“Sunday Law Interest in the Masses and the Workingmen” The American Sentinel 7, 2, pp. 9, 10.

THE American Sabbath Union exists for no other purpose than to secure the enactment and the enforcement of Sunday laws. This too is solely in the interests of worship, religion and the Church. This is the only method which it employs or knows for the advancement of religion, or for the better observance of Sunday and the forms of worship that belong with it. This is well set forth in their own words, in an editorial in one of their own official organs. The Michigan Sabbath Watchman is “A monthly publication in the interest of the work of the American Sabbath Union, by Rev. Francis W. Ware,” and in this paper for October, 1891, an editorial runs as follows:—

In sustaining the American Sabbath Union the churches are preparing the way of the churches and making their paths straight. Close out the Sabbath saloons, and make it impossible to run the theatres, shut up the cigar stands, ice cream saloons, and soda water fountains, and prevent baseball playing, put an end to railroad and other Sabbath excursions, and the masses will the more easily be turned to the house of God. Break down these sacrilegious, but fascinating amusements, and the Church will have the right of way to our masses.

This is pretty strong, but in the same paper this zealous editor goes still further in calling for contributions in support of the work of the Union, under the heading “A Good Investment for the Churches,” he lays out their designs in the following explicit style:—

If the churches of this State were to contribute $10,000 this year to assist the American Sabbath Union to push its work, they would in our judgment make for themselves the finest possible investment. Money so invested would soon return to them with fine rates of interest. The money now spent in Sabbath desecration by those who are in large sympathy with the churches, but who are led off to the parks, on excursions, and to other places where money is spent freely, by the enchantments of music and scenery, and persons, would, if our Sunday laws were enforced, return to the churches and contribute to their support, and would find it much cheaper to do so than it now is to support the places and institutions they now do. The churches ought to sustain very liberally the Union out of self-defense and they will doubtless do it.

This shows just what the “civil” Sabbath plea of the American Sabbath Union amounts to; and it also shows just what kind of an interest this organization has in the “poor enslaved workingman.”

Their interest in the workingman is simply “fine rates of interest” on the money which they invest in securing and enforcing “our Sunday laws.”

Their advocacy of the rights of the “toiling masses” is simply the advocacy of the “right of way” of the churches to these same “masses” that “the masses may the more easily be turned to the” houses of the churches, and spend their money there instead of where they now do. And further, in their tender “interest” for the workingmen, they have found that it will be “much cheaper” for them to support the churches “than it now is to support the places and institutions they now do.” What verdant and gullible creatures [10] they must suppose the workingmen of the United States to be!

Nor is the American Sabbath Union alone in this. The National Reform Association is the original organization in the United States, pledged to the enforcement of religious observances by law. This organization even demands the adoption of an amendment to the National Constitution “declaring this to be a Christian Nation;” “placing Christian laws, institutions, and usages on an undeniable legal basis;” and “enforcing upon all the laws of Christian morality.” And this Association, in national convention in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1887, declared that “socialism, and anarchism, and Catholicism, are all trying to catch the workingmen; but National Reform must secure the workingmen, and they can best be secured through the agitation of the Sabbath, for workingmen do not want to work on the Sabbath.”

The would be head of the Sunday Rest Leagues of the United States, W. F. Crafts, lately published (Christian Statesman, Dec. 11, 1891), the statement that “We fear that a majority of the workingmen can not yet wisely use eight hours a day of leisure.”

It needs no proof to show that the National Reform Association, the American Sabbath Union, and the Sunday Rest League, are so closely allied as to be but simply different branches of the one grand scheme of the churches to gain control of the civil power to enforce upon all their arbitrary decrees.

Nor do we need to present any further evidence to demonstrate that the “civil” Sabbath plea is a deception and a snare; or that the professed interest of these preachers and organizations in the “poor enslaved workingmen” and “the toiling masses” is a fraud.

The editor-in-chief, of the leading labor journal in the United States, said lately, “We have discovered the hypocrisy in the claim that Sunday laws are only designed to enforce the ‘civil’ Sabbath.” It seems strange how anybody with half an eye could fail to discover it.

The truth of the matter is that the workingmen, of the United States, have intelligence enough to know for themselves when they are oppressed or enslaved, and are abundantly able to apply the needed remedies for relief. The workingmen of the United States are not so ignorant, nor so childish, that the church managers need to assume the office of self-appointed guardians to decide for them when they are oppressed and when they are not; and when they are tired and when they are not; and whether they can safely be trusted with eight hours leisure a day.

Away with such presumptuous arrogance! Let the workingmen arise in their manliness and in the genuine dignity of labor, and denounce, as it deserves, and as the wicked thing that it is, this hypocritical “mothering,” and fraudulent “interest,” of the church managers in their evil devised schemes to invade the rights and liberties, not only of the workingmen, but of all the people. A. T. J. [11]

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