Suppose that the government should demand that not...

Universalist Leader

Suppose that the government should demand that not only beef and beans must be true to the label, but that all labels must tell the truth! What trouble there would be with some political and religious labels. It would require the invention of an automatic shifting-standard label to mark some conspicuous people! Religious labels used to stand for something; when a man pinned orthodoxy on his coat, as once many had the courage to do, it stood for what was inside the man, but now the label is pinned inside, instead of outside the coat, or tucked away securely in the innermost compartment of his pocket-book. or effectually hidden in the family Bible, and is used only as a sort of credential when required, and even then explained as the official and not an actual inventory of faith. Who can tell us what is "orthodox"? Or almost anything else doctrinal today? A dozen men holding officially the same label, hold really a dozen different views, yet all are in good standing and all are unquestionably sincere. But what does the label stand for? And is it really not quite as unethical, if not as illegal, to label the modern, up-to-date minister "orthodox," as to label oleomargarine "butter"?

February 13, 1909

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