MR. MOODY, the evangelist, has said something calculated to shock the church congregations of New York City out of their moral complacency. What he says of the spiritual condition of this city is of course just as applicable to any other section of the country.
Mr. Moody said before a audience in Carnegie Hall, that Christ would be no more welcome should he return to the earth to-day than he was when he came to the Jews in Palestine nineteen centuries ago. “Nineteen hundred years,” said the evangelist, “have rolled away since Christ found no place on earth to lay his head. His gospel is now preached in all parts of the world, but is it not a fact that even now there is not room on earth for the Son of God, and no nation wants him?
“Does America want Him? It is a Christian nation. England claims to be the most Christian nation, but if a man stood up in Parliament to-morrow to advocate—could it be possible—that Christ should come in person to rule England, he would be hooted down. France, Germany, Italy and Spain are Christian nations. Is there room for Him in either?
“Has not Christianity settled down to be a mere  lifeless form? Suppose it were possible to petition Christ to return to earth to rule us. How many of the people of New York would sign the petition? Would business men sign it? They would have to change their methods first. Would stock-brokers sign it? It would smash up their business pretty quick. Would saloon-keepers sign it? They would find their occupation gone should they do so.
“I’ll bring the question closer home to you. How about the churches? Do they want Him? Pride and form and dignity in the church would have to step down.
“But we can bring the question even closer to us. How many ladies here would vote to have Him come? I think but few hands would be raised should the vote be taken this afternoon.
“There is hardly a name to unpopular in the world to-day as that of Jesus Christ. Thank God there are a few who have stepped out of the world who would welome [sic.] Him!”
Mr. Moody knows, and knows so well that he does not hesitate to state it to his congregations, that the “Christian nations” of to-day do not want Christ any more than did the Jewish nation of old. Even the church-going people, he says, do not constitute an exception in this matter. And what Mr. Moody knows, thousands of others in the Church know as well.
What meaning, then, is there in the movement, in which the churches and religious societies are now all engaged, to make this a “Christian nation” by the exercise of their political power. If the churches themselves are not Christian enough to want Christ with them as Mr. Moody described, how can they make anything else Christian? And if they cannot make the nation Christian by the religious stamp which they propose to put upon it, what else can they do, but to make it antichristian? What else was ever done to a nation by giving it a religious stamp?
This is the plain meaning of the movement to make the United States Government profess religion.