The Ashburton Guardian, COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER SATURDAY, JUNE 5, 1880.
In the House of Representatives on Thursday the question was asked whether or not Government meant to take any steps by legislation to put down religious processions. There can he no doubt that the Boxing Day riots in Christchurch and Timaru prompted the question, and considering the excitement that was manifested, not only in these two places but in this district and throughout the colony at the time, there is no wonder that the question should have been asked, by tho irrepressible Mr. Fyke especially. The answer given by the Hon. Mr. Dick was one that must be satisfactory to every right-thinking man in the colony. He said that no legislation on the subject was •projected, as Government relied on the good sense of the people—the good feeling of the public—for proper conduct in this kind of thing. After the riotson Boxing Day, participation in, or favor to, the outbreaks was disclaimed from the Catholic pulpits, and we know the better class of the members of the Catholic Church deprecated any such ebullition of feeling on the side of those holding their creed, so that—and the trials proved—the rows must have been caused by the very sediment of that Church. In this colony we ought to be far removed from the influence of the prejudices that brought about those riots, for here every religion has full toleration, and a man may worship God in any manner that seems fit to him, without let or hindrance. And surely the display of a few green ribbons or orange banners ought not to raise in sensible men the sensations of a villain. The Catholic Church claims to teach the imitation of Christ who is the essence of patience and long suffering; and we gather that an Orangemen’s “ deportment should be gentle and compassionate, kind and courteous ; he should cultivate the society of the virtuous and avoid the company of tho evil. . . . He should ever abstain from all uncharitable words, actions, or sentiments towards his Roman Catholic brethren . . . and the glory of God and the welfare of men, the honor of his Sovereign and the good of his country, should be the only motives of his actions.” Surely two bodies of religious people holding so high principles ought never .to have cause to discuss their differences of opinion in the rough language of pick-handles. Notwithstanding the Boxing Day disturbances the time lias not yet come for the passing of a law to stop religious processions ; when that time comes religion is no longer free.
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