REFERRING to our illustrated number of August 15, a Knoxville, Tenn., pastor, writes us as follows:—
EDITORS AMERICAN SENTINEL:
Gentlemen: Having given a partial quotation of an interview which I accorded a reporter for the SENTINEL, a daily paper of this city, on the subject of the punishment of the Tennessee Adventists for violation of the Sunday laws of the State of Tennessee, I ask that you do me the justice of publishing the closing paragraph of that same interview, as follows:—
“As to so-called Sunday laws, I believe they could, and certainly should be so framed as to duly respect the conscience of the subject. It is to be regretted that a body of religionists who conscientiously regard some other day of the week than Sunday as sanctified to holy purposes cannot, under the existing laws of our commonwealth, have their conscience respected. I believe, however, they would themselves prefer the enforcement of the law as it exists, to having its provisions disregarded at the expense of correct public notions touching the supremacy of the law. Perhaps in this I credit them with a patriotism their lips would discision. However, I think not.”
I have no doubt you will give the foregoing a place in your paper, together with so much of this letter as may be needful. That you will be as careful to send marked copies of the paper in which it shall appear, to various sources in this city, as you were to furnish the same sources with your issue of the 15th inst. can not be questioned.
Very truly yours,
THOS. C. WARNER.
Knoxville, Tenn., August 31st, 1895.
We cheerfully comply with Mr. Warner’s request, though we do not see that it alters the case materially. We quoted only a portion of the interview because we had not space for all of it, and because his opinion of what a Sunday law ought to be could not affect his deliberate judgment that—
The question of righteousness should never decide whether an existing law is to be enforced or not. Is it the law of the land? That question settled in the affirmative, then let the law be enforced. If the law is unjust, if it works hardship to innocent persons, still let it be executed so long as it remains upon the statute books.
We said before, and we say again, that this being Mr. Warner’s deliberate convictions, he must have said the same ting in the glare of the fires that consumed the martyrs in France or Spain, or at the foot of the gallows tree whereon the Protestants of Holland were executed; for it was all only the enforcement of civil law. We are glad that Mr. Warner’s better self revolts at the logic of the words which his lips uttered. The country can well dispense with the “loyalty” which says: “If a law is unjust, if it works hardship to innocent persons, still let it be enforced so long as it remains upon the books.”
Mr. Warner has not exactly retracted this unguarded utterance, but we are glad to believe that he spoke without realizing that he thereby justified all the crimes which have been committed in the name of law in this wicked world; and their name is legion.