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POLYGAMY AND CITIZENSHIP

IN

CHURCH AND STATE.

CHAPTÉR I.

THE OCCASION OF THIS PAMPHLET.

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The relation of polygamy to citizenship is regarded a vital problem. This problem is solved by the courts of all civilized nations by its condemnation and punishment as crime. Right here in Washington City, a court of the District of Columbia, whilst I was writing this pamphlet, sent a bigamist to the penitentiary. This is treating it as a felony, a high crime.

Under human law grave offenses are crimes; under the divine law all offenses are sins.

Certainly the relation of polygamy to church membership is not less vital to the church than to state citizenship. That is the essential point-the gravaman-of this pamphlet. Whilst it deals with a particular case, the Southern Presbyterian Church, its scope, however, is as broad as christendom.

I will at once explain to the reader the occasion and reason of my writing this pamphlet.

As this explanation has been fairly well given in an article published in The Southwestern Presbyterian, April 4, 1906, one of the leading papers of the Southern Presbyterian Church, published in New Orleans, La., and as it has not been furnished to any other paper, I will appropriate it here, with proper acknowledgments. Let it be understood that the proceedings and documents therein referred to all appear later in the pamphlet; and also, that this article was in response to a call made in an earnest editorial comment after considering the overture, the action thereon of the General Assembly and of the Synod of Virginia, and also the joint complaint of several members of Synod carrying the overture up to the General Assembly of 1906.

This explanation was given in response to editorial cominent on the overture and the Complaint.

IS THIS TRUE?"

In publishing the overture on polygamy laid before the Synod of Virginia, and referring to the Complaint which carries it up to the next General Assembly (1906), The Southwestern Presbyterian of February 28, 1906, presents some carefully prepared comments and judiciously observes :

“The appositeness of all this depends upon the fact, evidently satisfactorily proved to the author's mind, but not shown to others except in his general statements, that our church is admitting, harboring, and tolerating polygamy. Is this true? If it is, by all means let' specific charges be brought and let the matter be dealt with judicially and not in thesi. If the Committee of Foreign Missions is responsible, let it be brought before the bar of the church. If any missionary is responsible, let his Presbytery be duly informed of the facts and be urged to deal with the

If there is warrant for definite action, why not institute it in a definite way, by judicial pro

case.

cess?"

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