Christian Science does not help those who are in prison...

Quincy (Ill.) Herald

Christian Science does not help those who are in prison because of having violated the laws of the state, to "imagine" that they are free and thus make them happy, any more than it helps those who are in bondage to physical illness because of violation of health laws to "imagine" that they are well. Mrs. Eddy has said on page 5 of the Christian Science text-book, "Sorrow for wrong-doing is but one step toward reform and the very easiest step. The next and great step required by wisdom is the test of our sincerity,—namely, reformation." On page 22 she says: "Justice requires reformation of the sinner. Mercy cancels the debt only when justice approves;" and on page 11 she further says, "A magistrate sometimes remits the penalty, but this may be no moral benefit to the criminal, and at best, it only saves the criminal from one form of punishment. ... Mere legal pardon (and there is no other, for divine Principle never pardons our sins or mistakes till they are corrected) leaves the offender free to repeat the offense, if indeed, he has not already suffered sufficiently from vice to make him turn from it with loathing."

The foregoing brief quotations will be sufficient, I believe, to show that in Christian Science teaching there is nothing to justify a criminal either inside or outside prison walls to imagine that he could be free from the consequences of his crime until, through repentance and reformation, compliance with law, and exemplary conduct, he had demonstrated his right to freedom. Thus it will be seen that the statement concerning the men in the Canon City prison, that they had "joined it [Christian Science] for the reason that they wanted to get out of jail, and the only way to do so without serving time is to lay hold on the implement with which they claim they can loosen steel bars and beat down prison walls—faith," is absurd. Even if the prison doors were opened to them, they would not, if they had been truly converted to Christian Science, wish to be released until they were legally entitled to their freedom. Christian Science would have made them the more willing to "serve their time" and to atone in the manner prescribed by law for their violation of the law. Even when unjustly imprisoned, Paul and Silas refused their freedom until the authorities who had wrongfully imprisoned them came and released them.

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