THE Truth Seeker, a “Journal of Free Thought and Reform,” published in this city, has been excluded from the mails in Canada, under a ruling of the Postmaster General, because of its “scurrilous and blasphemous character.”
It seems that the particular feature of the Truth Seeker, which has excited the ire of the Canadian authorities, is the pictures which appear each week upon the first and last pages of the paper. These pictures certainly are objectionable from a Christian standpoint. Those appearing on the last page, especially, are certainly blasphemous, and we confess that we do not like them. They are not only wicked because they ridicule sacred things, but they are often grossly unfair. We believe they hurt the Truth Seeker; but that they justify its exclusion from the mails is quite another question.
“Blasphemy” is an exceedingly elastic term. In some countries, to speak against the Virgin Mary is to be guilty of “blasphemy.” In the early history of Maryland, to speak reproachfully of the Virgin was an offense punishable by a fine of five pounds; and a third offense, by confiscation of all property, and banishment from the colony.
Genuine Christianity has no use for civil power, neither has it anything to fear from the Truth Seeker, or from any other paper of like character; and spurious Christianity cannot be trusted with the power to define and punish heresy. Those who favor the exclusion of the Truth Seeker and other infidel publications from the mails, would not stop there; they would likewise exclude everything that opposes them. At a National Reform Convention held last November in New Castle, Pa., Dr. McAllister, the editor of the Christian Statesman, exhibited a copy of the Truth Seeker to the audience and called attention to the cartoons on the first and last pages, and said that it was simply “secularism gone to seed.” That statement was as grossly unfair as are some of the Truth Seeker’s cartoons; but that was not the worst thing the Doctor did. He spoke of the AMERICAN SENTINEL in the same connection and classed it with the Truth Seeker, though he certainly knew there was an impassable gulf between the two papers.
But bad as was Dr. McAllister’s statement, it was not sufficiently strong to satisfy Dr. H. H. George. He arose, and referring again to the Truth Seeker, the SENTINEL, and to certain religious liberty tracts that had been distributed in the town, said; “They all eminate from the same source and are of the same character.” He could not well have made a statement that was more utterly devoid of the truth. The Truth Seeker is, to say the least, agnostic. It is diametrically opposed to the Christian religion, while the SENTINEL is emphatically Christian and is edited by ministers of the gospel, and is supported almost wholly by Christian people. Thus it appears that the same spirit which excludes the Truth Seeker from the mails because of its blasphemies, would go farther if it could, and exclude from the mails those Christian papers which do not teach the popular theology of the day. Both Canada and the United State would better endure the evils that they have, rather than place themselves in the power of a lot of theocrats who would speedily bring upon them evils which they know not of.