THE opposition which has become manifest to the seating of Congressmen-elect Roberts, of Utah, leads the Deseret News, of Salt Lake City, to propound a few questions touching the general principles of the issue involved and the facts to which they are applicable in this country. They are questions which cannot be too often sounded in American ears, and lose none of their force or logic by coming from the official organ of Mormondom.
The News says:—
“If a ‘Mormon’ elder uses the right of franchise and the right of free speech, in support of a public measure or a nominee for public office, the cry is raised at once that the ‘Mormon Church is dominant in politics,’ and that ‘the church regulates the state in Utah.’ But when ministers and dignitaries of any number of denominational churches unite for the purpose of overawing United States senator’s and representatives and of dictating the course of Congress, no objection is offered by the anti Mormon agitators.
“Why? Have the various sectarian preachers a monopoly of the ‘church-and-state’ business? Is it life and salvation for a Presbyterian or Methodist bishop to instruct Congress as to its duties, and death and condemnation for a ‘Mormon’ elder to advocate the cause of a candidate for election to that body? Is it proper for ‘Christian’ conclaves to instruct legislators what to do, and improper for ‘Mormon’ ministers to exercise the privilege of citizenship? If so, why?”
The answer to this “why” can never be given by any representative of a denomination which meddles in politics. In principle, every such religious body stands on a par with the Mormons whom it denounces. Religion in politics is the same in principle everywhere.
The News attempts to justify Mormon connection with politics on the ground of the “rights of an American citizen.” It says:—
“The statements that are being made by preachers in the East and published in some of the wild cat papers,  that the ‘Mormon’ Church is endeavoring to regulate political affairs in this State, are entirely without foundation in fact. Nor is it true that the leaders of the church have taken a prominent part in recent politics. If any prominent ‘Mormon’ has said or done anything in this direction he has simply exercised his rights as an American citizen, and voted for and supported men whom he thinks best suited for the positions to be filled. And that right has been used as much in favor of Gentiles as of Mormon candidates for public office. What is there wrong in that? And why does anybody with common sense raise any objection?”
It is in this same way that other churches justify their connection with politics, and the justification is just as good for the Mormon Church as for any other. But other churches can see that it does not hold good for the Mormons; the “rights of an American citizen” do not shut the Mormon Church out of politics, nor prevent the Mormon majority in Utah from getting the political control of the State. Yet these other churches cannot see that their own activity in politics must lead just as surely to a union of religion with the civil power, and that on a wider scale than is possible in a single State.
They do not, or at least profess not, to see this; but it is nevertheless true, and a truth than which there is none more important demanding the attention of the American people.