SUNDAY, October 6, was spent by the leaders of the anti-Tammany forces of this city in arranging a fusion ticket in the interests of “reform.” This action was discussed the next day in the Methodist Preachers’ Meeting, after which the following was unanimously adopted:—
The members of the New York Preachers’ Meeting of the Methodist Episcopal Church desire to put on record their condemnation of the action of the representatives of political parties and political faction, who, claiming to represent the reform sentiment in this city, spent the hours of Sunday, October 6, in conference over the parceling out of nominations for office on the basis of the number of votes they claimed to control.
We desire to declare that in a political campaign where the chief moral issue is the rigid enforcement of Sunday law this sabbath desecration by the men who claim to represent the moral elements in our politics is an outrageous affront to not only the Christian sentiment of the people, but to the moral sense of all law-abiding citizens.
It will be seen from this that the Methodist preachers are not satisfied simply with the enforcement of the “law” as it stands, but that they demand that Sunday shall be observed as the Sabbath. There is nothing in the so-called Sunday law of New York to forbid politicians to consult together in regard to candidates, or even to hold a convention upon that day. Such action would not be contrary to the statute, nor is it contrary to good morals upon any other hypothesis than that Sunday is the divinely-appointed Sabbath; and this is the very ground upon which action was taken by Methodist preachers.
The politicians had placed themselves upon record as favoring “the maintenance of the Sunday ‘law’ in the interests of labor and morality.” The preachers seize upon this and demand that politicians shall themselves set an example of the kind of “morality” which they propose to foster. It is thus apparent that in pledging themselves to the support of the Sunday “law” in the “interests of morality,” the politicians have sold themselves to the preachers, and they must not find fault if the purchasers demand the delivery of the goods.
We are told that Sunday “laws” are not designed to be religious, and that it is not their purpose to secure the religious observance of the day; that they are intended in fact, only “to guarantee to all men the right to rest one day in seven;” but when the politicians exercise that right, in their own way, and spend the “civil sabbath” in arranging their plan of campaign, they are roundly denounced by the preachers as violators of their pledge to “maintain Sunday law in the interests of labor and morality.” It is evident, therefore, that the preachers intend that the force of the Sunday “law” shall be to secure not only physical rest, but religious observance, and to forbid everything which is not in keeping with the supposed character of the day.