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Furthermore, we believe it to be the duty of the churches to give moral support to those individuals who hold conscientious scruples against participation in military service.
The Federal Council of Churches wound up this declaration by asking the various denominations to take official action in the matter.
Let me quote the official action of some of the other Protestant denominations.
The house of bishops of the general convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States in October, 1925, adopted a resolution that " aggressive warfare is a crime on the part of a nation, and is so to be held by the followers of Christ."
In other words, a prospective citizen who is an Episcopalian, asked whether in any war, just or unjust, whether he will fight, if true to the church, must say “ No.".
At the world conference of the bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church held at Lambeth, England, in July and August, 1930, the conference affirmed " that war as a method of settling international disputes is incompatible with the teaching and example of our Lord Jesus Christ."
At the biennial conference of the American Unitarian Association held in Philadelphia on October 19, 1931, a resolution of protest against the decision debarring Doctor MacIntosh was voted. Among other things this said “the decision puts a construction upon the Constitution contrary to our American practice in all its history.” The conference added :
Be it further resolved that we who approve these resolutions pledge ourselves to all possible efforts to move Congress to find some relief, if necessary, in a constitutional amendment, from the intolerable results of the Supreme Court decision as it affects both the native-born citizen and the applicant for citizenship.
At the 1931 meeting in Seattle of the National Council of the Congregational and Christian churces, the representatives adopted resolutions which declared that the dissenting opinion in the MacIntosh case was the historic American constitutional doctrine, in that it recognized the practice of freedom of conscience, and the superior obligation of the religious man to the will of God.
The majority decision by a bare majority of one does not mean that that necessarily, in every case, is the right thing for Congress to do. The Supreme Court was merely interpreting what they thought was the intent of Congress. I think they interpreted wrongly. I agree with the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, but the question before this committee, and before the citizens of America, is whether Congress should amend the law.
On August 23, 1931, the general conference of Seventh Day Baptists made a series of resolutions from which I quote the first five:
While a nation has a “duty to survive,” yet its first duty is to "seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly before God.”
Our Nation has by the Constitution and by legislative enactment even in times of war safeguarded religious liberty, thus recognizing that a citizen's first duty is to God.
The Kellogg-Briand treaty anticipates the formation of a body of conscienceled citizens in every nation, who shall assure the peaceable settlement of international disputes.
Our Nation must not put itself in the position of demanding that incoming citizens give up the right to be conscience-led when by the Constitution, by
legislative enactment, and by the Kellogg-Briand treaty, this very thing is safeguarded and encouraged for native-born citizens.
We express ourselves in agreement with the minority opinion written by Chief Justice Hughes.
I am asking what kind of citizens do you want? If any citizen who is a loyal supporter of these various denominations is asked the hypothetical question, if true to his denomination, true to his religious faith, he must answer as Doctor MacIntosh answered, and then you are going to debar all those people from citizenship, and I say they are the very type of citizens that we want.
The report of the Commission of International Justice and Goodwill of the Northern Baptist Convention in 1930 declared :
We believe that such a policy is not only unjust to the individual but contrary to public welfare and in conflict with the ideals of a nation into whose very structure the principle of religious and political liberty has been built. More than anything else our country needs citizens who unswervingly follow the dictates of their conscience, making allegiance to God the supreme guide to life and conduct.
We believe, moreover, that it is quite unsuitable that our courts and our laws should require applicants for citizenship to make pledges that conflict with the spirit and intent of the peace pact.
We appeal to our fellow citizens to help secure the needed amendment of our naturalization law.
The United Lutheran Church at its biennial convention on October 9, 1930, said: War service is a matter of conscience
under certain circumstances it may become the duty of a Christian to defend the State even at the cost of human life; but what these circumstances must be can not be determined by the church. Hence, the individual conscience alone can serve as a guide.
As early as 1924 the general conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church declared:
Governments which ignore the Christian conscience of men in time of peace can not justly claim the lives of men in time of war.
The 1930 international convention of the Disciples of Christ declared:
We reaffirm the well-founded principle of the sanctity of the individual conscience in the matter of participation in war, and declare against the invasion of this right by the Government in the case of the refusal of naturalization to foreign-born persons of good character seeking citizenship. We hold it to be the duty of all good citizens to support the State up to the point where obedience to man becomes disobedience to God.
The general assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America adopted at its 1930 meeting a resolution which read in part:
Whereas the standards of the church declare that God alone is Lord of the conscience; therefore, resolved that this assembly declares its belief that the right and duty of citizenship should not be conditioned upon the test of ability or willingness, contrary to conscience, to bear arms or take part as a combatant in war.
The above reference to the “ standards of the church " is specifically to the Westminster confession of faith drawn up in 1729, in which it is stated :
God alone is Lord of conscience and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in anything contrary to His word and the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience and reason also.
The feeling against the present naturalization law on the part of religious bodies is so unanimous that not only have Catholic, Prutestant, and Jewish periodicals protested, but, for the first time in the history of the Nation, 27 of the leading religious periodicals have agreed to join in a national campaign for signatures to a declaration, which says in part:
Therefore, I, a citizen of the United States, solmenly refuse to acknowledge the obligation which the Supreme Court declares to be binding upon all citizens, whether native born or naturalized. I have not promised, expressly or tacitly, to accept an act of Congress as the final interpretation of the will of God, and I will not do so. In my allegiance to my country I withhold nothing, not even my life. But I can not give up my conscience. That belongs to God. I repudiate the obligation which the Supreme Court's decision would impose upon me, and declare that the imposition of such an obligation is the essence of tyranny. I refuse to be bound by it.
Mr. JENKINS. This is exclusive of the religious periodical, The Nation. They run full-page advertisements in every issue. .
Mr. CABLE. They are advertisements!
Mr. Davis. It was the official policy of the 27 periodicals going out on this crusade.
They, therefore, end by saying: I, therefore, earnestly and respectfully petition Congress to amend the naturalization law so as to unbind the consciences of American citizens and to insure that no alien who is otherwise qualified and who is willing to be subject to the same obligation in all respects as a native-born citizen shall be refused citizenship.
Now, I want to show a chart which shows these periodicals, so that you will get an idea of the sweep of these periodicals. I, unfortunately, do not have the circulation of all of them, but you can see they embrace the leading periodicals of the Nation.
The Christian Courier, with a circulation of 6,000; the Christian Herald, with a circulation of 216,022; the Christian Leader, with a circulation of 5,790, the Christian Register, with a circulation of 6,360; the Epworth Herald, with a circulation of 56,301; the Friends Intelligencer, with a circulation of 2,520; the Living Church, with a circulation of 8,700; the Methodist Protestant Recorder, with a circulation of 5,100; the Presbyterian Advance, with a circulation of 15,548; the Reformed Church Messenger, with a circulation of 9,360; and the Richmond Christian Advocate, with a circulation of 8,000; Unity, with a circulation of 1,166; the Witness, with a circulation of 16,828; the World Tomorrow, with a circulation of 10,000; and Zion's Herald, with a circulation of 12,000.
These perodicals down here, although I do not have the total circulation, are, many of them, more important than the ones I have listed. The ones I have listed have a combined circulation of 379,695.
I also want to show this committee
Mr. JENKINS (interposing). You do not have the Christian Advocate on there, which has a subscription of more than 10 times—
Mr. Davis (interposing). You may have a dozen, or a hundred periodicals, who are not on this, and who yet stand for that position. We could only determine that by going to the editors. As a matter of fact, I could prolong this list by 20 or 25 if I took the periodicals
who protest the decision but who have not gone out on this crusade. I have given only the ones who have come out on a very radical united platform against the present interpretation. I want to show this committee what it means if you are going to debar prospective citizens.
Mr. FREE. Do you mean to infer that 15,000,000 Roman Catholics are for this damnable thing you are trying to put over?
Mr. Davis. I do not mean to infer that all the members of these churches individually want the law amended, but I do mean that their conscientious members of the church and official bodies have taken official action in favor of amending the law, or by their inherent doctrine, such as the Westminster confession. This present interpretation of who can be a citizen goes against that church's doctrine.
Mr. Free. You are not claiming that you represent these people, that you have a right to speak for them?
a Mr. Davis. No; but I am maintaining these denominations have taken official action by protesting the decision, and you are saying that a man, a prospective citizen of the Methodist church, who comes up and wants citizenship, in order to get it, must go against the official declaration of the 'Methodist Church. You are saying that a member of the Presbyterian Church, who comes to the United States, who has always been a good Presbyterian, you would debar him from citizenship if he goes against the official declaration, you force him to go against the official declaration of his church.
Mr. FREE. Are you addressing that question to me?
Mr. Davis. No; I am not. I am just making a statement. So, you get the thought of denominations with a representation in the Federal Council of Churches, with a total of 36,000,000 members.
Mr. FREE. Do you contend that they represent 36,000,000 people! Mr. Davis. No.
Mr. FREE. On any of their propaganda ? I will challenge you on anything they stand for.
Mr. Davis. I am willing to cut out the Federal Council of Churches. It only reduces it by 2,700,000.
Mr. FREE. Let us take the Catholics next.
Mr. Davis. I am not saying every single one of these individuals would be debarred from citizenship, but I am saying that many of the most loyal Catholics would be debarred. I am saying many of the most loyal Methodists would be debarred.
Mr. JENKINS. I was a member of the national conference of Methodist Episcopal Churches in 1924, that you refer to, and that conference did not do anything that would justify you in standing up there and representing them.
The CHAIRMAN. I think you ought to hold back your opinions, because there are a number of resolutions that the chairman has, from these respective churches, that might be offered in evidence.
Mr. FREE. They claim the Federal Council of Churches represents all these organizations, when, as a matter of fact, nearly all the organizations are repudiating the Federal Council of Churches.
The CHAIRMAN. You might be right or wrong, but let us have the professor complete his statement, and then you may ask questions.
Mr. Davis. I am going to conclude very shortly now.
As I said, even if you cut out the Federal Council of Churches, it still leaves 34,000,000 members, many of whom, if they are loyal to the official declaration of their churches, would be debarred from citizenship.
Mr. GREEN. Please name where the Roman Catholic Church came out as an organization-which would have to be done through the church-for this sort of thing.
Mr. DAVIS. Leo XIII said:
Laws bind only when they are in accordance with right reason, and hence with the eternal law of God.
St. Thomas said:
Human law is law, only by virtue of its accordance with right reason, so that manifestly, it flows from eternal law. In so far as law deviates from right reason, it is no law at all, but rather a species of violence, hence obedience to the State is disloyalty to God.
Mr. GREEN. And, under that you are claiming they are backing up this amendment that you want?
Mr. Davis. I do not say they back up any specific amendment, but I say the Catholic Church stands for loyalty to God first, and does not officially say that if it is against the law of God and against the conscience of an individual, that he should nevertheless go out against a war which the Pope and which God have declared to be unjust.
I took that up yesterday when I arrived in Washington with the Catholic University of America, and they said I would be justified in so saying.
Mr. GREEN. Who said that? Who told you that in the Catholic University ?
Mr. Davis. I can not give, I am sorry to say, the name of the gentleman who gave me that; but it was some one connected with the department of moral action.
Mr. GREEN. Some brother, or some one of that kind ? Did the head of the organization authorize you to make that statement?
Mr. Davis. This statement is authorized; yes, sir. He authorized me.
Mr. GREEN. What is his name?
Mr. GREEN. In other words, you got out and speak to somebody up there on the campus and they tell you this, and you come in and tell us the Catholic University is for this.
Mr. Davis. I did not say the Catholic University; I said a teacher in the Catholic University. I am not standing on this. I do not care what the Catholic University says.
I am standing on the declaration of Leo XIII, and I am saying every Catholic holds that position. I am saying there are many sincere and consecrated Catholics that would be debarred, and that you can not deny. I have an editorial from the official Catholic Journal
Mr. JOHNSON (interposing). You keep talking about interpreting the will of God. Who does that interpreting?
Mr. Davis. You ought to straighten that out when you testify to-morrow, but I would say this, that the opinion of the church is that the conscience can not be dictated by the State. The State can not determine the conscience of the individual.