THE Ironclad Age, an atheistic paper, printed in Indianapolis, Ind., has upon its editorial page of its issue of the 14th inst., these two notes:—
At Wilmington, N.C., one man sued another. As the plaintiff arose to testify, objection was made on account of his disbelief in a god. After some consideration by the judge, the man was allowed to testify on condition that he declared his belief in a god. To the great surprise of all present he did so. But as his non-religious views were well known, he prejudiced his case to such an extent that no conviction can be had. And such is our boasted religious liberty.
We trust that the time will come when the cheerful doctrine of eternal torture will no longer be bellowed forth at camp-meetings and other godly assemblages by insane sensational rascals. We trust the time will come when such work will be interdicted by law.
In view of the second paragraph quoted, what right has the Ironclad Age to find fault that a witness is required to avow his belief in God before being permitted to testify?—None whatever. Of course the North Carolina practice is wrong. Every man ought to be permitted to testify in a court of justice under the pains of perjury without any reference to his religious belief, and without any prejudice against him because of his faith or lack of faith; but the state of affairs that the Ironclad Age hopes to see would be much worse than the evil complained of. The National Reformers would overthrow the First Amendment to the Constitution in the interests of what they imagine is Christianity; the atheists of the Ironclad Age school would equally overthrown it in the interests of the blackest kind of infidelity, the very midnight of unbelief. There is small difference between the intolerance of atheism and the intolerance of so-called Christianity; both are utterly destructive to soul liberty, and both are from the enemy of all righteousness. That this is true is evident from the fact that the Ironclad Age takes its stand with the enemies of the Constitution which declares that “Congress shall make no law concerning an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”