What is Patriotism in the United States? — part 5


I present to you this matter thus fully because most of the people of the United States have forgotten that these invaluable documents ever existed, and that this history was ever made; and further, because the identical things which were then attempted, and which produced this history, are now being attempted throughout this whole land in defiance of these essential principles of the nation. And since this is so, it is all–important that the principles upon which this evil thing was then defeated, and which became the fundamental and constitutional principles of the government of the United States, should now be carefully considered; because these are the only principles upon which the same evil repeated in our day can be rightfully opposed. The same contest is now on throughout the whole larger nation, that was then on throughout the nation—then small in numbers and in territory, but exceeding great and mighty in prospect because of the force and inherent value of its immortal American and Christian principles.

I have said that the same thing is now being attempted upon the nation that was then attempted upon the State of Virginia; namely, the establishment of the “Christian religion” as such, “not sectarian Christianity, but broad, general Christianity.” Ever since 1863, there has been an organization—the National Reform Association—whose sole purpose of existence is to secure an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, “acknowledging Almighty God as the source of all authority and power in civil government; the Lord Jesus Christ as the ruler among the nations, and His revealed will as the supreme law of the land; and place all the Christian laws, institutions, and usages upon an undeniable legal basis in the fundamental law of the land.”

This Association has secured, and wrapped up in alliance with itself to accomplish this thing which our fathers repudiated, the Prohibition party, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, the American Sabbath Union, the Young Peoples’ Christian Endeavor Societies, the Christian Citizenship League, and the most prominent officials of the Catholic Church in this country. These all are enlisted, and are working in combination, to secure the governmental recognition and establishment of the Christian religion in this country,—the very thing which was definitely excluded and repudiated in the making of the nation,—in defiance of the principles which our fathers established as the fundamental principles of the nation in the noble efforts which they made in expressly repudiating it.

These principles which our fathers established, the history of the establishment of which I have sketched before you this afternoon,—it is these which have made this nation what it has been, and is, in all that deserves the attention and respect of the nations of the earth. These principles, then, being that which has made this nation what it is in all respects as a worthy nation; and patriotism being the spirit which prompts allegiance to the principles and fundamental laws of one’s country; it follows that allegiance to these principles, and these alone, is true patriotism in the United States.

And in view of this mighty combination of the loudly self–proclaimed “patriots,” who are using their utmost endeavors to supplant these principles with that thing which our fathers repudiated when they established these principles, it is high time, and all–important, to awaken and arouse in the people throughout this whole land the spirit which prompts to allegiance to the fundamental law and principles of this nation—the spirit of true patriotism.

Yet this is not all. Nor yet is it the worst. It is a fact, and a disgraceful fact, that the three branches of the United States government have been by official action definitely committed to this thing,—to this unpatriotic thing,—which was definitely repudiated by the noble men who established this nation upon the principles, and by the history, to which I have called your attention.

Ever since the year 1886 the different administrations and Congresses of the United States Government have been paying hundreds of thousands of dollars of the money of all the people to the churches to support them in carrying on their own church work and the propagation of their own church doctrines, in their own church schools. All these years the government has, from the public revenue, been making “a provision for teachers of the Christian religion,” the very thing the makers of the nation repudiated as “sinful and tyrannical,” the very thing that was the specific point around which clustered the whole controversy, and the repudiation of which developed the principles and established the supreme law of this nation as I have brought to your attention today.

Feb. 29, 1892, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously rendered a decision, in which, as the result of a long, and professedly “historical” argument, there was made the declaration, as “the meaning of the Constitution,” that “this is a Christian nation.”

In the summer of 1893, in the matter of closing the World’s Fair on Sunday, the Congress of the United States, in each House respectively, did by definite action exclude from its place the Sabbath of the fourth commandment; and did put in its place the Sunday as the Christian Sabbath, recognized and sustained by the national authority. This action of Congress was definitely approved by the national executive.

And thus the three branches of the government of the United States, which is the whole government of the United States, have in defiance of the essential principles of the government, definitely adopted, and committed the government to the very thing which the makers of the nation definitely repudiated.

In their contention against the “evil thing” of governmental recognition of the Christian religion, the men who made this nation declared that it is impossible for the magistrate to adjudge the right of preference among the various sects professing the Christian faith without erecting a claim to infallibility which would lead us back to Rome. In that transaction in the United States Senate, July 10 and 12, 1892, with reference to closing the World’s Fair on Sunday, the fourth commandment was read from the Bible as the “reason” for such legislation. But when it was discerned that the fourth commandment says only that “the seventh day is the Sabbath,” and that if left standing so the management of the Fair might possibly choose to close the gates on the seventh day, and open them on Sunday, then this argument was made:—

“The language of this amendment is that the Exposition shall be closed on the ‘Sabbath day.’ I submit that if the senator from Pennsylvania desires that the exposition shall be closed upon Sunday, this language will not necessarily meet that idea. …

“The word ‘Sabbath day’ simply means that it is a rest day, and it may be Saturday or Sunday, and it would be subject to the discretion of those who will manage this Exposition whether they should close the Exposition on the last day of the week, in conformity with the observance which is made by the Israelites and the Seventh-day Baptists, or should close it on the first day of the week, generally known as the ‘Christian Sabbath.’ It certainly seems to me that this amendment should be adopted by the senator from Pennsylvania, and, if he proposes to close this Exposition, that it should be closed on the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday. …

“Therefore I offer an amendment to the amendment, which I hope may be accepted by the senator from Pennsylvania, to strike out the words ‘Exposition on the Sabbath day,’ and insert ‘mechanical portion of the Exposition on the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday.’”

This argument was accepted, and this proposed amendment was adopted. The House of Representatives accepted all this, and so made it the action of the legislative branch of the government.

Now note the principle: The Seventh–day Baptists and their observance of the seventh day as the Sabbath of the commandment quoted, were definitely named in contrast with those who observe “the first day of the week, generally known as the Christian Sabbath,” with reference to the commandment quoted. And the preference was adjudged in favor of the latter.

Now the Seventh–day Baptists are a sect professing the Christian faith. The original Sabbath commandment was quoted word for word from the Scriptures. The words of that commandment, as they stand in the proceedings of Congress, say “the seventh day is the Sabbath.” The Seventh–day Baptists, a sect professing the Christian faith, observe the very day—the seventh day—named in the Scripture quoted in the Record. There are other sects professing the Christian faith who profess to observe the Sabbath of this same commandment by keeping “the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday,” and hence it is that that day is “generally known as the Christian Sabbath.”

These facts were known to Congress, and were made a part of the record. Then upon this statement of facts as to the difference among sects professing the Christian faith, touching the very religious observance taken up by Congress, the Congress did deliberately, and in set terms, adjudge the right of preference between these sects professing the Christian faith. Congress did adjudge the right of preference in favor of those sects which observe “the first day of the week, generally known as the Christian Sabbath,” as against the plainly named sect which observes the day named in the commandment which Congress quoted from the Bible. Thus Congress did the very thing which the fathers of the nation declared it “impossible” to do “without erecting a claim to infallibility, which would lead us back to the church of Rome.”

Read part 6 — Now to the Application | Home | Articles Index