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PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO H. R. 297 Except that no person mentally, morally, and otherwise qualified shall be debarred from citizenship by reason of his or her religious views or philosophical opinions with respect to war as a means of settling international disputes; and no such person so qualified who is also a member of any well recognized religious sect, denomination, or organization at present organized and existing and whose existing creed or principles impose a duty or obligation upon its members not to participate in war in any form and whose convictions are against war, shall be debarred from citizenship because of such convictions, and he shall be exempt from any requirement to make any statement as to his or her willingness to take up arms in case of war.
STATEMENT SUBMITTED BY Hon. Thomas R. AMLIE, REPRESENTATIVE FROM STATE
Mr. Chairman and Jembers of the Committee:
It is my desire to appear before your honorable body in behalf of the Griffin Cutting bill and to state briefly my reasons for so doing. I feel prompted to do this in view of the alleged proceeding that took place before your committee yesterday, as set forth in the Washington Daily News. This is as follows:
“ Several witnesses were heckled and some were not permitted to complete their statements.
"With American Legionnaires and Daughters of the American Revolution, unfriendly to the bill, as applauding spectators, sereral members of the conmittee seized opportunities to state their opposition in emphatic terms.
“ Representative Free, questioning the Rev. Jerome Davis, of the Yale Divinity School, said: 'You don't mean to tell us that all the church members of this country are in favor of the damnable thing you are trying to put over.'
“As Davis concluded Free asked, 'Are you a member of the Civil Liberties Union?' and members of the committee wagged their heads knowingly.”
This news item further contains the statement that the Rev. Herman J. Hahn, of Buffalo, was cut short in his testimony when, in response to a question, he said he was a member of the Industrial League for Democracy,
I have also gone through a transcript of some of the testimony as presented before your body and feel from that fact that the newspaper account undoubtedly states correctly what transpired.
I have noted particularly the effort of certain members of the committee to make it appear that various witnesses who appeared in behalf of the bill were prompted to do so because they were paid by subversive organizations for so doing.
It seems to me that if the members of this committee have been made victims of racketeering at all, that it is rather through the activities of those who have opposed the measure. At this point I feel it my duty to call the attention of the members of the committee to the organization known as the American Coalition of Patriotic Societies. This organization has on its board of directors one representative from each of 72 separate organizations. The chairman of the board is Captain Trevor, of New York, while the executive secretary is one Fred Marvin, known as “Orphan Annie,” by virtue of his constant refrain that the Communists will get you if you don't watch out.” Through this organization the members of the various component bodies are notified of hearings and an audience thus provided to whom members may address ad hominem remarks.
Before discussing the Griffin-Cutting bill I wish to refer briefly to a line of United States Supreme Court decisions that have made it desirable from the standpoint of our traditional freedom of conscience that legislation of this kind should be enacted.
THE MACINTOSH CASE
In the case of Douglas Clyde MacIntosh, member of the Divinity School of Yale University, it should be noted that he was born in Canada, that he was a chaplain with the Canadian Army, and that after he returned to America late in 1916 he went over with the United States forces as a Y. M. C. A. worker, At his preliminary hearing for citizensbip he stated that he was not willing to promise beforehand and without knowing the cause for which his country might go to war that he would be wiilling to take up arms in her defense, however necessary such war might seem to be to the particular government of that day.
I can well understand the attitude of Mr. MacIntosh after listening to a number of Members of Congress say on the floor of the House that they voted for the war upon a misrepresentation of the facts by the administration, and that if they had it to do over again they would never have voted to put the United States into the World War.
The Reverend MacIntosh is merely stating that he proposes to be guided in the matter of taking up arms by his own conscience rather than by the conscience of the National Government. It seems to me that this is the position that every true liberal must take. It was the position that Abraham Lincoln took as a Member of this House when he denounced the Mexican War as purely a measure to get possession of Texas and extend the institution of chattel slavery. While the position he took cost him his seat in Congress as a result of the war hysteria of that day, nevertheless, I doubt if many people at this time would question the fact that Lincoln's stand against an unjust war has been vindicated by history. The position that Doctor MacIntosh has taken is merely the position that many of our greatest American statesmen and patriots have taken since the founding of this country.
(hief Justice Hughes, dissenting in the MacIntosh case, said:
“I think that the requirement (the promise to bear arms) should not be implied, because such a construction is directly opposed to the spirit of our institutions and to the historic practice of the Congress. without saying that it was not the intention of the Congress in framing the oath to impose any religious test.
In the forum of conscience, duty to a moral power higher than the State has always been maintained.”
MARIE AVERILL BLAND CASE
In the case of Marie Averill Bland, a war nurse, and the daughter of an Episcopal minister, the denial of citizenship was based upon her statement that she would not take up arms but that she would be willing to render such service as helping and comforting the wounded. She also declared that she would not proselyte or try to induce others to accept her beliefs.
MARTHA JANE GRABER CASE
The case of Martha Jane Graber is very similar to that of Miss Bland. The testimony of Miss Graber upon which she was denied citizenship is as follows:
The court asked Miss Graber :
" Q. Are you willing to serve in the Army, if need be, in time of war?A. I am willing to serve in my profession—a registered nurse.
“Q. Suppose your country saw fit to demand your service in time of war as a combatant, to take part in the war; explain what you would do under such circumstances.-A. I would go to the front in my profession.
“Q. That doesn't answer my question. My question was: Suppose you were called upon to act as a combatant in time of war for the United States, would you fight?-A. That would not be professional as a nurse.
“Q. That doesn't answer the question: Are you willing to fight for the United States if need be? You understand what is meant by fighting, Miss Graber; I mean to take up arms in defense of the United States if necessary.-A. I can not kill, but I would be willing to give my life.
"Q. Do I understand that you mean that you are unwilling to fight for the United States?-A. Do you mean by 'fighting' killing? "Q. I do if necessary. Such is war, Miss Graber.
The question is as to whether or not in time of war, if need be, you are willing to shed blood in defense of the United States.-A. I said I would be willing to shed my own blood to protect this Government.
"Q. I am not asking you as to your willingness to shed your own blood; I am asking you as to your willingness to shed the blood of others if need be.-A. I conscientiously could not do that.
As I said before, I could not bear arms; I could not kill ; but I am willing to be sacrificed for this country.
“ The COURT. The petition of the applicant will be dismissed.”
THE SCHWIMMER CASE
The case of Rosika Schwimmer has perhaps attracted the greatest national publicity because of the fact that Miss Schwimmer was a woman who has long been associated with the cause of women's suffrage and other liberal causes. The issue could not have been more clearly or ably put than it was by Justice Holmes in his dissenting opinion. It is as follows:
“The applicant seems to be a woman of superior character and intelligence, obviously more than ordinarily desirable as a citizen of the United States. It is agreed that she is qualified for citizenship except so far as the views set forth in a statement of facts 'may show that the applicant is not attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same, and except in so far as the same may show that she can not take the oath of allegiance without a mental reservation.' The views referred to are an extreme opinion in favor of pacifism and a statement that she would not bear arms to defend the Constitution. So far as the adequacy of her oath is concerned, I hardly can see how that is affected by the statements, inasmuch as she is a woman over 50 years of age and would not be allowed to bear arms if she wanted to. And as to the opinion, the whole examination of the applicant shows that she holds none of the now-dreaded creeds but thoroughly believes in organized government and prefers that of the United States to any other in the world. Surely it can not show lack of attachment to the principles of the Constitution that she thinks that it can be improved. I suppose that most intelligent people think that it might be. Her particular improvement looking to the abolition of war seems to me not materially different in its bearing on this case from a wish to establish cabinet government as in England, or a single house, or one term of seven years for the President. To touch a more burning question, only a judge mad with partisanship would exclude because the applicant thought that the eighteenth amendment should be repealed.
“Of course, the fear is that if a war came the applicant would exert activi. ties such as were dealt with in Schenck v. United States (249 U. S. 47). But that seems to me unfounded. Her position and motives are wholly different from those of Schenck. She is an optimist and states in strong, and, I do not doubt, sincere words her belief that war will disappear and that the impending destiny of mankind is to unite in peaceful leagues. I do not share that optimism, nor do I think that a philosophic view of the world would regard war as absurd. But most people who have known it regard it with horror, as a last resort, and even if not yet ready for cosmopolitan efforts, would welcome any practicable combinations that would increase the power on the side of peace. The notion that the applicant's optimistic anticipations would make her a worse citizen is sufficiently answered by her examination, which seems to me a better argument for her admission than any that I can offer. Some of her answers might excite popular prejudice, but if there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought-not free thought for those who agree with us, but freedom for the thought that we hate. I think that we should adhere to that principle with regard to admission into, as well as to life within, this country. And recurring to the opinion that bars this applicant's way, I would suggest that the Quakers have done their share to make the country what it is, that many citizens agree with the applicant's belief and that I had not supposed hitherto that we regretted our inability to expel them because they believe more than some of us do in the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount.
“Mr. Justice Brandeis concurs in this opinion. “ Mr. Justice Sanford, dissenting.
“I agree, in substance, with the views expressed by the Circuit Court of Appeals, and think its decree should be affirmed."
It should be noted that the objection of Mme. Schwimmer rested upon philosophical grounds, while the objections of Mr. MacIntosh, Miss Bland, and Miss Graber rest upon religious scruples. The decision of the Supreme Court in the MacIntosh case, however, holds that religious scruples have no more weight than philosophical objections.
For this reason the only manner in which this vital question of the right to freedom of conscience can be guaranteed to the alien asking citizenship in the same measure that it is assured to the native born, is by legislation. This is precisely what the Griffin-Cutting bill would accomplish and nothing more. The contention of the opponents of this bill that its passage would open our doors to all manner of dangerous aliens is, of course, ridiculous. Their argiiments would virtually class Justices Brandeis, Holmes, Sanford, and Chief Justice Hughes with that class of men who would destroy the fabric of this Government by violence. The mere statement of the proposition is its own answer. At the most it would merely admit to citizenship people who entertain
the religious beliefs of the Quakers, or on the other hand individuals who share with Jane Addams, commonly known as America's leading woman, her philosophical views on world peace.
In so far as the Justices of our Supreme Court are concerned, who are in the majority and decided the aforementioned cases over the dissenting opinions of some of the greatest justices that this country has ever produced, it should be said that they are, in a sense, bound by precedent. There is for them, viewed from the standpoint of liberalism, a measure of defense which does not obtain in so far as the members of this committee are concerned, who are called upon to pass upon this bill as a legislative remedy. The members are not bound by precedent. They are presented clearly with the alternative as to whether they are going to choose in favor of the position stated by Justice Holmes, and in times past followed by Lincoln and other American statesmen and patriots, or whether they will follow the narrow and pernicious nationalism best voiced by Stephen Decatur, “My country, right or wrong."
I am well aware of the fact that this last proposition is the guiding philosophy of the members of the Coalition of Patriotic Societies. It is, however, a denial to the individual of the right of free conscience. It is a requirement upon the individual that his conscience must always give way to the con science of the administration. It is the same proposition that the American people were confronted with during the early war years. They were called upon prior to April, 1917, to maintain a position of absolute intellectual neutrality. After the declaration of war, they were required to change their opinions overnight and become ardent partisans of the Allies. I submit, gentlemen, that no man, who has any intellectual integrity worthy of the name, can hold his conscience and judgment in absolute abeyance subject to the dictates of the administration,
There is, however, another and a more important aspect which I desire to discuss before the members of your honorable body. It relates to a factor which is generally overlooked by all ardent nationalists during this period of rampant nationalism. I feel that this is important, in view of the developments that have taken place since the World War ended. It was the hope of the men who injected the United States into the World War that this would be a war to end war; that it would be a war to make the world safe for democracy. In other words, that, when the World War should have been successfully terminated by the Allies, the bitter nationalism, which had led the European countries into the World War, might be obliterated.
But we have seen, since the World War ended 13 years or more ago, that nationalism and national hatreds are much keener now than at any time in modern history.
Before the World War ended, practically all of the great nations accorded a certain sanction to the views of internationally minded minorities.
I think that you will all agree with me as a general proposition that the world would be a much better place in which to live if more people thought of the residents of other lands in terms of love rather than of hatred.
The pacifists believe that world peace can only come as a result of such an attitude on the part of peoples toward each other generally. Certainly this is a fundamental tenet of the teachings of Christ. I believe on the whole that there is a great deal more force in the position of the pacifists in this respect than is generally conceded.
I am thinking particularly of the disturbance between Norway and Sweden in 1905 when the Government of Norway declared its independence of the Government of Sweden. The stage was set for a bloody war between those two countries. The fact that a war did not occur was due primarily to the position taken by the working people of Sweden. They announced it as their position that they would not take arms to kill their Norwegian brethren and that if Norway wished to separate, then let them go their way in peace. This in my humble opinion is the most significant incident in modern history from the standpoint of world peace.
When the World War came along there were strong minorities in all of the European countries opposed to war. These minorities were ruthlessly exterminated particularly in France, and to a lesser degree in Italy, Russia, Germany, and England. It seems to me that the nationalists of those European countries overlooked one fundamental fact. It was this—that while there were minorities within their particular Nation opposed to war either because of religious conviction or because of social concepts based upon the brotherhood of man, that there were also similar groups in all of the other warring countries. It seems to me that had there been any degree of enlightenment in any of the warring countries, they would have extended to these conscientious objectors the consideration which I humbly submit the conscience of a man is entitled to in this supposedly enlightened and Christian era.
Where for instance we have one socialist, there are proportionately no less than 10 socialists in Japan. Very frankly I can not imderstand why enlightened and Christian nations should seek to eliminate those men who take their social or religious philosophy seriously as regards the injunction against killing their fellow men, particularly in view of the fact that in all civilized countries the number of men who are actuated by religious or social idealism runs proportionately the same.
The decision of your honorable body upon the bill before you which provides as follows: “That religious views or philosophical opinions against war shall not debar aliens, otherwise qualified from citizenship" is going to be perhaps more far-reaching than any of you realize. As I have said, this is a day of rampant nationalism throughout the world. It is a day in which social idealists are accorded but slight courtesy. If the United States goes on record at this time in holding that no man or woman regardless of age or social outlook may be granted citizenship unless he or she be willing to bear arms, it is going to furnish the justification, to other nations much less secure, for the denial to socially minded minorities the right to freedom of conscience.
I hope that in arriving at your decision you will give earnest heed to the traditional right of freedom of conscience which has always been inseparably associated with the Government and institutions of this country, and that you will not, because of the organized representation which has been in this committee room during the past two days, be led to overlook the kindly tolerance of the mass of the American people of the religious scruples which many of them entertain upon this question. It could only serve to weaken their present rights as citizens if these rights were denied to aliens as a condition of obtaining citizenship.
THOMAS R. AMLIE.
GRIFFIN BILL COMMITTEE Hon. SAMUEL DICKSTEIN,
House of Representatives Office Building, Washington, D. C.
DEAR SIR: We ask you and your Committee on Immigration and Naturalization to consider the Griffin bills (H. R. 297, 298) for just what they are. Your fellow legislator, Mr. Griffin-himself no pacifist, but moved by a sense of justice-states clearly that his aim is to preclude the heckling that characterizes naturalization offices since the Bureau of Immigration (without legal authority or moral right) undertook to test intending citizens by an examination of their views about war.
Mr. Griffin and we, his backers, stand behind a policy of adequate national defense. War as a national policy has been renounced by our Nation. Therefore there is no issue on that score between us and our opponents. What we as patriots protest against is the disposition of extreme militarists to mire our bill in terms of war.
Whatever the motives behind our opponents, their activities are destructive of liberty of conscience and freedom of speech-of the very spirit which brought our Nation to birth. If your committee are swayed by their arguments, and use their responsible office as the vehicle of interest and blind fear, they are inevitably helping to bolshevize this country-putting a premium on the bolshevistic methods for which our opponents are notorious-appeal to partisan interest; propaganda through rigidly controlled channels (as are many of the socalled patriotic societies); and espionage through surreptitious reports" and blacklists.
Receive us, not as our opponents would persuade you, but as sincere patriots, defenders of the high traditions of our country, to the preservation of which we devote ourselves. Very respectfully,
THE NATIONAL GRIFFIN BILL COMMITTEE,
Chairman Boston Griffin Bill Committee.