SO speaks the Christian Endeavorer to its readers in its issue for the present month. “We suggest to Christian Citizenship committees,” it says, “that they look up the laws of the several States and make a list of the laws on the books that are continuously broken. For example, most of the States of the Union have laws against swearing on the streets. In Chicago there are a few arrests every year under this law, but it is not generally known that there is such a law. There is also a law making it a special offense to deface buildings used for public worship. In some States this law embraces whispering, shuffling of feet and any loud noise during services. This law can be used to prevent playing of music as processions pass churches, etc.”
This suggestion omits mention of the “sabbath laws” which are upon the statute books of nearly all the States; but there is no danger that they will be overlooked in the search for unenforced laws. They stand out too prominently for that. Then there are some other unenforced “laws” that might be mentioned, as for instance that among the statutes of the District of Columbia, enacted in 1723, which provides that any person who should “wittingly, maliciously, and advisedly, by writing or speaking,” “deny our Saviour Jesus Christ to be the Son of God,” or “deny the Holy Trinity,” “or the Godhead of any of the three persons, or the unity of the Godhead,” “and shall be thereof convicted by verdict, or confession, shall for the first offense be bored through the tongue and fined twenty pounds sterling;” and for the second offense “shall be stigmatized by burning in the forehead with the letter B, and fined forty pounds sterling;” and for the third offense, “suffer death without the benefit of the clergy.” There are still others that ;might be mentioned, but it can safely be left to the vigilance of the Christian Citizenship committees to rescue them from their oblivion and see that they are duly enforced.
Yes; hunt up all the obsolete laws on the statute books of all the States and have them enforced. That will be truly “Christian” work! The very fact that they have lapsed into “innocuous desuetude” is evidence of their prime importance! Doubtless a little patient research in this line will be rewarded by rich discoveries.