Baltimore Evening Sun (13 March 1914): 6.
Despairing cry of the Rev. Dr. C. D. Harris in the estimable Southern Methodist:
This is a day of reform movements and organizations. The average preacher has not time to learn the names of many of them, not to speak of trying them–and new ones seem to be born every hour.
Nevertheless, any man who is opposed to even one of them is a rogue and a voluptuary and will inevitably go to hell.
A DAILY THOUGHT. In moderation, wine, beer and spirits may be taken throughout a long life without impairing the general health.–Sir William Osler, Bart., M. D., LL. D.
Those estimable gentlemen of God who now cry so pathetically for the Rev. Dr. Billy Sunday make an instructive and amusing confession of their own utter futility and failure. Here are men who are paid regular and, in some cases, lucrative salaries for keeping the devil out of their bailiwicks, and yet they now stand up and admit openly that the old fellow has got in in spite of them, and that they can’t turn him out without the aid of the Rev. Dr. Sunday’s spiritual calliopes and stinkpots. Suppose the doctors of Baltimore were to throw up their hands and bawl for Dr. Munyon and Lydia Pinkham? Suppose the police were to yell for Lieutenant Becker? What would be thought of it? And yet that is exactly what certain rev. clergymen of this fair cit
The Hon. R. T. H., putting me to the torture in today’s Letter Column for my “attack upon the flag of our country,” reveals a characteristic habit of moralists, professional patriots and all other such pious windjammers. That is to say, he first indicts me for something I have not done, and then proceeds to convict and hang me on his own bogus evidence. The fact is, of course, that I have never uttered a word, either in print or by word of mouth, against “the flag of our country.” I am too patriotic to do it, and what is more, too discreet. What I have presumed to cackle at is the Hon. Francis Scott Key’s song, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” And my objection to “The Star-Spangled Banner” is precisely that it is unworthy of the flag it celebrates—that it makes the judicious snicker at the very times when they should be breaking into the cold sweat of patriotism—that it debauches and degrades the little children who are forced to learn and sing it.
In this view, of course, it is possible that I may be wrong. If so, let the evidence be forthcoming. Let half a dozen competent critics go on the stand. Let them defend “The Star Spangled Banner” if they can. And meanwhile, let all mere pietists and sob-squadders stand back. No one is going to be impressed by the manufactured proofs of such puerile slobberers, and no one is going to mistake them for intelligent men, nor even for genuine patriots. That brand of patriotism which they preach is too pifflish to be the last refuge of scoundrels. But it is an admirable first refuge for donkeys.
The betting odds at Westport, as reported by the Society for the Suppression of Vice:y are doing now, whether they know it or not. They are confessing shamelessly that their own job is beyond them. They are taking money for doing something that they admit they can’t do.
What is worse, the known facts bear them out. The churches of the holy men who are most frantically eager for Billy and his benign rough-house are precisely the churches in which empty seats and once-a-week Christians are easiest to find. Not 10 per cent. of these dashing dominies would dare to preach from Matthew xxiii, 13-33: it would cause riots, and cost them their portfolios. But there are plenty of other clergymen in Baltimore who labor under no such perils, and, by a strange coincidence, it is in the churches of these gentlemen that you will see crowds every Sunday. and that you will find the worship of God going on, and not a series of vaudeville shows and political meetings. Such churches get along without the uplift, and also without the Pharisees. They keep clean the inside of the cup. They are actually churches, and not merely sporting clubs with steeples on them.
Personally, I should rejoice to see the Rev. Dr. Sunday come to Baltimore. On the one hand, his bold, bad unveiling of whited sepulchres would give a lot of harmless entertainment to the vulgar, and on the other hand, he would reduce the whole scheme of salvation by orgy to an absurdity. So far as I know, the Rev. Dr. Sunday is a perfectly honest man: he believes sincerely that the folks who come up and shake hands with him are saved. But in so believing, he chooses to forget the capital difference between an emotion and a conviction, and the capital fact that the wildest revivals of the past have left behind them the smallest crops of righteousness. If Christianity is a mere explosion of feelings, like having a tooth pulled, then he makes thousands of Christians. But if it is an attitude of mind and a way of life, then he makes very few. Acute infections do not last long.
A layman in one of the city churches, a man of sincere will and constant diligence, told me the other day about the results of a revival in his own church, The pastor of that church is paid a good salary and has comparatively light duties, but he found himself unable to make any progress against the decay of the congregation, and so he asked his board for help. Two professional evangelists were hired to stir up the backsliding and they labored vociferously for several weeks. At the end of that time they were paid $239 for their services. And what was the net profit to the church? The net profit was one permanent convert, one new member. To fill all the empty pews of that church, at such a rate, would cost $50,000–its normal income for nearly 10 years!
Will Dr. Sunday do any better? There is no sound reason to believe that he will. He will give a better show, and he will attract larger houses, but his past performances offer no indication that he will do a larger service to religion. A few waverers will be brought into camp, and a vast host of barroom wags will march up and “get converted,” as they did in Pittsburgh, but the net effect cannot fail to be unfavorable. Consider the thousands of young men who stay away from church today because they have been inoculated by the idea that religion is something feeble, foolish, infra dig—an idea constantly supported by clowning in the pulpit. What will be the effect of Dr. Sunday’s prancing and bellowing upon such young men? Will they go away from his meetings with the new notion that religion is something worthy the dignity of a man—that it is not something to apologize for, but something to ve proud of? Or will they go away with their doubts changed into certainties and their distrust changed into disgust?
The Rev. Dr. John Roach Straton on the racing fraternity:
There are people who notoriously indulge every vice on the calendar.
What, every? Does the learned dr. accuse them of hitting the pipe? Of rubbing snuff? Of yodling? Of coffee-sousing? Of playing the violencello? Of shoutisme? Of belonging to fraternal orders? Of singing in choirs? Of using the needle? And does he allege that the women among them chew tobacco?
Naive remark in the estimable Evening Sunpaper:
The royal family of Bavaria are most human.
Who wouldn’t be, drinking Spatenbräu all day long? Even the Hon. Charles J. Bonaparte would grow human in Munich.
Ten thousand dollars for any intelligible argument against woman suffrage–provided suffragettes are disfranchised.
“Damaged Goods” has come and gone, but still there is no news of a decline in the marriage rate.–Adv.
Wanted: Moral young men to join the vice crusade. Bring your own lassos and ladders. Immunity guaranteed under the Kenyon law.
Boil your drinking water! Get aboard the Dashing Harry bandwagon! Throw out the life-line!