THE managers of the American theocracy are becoming more arrogant. They recently closed a number of rival Sunday night entertainments in Boston, called “sacred concerts.” One of the theocrats, Dr. Bradley, pastor of the People’s Temple, in his sermon, Dec. 30, explained why he favored this action. We quote from his sermon, as published in the Boston Globe, of Dec. 31:—
One reason why these concerts should be abolished is that they employ a great deal of talent that should be used for better purposes. The men and women who exhaust themselves at these so-called sacred concerts should be using their powers of song and eloquence in the service of the Lord.
It is quite true that all men should use their power of son and eloquence in the service of the Lord, but it by no means follows that it is the right and the duty of the State to prohibit under the pains and penalties of civil law, all song and eloquence, not so used. “God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth,” “for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” Civil law cannot create such worshipers. The Inquisition tried it and failed.
But the doctor has another reason why the State should prohibit the so-called “sacred concert.” Here it is:—
The great reason why the concerts should be stopped is because they are deceptive.
The title “sacred” has no application to their songs.
But who is to decide whether these concerts are deceptive, and whether the songs sung are “sacred” or “secular”? Surely not the civil authorities. They are representatives of a secular government, and are no more qualified to decide whether these concerts are “sacred,” or whether they are “deceptive,” than they have to decide whether Dr. Bradley’s preaching is “sacred” or “deceptive.” Each individual must decide that question for himself, and it is the business of civil government to protect him in so deciding and acting upon his decision, so long as his actions do not invade the rights of others. There are millions of professed Christians, besides the millions more of those not professed Christians, who believe that Dr. Bradley’s preaching is not only not sacred but deceptive; but this is no reason why Dr. Bradley’s “sacred” concerts and discourses should be suppressed; but it is just as good a reason as the doctor gives for suppressing the “sacred” concerts of his rivals—the theaters.
Dr. Bradley further explains why the “sacred” concerts are not sacred:—
Perhaps you do not know that “Sally in our Alley” is a favorite offering of the artists who sing it at these so-called sacred concerts.
No doubt Sally was a dear girl, and was charmingly situated in her alley, but that is no reason why she should be dragged out every Sabbath night to be doted upon by young men and old men, who would better be engaged in the service of the Lord.
Then there is “Annie on the Dot.” We can easily imagine Annie as buxom and rosy-checked, and as lovely a creature as one would care to see, but that is hardly sufficient reason for her being memorialized on Sunday evenings.
This last quotation is introduced, not so much to present the doctor’s objection, as to furnish an idea of the character of the “sacred” services furnished by him. It will be noticed that the doctor tried to be funny, and that, too, on Sunday night, after he had succeeded in closing up all his rival fun-makers—the theaters. But right here is where the trouble lies. The popular ministry is not proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ in its purity and power, but are attempting to tickle the ears of their hearers with “sanctified” secular jokes, and when the people prefer the original jokers and patronize them, the “sacred” jokers get made and invoke the secular arm to close a rival business. On this point Dr. Bradley said:—
Some people may think I object because I run an opposition business and want to get the crowds that go to the concerts to come here.
That’s true. My trade is going up the hill to heaven, though, and the theater managers’ customers are going down the road of degradation to hell.
As arrogant and tyrannical as are these statements from the doctor, we can but admire his frankness. This whole Sunday-closing crusade is for the purpose of closing up an “opposition business,” but the crusaders are not usually so willing to confess it. But it is an open question whether the doctor is going up the hill to heaven or not. He may think he is, as did the old Pharisees in the days of our Saviour’s earthly ministry, and he has a right to think so, but he has not right to call to his aid the strong arm of the law to close all other trades and roads, but his “trade” and “road.” Dr. Bradley next announced that “at seven o’clock a concert is offered for your delectation—warranted to be sacred;” after which the following resolutions were presented by the doctor and adopted by the “customers” of his “trade“:—
WHEREAS, Our most sacred national institution, the Sabbath, has been flagrantly profaned in the theaters of our city by the so-called grand sacred concerts, and
WHEREAS, Certain worthy and honorable members of the police committee and aldermanic board have issued a decree in the city of Boston that such outrageous desecrations of the divine day in certain theaters must cease; therefore,
Resolved, That we, the congregation and members of People’s Temple in said city, on this Sunday night, 30th of December, 1894, do return our sincere appreciative thanks to the members of this committee and board who have done so noble and salutary a deed, and furthermore, be it
Resolved, That we will indorse, encourage and support these official gentlemen in still further efforts for the suppression of every other attempt to turn the holy day of God into a secular holiday.
Resolved, That in doing this we are persuaded we are following not only the command of the Almighty Father of all, but also our deepest and most sacred promptings of conscience for the good of not only ourselves and children, but also for the highest benefit of the whole body of our fellow-citizens.
Resolved, That a copy of this preamble and resolutions be sent to the police committee and board of aldermen.
We leave our readers to comment on these resolutions, and close by asking if the great Teacher found it necessary to petition the mayor and alderman of  Jerusalem to close up all places of amusement that he might get the attention of the crowds! On the other hand the Pharisees appealed to the civil authorities to prohibit the Saviour’s teachings that they might once more get a hearing from the people. Oh, that the follower of the great Teacher would cease appealing to governors and mayors, aldermen and legislators for the sword of civil power with which to reach the masses, and instead grasp the “sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God,” and wield it in the strength of the Master. But they never will, that the prophecy might be fulfilled which saith, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3, 4.