“Religious Liberty in the United States and Canada” American Sentinel 14, 37, pp. 577, 578.

IN both these countries religious liberty is now on trial in the courts of law.

In the State of Georgia the question of allowing freedom in Sabbath observance will in a few days be passed upon by the Supreme Court. The case is that of a young man named Waters, a resident of Rome, who several months ago was tried and convicted in the Circuit Court for doing secular work on Sunday, he being an observer of the seventh-day Sabbath. If the Supreme Court of Georgia sustains the verdict of the lower court, Mr. Waters will have to serve six months in the chain-gang, where, according to information sent us, there is no provision for his Sabbath rest and a determination not to allow it. He must then work on the day he believes to be holy, or be disciplined as a refractory criminal. Should his case be appealed from the Supreme Court of Georgia to that of the United States, and an adverse decision rendered by that body, the cause of religious freedom throughout the nation will have received a tremendous blow.

In Canada a similar situation exists, minus the [578] chain-gang horror. Some time ago, in Ontario, a seventh-day observer, named Sherk, was convicted under the “Lord’s Day Act,” for working on Sunday, and an appeal was taken to the Court of Appeals, under the British North-American Act guaranteeing religious liberty to British subjects. The ground of the appeal is that the Ontario “Lord’s Day Act,” is in violation of the higher law embodied in the British North-American Act. The attorney of the Lord’s Day Alliance resisted the granting of this appeal, and succeeded in having it held back in the Court of Appeals pending the decision in another case gotten up by the Alliance with the object of trying to sustain the law. We are informed that this decision will be rendered in a few days. And if the “Lord’s Day Act” is sustained by the Court of Appeals, the liberty of seventh-day observers will be seriously curtailed, in the teaching as well as the practice of their faith, throughout Canada.

It is not alone in the southern districts of United States that seventh-day observers are made the target of the attacks of opposing religions. In Michigan, the headquarters of the seventh-day Adventists, such efforts are made to stir up religious animosity against them and subject them to any form of persecution, as are represented in the following which are which was contributed recently to the Michigan Christian Advocate. Full as it is of the spirit of Ahab calling Elijah troubler of Israel, it becomes significant when indorsed by this representative Methodist journal. This Methodist writer says:—

“Most causes suffer more from thoughtlessness than any other source; if not more than from all other sources combined.

“Will you, dear readers, follow me somewhat patiently while I pass over some of the past and present plannings of a would-be set of reformers? Over fifty years ago our Saturdarian friends began an active effort to overthrow the accepted Sabbath of the Christian world, and supplant it with something else. Instead of having convictions of a great ‘truth discovered’ associated with charity for those whom they assert are in error, they commenced an attack on the Christian Sabbath with a determination to accomplish its overthrow. They have searched among the writings of all the enemies of the Christian Sabbath and all ages and lands, since the crucifixion, for arguments against Sunday-keeping. They also joined hands with every man or company of men who assist to degrade the day and rob it of its sacred character.

“They acted on the supposition that if they could overthrow the Christian Sabbath and bring it into disgrace, they could bring about a revival of Sabbath observance and supplant Sabbath-keeping with Saturdarianism. But as one studies the history of that movement, he can see that while they have been destroying the faith of the people in regard to Sunday sacredness, they have increased disregard for all days, and for the God who made them.

“It is plainly discoverable that they, more than any other class, are responsible for the Sabbath labor of to-day and for the disregard for the Sabbath that now disgraces us as an American people….

“While churches have been growing consciousless on the question of Sabbath observance, the various classes who perform compulsory Sabbath labor, have grown in disregard for the churches, until now there is a condition among a large body of laboring people, of hatred for the churches, and disrespect for all who profess to be Christians. Instead of our Saturdarian people comprehending the real cause of the present situation, they are undertaking work, which, if accomplished, will deepen the disregard for the Sabbath and intensify among all classes of people their disregard for the churches.

“During this decade there has been a rapid trend among the laboring people to turn from and to hate and oppose the Christian churches. If we can see, as laborers and church-workers, where the chief cause of the trouble is, we can then take right bearings for the removal of the wrongs. There will then be blame attached where blame belongs most. The Saturday-keeping Christians have done all that could be done by them to have Sunday excursions, Sunday ball games, Sunday shows, Sunday saloons, anything, everything that could rob Sunday of its sacredness. In this fact lies the chief trouble. Because the people are few in number their work has been overlooked as of no influence and of no importance. But the time has come for all persons interested in Sabbath observance to study ther [sic.] work in relation to this question….

“Is it not enough that nearly 3,000,000 men are being robbed of their Sabbath, and nearly a quarter of a million are being hurled into premature graves, and a large percentage of these into a drunkard’s graves, annually? And what for? That a few thousand Saturdarians may have the privilege to work on the Sabbath, in open violation to the law of God and the laws of this land. A form of religion that cannot exist without working on the Sabbath, even if it helps to send four or five men to a drunkard’s hell every year that no man might be protected in this liberty to pollute the Sabbath, should be regarded and understood as it really is,—the greatest enemy of labor that exists, the devil excepted. Shall not the Christian people of this land rise up and guard against such a stream of poisonous literature being put into the hands and heads of the women and youth of this country? If you love the souls of the toiling thousands were robbed of their rest, will you not manifest that love by standing firmly in the battle for a Sabbath for all the sons of toil?….

“If the conditions are allowed to been made worse along the lines that our Saturdarian folks are moving toward, labor will be driven downward with rapidity increasing velocity, or a revolution will be provoked. Every patriotic citizen should take his stand to prevent either of the above issues from being forced upon us.”

In all this there is food for the most serious thought, and incentive to the most active efforts on the part of the friends of religious liberty.

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