January 29, 1891
IN its late annual convention, the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union thought it again necessary to disclaim any wish to unite Church and State. It is necessary for the Union to make this disclaimer periodically, because its work all the time leads directly to a union of Church and State. Therefore they must say that they do not intend it, for fear the people will find it out. And yet this seems to be a work of supererogation; because in the very claim they make that they are not doing it, they show that they do intend it. Why is it not necessary for the Democratic and Republican parties, when they assemble in annual convention, to disclaim any wish to unite Church and State? Why do they not draw up resolutions on that subject after the manner of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union?—For the simple reason that nothing in the platforms of the parties nor in their work in any way is suggestive of any such thing. But the platform, the organization, and the whole work, bodily, of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union is suggestive of such a union in every respect. That is why it is necessary for them in annual convention to disclaim it. The following is the first resolution adopted at the late annual convention held at Atlanta:—
While discountenancing a union of Church and State, we do affirm our belief that God in Christ is the King of nations, and as such, should be acknowledged in our Government and his word made the basis of our laws.
Well, now, suppose that God in Christ should be made King of this country, and his word made the basis of our laws, it is not supposed for an instant, even by those who passed that resolution, that God, either out of Christ or in Christ, is going to come here personally, and sit on a throne as king. It is intended by those who passed that resolution that somebody here shall sit at the head of the Government as his representative; and whether a man or a woman, whoever it be that shall sit there as God’s representative, will simply be another Pope, and the Government will then be but another Papacy. But where, essentially a union of Church and State, and everybody knows it, and that is what this would be, and they know it; and they are so afraid that people will find it out that they have to tell them it is not so.
Again: Suppose “his word” were made the basis of our laws, who would interpret the word? Some person, or some council, would have to be the interpreter. But whether a single person, or an assembly of persons, should interpret that word authoritatively in the affairs of the Government, and were the Government conducted accordingly, this would be nothing else than a union of Church and State, because that word, especially the Christian part of it, is addressed directly to the Church; and just as certainly as that word were interpreted officially for Government, and the Government conducted accordingly, so certainly is the Government turned into a Church, and a direct and positive union of Church and State is established.
Therefore, it would be impossible more fully or certainly to create a union of Church and State than would be created by carrying into effect that resolution. And their plea of discountenancing a union of those two bodies is nothing less than a confession that the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union is conscious that such a thing lies concealed in what they propose. It they really mean to discountenance it, let them manifest it in their works. But so long as everything that they do, tends directly to such a union, all such disclaimers as this, that they may heap together, will be nothing more nor less than a confession that they are conscious that their actions all the time are contradicting their words.
A. T. J.