THE person who most needs a reformation in himself, is sure to see the most need of reformation in other people. And when the church is most in need of reformation, she always sees that the cause of the trouble is that the state needs to become Christian.
IN the penitentiaries of the land there is enforced rest and attendance at church—or chapel—on Sunday; and why should people who are not under arrest for crime be treated on Sundays like the inmates of a penitentiary; that is, shut up by law (the Sunday law), with nothing to vary the monotony of their confinement save the privilege of going to church?
THE scheme to “acknowledge God” by the religious amendment to the Constitution, advocated by the National Reform party and its allies, is really a scheme to ignore God; since it ignores the inalienable rights with which the Creator has endowed the individual. This scheme, instead of leaving every man answerable to God in religious conduct, would make the minority in religion answerable to the majority, under the claim that the will of the majority, in religion, is the “law of Christ.” Pretending to leave every man answerable to God alone, it would really make man answerable to his fellowman, by putting upon men the prerogative of interpreting and defining the will of God, the majority for the minority. This would simply be popery, for any scheme is popery which aims to subject men to human authority in religion.
THE state, being an organization of men, cannot be religious without conflicting with that other religious organization of men—the church; that is, the two will necessarily occupy the same sphere. The church will preach religion, and the state will enforce religion; for the state cannot be religious without enforcing religion. But coercion and persuasion cannot go hand in hand in religion. The latter is nullified by the former, and the religious state becomes paramount in the sphere of religion. So that if the state can properly be religious, there is neither necessity nor room for any other organization in the sphere of religion which is not subordinated to the state. There cannot be two independent organizations; the state cannot be religious and be independent of the church. And in every case which history presents, where the state has meddled with religion, either the church has become subordinated to the state, or the state has been subordinated to the church.