The refusal or reluctance of some of our churches to...

The refusal or reluctance of some of our churches to grant letters of dismissal to their members who wish to join the Christian Science church, because the latter is not recognized as a religious body by orthodox churches, and also because of the prosecution in the courts of some of the members, who refuse to employ doctors for their families during sickness, has awakened more or less discussion not altogether favorable to the churches. Comments which have been made on the subject tend to show that our churches have not altogether escaped from that narrowness of belief which caused the persecution of the apostles; which drenched Europe with human blood; which drove the Puritans to America, and which in turn prompted the Puritans to banish Roger Williams into the wilderness because he was a Baptist. The churches are a moral power in the world, standing for all that is good, any may the day be far distant when they cease to thrive and prosper; but the fact remains that, be a man ever so broad in his views on other subjects, he is extremely sensitive on religious affairs, and prefers to have a person think the way he thinks and belong to the denomination to which he belongs. While this feeling is not so pronounced as in former years, it is still extant, as shown by the refusal to recognize the Christian Science church as a religious organization.

Why should the church of the Christian Scientists not be recognized as a religious organization? The tenets of their belief are founded on strict adherence to the teachings of Jesus Christ, even to the treatment of disease, and it is impossible to separate any part or parcel of their creed from Biblical precept. They demand morality, truth, and honesty from all adherents, and the followers of this branch of religion are among the most upright in any community, for evidence of which we do not have to search beyond the limits of Dover; while from a physical viewpoint, notwithstanding that the practice of medicine has no place among them, there are no more healthy citizens than they, and though they are stricken with illness the same as the rest of mortals, the death-rate among them is not extraordinarily large. While we may not agree with them in all particulars of their beliefs, and the majority of us, when ill, would feel safer under medical treatment than with mental healing, yet we cannot but acknowledge that these conditions exist as demonstrated facts. Then why should our churches refuse to recognize Christian Scientists as a religious body, or why should they be prosecuted in courts of law for practising mental healing? Did not the great Preceptor of Christianity, and later his apostles, practise this same method of treating disease?

We all have our own views on matters of religious preference, but this is a land where each person is guaranteed the right to worship the creator according to the dictates of his own conscience, and we should cheerfully accord to the individual who differs with us the same right that we demand for ourselves, and for which we would fight if it were refused us. The Christian Scientist, sincere in his belief, ranks favorably with the rest of our churchmen; the peer of the most intelligent, and unexcelled in his efforts to lessen evil and error, by his example he frequently administers a rebuke to those who refuse to recognize his good intentions and who seek to restrain him in our courts.

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April 10, 1909

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