NOT long since the AMERICAN SENTINEL said this: “Let everybody be assured that work done for party prohibition is work done to promote the union of Church and State, and to bind the citizens of the United States in a worse slavery than was ever suffered by the negroes. We cannot any longer in good conscience call the third party the Prohibition party, for temperance is by no means its main issue.”
Upon which the New York Voice, the leading Prohibitionist paper of this country, said this:—
“There is an air of delightful indefiniteness about this charge. It seems from the context that an unknown ‘Prohibition politician’ glided into a room where the editor of the AMERICAN SENTINEL and others were, made the statement that Church and State meant Prohibition, and left as mysteriously as he entered, and the conclusion is what we have quoted above.
“Such accusations are childish. The utterances of the party in its platform in any way bearing on this subject are:—
“1. Acknowledging Almighty God as the source of all power in Government; and,
“2. ‘Declaring for the preservation and defense of the Sabbath as a civil institution, without oppressing any who religiously observe the same on any other than the first day of the week.’
“The first can be subscribed to by any person who believes that there is a God, and the second by any person who has ordinary common sense. We never heard of a prominent Prohibitionist who favored the union of Church and State.”
And in reply we say this: Take the last statement first. The Voice says it has “never heard of a prominent Prohibitionist who favored the union of Church and State.” Now Mr. Sam Small is a prominent Prohibitionist; one of the most prominent of Prohibitionists, in fact. He was secretary of the National Prohibition Convention of 1888, and he publicly declared this in Kansas City, in January of that year:—
“I want to see the day come when the church shall be the arbiter of all legislation, State, national, and municipal; when the great churches of the country can come together harmoniously and issue their edict, and the legislative powers will respect it and enact it into laws.”
If that would not be a union of Church and State will the Voice please tell us what would be? If that would not be a union of Church and State then there never has been and never can be such thing as a union of Church and State. Such a thing as that, therefore, being a union of Church and State, and Mr. Sam Small being a prominent Prohibitionist, it is proved that there is at least one prominent Prohibitionist who favors a union of Church and State.
Further we take it that the Prohibition party of the State of California is rather a “prominent Prohibitionist.” And when in the State convention of 1887 a speaker showed opposition to a union of Church and State he was yelled and hissed down. This is a second “prominent Prohibitionist” that favors a union of Church and State. And we can honestly inform the Voice that there are thousands more of them in the Prohibition party; and that, as a matter of fact, the Prohibition party at present exists for scarcely any other purpose than the inculcation of Church and State principles.
We need not go beyond the above extract from the Voice to prove that it itself advocates Church and State principles. It gives two planks of the Prohibition party platform as having a bearing on the subject; and the second of these declares “for the preservation and defense of the Sabbath as a civil institution without oppressing any who religiously observe the same on any other than the first day of the week.”
Now if it is with civil institutions, and civil things, only in a civil way, that the Prohibition party has to do, why then does that party by its national declaration demand the religious observance of a day. It proposes to refrain from oppressing only those who religiously observe the Sabbath on any other than the first day of the week. That plainly argues that the Prohibition party does not hold itself under obligation to refrain from oppressing those who do not religiously observe the Sabbath on any day. This plainly shows that the Prohibition party declares for the enforcement of religious observances. The enforcing of religious observances by the civil power is nothing else than a union of Church and State. Therefore the National Prohibition party itself, by its own declaration, favors a union of Church and State.
As for us, we forever deny the right of the Prohibition party, or any other, to oppress anybody, whether he religiously observes the Sabbath or not.
A. T. J.