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Communications: Methodist Protestant Church And Slavery

Communications: Methodist Protestant Church And Slavery image
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Mksshs. Editors: Wiil you permit me to make a few remarks on onc part of tlic Constitution of the Methodist Protestant Church with which I stund connecled. The clause to which Í refer is on the 20tli page of the Discipline, and wluch makcsa distinction between the white ond colored members of the churcli. It reads ns follous: "Every minister and preacher nnd evcry white lay male member in full communion and fellowship, having attaincd to the age of twcnty-one years, shall beentitled to vote in all cases," &tc. The obj ctor says "that the üonstilution of thia church, eo far from securing the rihts of all (as it professes) does positively dcprive the colored members of all their righfs, by not allovving them to voto Stc. And snch Constitutional restrictions against the riglits of colored people we bolieve are not to be found in any other church inthis country.' Is this really so or has Uiis cliurch secured to the white members what most of our leading cliurches have neglected or rcfused to do, viz: to grant them the privilege of volïng in all cases. It is true that while it permanent ly and forever sccures these inalienable rights of the white, it leaves (not denies) the. rights of the colored members to be provid ed for by eacli Jlnnual Conference according to theiipeculiar cond ilion and circumstances. And lipnce on page 21, 3d item, jt says, "Each annual conference shall have exclusive power to iñrike its own ru!os and regulations for the admission and government of the colored rrembers within its district, and to mnke for them such terms of sufïrage as the Conferences respect ively ma}' deern proper." Is tliis depriving the colored members of thcir rights by granting to oach Ann'ial Conference full legislative authority in their case? But wliy tbis manifest distinction in the two classes? - We admit that their would be no neecssity of making tliis or any other distinction if the church is to be governed by an absolute monarcliy or b}ra combinnlio of monarchy and aristocracy. But in a church with a republi can form of governmeni extending North and SW,it is the only safe way. A church thus extended is under the neecssity of h gislalinor for two distinct classes of people, the white and cnlored. This necessity originates in their civil nequalit'tes which no church laws can possibly remove. Jf these inequaliües areever removed t must be by civil enactinents. And a church sosituated must legislóte for their white constituents vniversalh nnd for colorrd rnembers seclionally, or according to iheir particular condition. But whnt evils would naturally arise by I granting and securing Ihe right of sufirnge lo ! ihc colored peopie at the Soutli, wliclher they are Slaves or not? Every one tshould linovv that to rstablisli a system like f lint would be. whüe the slave is uuder the absolute control of lus master.plncing the destiny of the cluirch in the hands of the Slaven ófdér. And so soon as an infidel master or slaveholdcr could get enougli of his slaves inlo the church to form a mnjority of the church or society, said church or society must bc given over to be controlled by said infido] master. And wliere is the miniiler or lay-man wljo wt.uld liko or even daré to connect hirnself with kucIi a soci ety? I Ihink every one must see tliat it is fr the safety of the church, under existing circumstances, to make sucii a distinction bctwcpn the whites and colored members. A man to vote in civil or religiuus afHiirs should bef'ree. And every free citizon should be entitleil to vote in church as well as in Siate matters.A thought or lwo on another question aria tiieu I wili cli'sc for this time. íf ybu are so dccidedly Anti-Slovery ni yonr viewd, uliy do you not come oíf and leave the general compact, and at once break your connection with the monster SÍayeryi But what conneclion? W'hy once in four );ars you have a Genorai Conférence where you liieet with the supporters of slavöry and transad thehiisiness tjfllie ènlirc churchj tlic satne as Cohgress does for the several states. True. The first rcuson why not at presenf prepared for this step is, Rttrtsiü if possible, tö cbnV.nce the.e supporters of slaverv bf t.'eir great wroilg. And if'I revolc from them, I Jiave no way so sure and t'irect of presenting my ievsand argurhents upon their hearts and conscicuces as I now have. Secondlyj we ha Vb not, ns nbolitionisfs, done our diity to our Southern Brethreiij and thiá we must do before we close the dhor} or deprive our.-elves of the opportunity of doing if. Thirdlys wlien the Norlh unite on fhis all important qtiestioh, whicli we think they will do at our next General Conference, they can give the monster his death wound in Jlie church. Four'.hly, if we leave the general compact it will wenken the Abolitinn force in the church, and consequently strengthen Ihe slavery party. But do you not f Jlowship the sin and the slaveholder by bc ing thns conncctcd with the So'.ithern Conrerences? Ans. - We Ihink Dot. Thcrc is a widc diflerence 'betwcen holding a connection wiili pouthern conferences, nnd frllowshipping thcir particular mos. It s üfien the cnse llial a church connot fcllowship nn unruly member, and still Bhe letaiiM her conncction with him, until all proper effbrts aie made to reclaim the transgressor, nnd a regular trial is hud and the jndt vidual proved guiliy, and then his connection wit!j the church ceases. And this is all ne ask lor befo re we ecver our conncction with the Southern Confeicnces. We have as a Conference, as well ns nur Easttrn Conference?, witbdrawn our fellowship from the 1 holders of slavery, as well as from slaveholders, and when the proper time arrivés, if we cannol cure we tvill break the conneclion.


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