Publication information

Truth Seeker
Source type: magazine
Document type: proceedings
Document title: “The Congress at Buffalo”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: 19 October 1901
Volume number: 28
Issue number: 42
Pagination: 659, 662-65 (excerpt below includes only page 659)

“The Congress at Buffalo.” Truth Seeker 19 Oct. 1901 v28n42: pp. 659, 662-65.
W. A. Croffut (public statements); William McKinley (recovery: role of prayer); McKinley assassination (religious response: criticism).
Named persons
William McKinley [misspelled once below].
The excerpt (below) constitutes a portion of an address by Dr. W. A. Croffut, vice-president of the American Secular Union and Freethought Federation.

“The twenty-fifth annual Congress of the American Secular Union and Freethought Federation was called to order Friday morning, October 4” (p. 659).

The Congress at Buffalo

     What is prayer? Prayer is an appeal from the known to the unknown; a supplication for help from the solid earth to the mysterious void; a cry of piteous pain for relief to the ear that never hears. Throughout all ages and in all lands prayer has escaped from the lips of fear, but no prayer is known ever to have been answered. The awful national solicitude and pity of which Buffalo has just been the painful centre have combined to test the value of prayer; and if all efforts have proved anything they have proved its worthlessness. Every state in the Union organized all of its religious energies aud [sic] sedulously pleaded for the survival of William McKiuley to the God whom William McKinley had always worshiped and whose name was the last word on his lips. Did prayer prove a lotion to offset the assassin’s frenzied fury? No; there is not the slightest evidence that a whole nation on its knees prolonged the President’s life for one single minute. Mocking the church and its miracle-working God, the humble bullet did its work. Of course, the pulpit falls back on “Thy will be done,” which, translated into the vernacular, means: “God could have saved William McKinley, but as he did not, it was obviously right that he should perish by the assassin’s bullet.” “We were mistaken,” the church must say, “in requesting his recovery, for his death was the best thing that could happen, after all.” The Senegambians were in the same trouble that the Christians are in, but they did not lack sagacity. Wheu [sic], after experimenting with their two-eared god for a century, they found him utterly dumb, they split him into kindling-wood and fabricated another without any ears whatever.