December 15, 1898
IN view of the expressed purpose of the United States Government, to support the Catholic Church in Cuba, by a “temporary loan” from the public treasury, it is in order for American citizens to ask the following questions:—
1. Have the Cubans themselves expressed any desire for the support of the Catholic Church? or is this to be done only in deference to the wish of Catholic prelates in the United States?
2. What evidence is there that the Catholic Church in Cuba is not rich enough to support herself?
3. If the Catholic Church in Cuba cannot support herself, does not the burden of her maintenance properly fall upon the Catholic Church outside of Cuba?
4. If the Government ought to support the Catholic Church in Cuba, because she is poor, ought it not to support poor Catholic churches in the United States?
5. Why should the Government support only the Catholic Church in Cuba, and not the Methodist, the Baptist, Episcopal, and all other churches in the same land?
6. To what benefits can the Government point as certain to result from its support of the Catholic Church?
7. Since no government maintains any other than the established church, is not the Roman Catholic Church virtually made by this support the established church of the United States.
8. If “this is a Christian nation,” is it not a Catholic Christian nation when it supports the Catholic Church and no other?
9. By what clause of the Constitution is the Government authorized to give or loan money to the Catholic Church?
10. Has the Government any right to tax the people for the maintenance of any church?
11. Is it still an approved principle of American government that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed?
12. If the government can compel people to pay taxes for the support of the Catholic Church in Cuba, can it not by the same authority and right compel them to perform any other religious acts?
These are pertinent questions. They apply to a real situation which now confronts the American people. The germ of despotism which is being nourished in this proposition to support the Catholic Church, will surely grow to full development if the people allow it. To nip despotism in the bud is far easier and better than to cut it down after it has become a giant tree.