“National Reform and the Chinese” The American Sentinel 1, 7, pp. 50, 51.

July 1886

EVER since Congress passed the Chinese Restriction Act, the Christian Statesman has been in great tribulation, because of the great wrong committed by the nation in that piece of legislation. Now in this article we propose no discussion of the righteousness or unrighteousness of that act of Congress, or whether it was just or unjust in itself. Our controversy is with the Christian Statesman, on its own published propositions, all of which are editorial utterances, and therefore stand as authoritative principles of National Reform.

By act of Congress the importation, or emigration, of Chinese laborers was prohibited for a period of ten years. This act the Christian Statesman denounced at the time. In its issue of Sept. 25, 1884, among “the gravest of moral evils, evils which threaten the very life of the nation,” “injustice to the Chinese” is named. In its issue of Oct. 23, 1884, it says that “the un-christian Chinese policy of the two great parties is part of the indictment which the better conscience of the country is charging upon them.” Again, in its issue of Oct. 2, 1884, we read:—

“The two leading political parties have vied with each other in displaying their readiness to exclude the Chinamen from our shores, and have declared for the policy of exclusion, in their respective platforms. This policy, on the other hand, is felt by large numbers of Christian men to be in violation of the natural rights of men, as well as contrary to the spirit and teachings of the religion of Jesus, and increases the dissatisfaction with which, on other grounds, these parties and their platforms are regarded.”

But what do the Statesman and the National Reform Party propose instead of this? We read:—

“We may not shut the door in the face of any one who wishes to come and dwell with us. No nation has the right to do this, even for the preservation of religious character.” “Make all men welcome to our shores, but give all men to understand that this is a Christian nation; and that believing that without Christianity we perish, we must maintain by all right means our Christian character. Inscribe this character on our Constitution… Enforce upon all that come among us the laws of Christian morality.”

Let us analyze this position and see wherein it differs from the position of the political parties which it condemns. By the term “laws of Christian morality,” the Statesman means the ten commandments. With this definition then it says, “Enforce upon all that comes among us the ten commandments.” Now “enforce,” according to Webster, means “to force; to constrain; to compel; to execute with vigor.” Therefore the Statesman says: “Force, compel, all that come among us to keep the ten commandments.” “Execute with vigor the ten commandments upon all that come among us.” But the second commandment forbids men to make, to bow down to, or to serve, graven images; and this bears with particular force against the Chinese, for they do make and worship graven images; so that it may fairly be said that of all the Chinese who should ever desire to come to this country, they would be, without exception, idolaters. Now when, by constitutional amendment, this shall have been declared a Christian nation, and notice shall have thus been given that all who come here will be compelled to keep the ten commandments, will that be a sufficient argument to induce the Chinese to abandon their idols that they may come here? Allowing all the wondrous efficacy that has been ascribed to National Reform, such could hardly be expected of it, for the Chinese are just as sincere in their worship, idolatrous as it is, as are the National Reformers in theirs; and it certainly will require something more than an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to convince them that their worship is wrong. So it is easy enough to tell what the Chinese will do when the time comes that they shall have to choose whether they will abandon their worship or come to the United States. With such an alternative, they will never come to this country. Therefore the success of the National Reform policy will just as absolutely exclude the Chinese from this country as does the act of Congress which is now in force, and which is so unsparingly denounced by that party.

Now to show that the force that is given to their expressions, by the definitions before given, is not more than they intend, we give some more of their words on this subject. In the San Francisco Chronicle of September 24, 1884, appeared an account of a Chinese procession in that city, in honor of their god How Wong in the Christian Statesman of October 30, 1884, under the caption, “Idolatry Publicly Tolerated,” the account is copied in full, and then commented on as follows:—

“The remedy lies, not in the exclusion of the Chinese from our shores, where they have from God a perfect right to come, but in the legal prohibition of their public idolatry, which they have from God no right to practice, and which no Christian Government ought to tolerate on its soil.” “Odious it is, offensive to Christian [51] sensibilities, provoking the auger of Heaven against the nation which tolerates it. But … the American people generally would doubtless be shocked by the suggestion that such open idolatry should be suppressed by law. But if this is, as claimed, a Christian nation, and if Jehovah is our God, why should the suggestion be considered as strange or impracticable?”

It is plain, therefore, by their own declarations, that the Chinese cannot come to this country and bring their worship with them, and that, as we have seen, works the exclusion of the Chinese as effectually as any other means that could be employed. And all this must be done, the Statesman says, to “maintain our Christian character;” and this, too, after stating explicitly, as above, that “no nation has the right to do this even for the preservation of religious character.” The Statesman may talk of the servility of political parties all it pleases, but if there ever was a political party that exceeded the National Reform Party in hollow pretense, or sham principle, we should like the Statesman to point it out.

There is another phase of this question. Suppose that while the United States refuses to “tolerate” the worship of the Chinese, they should refuse to “tolerate,” in their country, the worship of the Christians. Suppose that when this nation has “suppressed by law” worship of the of the Chinese, they should retaliate and suppress by law the worship of the Christians. What could this nation do? Remonstrance would come with very poor grace from the nation that first committed the intolerance. And so the sword of National Reform would cut both ways; it would not only shut the Chinese out of this country, but would shut Christianity out of China.

Now let us draw a comparison between the action of Congress which the Statesman condemns, and the action of the nation which it would approve.

An act of Congress which excludes the Chinese.
An Amendment to the Constitution, the effect of which will be the same.
An act which excludes the Chinese for
ten years

An act which would exclude them for
all time.

An act of Congress which might be repeated by any subsequent Congress.
An act, the effect of which would be the same, and which could not possibly be effected by less than three-fourths of the whole nation.
An act which excludes only one class of Chinese—laborers.
An act which will exclude all classes of Chinese but one—Christian Chinese.
An act which excludes only one class of one nation for ten years.
An act which, with one exception—Christians—excludes

 classes of

 nations for
all time.

Therefore if the action of Congress and the political parties are by the National Reform Party to be condemned seven times, surely the National Reform Party itself must be condemned seventy times seven.

A. T. J.

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