“The Present Practical Bearing of this Discussion” American Sentinel 12, 6, pp. 90, 91.

THIS discussion would be well worth all the space that is given to it in these columns, even though there is nothing more to it than the calling of the minds of the people anew to a vital principle of their government that is almost wholly forgotten.

But this is not all there is to this matter. The nation has a present practical bearing, that is of the highest importance to all the people of the nation. In 1892 the Supreme Court of the United States expressed the opinion that the first amendment to the Constitution had one language and one meaning with organic acts whose object was “the establishment of the Christian religion and that therefore the meaning of the Constitution was that “this is a Christian nation.”

This decision has been seized upon, and has been pushed ever since, by the combined religious elements in the country as authority for demanding that religious customs, rites, and dogmas shall be recognized and enforced in the legislation and the actions generally of the Government.

In this crowding religious practices upon the Government, and upon the people by governmental power, the ecclesiastical managers find it “a very wholesome doctrine, and one very full of comfort,” that from a decision of the Supreme Court there is no appeal,—that a Supreme Court decision is a ‘Thus saith the Lord.’”

As stated by a Catholic priest, as illustrating the doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope, it stands thus:—

“It is strange that a rule which requires a Supreme Court to give final decisions on disputed points in our Constitution, should be abused and slandered when employed by the Catholic Church. Citizens and others must read the Constitution, but they are not allowed to interpret it for themselves, but must submit to the interpretation given by the Superior [Supreme(?)] Court. The Bible is the constitution of the Catholic Church, and while all are exhorted to read this divine constitution, the interpretation of its true meaning must be left to the superior court of the church founded by Christ. The decision of our Federal Supreme Court is final; the decisions of [91] the superior court of the church is final also, and, in virtue of the divine prerogative of inerrancy granted the church, infallible. The church has not, does not, and cannot, permit the violation of God’s commandments in any case whatever.”—Reported in Catholic Mirror, March 1895.

The professed Protestantism of the country, is, if anything, more zealous than is Catholicism in the advocacy of this doctrine. And both alike are greatly pleased and find eminent “statesmen” insisting with all their power and influence upon the same doctrine.

All these vast influences are steadily and rapidly holding public sentiment into the fixed doctrine that Supreme Court decisions on constitutional questions are to be accepted because they are such decisions, without any question as to whether they are right or wrong—as soon as a decision has been made and because it has been made, it is a governmental and national Thus saith the Lord.

Public sentiment is thus being prepared so to accept any decision that may come from that source. And thus the way is surely being paved for the establishment of a national religious despotism. By repudiating that doctrine, Abraham Lincoln succeeded in averting the establishment of a national civil despotism. And nothing but the repudiation of that doctrine again, by the whole people, can avert the establishment of a national religious despotism. Yet for this, it must be confessed the evil has already spread too far; and it is too late to avert it.

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