Church and State
[From the Herald of Freedom of July 15, 1842; Miscellaneous Writings, pp. 221-222]
It was the curse and ruin of the Church, when she consented to the friendship and protection of the armed State. Christianity left her at that moment, and has never since darkened her doors, except to bear testimony against her. Our modern Church is a mere creature of the State. She is as much a State institution, as Banks, Insurance Companies, or Cotton Factories. And the State is her preserver, as well as creator. This is what we have been all along saying, while the impudent harlot has denied it, unblushingly, as harlots always deny, I suppose. She has claimed to be the bride of Christ - while all along she has been the mistress of the military State. She is, like all other harlots enamored of the cockade and the scarlet coat of the soldier; yet when put to the profession, she disfigures her face, and claims to be "the bride, the lamb's wife." Mark below, in the legislative act protecting her, the reliance she puts on God, - mark her faith. A few conscientious individuals have tried to speak for the slave, a few times, in her heathenish synagiogues, and it has filled all her borders with moral alarm. It scares her more than the Roman Eagles did the old High Priesthood at Jerusalem, - or rather Christ's speaking, which they feared would bring the Romans upon them, to take away both their place and their nation. Frightened out of her heathenish wits, she runs for protection to the State House. She fled this town to Justice Badger in the first place, and he tried to relieve her by imposing a fine, without any law.[ii] For when the church prosecutes, she must prevail, law or no law. The Church did not dare risk, however, a continuance of prosecutions without law, lest, by and by, she might get hold of a magistrate who would ask her for her law. She thought she would make sure she would make sure, and have a law made that she could produce, if called for. Mr. Tuck, (not Friar Tuck, but Squire Tuck - the Tucks, by the way have been famous as champions of the Church, ever since the days of the self-denying clerk of Copmanhurst, celebrated in Ivanhoe,) - Mr. Tuck of Exeter, a lawyer, introduced the protective bill, and another evangelical member of the bar, Squire Wells of Lancaster, advocated it. And General Court passed it. And now, if a prosecution should be commenced, they have got a statute to base it upon, whose only defect is, it is flagrantly unconstitutional. But that is no consequence. The constitutionality won't be looked up. Foster is a non-resistant.
Here follows the act. It will do to go, by and by, among the blue laws of liberal old Connecticut, and the red laws of enlightened old Massachusetts, under which they strung up women by the neck, on Gallows Hill, in the charitable and brotherly town of Salem - for the unscriptural vocation of witchcraft. They hung them under "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" - adopted into the law book.
Nathaniel Peabody Rogers