The ministerial correspondents whose names are attached...

Whitehall (Mich.) Forum

The ministerial correspondents whose names are attached to the letter in the issue of December 12 should rejoice that there are Christians in your city who are sufficiently sincere in the practice of their religion to hold a service in their home on the Sabbath, even though the church edifices were closed on account of fear of an alleged epidemic. That the holding of such a service is entirely within the legal rights of those in whose home it took place, no sincere and unprejudiced citizen can doubt for a moment.

Christian Scientists yield to no one in their obedience to law. They believe, however, that no law in this free land is constitutional which seeks to prevent the worship of God according to the dictates of one's own conscience, provided that such worship does not infringe the rights of others to the latter's injury. When such an attempt is directed toward preventing a religious service in a private home, as in this instance, it savors of a medical and ecclesiastical domination which is on a par with the autocracy of the political and military despotism which for over four years vainly sought to bring the world under its rule.

While it may have no bearing upon the legal aspects of the present case, inasmuch as home services were not included in the ban in question, the incident at Los Angeles, California, might be cited, where attempts were made to close the churches in much the same manner as in your city. To test the closing order five members of a church organization allowed themselves to be arrested for attempting to hold religious services. A day or two before the matter was to be finally disposed of, the judge having the case under advisement indicated in a newspaper interview that he would hold the closing order invalid. On the day set for the hearing, the judge was prevented from holding court, but the authorities promptly rescinded the closing order. The intimation evidently was sufficient.

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Extracts from Letters
June 21, 1919

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