A PHYSICIAN in Tennessee who has received several copies of the SENTINEL from a gentleman in the State of Washington, writes us as follows:—
Green Brier, Tenn., Jan. 8, 1893.
EDITOR AMERICAN SENTINEL: In your paper of October 13, 1892, you say: “The whole trouble is in the fact that the Government ever became involved in the support of denominational schools among the Indians or anywhere else. The Government can be impartial as between the sects only by letting religion and all religious questions entirely alone.”
This expresses my idea on this great question now confronting the American people, so perfectly that I can not do better than to copy it entire.
In your issue, however, of December 1, under the head of “Religious or Political—Which?” you say: “To be sure the Bible is the rule for all, or should be,” etc.
Now, my dear brother, you must allow me to say that this shows clearly just where your intolerance comes in. Does the Constitution of the United States—which is the magna charta of our liberties rather than any Bible—tell us that the Bible is the rule for all? Nothing of the kind. On the contrary, it distinctly disavows both in spirit and letter any commendation of any Bible, leaving the citizen to be guided by any Bible or no Bible, claiming only his allegiance to the Constitution or the laws made under it. I ask no other ground to stand upon, to successfully combat the audacious pretensions of the Catholics on the educational question, or to join with you in protecting those who believe the seventh day to be the Sabbath. I readily concede you the field, when you undertake to prove from the Christian Bible that Saturday if the Sabbath, for I am fully settled in the conviction that all time is sacred—that one day is just as much so as another.
I believe the trouble now brewing on these subjects is the result of overtures from the Catholic party with leading Protestant clergy, and that nothing short of a union of Church and State in this country is aimed at, and hence want to see all religionists patriotic enough to stand on a platform free from sect entirely.
In this way only can we ride successfully the impending storm.
Our correspondent misunderstands our position. The SENTINEL does teach that the Bible should be the rule for all, and that all are under obligation to obey its teaching; but by this we do not mean that any human power has any right to require anybody either to believe or to obey the Bible. The obligation to accept the Bible as the rule of life, is purely a moral obligation, and civil government can, properly, have nothing to do with it.