“Which Will It Be?” American Sentinel 12, 1, pp. 4, 5.

IS this a Protestant Christian nation, or a Roman Catholic Christian nation? An important question is this, one which contains the elements of terrific commotion for the religious forces of the country. And this question is now raised, and the issued joined, which must precipitate the contest for supremacy. President Cleveland’s “innocent” little Thanksgiving utterance of recent date, bearing the stamp of a national document, seems to have been all that was lacking to start the avalanche rolling. Note the following from the Presbyterian Messenger, quoted in the Christian Statesman, of December 12:—

“The United States Supreme Court has recently declared judicially that this is a Christian nation; and now the executive falls in line. And let us hold up not only the Christian flag, but the Protestant flag. Every historical, constitutional and legal fact and principle that makes this a Christian nation, makes it a Protestant nation. If it be inconsistent with the rights of Romanists to make this assertion, it is inconsistent with the rights of Jews and even of all irreligious men to make the official declarations that the President and the Governor have made. One of our political judges had the temerity to declare in the late Saratoga General Assembly that its not true historically, or in any other way, that this is a Protestant nation. Made in such a place it was a traitorous declaration. Politicians, who are looking for votes may presume on the liberality of Protestants and call for the papal ballots by such declaration; but all Protestants, informed as to the true history of the nation should repudiate them with indignation.”

So this is a Protestant Christian nation, is it? Hold on, now; let us see what our Roman Catholic citizens have to say on that point. In the Catholic Mirror, of December 12, is found this from the pen of Cardinal Gibbons:—

“The American nation is a Christian nation. This is manifest from its constitution, from its legislation, and from its observance of certain holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

Cardinal Gibbons speaks with authority for the [5] Roman Catholic Church. And when he says that the American nation is a Christian nation, he means that it is a Roman Catholic Christian nation, for the plain reason that the Catholic Church does not recognize anything as Christian outside of her own fold. She denies that there is any salvation outside her pale. She affirms expressly that she is the Christian church, and that all other churches are schismatic and heretical. Only recently the Anglican “High Church,” which resembles the Roman Catholic Church so closely in doctrine and practice as to be almost indistinguishable from it, was refused recognition as a Christian church by the supreme head of the church of Rome.

With Church and State separated, as in the order established by our forefathers, the question as to whether or not this Government is Protestant, or even Christian, could never be raised. But now that every department of the Government has broken through this order, and declared this to be a Christian nation, the question has arisen, and already it has assumed that phase which must precipitate a conflict between Protestantism and Rome for political supremacy. Is the Government to be Roman Catholic or Protestant? As established by the framers of the Constitution, it is Protestant, in that its foundation principles are in antagonism to the papal principle of a union of religion with the State. And every move in the direction of giving it a religious character, has been a move to make it in reality, if not in name, a Roman Catholic Government. In every such move the nation has been playing into Rome’s hands. Therefore let Protestants not imagine that victory will lightly turn upon their side when the battle is joined.

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