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Publication information
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Source: Truth Seeker
Source type: magazine
Document type: letter to the editor
Document title: “Anarchy and God”
Author(s): Crine, L. D.
Date of publication: 28 September 1901
Volume number: 28
Issue number: 39
Pagination: 617

 
Citation
Crine, L. D. “Anarchy and God.” Truth Seeker 28 Sept. 1901 v28n39: p. 617.
 
Transcription
full text
 
Keywords
McKinley assassination (religious response: criticism); government; Leon Czolgosz; McKinley assassination (personal response).
 
Named persons
L. D. Crine; Leon Czolgosz; Horace Greeley; Thomas Jefferson; Jesus Christ; E. M. Macdonald.
 
Document

 

Anarchy and God

     DEAR MR. MACDONALD: Inclosed herewith is a letter written by myself to the New York Tribune, relating to anarchy and God.
     As there is slight probability that it will be used by that paper, copy is sent to you for such attention as you may care to give it. Yours truly,

L. D . CRINE.     

——————————

     To the Editor of the New York Tribune: In your leading editorial of September 16, commenting on “Anarchy and the Law,” you close:
     “‘The mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small.’ And exceeding small, too, will the law at last grind those who defy and deny it, for God himself is law.”
     Some say God is love.
     You say God is law.
     Still others say God is the earth and all that is.
     You leave it to be inferred that had Czolgosz been a believer in God (I do not know whether he was or not), he would not have committed the murder.
     My position, which seems to me rational, is this: I do not believe in murder by those who do not believe in God nor by those who do. Only a f[e]w evenings ago I was reading that one hundred million human beings, constituted as you and I are, have perished on this planet at the hands of those who believe in God. We must not forget, also, that the Mohammedans hold belief in God, and that among us Mohammedans stand for murder and rapine.
     The best suggestion I can make is to discontinue the use of the word God. That word is vague of meaning, and to avoid misunderstanding it is better to drop it out of our vocabulary as much as possible. If to you God is law, then, instead of using the word “God,” you should use the word “law.”
     My preference is to call the earth and the forces of nature God. By calling the earth God, then, when the dying President murmured, “Nearer, my God, to thee,” there was some rational meaning to what he said. He was certainly nearer to God by that meaning. If God is the earth, and the body of man must return to the earth, then when laid in the grave it is nearer [to] G[o]d.
     The words recited at the burial services, “Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” are perfectly appropriate and scientific. They mean that we are made out of the earth, and return to earth. The material of the earth can also be called ashes or dust. Earth, ashes, dust. Anybody with a little thought can gather from these words the routine of matter as related to human life. We are made out of the earth, and the earth in turn, to a very small extent, is made out of us. “Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” are true and prop[e]rly used, but are not in conformity with other teachings of the Christian religion, as, for instance, the doctrine of the r[e]surrection of the body.
     We should believe in government and abhor anarchy in so far as it practices murder. Without government we would go by leaps and bounds back into barbarism. We are in barbarism now, but not total barbarism. There has been some evolutionary progress in human society. We do not want too much government; a small amount will do. Was it not Thomas Jefferson, one of the found[e]rs of the Republic, who said, “That people the least governed is the best governed?”
     It is well to stop and think what a hero Czolgosz is from his point of view. He believed that he was doing the greatest possible good to the country by assassinating the President. He expected that upon the firing of that shot his liberties, his happiness and life itself would speedily come to an end. How many are there who would b[e] willing to sacrifice their lives to do the human race the greatest possible good of which th[e]y know? What is written in th[e] New Testament about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ sums up into the same kind of heroism.
     Those who appear eager to link theology with government should recall some of the evils of the union of church and state in the Old World, and the very great step that was taken by the founders of this government in providing for the separation of church and state. Theology does not necessarily have anything to do with good morals.
     As the Tribune was founded by Horace Greeley, a Freethinker, it is hoped this communication will be found suitable for its columns. It was not intended at the outset to make a sermon of this. However, it would please me if clergymen and priests all over the United States could read this comment and give the ideas some thought.

L. D. CRINE.     

     September 17, E. M. 301 (1901).

 

 


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