“The Logic of Judge Hammond’s Position” The American Sentinel 6, 49, pp. 385, 386.

December 17, 1891

IN an unofficial communication of later date than his dictum, in the King case, Judge Hammond has gone over the same ground again, and has made some additional statements which are of interest. as well as of importance in connection with the statements which we have already noticed from the dictum.

After reiterating one of the main propositions of the dictum—that “the institution of Sunday, like the religion upon which it is founded, belongs to the people as a characteristic possession,” that therefore religion is essentially a part of the laws, and its preservation as such “a necessity of statesmanship”—he makes the following important admission:—

The logic of this position may lead to a union of Church and State, undoubtedly; but it is not essential, nor always useful, indeed often otherwise, to go to the end of one’s logic.

In the review of the dictum of Judge Hammond we have demonstrated again and again by his propositions, that a union of Church and State is logically inherent in the positions assumed throughout that document. It is well therefore for our readers to know that he sees and acknowledges the same thing himself. And from this it is perfectly proper, as well as logical, to inquire, Is it the province of a judge of a United States Court to inculcate from his official seat the doctrine of a union of Church and State in these United States? At his induction into that responsible office he took a solemn oath to support the Constitution of the United States, which, both in its principles and its specific precepts, is diametrically opposed to a union of Church and State and to every position the logic of which would lead to a union of Church and State.

His plea, that it is not essential to go to the end of one’s logic, is as puerile as is his other position that government may prohibit a thing harmless in itself to prevent “breach of the peace.” It is a pitiable thing indeed when a person insists upon maintaining a position, the logic of which he is unwilling to follow to its legitimate end. But this is not all there is in this case. It would be bad enough were this so only with him as an individual. But this is not so. He occupies the place of a judge of the United States, a representative of the judicial department of the Government of the United States. As such he has spoken; as such he has taken this position; and as such he has given to the position, as far as in him lay, the weight of the authority of the high office which he holds. And just as certainly as the position which he has taken, should be confirmed by the higher court as the position of the Government, just so certainly it would be entirely and forever beyond his power either to check or to control the logic of it in any way; and just so certainly would the religious element that is enlisted and favored in this thing, see that the logic of the position was carried fully to the end which even he sees and acknowledges is involved in it. The truth is that government is one of the most intensely logical things in this world. A [386] position taken to-day, may not reach the end of its logic in a generation, or in two generations, or even in a hundred years. But if it be a position involving an important principle such as this, it will reach the end of its logic as certainly as the Government continues.

Yet Judge Hammond, not content with such a display of logical acumen as the above, and as though to annihilate all basis for any logical deduction of any kind whatever, proceeds to lay down as “the truth” this astounding proposition:—

The truth is that no principle or dogma of government, or of any other human conduct, can be applied according to the inexorable tendency of its logic.

Briefly stated this says that, no principle of human conduct can be logically applied. But it is difficult to conceive how any person, who ever drew a single conclusion in his life and acted upon it, could soberly make such a statement. It is true that some men in some things are erratic, inconsistent, illogical. But all history demonstrates in a thousand ways that with humanity, whether viewed in the individual or in government, principles of human conduct are applied strictly according to the inexorable tendency of their logic. Indeed, it would be an easy task to develop the principle of human conduct, the inexorable tendency of the logic of which has produced this very dictum upon which we have been required to bestow so much attention.

As a matter of fact to admit the truth of the proposition here quoted, would be to renounce the very faculty of reason or intelligence itself; which, by the way, is but the inexorable tendency of the logic of Judge Hammond’s position.

Another important statement in emphasis of positions taken in the dictum is the following:—

It is a somewhat humiliating spectacle to see the Sunday advocates trying to justify the continuance of Sunday legislation, … upon the argument that it is not in conflict with the civic dogma of religious freedom. It surely is.

Yet in the face of every constitutional provision, State and national, touching the question, he persists in justifying this palpable conflict with the civic dogma of religious freedom, by still arguing that,—

The bare fact that the mass desires Sunday as the public day of rest, is enough to justify its civic sanction; and the potentiality of the fact that it is in aid of the religion of that mass might be frankly confessed and not denied.

This is again but to justify every piece of religious persecution that ever was inflicted hit this world. And under such dogma as this, all that is required for this whole line of enforced religious observances and persecution to be taken up and carried forward again, is that “the mass” shall demand it, and so far as Judge Hammond’s jurisdiction could be made to extend, the whole power of the Government, whether State or national, would be exerted in behalf of this mass who should choose to pursue a course “in conflict with the civic dogma of religious freedom.” In view of these statements we should like the Judge to explain just what is the civic dogma of religious freedom.

Yet further, and in his very last words, so far, on the subject, he still justifies the doctrine of persecution in the following sentence:—

It is also noticeable that the early Christians commenced their assaults upon the old religions by a disregard of their holy days; and for this they were first persecuted by the law as they [sic] now persecute therewith the Jews and the Seventh-day Adventists.

We are not by any means ready to admit that it is the early Christians who now persecute the Jews and the Seventh-day Adventists. Neither the early Christians nor any other Christians, either now or at any other time, ever did persecute. If any man persecutes he is not a Christian. It is true that the early Christians were persecuted, by “due process of law” too, precisely as the Jews and the Seventh-day Adventists are now persecuted by “due process of law.” The persecution then was heathenish, and so it is now. The “due process of law” by which the persecution was then legalized and justified, was but the manifestation of the “inexorable tendency of the logic” of the pagan “principle of human conduct,” and such only it is now.

And with the persecuted Jews and Seventh-day Adventists, THE AMERICAN SENTINEL, with all its corps of workers from editor-in-chief to office boy, is glad to stand, and to be classed with the early Christians, to bear their reproach and to share their sufferings; as we know that in suffering with them we are suffering with Him with whom they suffered. And “it is a faithful saying, If we suffer with him we shall also reign with him.” And he is the Author of a religious liberty which is absolute and eternal.

A. T. J.

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