“Editorial” American Sentinel 8, 29, pp. 225, 226.

July 20, 1893

WHERE are the Christians in the United States?

THIS is a pertinent question just now when those who not only profess to be Christians, but who profess to be the very representatives of Christianity itself, persist in the use of force, even to the employment of armed troops, to secure the recognition and observance of religious institutions.

OF course, the use of force, and armed force at that, has been involved in the Sunday-law movement from the beginning; and we have been telling the people so, all the time; but the people would not believe it. But now, when the Sunday managers have actually gone to the length of urgently and repeatedly calling for troops to secure and enforce Sunday observance at the World’s Fair, is it not about time that the people began to believe that the terrible wickedness of a religious despotism is in this Sunday movement, which has so long been going on before their eyes?

TRUE, they did not get the troops—and they have’nt [sic.] got the Fair shut either—but that is not to their credit. That they did not get the troops, did not take out of them the disposition to use the troops even now, if they could get them. Force is in the thing, in itself, and armed force is the straight sequence of any resort to any for at all. And the failure to get the troops that they so loudly called for, and especially their signal defeat in the courts, instead of taking out of them the disposition to use force to compel Sunday observance, will only increase their determination even to desperation, to secure their idolized Sunday at cost of any available or possible force.

THIS is demonstrated plainly enough by the fact that they called upon the United States courts to decide the question of Sunday closing, and when the courts decided for Sunday opening, they at once announced a general and determined boycott of the Fair. They voluntarily submit their cause to the courts, and themselves to decide their controversy; and then when the decision goes against them they refuse to submit to it. This demonstrates that they are determined to have their own way anyhow; and that the only thing that they called upon the courts for, was to have the courts to do their bidding only to execute their arbitrary will upon the people, precisely as they wanted the troops called out to do their bidding and execute by the bayonet their arbitrary will upon the people. Their whole course of procedure is all of a piece.

BUT the particular thing about which we are inquiring just now and in this connection is, Where are the Christians in the United States to positively discountenance and protest against this worse than a travesty, this entire subversion, of the Christian name and profession? Nor is it enough to discountenance only the extreme measures to which those have gone who have called for armed troops. There is no merit whatever in protesting against the use of troops to secure Sunday observance, so long as any countenance is given to Sunday laws of which armed troops are only the consequence.

ONE religious paper—The Northwestern Christian Advocate—has characterized as “zebraic zeal” the action of the Sunday managers who have called for the troops. But this same Advocate has sanctioned and actively aided this same zeal in these same individuals in every step which they have taken up to this one. To secure the Act of Congress requiring the closing of the Fair, these same individuals used upon congressmen and senators threats of deprivation of office by loss of votes—the only force then at their command. And so far was the Northwestern or any other one of the family of Advocates from seeing in this, any manifestation of zebraic zeal, that they all actually took part in it. Yet this is the same zeal precisely that is now displayed by the same individuals, in invoking the additional force which they had gained by getting Congress to surrender to them the national power under the threats of the only force that was formerly at their command.

OF course nobody can deny that it is “zebraic zeal” or worse. But the point is that there is no strength in any protest against this particular exhibition of it while taking an active part in all the manifestations of the same zeal up to this. Where is the difference between the zeal that would put bayonets into the people, and the zeal that puts people themselves into jail for from thirty to sixty-four days, when both are done, to make them recognize the righteousness of Sunday laws? As it is “zebraic zeal” that calls for troops to compel the World’s Fair folks to recognize Sunday; then what kind of zeal is it that compels a woman to pay a fine or go to jail to make her recognize Sunday? And when people and papers sanction the zeal that fines and imprisons men and women for following their honest occupations on Sunday, then where is the virtue in calling in question the zeal that would, by armed troops, keep men and women from finding honest enjoyment at the World’s Fair on Sunday?

THE truth is, that the zeal that calls for or sanctions the enactment of Sunday laws of any kind, is precisely the same zeal that calls for and sanctions their enforcement by troops. For the last is in the first. And if you are not prepared to go all the way then do not start on that road. There is no half-way place, nor any other stopping-place. And above all, there is no stopping-place when the men who have gone so far are the very ones who have led all the way hitherto. And the zeal which has brought them to this is the same zeal that has inspired them all the way along. And if you find that you cannot go with them the full length, then you are to renounce the whole thing and not go with them at all.

THERE is no other remedy. There is no other course that Christians, or anybody else, can take as to this matter now. The whole movement from beginning to end is antichristian, and this last step [226] demonstrates this before all people. And Christians must absolutely repudiate the whole thing or else be partaker of these evil deeds. For it is written, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins.”

AND whoever is partaker of her sins, will be also partaker of her judgments and of her ruin. And her judgment hasteth greatly and her ruin is certain. “For her sins have reached unto heaven and God hath remembered her iniquities…. And she shall be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.”

OF the early times of the Reformation the historian relates that “Our portion of the reform was to seek alliance of the world, and in this alliance find a destruction full of desolation.” And this is precisely what this alliance will find now, and all who will escape this destruction and desolation must turn away from this evil combination in all its details and take the course of that other portion of the early Reformation and the right course of all true reform. “Another portion looking up to God was haughtily to reject the arm of the flesh, and by this very act of faith secure a noble victory.”

JESUS CHRIST has spoken: “All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” The Sunday-law managers called upon the courts to securely close the Fair on Sundays, and the courts have opened the gates. From this they ought to learn the lesson which the Scriptures everywhere teach, that when those who profess to trust God turn to the powers of the earth they find just the opposite of what they expect—where they expect help they find hindrance; where they expect victory they find defeat; where they expect salvation they find destruction. “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom is no help.”

BUT will the Sunday managers learn the lesson? No, no, no. They have gone too far. They will not turn back. This failure will only make them more determined and more desperate until they indeed get full power to carry out, by force, their arbitrary will. And the fuller their apparent victory, the more terrible will be their sure defeat. And as they will not turn from their evil course, all who will be Christians must turn away from them. “We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed; forsake her, and let us go every one to his own country; for her judgment reacheth unto heaven and is lifted up even to the skies.” “My people, go yet out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the Lord.” J. [230]

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