FOR years the church and the workingmen in this country have been drifting apart. The basis of unity between them which once existed has been lost, and no great effort has been put forth to restore it. From that basis the church, led by those who love money more than men, and the higher criticism more than the higher life, is daily moving further away.
But a new basis of union has been found, upon which the church and the workingmen can get together, although not to serve what were once the chief interests of church work. Apparently, the ends to be attained are a secondary consideration compared with the fact that the church and workingmen can once more stand together. The new basis is that of regard for the observance of Sunday.
In the cities of Pittsburg and Allegheny, Pa., this projected union has begun to take definite shape. Recently there was formed there a confederation of the churches, about 180 in number, to work up public sentiment in favor of more rigid enforcement of the Sunday laws. February 19, this federation, in conjunction with the “Christian Alliance,” called a mass meeting of workingmen in one of the city theaters, and succeeeded [sic.] in forming a coalition with the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers. The president of the Association made a speech, in which he said:—
“What we have long sought assiduously has come in part. The church and the laboring men have come together. We will soon get the state, and with the church, the state, and the laboringmen united in a common cause, man’s inhumanity to man will cease. All recognize the fact that the Sabbath is being desecrated by labor in the mills. The remedy for this wrong lies in unity and coöperation. If this is not the remedy, it is the only force that can apply the correct remedy. The man who cavils at organization is weak or foolish. The church, the state, the nation are examples of its power. Legal enactments and independent political action for the preservation of the Sabbath will not be effective without the organization of labor. Would that all men could see this! I trust the results of this meeting may be as effective in throwing down the walls of the modern Jericho [Johnstown] as was the sound of the ram’s horns in throwing down those of Jericho of old. May it result in the unification of all forces.
“Church and labor organizations are together in part only, because the church and labor organizations in coöperating simply wait that the trio may be complete. We want the state. Thus armed we shall be enabled to make war upon every Sunday desecrator. Organize, unite and coöperate. What we are after now are the  largest firms; these once fixed, the smaller ones will easily be brought into line. This meeting will really be the start of public work on the subject. The idea is to get public sentiment aroused.”
First, the churches formed a federation to work up public sentiment against Sunday desecration. They called a mass meeting and secured the coöperation of a great labor union. Next they will “get the state,” and then they will be fully prepared to “make war upon every Sunday desecrator.” The churches inaugurated the movement, then they led on the workingmen; and next they will lead on the state. The church will make war on Sunday desecrators through the agency of the state. And what kind of a proceeding will this be? Every student of history can answer this question.
When the church leads the state against those who will not regard a religious institution, nothing more can be wanting to constitute a complete union of church and state.
And then, when the churches shall “get the state” to do their bidding, “man’s inhumanity to man will cease.” Will it? History does not so testify. On the contrary, from what history does testify, we may be certain that “man’s inhumanity to man” will go on worse than before. Man’s inhumanity to man was never more fully shown than under a union of church and state.
Are the American people willing that a combination of churches shall “get the state”? Do they want a government which will be under direction of the churches? These are live questions for the people of Pennsylvania, and for the people everywhere, for the same influence is everywhere at work.
It is well that all people should observe the Sabbath,—but God’s Sabbath, not man’s, and in God’s way and by God’s power; not in man’s way and by man’s power.