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Mr. Free. Suppose our Congress declares a war. Who is going
FREE to determine what the will of God is on that? Who is going to determine whether that war is according to the will of God or against the will of God?
Mr. Davis. That is a very good question. I am glad you asked that. I think that when the Congress declares war, the Congress of the United States can conscript all American citizens, and if an individual says that he believes it is against the will of God and his conscience, he can be put in jail, and I do not believe there is any danger to our American Government if you allow the individual to have freedom of conscience to go to jail because he believes that that is an unjust war.
I do not believe for one moment that there is any danger to our institutions by that policy, but I do think there is danger in asking a hypothetical question as has been done in these cases, such as asking the question, “Supposing the war is unjust, would you fight?" and forcing a man to say if the war is unjust he could not fight, and the putting of hypothetical questions of that kind would debar a citizen.
Mr. Johnson. You have stated, if I heard you correctly, that more than 38,000,000 people in the United States want the laws loosened up with respect to naturalization. Mr. Davis. No.
Mr. JOHNSON. What does it mean; it means 38,000,000 people you undertook to represent want that, doesn't it?
Mr. Davis. No.
Mr. JOHNSON. Why did you present that table of statistics if it does not mean that?
Mr. Davis. To show that religious organizations representing more than 36,000,000 people have taken official stands in opposition to the present interpretation of the naturalization law. The principle that allegiance to one's conscience and to one's God comes ahead of allegiance to the State, and I am therefore arguing from that many of that 36,000,000 people would be debarred from citizenship under this interpretation of the law.
Mr. Johnson. Thirty-eight million, I think the chart indicated. Mr. DAVIS. Whatever the number is.
Of course, millions of Christians attach the label of Christianity to themselves, whether they do what Secretary Fall did or whether they do what other criminals in the name of patriotism have done. There are millions of our citizens who will preach patriotism to them that they do not necessarily feel, and I am also saying that there are many sincere Christians who would swear they would fight in any war whether it is good or bad, but I am saying that these organizations representing these denominations, representing that number of people in the United States, have taken active opposition against the present construction of the naturalization law.
Mr. JOHNSON. I am afraid you are not properly dividing the problem. What the citizens of the United States think is one matter; and what the prospective citizens think, or shall do in their desire to become citizens of the United States along with the 120,000,000 other citizens, is another matter.
I think the problem should be divided. The province of this committee is to do concerning aliens what this committee recognizes as
best for the population, for the citizens of the United States of America.
Mr. Davis. I am very happy to clear that misunderstanding up if there is any necessity for it on the part of the committee. These millions of citizens oppose the restrictions on prospective citizens. They do not feel that these prospective citizens who place allegiance to God and good conscience ahead of allegiance to the State should be debarred from citizenship. They do not think it is right for men to say they will fight in every just or unjust war.
Mr. JENKINS. Doesn't this long, eloquent, and learned dissertation of yours amount to this, which we all agree with, that all war is wrong?
Mr. Davis. I do not think everybody will agree with that now. I do not think that is the thought of everybody.
Mr. JENKINS. Then the next thing is this: Do you not believe in our republican form of Government?
Mr. Davis. Yes. That is why we are having this hearing and I am permitted to appear before this committee.
Mr. JENKINS. Do you not believe in our republican form of government and, at the same time, that the threat of war has some efficacy at times !
Mr. Davis. But I am trying to prove to Congress that a majority are in favor of changing the law, as it has been interpreted. When the Supreme Court passed on this I believe they were mistaken in their interpretation and the present interpretation was only by a bare majority of one.
Mr. Johnson. But the majority of the people of the United States want the law tightened as to naturalization.
Mr. FREE. Do you think there is any question in the world that this committee and this Congress does not intend just what the Supreme Court decided ?
Mr. Davis. The Supreme Court was not deciding as to whether or not Congress should change the law; the Supreme Court, by a bare majority against the opinion of the Chief Justice, was deciding that in their opinion that was now the interpretation of the law. They did not say it could not be changed at any time you became convinced it should be changed.
Mr. FREE. My question is: Is there any doubt about that? You say you are from the legal department of Yale University.
Mr. Davis. No; I am not a member of the legal department.
Mr. MILLARD. Are you appearing as an individual, or whom do you represent?
The CHAIRMAN. No; he is a professor at Yale University, Jerome Davis.
Mr. Davis. I do not represent the university in appearing here. I am speaking here for no one but myself.
Mr. FREE. What do you teach?
Mr. Davis. Sociology in the Yale University Divinity School. I am one of the sympathizers with Macintosh, who is denied citizenship.
Mr. Free. What are your religious affiliations?
Mr. FREE. Do you think there is any doubt about what Congress meant or does mean now by this law which is interpreted by the Supreme Court ?
Mr. Davis. Well, I should think that there is, if Chief Justice Hughes of the Supreme Court says, as he does in his dissenting opinion, that there must be some doubt. Mr. MILLARD. Does Yale University back you up in your opinion?
Mr. Davis. I can't say, because we have not taken that up with them, but I can say that the dean of the Law School is in entire accord with this opinion.
Mr. MILLARD. Dean Cross?
Mr. Davis. Dean Clark. If you will pardon me, I would like to finish. I have a couple more pages here.
The CHAIRMAN. How much more time do you think you will need ? Mr. Davis. I think about six minutes. I just want to say that it is not only religious denominations which stand aghast at this ruling. Some of the foremost citizens of America would be debarred from citizenship under the Supreme Court's interpretation if they were prospective citizens and they have expressed their individual denunciation of this ruling.
Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, for instance, says: The Nation in wartime will conscript our children, conscript our property, conscript our business. There is no doubt of that now and no one will be able to prevent it. Has the Nation, however, so taken the place of God Almighty that it can conscript our consciences? Let this be frankly and publicly spoken. If Professor Macintosh is not fit to become a citizen, then we are not fit to be citizens, for we most certainly will not support a' war which we think is morally wrong.
Thousands of leaders in the United States have signed statements declaring that they refuse to be bound by the Supreme Court decision, and that in spite of it they will place loyalty to God ahead of loyalty to the State. Some of those who have signed and would be barred from citizenship if they were prospective citizens are: Benj. amin Brewster, Bishop of Maine; S. Parkes Cadman, radio minister, Federal Council of Churches.
Mr. FREE. You are holding Cadman out as a great, outstanding, loyal citizen to us who know him? Mr. Davis. I would say so; yes. Mr. FREE. Well, think it over.
Mr. Davis. Samuel M. Cavert, general secretary of the Federation of Churches; Henry Sloane Coffin, member of the Corporation of Yale University and president of Union Technological Seminary; Sherwood Eddy, international secretary of the Y. M. C. A.; Francis J. McConnell, foremost leader of the Methodist Church and president of the Federal Council of Churches.
Mr. FREE. Another fine, outstanding, loyal citizen.
Mr. FREE. Well, he is holding up to us people whom he states are fine, outstanding American citizens.
Mr. DAVIS. Also C. C. Morrison, editor of the Christian Century; Albert W. Palmer, president of Chicago Theological Seminary; Carl S. Patton, Moderator of all the Congregational Churches; and Luther A. Weigle, dean of the Yale University Divinity School.
I can extend this list almost indefinitely, but I can not refrain from mentioning the name of Mary E. Woolley, president of Mount
Holyoke College, who was selected by President Hoover to be the first woman to ever represent the United States at a disarmament conference, and yet who would be debarred from American citizenship if she were an applicant as the present naturalization laws now stands.
Mr. MILLARD. What does she say about it?
The CHAIRMAN. Please let him finish his statement, then you can ask any questions you want to.
Mr. Davis. Not only would these representative citizens be barred, but Justice Holmes of the United States Supreme Court and Chief Justice himself (supposing for the moment that they were to seek citizenship) would both be declared “as not attached to the Constitution.” What an absurd, nay, what a dangerous law it is that would debar as citizens such as these. It would undermine the very structure of our country. It is hardly necessary to add that the great writer Leo Tolstoy, the great religious leader, Francis of Assisi, and that greatest of religious leaders, Jesus of Nazareth, would all be debarred from citizenship.
One wonders what kind of country the United States would become if the sincere and earnest followers of the Christian way of life were debarred, and the materialists, atheists, and gangsters were to be admitted. Is it not terribly dangerous to make legal a policy opposed by so many millions of religious people?
The issue thus narrows down to the question whether, from the standpoint of broad public policy, we should debar from citizenship sincere, patriotic Christians who are willing to die for their country in every just war, if they refuse to pledge in advance that they will fight in a war which is unjust. If such loyal, sincere religious leaders are no longer to be admitted to citizenship, it is a tragic commentary on the depths to which our patriotism has sunk.
In conclusion, then, I reiterate, first, that unless the present warped construction of the naturalization law is changed, we are turning away from the heritage of freedom of conscience for which our Nation was founded and adopted in its place the supremacy of Statet over the consciences of the individuals; second, of necessity, also to be consistent, we must debar from public office countless numbers of our most intelligent citizens. In taking office they must now submit to the same oath. The present law as now construed is positively dangerous, for it would debar most of the sincere Christians who have thought through the question of liberty of conscience in its relation to the State. Would it not mean naturalization was rereserved for conscienceless, unthinking mental slaves, atheists, and believers in the Bolshevik theory of the autocratic state. Unless the Congress of the United States clarifies its position, America will have come perilously near serving notice on all the world that from this time forth citizenship is for non-Christians only. I can not believe that Congress will refuse to clarify its position in accordance with the views of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and so many of our religious denominations. [Applause.]
Mr. ČOOKE. May I ask the gentleman a question?
Mr. Davis. Yes.
Mr. COOKE. What participation did you have in the World War, Professor?
Mr. Davis. I am very happy to tell you that, sir.
I was serving with Sir Wilfred Grenfell in Labrador in 1915, carrying on his laboratory work with him, and I was so impressed by the tragic nature of the conflict, in which we had not entered, that voluntarily I offered my services to the Y. M. C. A. to service prisoners of war of the allied countries in Germany.
The Y. M. C. A. at that time, for every man sent to Germany to care for the allied prisoners, had agreed to send one man to Russia, and I was told they would rather have me go to Russia, and I said if that is desired I will go, and I went to Russia to serve the prisoners of war. When former Secretary of State Root came over there, heading the Belgian Commission, I was in charge of Y. M. C. A. work and Secretary of War Baker repeatedly sent me cablegrams asking me to remain in my position, which I did until the end of the conflict.
Mr. COOKE. You were in the noncombatant service during the whole of the war?
Mr. Davis. I was specifically requested by the Secretary of War to remain in noncombatant service, and I volunteered before the United States declared war.
Mr. COOKE. For Y. M. C. A, service?
Mr. Davis. I could not have volunteered for United States combat service, because we were not in the war.
Mr. COOKE. Why didn't you volunteer for the United States service?
Mr. Davis. War was not declared by the United States at that time.
Mr. COOKE. It was declared in 1917. : Mr. Davis. I did not then because the Secretary of War cabled me and asked me not to, and I followed the specific request of the Secretary of War.
Mr. COOKE. In that case, that coincided with your political ideas as far as the war was concerned ?
Mr. Davis. No; I did not have any conscientious objections at that time.
Mr. JENKINS. Do you belong to the Civil Liberties Union?
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Davis. We will stand adjourned until half past 1 and we will convene in room 379, the Judiciary Committee room.
(Thereupon, at 12.15 o'clock p. m., further hearing was continued until 1.30 p. m. of the same day.)