Religious Liberty in America

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Charles Miles Snow
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HE organized movement, now in full progress in America, which has for its object the control Of the minds and consciences of men, is the sufficient excuse for the appearance of this monograph. For years the writer has followed the course and studied the aims of certain American organizations whose primal object is the control of religion and religious practises by human law. With much interest and concern, he has watched their progress toward a point of coalescence under common leader ship. Realizing the rapid growth oi their numbers, the coalescence of organizations, and the growing tend ency on the part of politicians to legislate in harmony with organized demands rather than in harmony with broad principles of equitable government, he has be come fully convinced that the success Of that movement means abandonment of the principles that have made America great and stable and a beacon to the world. God created the mind to be free. He has never con ferred upon any one the right to imprison it. Human enactments which circumscribe conscience subject the Soul to a thraldom more humiliating and more ruinous than any the body has ever endured. Where conscience is fettered, there is no freedom worthy Of the name. It took many generations for men to learn that he who prescribes laws to hamper or to crush the consciences Of men makes a slave of himself and of his posterity as well as of those against whom such laws are aimed. He only is free whose mind and conscience are unfettered. He is the greatest of Slaves who must think and believe and worship only as human decrees permit or direct. Law is good; but there is a domain into which human law has not been commissioned to enter, the domain Of the soul. There is an allegiance which the state has a right to claim; but there is another allegiance which only the Creator himself can of right demand. When the state enters that domain and demands that allegiance to itself, it usurps the prerogative of God. The state is within its legitimate sphere when it deals with the temporal affairs of men. The Church is within its legitimate sphere when it deals with the spiritual affairs of men, and even that not as a lord Over men's consciences. When either of these organizations enters the domain of the other, there is discord, contention, bloodshed. When each conducts its Operations within its own legitimate jurisdiction, there is peace, harmony, and prosperity, both temporal and spiritual.

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