AT the late meeting of the Epworth League at Indianapolis, the committee on resolutions seriously considered for a while the framing of a resolution demanding of President McKinley the dismissal of Attorney-General Griggs from his cabinet on account of Mr. Griggs’s annulling of the army canteen law by his violent interpretation.
Such a resolution was not offered; but one of the reasons given by members of the committee as to why it might be offered is of interest. Two members of the committee declared that the convention to “unite in requesting a Methodist President to accede to the wishes of a great Methodist society.”
It is true, we believe, that President McKinley is a Methodist. But is he a Methodist president? Is he a president of the Methodists?
Such a suggestion as that shows how ready church members are to take the advantage of the denominational affiliations of a president in crowding upon the government their own will. It illustrates too the danger to the nation, and the evil to themselves, of religionists engaging in politics. The danger to the nation is of a union of church and state, the religious power dominating the civil. The evil to religionists themselves is in their compromising or even abandoning their religious principles and moral standing for political effect.
Nor was this the only token of the union of church and state, the religious power using the civil for the furtherance of its aims and the executing of its will upon those who are not in any sense under the church’s jurisdiction. The convention adopted the following resolution on the enforcement of Sunday observance:—
“The encroachments continually made upon the Christian Sabbath by Sunday newspapers, Sunday excursions, and Sunday baseball games and kindred amusements, demand unwearied vigilance by precept, example, and the enactment of the vigorous enforcement of laws on the Sabbath question; we shall continue to oppose the wanton desecration of the Sabbath day.”
If the Epworth League, the Baptist Young People’s Union, and the Christian Endeavorers, should unite their zeal and their forces, in what they all extol as “good citizenship,” a religious despotism would not be far off. And one great danger is that they will do it, and that soon.