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was advocated by Bernhardi, of Germany. It is the theory exemplified most supremely by the late Kaiser in Germany, and it was with the avowed intention of destroying that theory, "Der Stadt Uber Alles," that the United States entered the World War to make, as our President said, the world safe for democracy.
In other words, I am saying here there are two contrasting theories of government. One is the Der Stadt Uber Alles, in which the individual conscience does not count. The individual conscience must be subservient to the state, and no matter what the state says, the individual must conform, and that is the theory of government which the United States has never held.
The United States has always recognized freedom of the individual conscience. Our forefathers came over to America because they believed in freedom of conscience. They believed that an individual citizen had the right to say that his first loyalty was to God and his own conscience, and that, secondly, he would give his life for his country.
It was never the idea of the founders of this Republic that a man should have to obey the supreme law of the United States in contravention to his conscience and what he thought his God would want him to do.
Since the World War there has been another state that has adopted this divine right of the state-the Prussian ideal-and that country is Bolshevistic Russia. I know something about conditions in Bolshevistic Russia, because I was acting senior secretary in charge of the Y. M. C. A. war work in Russia during the war, and remained there upon the direct orders of the Secretary of War in Wilson's Cabinet.
The theory under which the Bolshevists operate is that the individual conscience does not count. It is the state first. You shall fight, whether or not you believe that is God's will, you have got to fight. Your individual conscience does not make any difference
in the matter.
Now, we in America do not believe that theory, and yet the opponents of this law find themselves in entire agreement with the Bolshevists on that point. They are arguing that the individual conscience does not count, that the individual must say in advance, regardless of what kind of a war there is, regardless of whether the war is just or unjust, he will always fight, no matter what the war, whether it violates the Kellogg peace pact or not.
Mr. JOHNSON. That is, an individual who is not a citizen of the United States.
Mr. DAVIS. That is an individual who is not a citizen of the United States. They require him to say that he will subserve his conscience when he becomes a citizen, just exactly as the Bolshevists do, and it is precisely the Bolshevistic theory of it, and I for one am opposed to this Bolshevistic theory, and I will not stand silent while my country drifts into adopting it in contravention to our entire history and tradition.
In America, throughout our history, from the beginning to the present time, we have always held to the theory of freedom of conscience for the individual. From the earliest colonial days Congress has granted exemption from military service to those whose religious convictions opposed it. It has been our theory that the citizen, once he has been granted citizenship, who is patriotic, should protest an
unjust law, and if that unjust law goes against God, he should act in opposition to the law.
We have always held that there is a mandate that is higher than the state, and that is the will of God. We do not want citizens who are blindly loyal to authority. We want citizens who are patriotically sincere in criticizing the Government where it is wrong. How absurd the present ruling is you can readily understand if you ask yourselves, should a Christian in Bolshevik Russia go to war regardless of what that war is about? Should a Christian in Germany go to war regardless of the justice of that war?
Mr. JOHNSON. Do you mean whether that Christian is a citizen of Germany or not a citizen?
Mr. DAVIS. Yes; if they are Christian citizens of Germany, should they go to war?
Mr. JOHNSON. You have just destroyed your own argument. You have said that in the United States, in all wars, Congress has made laws to exempt the conscientious objector, and those with religious scruples. That is, citizens?
Mr. DAVIS. Yes.
Mr. JOHNSON. And now, you enter into some new proposition that persons not citizens, shall have this thing guaranteed to them before the time of war, before the act of Congress, but when you refer to Germany and Russia, you discuss that phase of it from the standpoint of the citizen of that country, and not of a noncitizen.
Mr. COOKE. I think we should allow the witness to make his statement.
The CHAIRMAN. We want the witness to make his statement first before questions are asked.
Mr. DAVIS. I am glad of the comment that has been made. I want to make clear that I am saying that the Bolshevist theory, and the Kaiser's theory of "Der Stadt Über Alles," in not allowing the individual citizen to have freedom of conscience, is directly in contravention to the traditions of the United States, and in the United States we have always followed the practice of allowing the prospective citizen to have freedom of conscience and we do not ask him, never have asked him, until the recent Supreme Court decision, to pledge in advance-regardless of whatever war occurs, regardless of his conscience and his God-to fight, and, if we adopt that, we are doing precisely what the Prussian Government did in Germany.
Personally, I hope our country never will embark on a wrong war, but if it does, the loyal citizen must speak in opposition. Certainly, the loyal citizen can not go out and kill for a war which he believes is against the will of God, and against his own conscience. So, if you adopt that theory you at least should recognize that you have adopted the Prussian theory and the Bolshevistic theory.
To the American mind, Fox was a more loyal citizen of England because he declared that the war with America, commenced unjustly, was supported with no other view than the extirpation of freedom.
Patiriotic Americans have always believed that Pitt was a good English subject when he thundered in Parliament
I rejoice that America has resisted. Three millions of people so dead to all feelings of liberty as voluntarily to submit to be slaves, would have been fit instruments to have made slaves of the rest.
Now, the gentleman says, "Oh, but these are citizens."
I am talking about the kind of citizens we want, and if the present interpretation of the naturalization law is allowed to remain, we debar all citizens of the type of Fox and of Pitt.
John Bright of England opposed the Crimean War, and no less an authority than Abraham Lincoln testified that he was a good potential citizen.
Charles Sumner opposed an unjust war upon which America had embarked. Historians ever since have upheld him as a model to the youth of America. It was Sumner who attacked the theory that one must chloroform their conscience in order to operate on the battlefield of an unjust war. In Fanueil Hall, he declared—
In what book of morals is it written that what is bad before it is commenced may become righteous merely because of the fact that it has commenced, but who on earth is authorized to transmute wrong into right?
Now, the point I am making is that a man like Sumner would have been debarred from citizenship under the present ruling, and we need men like Sumner. That is the kind of men we need.
The entire Massachusetts Legislature in the war that was declared in 1846, the war with Mexico, after war was declared, said
Resolved, That such a war of conquest, so hateful in its objects, so wanton, unjust, and unconstitutional in its origin and character, must be regarded as a war against freedom, against humanity, against justice, against the Union, against the Constitution and against the free States; and that a regard for the true interests, and highest honor of the country, not less than the impulses of Chrisian duty should arouse all citizens to join in efforts to avert this war.
It would be absurd to indict the entire Massachusetts Legislature, yet, if those men were prospective citizens, we would have asked them whether they would fight for it, and they would have to conscientiously say, No," and everyone would have been debarred under the present ruling.
Two ex-Presidents of the United States, Grover Cleveland, and Benjamin Harrison, condemned the cause of our Government in the war with Spain.
Again, if they had been prospective citizens, they would have been asked this question, and then, for they would have had to answer they could not support the war, they would have been debarred.
So imbedded in the fabric of American government has been this right of criticism of what the individual conscience of the citizen feels is wrong, that it has been incorporated into the very constitution of many of our States. The provision of Indiana is typical: No law shall be passed restraining the free interchange of thought and opinion.
Not only do 24 States similarly guarantee freedom, but a total of 39 State constitutions provide that the people shall always have the right to change their government, even to violate the law if it is necessary, so to secure a higher justice.
If the present naturalization law as now construed is allowed to stand, we shall have turned our backs on the doctrine of liberty of conscience of free citizens in a free State, and will have accepted the pernicious Bolshevik doctrine of the absolute will of the State. We shall have passed from rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's to rendering unto Caesar the things that are God's. Those
who oppose the Griffin or the Cutting amendment thus find themselves in company with the Bolshevists at this point.
In the second place, I find that the present naturalization law as now legally interpreted, is inconsistent with our use of the oath for office holders. The oath is the same in both cases, hence, if one interpretation is legal, then the other must be. If it is right to ask the question in one case, it is right to ask it in the other. In that case it means that from now on all office holders in the United States, both Federal and in a large part State office holders, will be debarred if they are Quakers and many sincere Christians would be debarred from office holding.
I do not believe that was ever the intention of Congress; yet the oath is precisely the same. Consequently, if you are going to interpret it for prospective citizens that way, you must interpret it for those who are going to take the oath of office in the same manner. In President Lincoln's Cabinet you find three Quakers, showing that at that time it was certainly not customary to interpret it, at that time, in this way.
Washington believed the Quakers made the best kind of citizens and yet, if Congress does not amend the present naturalization law, most Quakers and a great many other Christians not only can not be naturalized, but also are technically debarred from any political office. I hold, therefore, that in the third place, the present naturalization law, as now construed, is positively dangerous to America. Now, just why is this present interpretation dangerous? Do we want a situation in America which would debar from citizenship those who are most loyal to their Catholic and Protestant faiths, while all the time, as Congressman Griffin has so cogently argued, we are giving admission, as the Chief Justice also has said, to a host far less worthy? For, make no mistake, the decision to debar from citizenship anyone who pledges loyalty to his conscience and his God above blind submission to the State, debars only those who are potentially the best citizens. The slackers and the hypocrites would all be admitted. They have no compunction about swearing to the oath as now interpreted. Neither would it debar the gangsters or the Al Capones. [Applause.]
I stood in the District Court of New Haven with my distinguished colleague, Professor MacIntosh, the most distinguished theologian in the world to-day, and the court room was filled with foreigners desiring admission to citizenship, what I consider a very sacred privilege, and the Federal judge called Doctor MacIntosh to first, and, appearing before all these prospective citizens, the judge gave them some example of the kind of citizens that we did not want, and he asked Doctor MacIntosh if he would agree to fight in any war, just or unjust, if it should ever occur, and Doctor MacIntosh replied that he did not believe that we would have an unjust war, but if we did, he could not place loyalty to an unjust war above his conscience and his God, and that he must, as every honest Christian must do, place loyalty to his God first. How absurd it would be to ask the prospective citizen to read that oath and end with the words, "So help me God," and then say, "If God does not want me to do it, I will do it, so help me God." In other words, you would be making the oath that if an unjust war against God comes, you will fight in that war, so help you God. It is absurd; but the judge debarred
Doctor MacIntosh. Now, what happened? Every other person in the room was admitted. The hundreds of prospective citizens were admitted, and since that time I understand that many of those men who were admitted have violated the law and the Constitution of the United States, and Doctor MacIntosh, who would give his life for his country, no more patriotic man in America exists than Doctor MacIntosh, a man with a war record, is debarred from citizenship.
The worth of a citizen is not measured by such a crude test as willingness to kill in a war against which his conscience revolts, but, rather, in the extent to which he will devote his life and conscience, as he sees it, in harmony with the highest welfare of the people and the Nation.
In an ordinary case at law, as some one raised the question here,. having an attorney to prosecute, and he delves into that case, brings hundreds of witnesses to testify, you do not ask ordinarily great hypothetical questions divorced from testimony as to the character of the individual, and a jury of 12 decides the case, and I am here to tell you that if a. jury of 12 were to decide whether Doctor Macintosh should be admitted to citizenship, they would decide in his favor, because there was not one testimony against the character of Doctor Macintosh, nor even a hint that he would not give his life for his country.
Congress should be absolutely clear as to just who is being debarred by this present twisting of the naturalization law. First, all loyal, thinking Roman Catholics must now be debarred. The Catholic Church teaches that a war may be unjust, and that no one is morally entitled to participate in a war he is convinced in his own conscience is morally unjust. This position is reaffirmed in an editorial which appeared on October 24, 1931, in America, a representative and influential organ of the Roman Catholic Church:
The affirmation of our highest court of loyalty to which our loyalty to God must be subordinated is highly disturbing. For, after all, it is possible for Congress to err, and hence quite possible that the United States can engage in a war which is objectively unjust. In that case, the duty of every man who holds that conscience comes first is plain. "Laws bind only when they are in accordance with right reason," writes Leo XIII," and hence with the eternal law of God." Now, that is the Catholic Church.
Mr. FREE. Where is that statement?
Mr. DAVIS. I could look it up for you.
Mr. DAVIS. I would be very happy to, if you would give me your name and address, and I will mail it to you.
Mr. FREE. You quoted there, and I thought you had some information.
Mr. DAVIS. I will be glad to make it a part of the record. Naturally, all Quakers and Mennonites would be debarred because they do not believe in fighting.
I am now quoting from the executive committee of the Federal Council of Churches, in an official resolution adopted December 3, 1930, in a message to the churches, and this is what they say:
We hold that our country is benefited by having as citizens those who unswervingly follow the dictates of their consciences, and who put allegiance to God above every other consideration, and that a policy of denial of naturalization to aliens of such character is contrary to the ideals of a Nation into whose structure the principle of political and religious liberty has been built.