A short time ago President Harding delivered an address...

Worcester (Mass.) Evening Gazette

A short time ago President Harding delivered an address before the Bible class of Calvary Baptist Church in Washington. Copies of his address were given to the press from the White House, and were published widely. While speaking of religious liberty as having an unalterable place, along with other aspects of liberty, in the very foundtion of our republic, President Harding said: "In the experiences of a year in the Presidency there has come to me no other such unwelcome impression as the manifest religious intolerance which exists among many of our citizens. I hold it to be a menace to the very liberties we boast and cherish." Such an observation and such a warning by one who is the President of the United States and a Baptist ought to be heeded by all citizens, not least by those who are Baptists. Yet the Baptist ministers in the vicinity of a near-by city appear to have been the first to disregard the President's words. As shown by a report in the Gazette, the main feature of their monthly meeting was an exhibition by one of their number of intolerance toward Christian Science, and toward his neighbors who adhere to this religion.

When any one, whether he be layman or preacher, speaks against Christian Science and Christian Scientists, the most that he can do is to compare his religious understanding, his intelligence, and the fruits of his religion with theirs. In this instance, the speaker hardly touched these points. He did, however, make a labored attempt to depict Christian Scientists as constituting a "spectacle" because they live as human beings while trying to demonstrate the Christian and divine concept of reality. Evidently the speaker did not appreciate that he practically made a spectacle of himself by disregarding the Christian conviction of spiritual reality and by disregarding the pronouncements of the most eminent natural scientists concerning the actual nature of substance and the illusive nature of material appearance. In effect, such an attack constitutes an appeal to ignorance.

Our reverend brother also impugnes the motives of Christian Science practitioners for accepting compensation, but he did not try to explain why compensation can be right for him while wrong for them. The climax of our intolerant friend's address was that "the basic thought" of Christian Science has been maintained by Baptist ministers "in preaching and in practice" for a long time. He made this claim evidently for the purpose of minimizing the distinctive teaching and practice of Christian Science. But even a bitter sectarian should be able to see that another religion is not frightfully bad when its "basic thought" is the same as his own. In fact, Christian Scientists differ from other Christians mainly by reason of the degree or extent to which they accept and apply to human conditions the absolutely spiritual teaching and practice of Christ Jesus. As Mrs. Eddy said during a sermon delivered at Boston in 1886 (Christian Healing, p. 1): "The difference between religions is, that one religion has a more spiritual basis and tendency than the other; and the religion nearest right is that one."

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