed so that religious tests shall be required as qualification for office.

But in the almost endless discussion that will necessarily arise in regard to the changes with respect to the oath and all other matters, where shall the final decisions be made upon what changes shall, or shall not be made? By what shall these questions be tested? That is easily enough discovered; here is the wonderful touchstone that is to detect all false legislation and prove the true.

“The churches and the pulpits have much to do with shaping and forming opinions on all moral questions, and with interpretations of Scripture on moral and civil, as well as on theological and ecclesiastical points; and it is probable that in the almost universal gathering of our citizens about these, the chief discussions and the final decisions of most points will be developed there. Many nations shall come, and say, ‘Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for the law shall go forth of Zion.’”


“We will not allow the civil Government to decide between them [the churches] and to ordain church doctrines, ordinances, and laws.”—Statesman, Feb. 21, 1884.

To be sure, the united churches are “Zion;” “the law shall go forth of Zion;” “the final decisions will be developed there,” and “We will not allow the civil Government” to do this or that. And when the churches as one body, under the title of the National Reform Association, shall have reached that place where they can say in the plenitude of their power, “We will not allow the civil Government” to do so and so, there will be no single element lacking to the perfect union of Church and State. However often they may declare by word that their movement does not contemplate such a union, all their affirmations and re-affirmations in denial cannot hide the evidence of their works, nor disprove the fact that the National Reform Association affects to render the ecclesiastical “independent of, and superior to, the civil power,” in this Government.

A. T. J.

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