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Source: Congregationalist and Christian World
Source type: magazine
Document type: article
Document title: “The Church Universal and the Attempted Assassination”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: 14 September 1901
Volume number: 86
Issue number: 37
Pagination: 396

“The Church Universal and the Attempted Assassination.” Congregationalist and Christian World 14 Sept. 1901 v86n37: p. 396.
full text
McKinley assassination (religious response); anarchism (religious response); McKinley assassination (sermons); anarchism (sermons); resolutions; McKinley assassination (international response); resolutions (Christ Church, Lambeth, London); resolutions (Ecumenical Methodist Conference); Leo XIII (public statements); lawlessness (mob rule: Fairmont, NE); McKinley assassination (personal response); McKinley assassination (public response).
Named persons
P. A. Adamian; Hugh Black; Frank Bristol; Edward L. Clark; Michael Corrigan; W. T. Davidson; James A. Garfield; James Gibbons; George A. Gordon (a); David Gregg; Samuel E. Herrick; John Bunyan Lemon; Leo XIII; Abraham Lincoln; George C. Lorimer; Frank Barrows Makepeace; William T. McElveen; Abner McKinley; Ida McKinley; William McKinley; Frederick B. Meyer; Henry R. Naylor; Samuel B. Pearson; Edward C. Porter; Henry Codman Potter; Samuel L. Powers; Adam M. Reoch; Stephen H. Roblin; Giovanni Battista Scalabrini; M. Woolsey Stryker; A. Stuart; Reuen Thomas; George Washington.
The identity of Mr. King of Lewis Avenue in Brooklyn (below) cannot be confirmed. Possibly it is Charles W. King.

As indicated below, C. N. A. is credited with authorship of the section on New York. This is the only portion of the article for which authorship is credited.


The Church Universal and the Attempted Assassination


In Boston

     Scarcely a church or pulpit in Boston and vicinity omitted reference to the tragedy. Rev. Dr. E. L. Clark, preaching at the Central Congregational Church, held that such enemies of the race as President McKinley’s assassin must be restrained like wild beasts or the pestilence. Rev. Dr. S. E. Herrick at Mt. Vernon insisted that, despite the inexplicability of the event, we must believe still that God reigns. He referred with admiration to the stricken President’s Christian spirit, revealed in his prayer for the forgiveness of his assassin, and he expressed his confidence that the nation today has a higher type of citizenship on which to rely in time of danger or peril than it had in the days when Lincoln and Garfield were smitten. At Shawmut Rev. Dr. W. T. McElveen preached on The Essence of Anarchy and Its Eradication, and declared that while socialism was not always abominable, that while communism is not always contemptible, anarchy always is contemptible and abominable, “and that the time is ripe for the American people to grind their heel relentlessly and unpityingly upon the head of this viper. It must be throttled.”
     Rev. Dr. Gregg of Brooklyn, occupying his former pulpit at Park Street, held that the present crisis brings the nation face to face with a national and present duty, viz: “Anarchy must go. A known anarchist must be treated as a dangerous criminal.” Rev. Dr. Reuen Thomas at the Harvard Church, Brookline, said that “we cannot say that there is security against professional anarchists except by banishment from the country.”
     Rev. Dr. George C. Lorimer, speaking to a crowded and tensely listening congregation in Tremont Temple of probably 3,500, Sunday evening, took practically the same position. He pointed out the futility of the anarchist policy as well as its essential wickedness, and held that the immediate duty of the hour was its extirpation by society. “Kindly, firmly, systematically, we must dispel the illusion.” He deprecated all talk of lynching of the assassin. “We don’t want America to turn anarchist for the sake of curing anarchy.” Rev. Stephen H. Roblin, at the Second Universalist Church, urged international action for the extirpation of the avowed anarchists, whether philosophical or practical in their type, and he said a much needed word on the part the “yellow” journalism has to play in breeding disrespect for rulers by its gross cartoons and its “suggestive” reports of attempts against rulers of state.
     At the service of Armenians held in St. Paul’s Church a prayer for the recovery of the President was offered, the national hymn for those in peril and ill health was sung, and a fervid eulogy of the President by Mr. P. A. Adamian was given.


In New York

     Wherever services were held in New York last Sunday the sad event at Buffalo was mentioned. At the Broadway Tabernacle Mr. Gordon prayed for the President, for Mrs. McKinley and for the people. At Trinity Mr. Makepeace, at the Forest Avenue Mr. Reoch, and at Lewis Avenue, Brooklyn, Mr. King referred in prayers or in sermons to the sufferer in the Milburn home. Mr. Black, who again crowded the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, made a short address prefatory to his opening prayer, in which he mentioned the close tie, and therefore the kindred sorrow, of English-speaking people, and begged to extend to Americans the sympathies which he said he knew all Scotland, and all the world, for that matter, felt. Archbishop Corrigan at the Cathedral of St. Patrick and Bishop Potter at the Cathedral of St. John had prayers made for the President and for those under affliction, and in the case of the Roman Catholics the prayers were used in all the churches. The archbishop’s special prayer ran thus:

     We pray thee, O God of might and justice, through whom authority is rightly administered, laws enacted and judgments decreed, restore to health and strength the President of these United States, that he may be able to continue his Administration founded in righteousness and be again eminently useful to the people over whom he presides by encouraging our respect for virtue and religion, by the faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy, and by restraining vice and immorality, etc.

     Mr. Abner McKinley, the President’s brother, belongs, with his family, to Heavenly Rest Episcopal Church. It is closed for the installation of an organ, but in the chapel the prayer for those under affliction was offered. In old St. Paul’s, attended by President Washington, the Litany has been said every morning since last Saturday and will continue until the occasion for it has passed. In the Jewish temples on Saturday prayers were offered, and in several of them addresses were made concerning the heinous crime.
     President Stryker of Hamilton College, preaching at the Brick Church on Sunday morning, took for his text James 2:12. He defined liberty and its enemy, lawlessness, and declared the crime to be treason. Should Mr. McKinley recover, said he, this man should be treated, not as one who attempted to take life and failed, and therefore to escape with ten years in prison, but as a traitor that he is. Summoning all of the power of righteous indignation at his command, he said, solemnly: “In God’s name, hang the man as he deserves!”

C. N. A.     


In Washington

     Service in the Metropolitan Episcopal Church, which President McKinley attends, was largely one of expressions of sympathy for the stricken President and his family, prayer for restoration and praise of the virtues of the man alternating. The officiating clergyman, Rev. Dr. H. R. Naylor, presiding elder of the district, in his address, went near to the point of justifying lynching of the assassin. Resolutions of sympathy for Mrs. McKinley were passed by a formal vote of the congregation.


In London

     British sympathy found expression in manifold ways in the churches of the realm last Sunday, prayers for the recovery of the patient being offered up and tributes of respect being paid, the services at St. Paul’s, Westminster Abbey and Canterbury Cathedral being especially impressive. At Christ Church Rev. F. B. Meyer, the well-known English Congregationalist preacher whose ties with America are unusually strong, led his congregation in passing resolutions of sympathy. At Stratford-on-Avon the clergy invited the congregation to join in the prayer for the President taken from the Book of Prayer of the American Protestant Episcopal Church.
     The Ecumenical Methodist Conference, in session of the 7th, bishops of the Afro-American Methodist Episcopal Church presiding, passed the following resolution, introduced and moved by the president of the English Conference, Prof. W. T. Davidson: “That this conference express its intense indignation at the dastardly attempt made upon the President of the United States, and its profound sympathy with the nation in its deep anxiety over the deed, and directs that a message of respectful sympathy be sent immediately to Mrs. McKinley.” Rev. F. T. Bristol, pastor of the church in Washington of which the President is a member, and Rev. A. Stuart of Canada followed with eulogies of the President.


The Roman Catholic Churches

     Pope Leo XIII. is reported as saying: “O, how earnestly I pray that he may escape with his life! These violent crimes are the curse of our day. I can only offer the afflicted victim and his poor wife my humble prayers.”
     One of the first men of prominence in this country to be interviewed and to express his horror was Cardinal Gibbons, who immediately ordered prayers for the President in the Catholic churches over which he has immediate supervision, an example since followed by many of the archbishops and bishops.
     The Italian Catholics showed their sorrow by giving up an outdoor demonstration of affection for Bishop Scalabrini, the prelate from Italy sent to this country to study the situation of Italian Catholics, who as soon as he heard of the national sorrow voiced his own sympathy and requested that all festivities arranged in his honor should be stopped.


Here and There

     Prayers were offered in the churches of Manila.
     The prisoners in the Baltimore city jail heartily said “Amen” as the chaplain of the day prayed for the President.
     The congregation of a Presbyterian church at Fairmount [sic], Neb., postponed its service last Sunday morning until the young men and vigorous middle-aged men of the congregation had taken a male member of the community, who had expressed his pleasure at the tragedy in Buffalo, and had ducked him in a pond and ridden him on a rail out of the community. Then the congregation reassembled and the service began an hour late.
     Of course at such a time men of various types of mind will make curious generalizations. Thus Sheriff Pearson of Portland, Me., in a talk last Sunday, is reported as attributing the assassination to the corruption of the Republican and Democratic parties; and a Baptist clergyman in Manchester, N. H., by name J. Bunyan Lemon, is reported as arguing that the attack on the President is God’s way of impressing the American people that the liquor traffic is an abhorrent thing in his eyes.
     At the Phillips Congregational Church, Watertown, Mass., after a sermon by the pastor, Rev. E. C. Porter, denouncing the lax policy of the Government in tolerating anarchists in the community, the following resolution was passed:

     To the Hon. Samuel L. Powers, Representative to Congress from the Twelfth Massachusetts District:
     We, the undersigned citizens of Watertown, respectfully and earnestly request you, as our representative, to indorse [sic], advocate and urge in Congress a bill to declare as treason, and to prohibit under extreme penalties, the holding of meetings by persons known or proved to be anarchists, or the teaching of the doctrines of anarchy, or the circulation of its literature, the aim of this bill being the better protection of society and state against a form of lawlessness of surpassing recklessness and fraught with peril to the public weal and civil service.



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