ROBERT R. WHALEY, a Seventh-day Adventist, of Church Hill, Maryland, is now serving a thirty days’ sentence in the county jail at Centerville, for working in his garden on Sunday. Mr. Whaley is a carpenter, and for some time previous to his arrest, was engaged in building a house in the country at such a distance from his home that he did not return until Friday evening of each week. And since he was not permitted to labor on the house on Sunday he devoted that day to caring for his garden.
This his Methodist neighbors would not allow, but entered complaint against him; and on his return home, Friday, May 24, he was served with a warrant, and his trial before the magistrate was set for the evening of May 25. Mr. Whaley was convicted, and in default of payment of fine and costs, was sentenced to thirty days in the county jail and was locked in a cell, Monday May 27.
Mr. Whaley considered it useless to appeal to the higher court since a case had been appealed to the Supreme Court of the State, and he himself had appealed to the Circuit Court on a former occasion, all to no avail.
It will be remembered that Mr. Whaley spent thirty days in the same jail last fall, for a similar offense. At that time the sheriff was very kind: but as in the biblical account there arose a king in Egypt who knew not Joseph, so now there has arisen in Queen Anne’s County a sheriff who is unacquainted with Mr. Whaley, and consequently Mr. Whaley is at present locked in a cell as a common criminal. However, it is to be hoped that his faithful, consistent life will touch the heart of his new jailer.
Mr. Whaley is forty-three years old and has a wife and seven children. They were formerly Methodists, and it is at the hands of their former church associates that they now suffer. It is difficult to understand how men who take the name of Christ and profess to obey the Golden Rule can thus cruelly take a husband and father from his hand-working wife and prattling children, and from his only means of procuring them bread and shelter, and lock him behind bars. It is gratifying to know that Mr. Whaley’s wife is in perfect sympathy with her persecuted husband and would work her finger nails off in an attempt to care for her little ones rather than have her husband yield the vital principle at stake.
The International Religious Liberty Association, with headquarters at 271 West Main St., Battle Creek, Mich., will undertake to care for Mr. Whaley’s family while he is in jail. This association is supported by its members who pay an annual due of one dollar, and from donations contributed by those interested in the struggle for religious freedom against these modern relics of medieval days. But since the association has a score or more of these cases in Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi and Illinois on its hands, with the prospect of others, it will be necessary for the friends of liberty of conscience to manifest their interest in a material way. We feel like remarking, in the language of the German Lutheran editor, quoted on page 180: “For God’s sake let us not be inactive, but let us make preparations for the battle. The most precious liberty of our country is at stake.”
In this connection we call attention to our first-page article. The principles therein discussed will apply with equal force to this Maryland case.