American Sentinel 15, 1, pp. 3, 4.
THE National W. C. T. U. has now definitely put itself on record on the question of Sunday laws and Sabbath-keepers, in the following words:—
“Resolved, That we favor the amendment of all State Sunday laws which do not contain the usual exemption for those who keep the Sabbath day.”
This resolution was offered “as involving all necessary points, and omitting the objectionable ones,” in the following resolution, which was before the convention:—
“Resolved, That as a National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union we protest against any such interpretation or use of any lines of our work as shall give aid or comfort to those who, through ignorance, prejudice, or malice, would enact or enforce such laws as can be made to serve the purpose of persecution, or to in any manner interfere with the most perfect liberty of conscience concerning days, or the manner of their observance.”
Now, we wish that somebody would take this original resolution and point out the “objectionable points.”
We really desire to know what points there are in that resolution that are “objectionable;” and then to know, also, why they are “objectionable.”
As the National Union has taken this action, and so has committed itself to the consideration of this subject, it is entirely proper for them to signify the “objectionable points” in their resolution. And we now say to all the women of the N. W. C. T. U. that the columns of this paper, the AMERICAN SENTINEL, are freely open to them, in which to show these “objectionable points.”
It is proper that they should do this, because we are concerned in it. They have adopted a resolution definitely directed to “those who keep the Sabbath day.” There are about fifty thousand of the Seventh-day Adventists, alone, besides the Seventh-day Baptists, in the United States, who are concerned in the action of the National Union in passing this resolution, and who shall be concerned in their putting the resolution into effect. And, as in their estimation, the resolution that they passed, was passed expressly in order to avoid the “objectionable points” in the resolution that was before the convention, they ought to be willing, for the sake of the many who are concerned, to state what are the “objectionable points” in the original resolution, and why we should be expected to accept the substitute, and their action in carrying it out, instead of insisting upon the principles embodied in the resolution for which the one that was adopted is the substitute. For, surely, they ought to have our co-operation in what they have adopted; and we can assure the N. W. C. T. U. that we do sincerely wish to co-operate with them in every way that is possible; and we will do so. But when a vital principle is involved, then adherence to principle is of more worth than is co-operation at the expense of principle.
IN the National W. C. T. U. convention the following notice was given:—
“Madame President and Delegates: I give notice that at the next annual convention I, or some one in my place, will offer the following amendment to the constitution:—
ARTICLE VI.—PLANS OF WORK
“Nothing shall ever be incorporated into any plan of N. W. C. T. U. work, by department or otherwise, which must of necessity become the occasion of sectarian controversy, or which can in any sense be made to interfere with perfect liberty of conscience.”
This is a regularly established procedure in the N. W. C. T. U. in all matters pertaining to amendments to the constitution. This notice, therefore, stands as perfectly regular and strictly an order; and, as such, is before the union for consideration, through the whole year, until the next annual convention, and will then be before the convention for consideration in convention, and for the decision of the convention.
Thus, by two distinct acts—their own action as a convention, and this notice of an amendment to the constitution—the N. W. C. T. U. is committed definitely to the consideration of Sunday laws as affecting Sabbath observers, and to the consideration of their plans of work with respect to whatever may be, or may become, “the occasion of sectarian controversy, which can in any sense be made to interfere with perfect liberty of conscience.” In other words, the N. W. C. T. U., by these two acts, is brought face to face, officially and as a body, with the question of religious liberty—the rights of conscience as involved in Sunday laws and Sabbath observance. We are glad of it. This is a good thing. It is one of the best things that has happened to the N. W. C. T. U. since about 1886, at least, if not one of the best things that ever happened to it.
The National Union, in convention assembled, has declared itself in “favor” of “the amendment of all State Sunday laws which do not contain the usual exemption for those who keep the Sabbath day.” This action of theirs commits them to an examination of all the State Sunday laws, to discover which of them does “not contain the usual exemption for those who keep the Sabbath day;” and then, having found these, to “favor the amendment” of them.
In the nature of the case, this commits the whole National Union to the study of the question of Sunday laws and Sabbath observers. And, as there is a regularly introduced notice of an amendment, which they will be asked to adopt at the next annual convention, by which “nothing shall ever be incorporated into any plan of the N. W. C. T. U. work, by department or otherwise, which must of necessity become the occasion of sectarian controversy, or which can in any sense be made to interfere with perfect liberty of conscience,”—this, backing up their own work to which they are committed by their own resolution, in the nature of things, requires them, in the examination of “all State Sunday laws,” to consider whether there be any thing connected with these that may “become the occasion of sectarian controversy, or which can in any sense be made to interfere with perfect liberty of conscience.”
Thus, by their own action in resolution, and by regular notice of an amendment to their constitution, the N. W. C. T. U. is pledged to the consideration of “perfect liberty of conscience” as connected with Sunday laws and Sabbath observers. And, in the consideration of this mighty question,—one of the most important ever known,—the most important that has ever been before the N. W. C. T. U., the AMERICAN SENTINEL can freely give, and hereby does pledge itself to give, the most hardy co-operation. And we call upon all Seventh-day Adventists in the nation to give the same co-operation in the consideration of this great question as the AMERICAN SENTINEL proposes to give. Let all “those who keep the Sabbath day” assist by all possible means—by literature, lectures, sermons, Bible instruction, social converse—in every way help, and co-operate with, the women of the N. W. C. T. U. in the consideration of this great question, which is inevitably now before them for at least a whole year.