Baltimore Evening Sun (24 January 1914): 6.
The Rev. Dr. Carlton D. Harris, editor of the Baltimore Southern Methodist, continues to xanthiate his estimable gazette with vague and sophistical attacks upon my theological talents, in particular upon my theory that prohibirion is not a Christian doctrine, but a Mohammedan one, and that the Hon. William H. Anderson, in consequence, is one of the noblest old Moslems that ever garroted a Gaour. In his current issue, for example, he essays to dispose of this theory in two ways—first, by trying to show that there are direct prohibitions of alcohol in the Bible, and secondly, by arguing that the Anti-Saloon League, a supposedly Christian body, is not actually opposed to it, but merely seeks “the destruction of the legalized saloon.”
The discerning will notice a plain contradiction in these two arguments, but let it pass. I take up the second first, and quote from the learned Doctor:
The Anti Saloon League does not stand for the prohibition of alcohol. * * * In the second section of * * * the prohibition resolutions delivered to Congress by the Anti-Saloon League of One Thousand December 10, 1913, provision is made for Congress to manufacture alcoholic liquors for necessary purposes. The section reads: “Congress shall have power to provide for the manufacture, sale, importation and transportation of intoxicating liquors for sacramental, medicinal, mechanical, pharmaceutical or scientific purposes, or [for] free use in the arts. * * *”
The italics are the Doctor’s own. Obviously, there is nothing but nonsense here. If the Anti-Saloon League is really willing to allow the manufacture and sale of “intoxicating liquors” for “medicinal purposes,” then all it asks is that the present trade of the licensed kaifs be turned over to the drug store (as actually happened in all the so-called “dry” States), and, therefore, it cannot call itself a foe of alcohol. To that extent, one may grant at once, it is wholly Christian. But if, as Dr. Harris hints, it is genuinely (though secretly) opposed to the sale and use of alcohol as a beverage, even in drug stores, then it is wholly Mohammedan, or, at least, not Christian, for there is not a single direct prohibition of alcohol, whether as a medicine or as a beverage, in the whole New Testament, and on the only occasions when it is mentioned at all in the historical books the sacred writers refer to it with either tacit or undisguised approbation. For example, in John, ii, 1-11; in Matthew, ix, 17; in Mark, ii, 22, and 1 Timothy, v, 23.
Thus it appears that the Anti-Saloon League, viewed from one angle, is Christian but wet, and from another angle, dry but Mohammedan. I am inclined to take the latter view of it, not because of anything that Dr. Harris says but because of what the league itself says. Turn to the pamphlet upon “The Effect of Alcoholic Drinks Upon the Human Mind and Body,” prepared by the burlesque “Scientific Temperance Federation,” of Boston, for the use of the league in Baltimore, and you will find what I allude to. On page 19 there is the unqualified statement that “alcohol increases liability to sickness”—obviously, an insuperable objection in a medicine. And on page 30 you will find a whole paragraph cunningly devised to leave the impression upon the immature mind that alcohol has no medicinal virtue whatever, and that “all physicians” have lost their old faith in it. Certainly an organization which holds such unfavorable notions of the “medicinal” value of alcohol cannot actually favor its use as a medicine! For the purposes of deceiving Congress it may say that it does, just as the Hon. William H. Anderson says that he loves saloonkeepers and wishes them well, but certainly it is too much to ask reasonable men to believe that it does.
So much for the Rev. Dr. Harris’ attempt to make it out that the Anti-Saloon League is not opposed to alcohol as such, but merely to the licensed kaif, and that, in consequence, it is a Christian organization. In the matter of his second, or, rather, his first argument–i. e., that there are direct prohibitions of alcohol in the Bible—I am in consultation with fellow-theologians of special gifts, and shall present my answer in due course. In the meantime, I may as well inform him that all of these experts, after a preliminary examination of the three texts he quotes, are of the tentative opinion that there is nothing in them forbidding a decent and reasonable consumption of fermented beverages.
The Hon. H. E. Buchholz, editor of the Atlantic Educational Journal, devotes more than five columns in the current issue of his estimable gazette to the Character Development League, of 70 Fifth avenue, New York, one of the most eloquent and pertinacious of the uplifting vereins which now woo the public ear. This organization makes a noble show of eminent names on its “consulting board,” but if the Hon. Mr. Buchholz is to be believed, its actual manager is one James Terry White. And who is White? White is the author of a book called “Character Lessons in American Biography.” And what of it? Simply this: that the Character Development League seems to devote nearly its whole energies to the sale of this moral work—at 75 cents a copy to the public in general, at 40 cents to school teachers, at 35 cents to school boards and at 22 cents to educational publications which desire to offer it “as a prize to new subscribers.”
The Hon. Mr. Buchholz seems to be surprised that a band of uplifters so virtuous in their purposes should engage in such ardent merchandizing. Innocent man! Has he ever heard of such an organization which was not so engaged—or of a upyanking individual? Does he fancy that the Hon. Ben B. Lindsey exposes his wounds in the yap chautauquas for nothing? Can he bring forth a single touring vice crusader, with the sole exception of Dr. Howard A. Kelly, retired, who neither peddles books on “sex hygiene” nor takes fees for spellbinding? Do not mistake me: I do not accuse these gentlemen of lacking the true holy fire, the passion for righteousness, the authentic afflatus. But what I do charge is that they always ask the public to pay most of the costs of their pious jehads. One and all, they want to swap their whoops for board and lodging.
The Hon. Charles M. Levister, D. D., in the current American Issue:
Do the drunkard’s children have any more clothes when their father spends his earnings in a regulated kaif than when he spends them in a boot-legging joint?
Perhaps not. But do they have any less?
The Court of Appeals has now decided every point against the ex-Sheiriffs. But they are still hanging on to the money.—Adv.
Book respectfully recommended to the morbid anatomists of the Maryland Suffrage News:
“Women and Morality,” with an introduction by the Hon. Wallace Rice. (The Laurentian Publishers, Steinway Hall, Chicago; $1.)