Publication information
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Source: Truth Seeker
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Thd [sic] Dishonesty of the Roman Catholic Authorities”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: 30 November 1901
Volume number: 28
Issue number: 48
Pagination: 756-57

“Thd [sic] Dishonesty of the Roman Catholic Authorities.” Truth Seeker 30 Nov. 1901 v28n48: pp. 756-57.
full text
anarchism (religious response); McKinley assassination (religious response: criticism); Richard Scannell (sermons); anarchism (sermons); anarchism (criticism); atheism (sermons); Christianity; Leon Czolgosz (religion); anarchism (personal response); society (criticism); law; atheism; religion; anarchism (causes); society (impact on Czolgosz).
Named persons
Gaetano Bresci; Leon Czolgosz; William McKinley; Pierre-Joseph Proudhon; Richard Scannell.


Thd [sic] Dishonesty of the Roman Catholic Authorities

     One cannot but admire the colossal assurance of the priests of the Catholic church in their tirades against Anarchy, inspired by the infamous and cowardly crime of the Pole recently executed for the murder of the late President.
     The latest sermon preached on this theme that we have seen is by Bishop Scannell of Omaha, and he has gone over the whole ground and rested the ultimate responsibility for the murder of Mr. McKinley on Atheism. He says:

     “The crime was undoubtedly inspired by the spirit of Anarchy. Anarchy means the lack of government or of a ruler, and in its common acceptance it means the social confusion or disorder that is the result of a lack of government. In its specific sense, however, it is the theory of a certain class of persons who hold that man should not be governed by man, but that each individual should have absolute liberty to do as he pleases. It means, therefore, the absence of all law. If put into practice it would produce a condition of life like to that which exists among the wild beasts, with this very important difference—that the wild beasts are governed by a law, namely, instinct, which they must obey; whereas man, with his reason and freedom of will, would be absolutely free from all restraint. All advocates of Anarchy, from Proudhon to those of our own times, have been Atheists—real or pretended; and their Anarchistic principles are the logical result of their Atheism. If there be no God there can be no law that any man would be bound to obey, for then no man and no number of men would have any authority over their fellow-men except such as superior physical strength might give them. If there be no God there can be no judgment and no hereafter. Man is for this world alone, and he has the right to derive from it all the enjoyment possible, without any regard to his fellow-men, to whom he is in no way bound.
     “This reasoning of the Atheist is, from his point of view, unanswerable. For him private property is robbery. Lawmakers and rulers are usurpers who, by their laws, enslave men. Therefore, as oppressors of men and enemies of human liberty, they ought to be removed. But they cannot be removed by law, for law does not exist in the system of the Anarchist, since there is no law-giver; therefore, every individual has the right to remove them.
     “This is Anarchy pure and simple. It is the Anarchy which is beginning to confront us here in the United States. It is the Anarchy which has become a serious menace to social order in France, Italy, and other countries of Europe. Now, Anarchy exists in all these places because many of the people are tainted more or less with Atheism, of which Anarchy is, as I have said, the logical outcome. Large numbers of persons in those countries have been led away from Christianity by false teaching and bad example, and other numbers have grown up without any Christian training whatever, and all such persons, especially in Europe, are practically Atheists.”

     The bad logic of this argument and the dishonesty of statement [sic] are apparent at a glance.
     In the first place, if the education of the murderer is responsible for his crime, then Roman Catholicism must bear the blame, for he was born of Catholic pareuts [sic], educated in parochial schools, and remained a Catholic to the end. Bresci, who killed the Italian king, was also a Roman Catholic, so that even if the men called themselves Anarchists, Roman Catholicism, by the bishop’s reasoning, must shoulder the responsibility for their crimes.
     But there are more misrepresentations than this in the bishop’s speech. Anarchy, or absence of direct government, does not mean that its upholders shall “do as they please” when they please to invade other people’s liberty, but it means the union of order with the liberty to govern one’s self. Owing, however, to the way the human race has brought itself up—fooled by priests and kings, swayed by passions inherited from savage ancestors but a grade higher than beasts—the social theory called Anarchy is impracticable and impossible. It is an iridescent dream. The big fish eat the little fish, the strong animals prey upon the weak, and man is no exception. Strong men have enslaved the weak, made them serfs, vassals, slaves, robbed them of every right, even to that of life, and in this they have for sixteen hundred years had the direct aid of Christianity. This robbery is going on to-day in the modified method which civilization has produced. The race has progressed. Instead of physical force it now uses intellectual force, which is a distinct improvement. But the purpose of preying upon others is still one of man’s seemingly ineradicable tendencies. The intellectually strong rule the intellectually weak. Our laws are made by those who know how to take advantage of others, and naturally for the advantage of the makers. And this will be so until the voters of the country refuse to blindly follow political leaders, and decline to be robbed in the name of patriotism.
     Men are able to reason, but the majority will not do it, which accounts for the prosperity of the church and the politician. But such a thing as “freedom of the will” does not exist. Man is governed by his environment, his surroundings, the influences which reach him directly. It may be a spoken word from some one he regards as more intelligent than himself, or a written word, or some experieuce [sic] in life. And so long as he surrounds himself with religious influences so long will he keep his mind cramped and be the prey of priests.
     Law which protects men does not come from God. If it did the world would have had it always. Our present social system is the slow growth from the experience of the race. So late as fifteen hundred to five hundred years ago brute force was the governing principle, and the brutes were all Roman Catholics, true sons of the church, and devout believers in God. They held that God had made them, that they were in the world simply to please God, and that it made no difference what they did to their fellows so long as they did not displease God. That philosophy of life made the world a human slaughter-house and a slave pen. They believed in a judgment and a hereafter, and kept an eye on the throne, as directed by the church. They got all the enjoyment possible out of life, then paid the priest, believed what he told them, and went to heaven. Their religion allowed them to live as they did, and it is one of the most serious counts in the indictment of Christianity that it provides a philosophy by which men can lead the most infamous of lives and escape all punishment. Atheism, on the contrary, provides no such escape, aud [sic] men must take the responsibility themselves for their acts. Whether men are bound to their fellows or not they must allow all equal rights. Having no other world of bliss they must seek their happiness here, and happiness here is not obtained by oppressing one’s fellows, for the oppressed will resent it. The simple law of self-defense upsets all the bishop’s sophistical reasoning.
     The philosophy of Atheism has nothing to do with economic questions. What a man produces himself is naturally his. Laws are necessary to protect individuals, and lawmakers chosen by the people cannot therefore be usurpers. Lawmakers who pretend to hold their positions by the “will of God” are usurpers, and these are all Christians. Atheists do not admit any such “divine right.” They have no divine law-giver. The laws they make are for the protection and benefit of man, not to please God.
     But the bishop cannot be honest. In the face of all the facts of history he persists in crediting religion with all the good, and attributing all the evil in the world to lack of it. This is infamously false, for everyone knows—who knows anything at all about it—that when the world was most religious it was most evil. Every kind of crime, from murder to petty larceny, was more prevalent in Europe, in England, when every person was a Christian thau [sic] now. Religion did not make men kind nor honest, and does not now. And just so fast as the world has progressed in civilization, in benevolence and integrity, just so fast has it dropped religion. Not even a Catholic bishop can deny this, for he must admit that the world is better now than it was even two hundred years ago—that men are more charitable, kinder, freer from crime, less inclined to enslave their fellows, stauncher advocates of liberty, less given to killing their fellows—and all Catholics do admit the decline of religion. Instead, therefore, of adding more religion as a remedy for what crime does exist we should endeavor to do away with what [756][757] we have, and substitute therefor the principles of kindness, benevolence, justice, honesty, and a determination to improve conditions here. Men never have been good because of religion, are not now, and, reasoning from experience, never will be.
     The Anarchy which exists here and elsewhere, the strife of classes, is not the result of Atheism and Materialism but the fruit of centuries of oppression by ecclesiastics and kings. These have been the exemplars of the brute force doctrine and criminals like Czolgosz are their logical and legitimate pupils and products.



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