THE SENTINEL has had occasion frequently to criticise some of the workings of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. Upon the part of those who favor the establishment of a religious instead of a civil government here, this fact has been made the means of an attempt to create prejudice at the expense of the SENTINEL. They try to make it appear that the AMERICAN SENTINEL is opposed to temperance. We propose to make plain our attitude toward temperance in general and toward the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in particular.
The AMERICAN SENTINEL is thoroughly and consistently devoted to the genuine principles of temperance. And what the SENTINEL considers to be the genuine principles of temperance can be stated in this single sentence, viz.: Total abstinence from all stimulants and narcotics of whatever kind or nature or degree. More than this, it is out of allegiance to Christian principle that the Sentinel is devoted to this principle of temperance. It is thorough-going Christian temperance in which the SENTINEL thoroughly believes. It is because allegiance to Christ demands that we shall be temperate in all things, that we advocate the principle of temperance. Both of the editors of the SENTINEL are doing their very best to act strictly in accordance with this principle of temperance. It must therefore be manifest to every soul that the AMERICAN SENTINEL is decidedly in favor of temperance, and Christian temperance at that. And in this it must likewise be manifest to everybody that whatever criticisms we have ever made, or shall ever make, upon the workings of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, are not in any sense in opposition to the purest principles of Christian temperance.
Although we are decidedly in favor of Christian temperance, and endeavor personally to practice it, and to persuade others to practice it, we are not in favor of using the civil power to compel anybody either to favor or to practice it. And when the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union attempts, as it does, to use the civil power to compel people to conform to the principles of Christian temperance, it goes beyond its legitimate province, it acts contrary both to civil polity and Christian principle, and therefore we oppose it. Christian principle knows no such thing as outward force; it never seeks either the support or the control of the civil power. Christian principle knows only the force of conscientious conviction, aroused to action by persuasive reason, under the blessed influence of the Spirit of God. Christian principle knows no power but the power of God as manifested in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Believing this with all our heart, although we are decidedly in favor of temperance, of Christian temperance, of woman’s Christian temperance, and even of woman’s Christian temperance union, we are just as decidedly opposed to the political aspirations of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.
The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union proposes to establish a theocracy in this country, and to that end demands that the ballot shall be put into the hands of women. Proof:—
“A true theocracy is yet to come; … hence I pray devoutly, as a Christian patriot, for the ballot in the hands of women, and rejoice that the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union has so long championed this cause.”—W.C.T.U. Monthly Reading for September, 1886.
Now the establishment of a man-made, or a woman-made, theocracy will be but a repetition of the establishment and working of the hideous principles of the Papacy, if not the establishment of the Papacy itself, in this country. The Papacy is a theocracy. Its workings throughout history have been but the practice of the principles of a man-made theocracy—such a theocracy as the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union proposes to establish here by the ballot. The rule of such a theocracy is the wickedest rule that the world has known or can know.
It puts man in the place of God, and deifies human passions; and such a régime is but one remove from that of Satan himself. Therefore, as such a theocracy is such a wicked thing, as it is such an utter perversion of every principle of government, we are entirely and everlastingly opposed to it. And as the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union is pledged to the establishment of such a theocracy, and rejoices that it has so long championed such a cause, we are entirely and everlastingly opposed to that part of the aims and workings of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. And why should we be blamed for it?
In order to the establishment of this theocracy here, they “pray devoutly for the ballot in the hands of women.” But whenever the ballot is put into the hands of women, for any such purpose as that, then the ballot will be the worst thing that was ever put into the hands of a woman. 
Again; the SENTINEL is first, last, and all the time, opposed to the aims of the National Reform Association. That association likewise proposes to turn this Government into a theocracy, ruled by “the leaders and teachers in the churches.” It declares that dissenters from National Reform opinions “cannot dwell together on the same continent” with the National Reformed Christianity; and that “there is nothing out of hell” that should not be “tolerated” as soon as these. In Senator Blair’s proposed National Sunday law and constitutional amendment, both of which are now pending in the United States Senate, the National Reformers see taken the first steps toward making effective their “tolerant” intentions. Now the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union is the closest ally, and the most powerful support, that the National Reform Association has in this Nation to-day. Many of the officers of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union are also vice-presidents of the National Reform Association. It was the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union that first started the petitions for this National Sunday law, which pleases the National Reformers so well, and which so fitly plays into their hands; and the Union went before the Senate Committee with the names of one and a half million petitioners, and more to follow, in favor of that law which, in more than one of its provisions, is subversive of liberty, and which savors all over of tyranny. (See the judicial decision, in another part of this paper.) It is perfectly safe to say that from the position which she occupies, the present president of the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, herself alone, is doing more to spread National Reform ideas and principles than are all the National Reform “District Secretaries” put together. And there are other leaders of the Union who are not much behind her in this bad accomplishment.
Therefore, as we are totally opposed to the aims of the National Reform Association, and as the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union is the most powerful support of that association, we are, consequently, totally opposed to that part of the workings of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. And why should we not be?
Nor is this all. We view with grave apprehensions the encroachments of the Papal power, on its own part, upon the civil institutions of this Government. Everybody knows that the Papacy has never wearied of condemning our public schools because they are not made the medium of religious instruction. The National Reform Association and its allies now echo the Papal condemnation, and seek to remove the cause of it, by the pending amendment to the National Constitution, in which the National power is pledged to see that every State “shall establish and maintain” a system of religious public schools. Now to secure this and the co-operation of the Papacy at the same time, the National Reform Association agrees that the Catholic Bible, and Catholic instruction, shall be established in the public schools wherever “Roman Catholics are in the majority.” And also in securing and enforcing the pending National Sunday law, the National Reformers pledge themselves to “gladly join hands” with the Roman Catholics, and to make repeated advances to secure the co-operation of the Roman Catholics “in any form in which they may be willing to exhibit it.” Therefore the two points,—the National Sunday law, and religion in the public schools,—upon which the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union is diligently working to secure National religious legislation, are the very points upon which the National Reform Association stands pledged to unite with the Papacy.
Now the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union supports the National Reform Association. The National Reform Association is pledged to Rome. Rome stands, pledged forever to the subversion of every principle of liberty. Therefore, as we are forever opposed to the encroachments of Rome, so we are forever opposed to that part of the working of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union which supports the National Reform Association, which is pledged to Rome. And why should we not be opposed to it? And why should not everybody else be opposed to it?
We know that there are many of the women of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union who do not favor the political, nor the theocratical, nor the National Reform, aspirations of the leaders of the Union. We know a number of women who have separated themselves from the workings of the Union because of the very things which we have here pointed out. They joined the Union to work for Christian temperance upon Christian principles, and to secure the practice of Christian temperance by Christian means. But when they saw that by the leadership of the Union, political efforts and means were supplanting the Christian principles, efforts, and means, they left it. They did well to leave it. And so will every other woman do well to leave it, who does not want to be sold into the hands of Rome through the political, theocratical, and National Reform aspirations of the present leadership of the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.
We only pray that the whole body of the Union, leadership and all, may awake to the danger of their position before they shall have delivered the civil power, and themselves and us all with it, into the hands of a religious despotism.
A. T. J.