“THE nation and kingdom that will not serve thee (i.e., the church) shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.” This among other texts of Scripture is quoted in the Christian Statesman, of January 18, by Rev. J. S. Martin, for the purpose of impressing upon the people their responsibility for the proposed “Christian” amendment to the Constitution. It will be understood, of course, what “the church” is,—namely, himself and his associates who are asking and lobbying for this amendment! So at least its advocates seem to think.
But will the nation accept their mere dictum in this matter? When the nation starts out to “serve the church” according to the ideas of those demanding religious legislation, how is the identity of “the church” to be determined? Will preponderance of numbers be the criterion? If so, then the Roman Catholic denomination is “the church.” This the papal church has always affirmed, and is doubtless as ready to receive the humble service of the United States Government to-day, as it was in past centuries to be served by the governments of the Old World.
But the amendment party doubtless do not contemplate giving any such advantage to the Catholic Church. They are thinking only of themselves. They are too short-sighted to discern that such an effort as they are asking of this Government in behalf of “the church” will set all the various denominations—each one of which is preëminently “the church” in its own opinion—against one another, and rekindle the smoldering fires of religious controversy to an appalling extent.
It is very certain that the text of Scripture invoked by the Rev. Mr. Martin does not call upon any government to determine which of the discordant sects is “the church,” or to enact any kind of religious legislation.