IT is now well known that Seventh-day Adventists are strongly opposed to Sunday laws, but it is not generally known that this opposition to religious legislation is consistently adhered to in all its bearings. It is not generally known that this denomination is the first and only denomination in the United States that has officially declared in favor of the taxation of all church property.
March 5, 1893, the following resolutions were adopted by their General Conference held at Battle Creek, Mich.:—
WHEREAS, In view of the separation which we believe should exist between the Church and the State, it is inconsistent for the Church to receive from the State pecuniary gifts, favors, or exemptions, therefore,
Resolved, That we repudiate the doctrine that church or other ecclesiastical property should be exempt from taxation, and further,
Resolved, That we decidedly protest against any such exemption, and favor the repeal of such legislation as grants this exemption.
There are some who might charge insincerity on the ground that there is no danger that church property will ever be taxed and therefore it cost the denomination no sacrifice to thus express its loyalty to principle.
However, the denomination at its last General Conference, which closed March 4th, passed a resolution that leaves no ground to doubt its sincerity. Its missionaries reported from Mashonaland, in South Africa, that the South African Land Company, chartered by the British Government with powers similar to the famous British East India Company, offered to donate liberal tracts of land to representative missionaries for missionary purposes, and that a fine tract of land, numbering twelve thousand acres, was placed at their disposal. The matter was brought before the General Conference and disposed of with the following resolution which was passed unanimously, with the understanding that funds would be supplied to the missionaries with which to purchase all needed land for a mission site:—
Resolved, That we ought not as a denomination either to seek or accept from any civil government, supreme, local, or otherwise, any gift, or grant either of land, money, or other thing of value.
It is evident from this that Seventh-day Adventists are sincere in their belief in the complete separation of Church and State.