Publication information

Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The Assassination of the President”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: New York, New York
Date of publication: 12 September 1901
Volume number: 72
Issue number: 37
Pagination: 5

“The Assassination of the President.” Evangelist 12 Sept. 1901 v72n37: p. 5.
full text
McKinley assassination (religious response).
Named persons
Jesus Christ; William McKinley.

The Assassination of the President

     The heart of the nation stood still last Friday when the news was flashed over the wires that President McKinley had been shot, in the Buffalo Exposition, by a man who had approached him with thousands of others to grasp his hand. There is no need here to recapitulate the story; the entire country, the civilized world, indeed, has followed with intensest interest the bulletins from that darkened chamber where the man who for years has shown how public service could be raised to heroic power has crowned that service by patient obedience, and the will to live for the sake of all that hangs upon his life. Thank God, at this writing we have good reason to hope that though not yet beyond danger, our President will live. The prayers that since that dreadful hour have been going up unceasingly from thousands of churches and hundreds of thousands of Christian homes, and meeting hopeful response in the improving condition of the stricken head of this great people. And it is not the least important lesson of what might have been an awful calamity, that the response is under God due to the President himself, to the clean, upright, religious life which prepared him not only physically but morally to endure the shock.
     How terrible the shock must have been to him, we have no word of his to tell us, but can we not divine? That his first word should have been of care for the beloved wife in whom his life is centered, the second of protection for the assassin whose dastardly act had roused the instinct of vengeance in every soul but his, and his third of sympathy with the great multitude whose joy was checked by the attack upon himself—all this is deeply impressive. But while it awakens in every heart a new reverence for the man who at such a moment, by the spontaneous impulse of character, demeaned himself so Christly, it also deepens our realization of what must have been to him the shock of the fact that such a deed could be done to such a man as he. After years of such service as his, unique in its perplexities, responsibilities, difficulties, unique too in the wisdom and self-repression with which he has dealt with them all, that there could be a man to do this deed! How deeply this thought must wound him as he lies in enforced silence, his far embracing mind as clear as in his brightest hours.
     The lessons of this great calamity—for calamity it is though the President recover—are many, and in all their bearings that have been pointed out by pulpit and press during the days just past. They come home to the American people as law-makers, as executors of law, as politicians, but most of all, as Christians. For though without question our law-makers and politicians have something to do in consequence of this crime, yet in the last analysis, it is not because of our expansive national hospitality, that this atrocity has been three times possible in the brief period of a single generation, nor is it due primarily to any defect in our laws or to any laxity in their execution. To us as a Christian nation the lesson comes home. Are we so living, so conducting ourselves as a people, that the embittered and hopeless of all lands turn to us, not because of the license they may enjoy but because of the confidence they repose in us, our principles, our ideal of national life? If the liberty and equality and fraternity which we profess, not because we are republicans or democrats, but because we are disciples and brothers of the Christ, were a reality in our national life, such crimes as this would not be committed.