The following letter to the New York
Times is the sanest utterance of the “clerical mind” recorded in
the past month:
“I am a clegyman [sic]. I have
noticed with humiliation your not infrequent allusions to the
attitude and the utterances of Christian ministers in connection
with the murder of President McKinley. I am humiliated because
what you say is too true. It seems to me that some of the most
extreme and and [sic] dangerous public utterances that have
been made have come from the pulpit.
“Another thing I have noticed.
In the endeavor to account for the Providential character of
the event each public speaker reads into it his own interpretation
drawn from his own particular hobby. If he is an anti-imperialist,
it was imperialism that did it[.] If he is a temperance reformer,
it was rum that did it. If he is an anti-trust man, it was the
multiplication of trusts that did it, or it was yellow journalism,
etc. If God rules the world it must have been Providential.
God is good and wise. What he does or allows to be done must
in the end prove best; but God is inscrutable and no one can
or ought to try to tell why he acts as he does.”
We do not exactly see by what authority
this clergyman judges God to be “good and wise,” since he declares
that he is inscrutable and the divine motives not to be inquired
into. He is right, however, in characterizing the utterances of
the pulpit as “extreme and dangerous.” The clergy have made the
assault of an assassin on the President the excuse for an assault
upon freedom of press and of speech.