POLICE COMMISSIONER ROOSEVELT has written a letter to a leading representative of the “good government” political party in this State, in which, while expressing his admiration for the “conscience vote” in politics, he also affirms that this vote should pay due attention to “questions of expediency.”
Mr. Roosevelt is a warm supporter of the fusion ticket, and asserts that the “good government” party, in running a separate ticket, furnishes an example of “the conscience vote gone wrong.” This vote ought in other words, to be given to the fusion party, because that is the only one that can hope to be successful against those who are deemed the enemies of political purity.
This brings up the simple but important question whether the voter’s conscience is to reform politics, or allow itself to be “reformed” thereby. It appears to us that any good conscience which has “fused” with the principles of the fusion platform, has suffered principles of the fusion platform, has suffered and downward “reform” quite equal in extent to the elevation it seeks to bring to the politics which it touches.
The reader will remember that this fusion platform advocates a Sunday which, while suppressing all “unnecessary” labor in the interests of public morality and health, admits of “orderly and harmless recreations,” and such a measure of freedom in the selling of beer, tobacco, and the necessaries of life as may be deemed not in conflict with the pursuance of religious exercises and devotions. We cannot see how any one who regards Sunday as a sacred day, can be blamed for inability to make his conscience fuse with this idea of Sunday observance.
Such facts clearly point out the necessity of keeping politics and religion entirely separate. If religion has any proper place in politics, then, in the issue which is now before the people, the conscientious voter must vote for such a degree of Sunday observance to be enforced by law as his conscience tells him to be right and in harmony with his convictions as to the character of the day. And he who believes Sunday to be a sacred day cannot, without violating his conscience, vote for the establishment of any observance which is not in harmony with that conception.
The truth is, that when religion is dragged into politics, the result is always a degradation of religion, and in very many instances, a degradation of the consciences of the voters. And this is certainly not the way to secure the purification and elevation of politics.