MR. JOHNSON has sent us another communication in reply to our article in the September SENTINEL on the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union; and here it is:—
EDITORS AMERICAN SENTINEL: The next charges you bring against the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union are, first, that it “proposes to establish a theocracy in this country,” and to this end demands the ballot for women. Second, that it is the closest ally and the most powerful support of the National Reform Association.
What you say under the first charge I confess I am not sure that I understand. If I do, the burden of your objection lies against “putting the ballot into the hands of women.” But how this would “establish a theocracy” I cannot see. A theocracy is a Government immediately directed by God. A true theocracy in the United States now would be a pure republic in which the people—not the men only, but both men and women—would choose all the officers, and in which the will of God would be supreme, higher than the will of the people, and higher by the consent and will of the people. And I cannot see how any Christian man or woman can object to such a theocracy. I wish our Government was such now.
As to woman suffrage I may say that I am not aware the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union has ever given any deliverance. No doubt many of the members favor it and have so said; and probably some local Unions may have so voted. I do not know. Good women as well as good men all over the country favor it; multitudes of both oppose it. Your charge against the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union is founded only on what somebody in 1886 wrote for some monthly reading. It seems to me, therefore, that it is “far-fetched.”
But the big end of your assault upon the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union is its affiliation with the National Reform Association. And in your amplification of the charges against said Association, you make various propositions that I think are without foundation. I am not a member of the Association (I like my church better), but I indorse its principles and am familiar with its history and work, and I most unhesitatingly deny the statements you make. The Association does not “propose to turn this Government into a theocracy,” except in the sense defined above. The Association does not “declare that dissenters from National Reform opinions cannot dwell together on the same continent with National Reformed Christianity.” The Association never did declare that “there is nothing out of hell that should be tolerated as soon as these.”
You do not like Senator Blair’s proposed constitutional amendment. Will you be so kind as to publish it in the SENTINEL, so that your readers may judge of it for themselves, for I think your greatest objection must be that it is worded on the presumption that the first day of the week is the Christian Sabbath.
Finally, you charge the National Reform Association with being an ally of the Papacy. Among other things of the same kind and very doubtful you say that “the Association argues that the Catholic Bible and Catholic instruction shall be established in the public schools wherever Roman Catholics are in the majority.” This, like your other statements, must be positively denied. The Association never said anything of the kind. Secretary Stevenson, I think, at some public meeting at Saratoga a year ago, said something about permitting the Catholics to read the Douay Bible in their schools rather than have no Bible-reading at all; but I never heard that other National Reformers agreed with him. And sure I am that the Association never said a word in approval of what he had said at Saratoga. This, your charge against the Association, is therefore not only “far-fetched” but unfair.
In reference to what you say about National Reformers pledging themselves to join hands with the Roman Catholics to secure and enforce the National Sunday Law, I am not so well informed and cannot deny so positively. Perhaps some of them have been guilty of it. But even if they have been it is unfair to charge it against the Association or against other members of it.
N. R. JOHNSTON.
1. Mr. Johnston says we “charge” that the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union proposes to establish a theocracy in this country, and then defends the Union by declaring such a theocracy a good thing, and by saying he cannot see how any Christian man or woman can object to it. In other words, he defends the Union against the charge, by confessing that the charge is valid. A theocracy is a Government immediately directed by God; and it must be established immediately by God. But these people nowadays do not intend that this proposed theocracy shall be either established or directed immediately by God. They intend to establish it by popular vote, and to have it directed by human administration as now. Then, such a Government being, as they claim, a Government of God, whoever shall sit at the head of the Government will sit there in the place of God, and as the representative of God and the executor of his will. And that is all that the Papacy has ever claimed to be. Under the theory of the National Reform-Woman’s Christian Temperance Union the claims of the Pope are neither presumptuous nor extravagant. And if the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union theory shall ever be formed into Government here, there will be here but the Papacy over again.
2. He says our charge “against the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union is founded only on what somebody in 1886 wrote for some monthly reading. It seems to me, therefore, that it is farfetched.” Yes, our charge is founded only on what “somebody” wrote, etc. Exactly who wrote it we do not know, but we do know that Miss Frances E. Willard edited it; and we count her somebody, at least so far as the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union is concerned. She edited it and published it in her official capacity as president of the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union; and it was sent abroad to the local Unions as an official document, and it was received and read in the local Unions as such. Mr. Johnston or anybody else can find the whole reading with these particulars in the Christian Statesman of September 30, 1886.  This it is upon which our charge is founded, and it is not “far-fetched.”
3. Next he defends the National Reform Association, by saying that it does not propose to turn this Government into a theocracy, “except in the sense indicated above.” That is to say that the National Reformers do not propose to turn this Government into a theocracy except by turning it into a theocracy.
4. He says, “The Association does not declare that dissenters from National Reform opinions cannot dwell together on the same continent with National Reformed Christianity;” and that “it never did declare that there is nothing out of hell that should not be tolerated as soon as these.” The speech in which both these statements were made is printed in this number of the SENTINEL, which Mr. Johnston may read, and our readers may read it and judge between us and Mr. Johnston. That speech was made by Rev. Jonathan Edwards, D. D., a vice-president of the Association, in a National Reform National Convention held in New York City, February 26, 27, 1873. It was officially published by the Association, of whom we bought it; and it is at this day still advertised and sold by the Association as official and representative National Reform literature. If that does not make it the declaration of the National Reform Association, then how would it be possible for the Association to declare anything.
5. We printed in full in the July SENTINEL (1888) both the Sunday Bill, and the proposed constitutional amendment introduced by Senator Blair. We oppose them both because they are both antichristian, subversive of liberty, savoring of tyranny, and directly in the line of the establishment of a religious despotism.
6. Our charge that the Association agrees that the Catholic Bible and Catholic instruction shall be established in the public schools wherever the Roman Catholics are in the majority, Mr. Johnston says must be positively denied, and then admits that Secretary Stevenson did say something about it at Saratoga, but that the Association never said a word in approval of it. Mr. Stevenson did say it,—and he was officially representing, and acting for, the Association when he said it. And when Dr. Price made his motion, that motion commissioned “the National Reform Association” to secure such an agreement with the Catholic officials “if possible.” And Mr. Stevenson, as secretary of the Association, and for the Association, accepted the commission; and the whole thing was printed in the Christian Statesman. If that is not the word and act of the Association then what could be?
7. About pledging the National Reform Association to join hands with the Catholic Church, he thinks that “perhaps” some of them have been guilty of it. Yes, they are guilty of it. There is no perhaps about it. The statement was made in an editorial in the Christian Statesman, December 11, 1884. The Christian Statesman is the official organ of the National Reform Association, and if its editorial utterances are not the utterances of the Association then whose utterances are they?
The SENTINEL does not dwell on technicalities; it does not take unfair advantages; it does not make people or parties transgressors for a word. By the plainest, fairest, and most logical interpretation possible, the iniquity of this National Reform, Woman’s Christian Temperance Union political scheme is great enough. There is no need to dwell on technicalities. And as for our statements, they are always made on authority, and as nearly correct as we can possibly make them. The SENTINEL knows precisely what it is doing, and Mr. Johnston and others like him had better stop criticising, and go to believing, what the SENTINEL says.
A. T. J.