“The New Standard” The American Sentinel 5, 49, pp. 386, 387.

THE Christian Statesman seems to have addressed the Secretary of the World’s Fair, inquiring if the Fair will be open on Sunday or not, and it says that the Secretary gave the information “that the question whether it should be open or closed has been left to the Executive Committee.” “This,” says the Statesman, “implies that it is regarded by the Commissioners as an open question,” and it declares that under the laws that govern the enterprise this is not an open question. It argues from the law of the State of Illinois, and the Act of Congress creating the World’s Fair Commission, that it will be an open violation of law to open the Fair on Sundays, and because, that Illinois has already a strict Sunday law, and because, the Act of Congress says, “that nothing in this Act shall be so construed as to override or interfere with the law of any State.” The Statesman quotes from Revised Statutes of Illinois of 1845, the following:—

260. Sunday shall include the time from midnight to midnight.

261. Whoever disturbs the peace and good order of society, by labor (works of necessity or charity excepted), or by any amusement, or diversion on Sunday, shall be fined twenty-five dollars.

262. Whoever shall be guilty of any noise, rout, or amusement on the first day of the week, called Sunday, whereby the peace of any private family shall be disturbed, shall be fined not exceeding twenty-five dollars.

It then reins up the World’s Fair Commission in the presence of these statutes, and declares that there is no escape from the verdict that “if the Exposition is thrown open on Sunday, it will be in direct violation of the law.” From the efforts that have been made the past few years to secure Sunday laws in Illinois, we rather doubt whether these statutes of 1845 are still in force, but the Statesman can easily find out whether they are or not when the time comes to open the Fair.

The Statesman appeals to the Commissioners with this question: “Gentlemen, can you afford, on a question in which the Christian people feel so deeply,” etc. From our own observation throughout the country, we find that there are a good many people who are not Christians who feel quite deeply on this question, and in [388] the opposite direction. These want the Fair open on Sunday, and feel just as deeply over the idea that it should not be open as these Christians do over the prospect that it may be open. Now what is there about the feelings of a Christian that should require the respect of the State of Illinois, or of the United States, more than the feelings of anybody else? What right have these Christians to make their religious feelings the standard of public action, to which the feelings and actions of all other people shall be compelled by law to conform?

When laws and public actions are demanded upon such a basis as that, as State action is but the action of a majority, then these Christians have no right to complain if the people whose feelings lead them to demand the opposite of this, should compel them to conform to the feelings of that majority. Yet, if any such attempt were made, no person would exclaim more loudly against such action as being oppression, and an invasion of the rights of conscience, than would these same men that now demand that their feelings shall be made the standard of law and public action. That is the mischief of the whole matter; they demand that their feelings in a matter of religious sentiment, shall be made the supreme rule of action, with no reference or respect whatever to the feelings of anybody else in the world. And the principle of it is that all things whatsoever ye would that men should not do to you, do ye that to them. The principle of Christianity is the opposite of this, and never asks for itself what it does not freely yield to all others; this principle is: “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”

A. T. J.

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