RELIGION IN POLITICS.
To the Editor. Sib,— lt was with much pain and regret that I read the letter of a “Lutheran” |a your issue of Monday. It is production of a very unsafe and unchristian minded, person, and calculated to do a great amount of mischief by sowing seeds of religious hate and discord, by putting class against class and fellow colonists against each other. It is a letter befitting daiker and more unfortunate days, which, thank God, have passed away, and a wretched country unfortunately rent and torn' asunder by religious bigotry and persecution. I hope and trust to the good sense and Christian feelings of my fellow colonists that letters of this kind will never find favor or acceptance in their sight : The dreadful scenes which such letters are calculated to awaken will never, I hope, be witnessed in New Zealand. Thisv and such like letters, are intended to serve a certain purpose, whereas on the -.fher hand I: can assure the writers that are doing the cause they wish to serve they . harm than good. Both Messrs far more'. Wason have many supporters Parnell ana Catholic body who are amongst: the , My estranged to them becoming thorough, ’ naive and bigotted through the -.very religion in the insults heaped upon their As a religious columns .of Thb Guardian. *- -> or parbody we,Catholics have no choiot Mtical ticular candidate in the present po.. contest. Neither has any particuw member ever or in any way been as much as suggested to us by. our clergy. We have taken advantage of rights which are granted to every man by the laws of the country, and these rights we can use uncontrolled, untrammelled, and free from the slightest external dictation. Let no untruthful scribbler dare to contradict or fix a lie upon the character of an influential religious body. The Catholics have brought no candidate into the field. Amongst those signing the requisition for Mr O’Reilly there cannot be found the name:of ,a single Catholic or Irishman ; and amongst those signing for Mr Ivess the Protestants are in the ascendancy (five to one), which fact proves unmistakably that the great majority of our fellow colonists are determined to set their heel on the neck of the foul demon of religious hate and discord, and not allow him to raise his head in this new and adopted land of ours. They say we will have no Dolly Brae rows, no Belfast nor Derry riots, we have closed the account with such disgraceful scenes. Again, let fme assure a “ Lutheran ” and all writers of'his ilk, if they do not wish to unsettle and estrange the minds of many Catholic electors from Messrs Purnell and Wason that they will desist froin abuse and gross misrepresentation. It is very hard for a reader of the Ashburton journals to say whether he is more surprised at the sublime forbearance, the cool, gentlemanly and dignified indifference of Mr Ivess, amidst insults and rovilings, or at the unmitigated, unchristian, spiteful conduct of his political opponents. lam no political supporter of Mr Ivess, but yet, sir, I must confess that the abuse that has.been undeservedly heaped upon him lately, has awakened strong feelings of sympathy within me, and I can assure you within many others. Those who believe, or : are capable of putting forward such agross misstatement that Catholics impart religious exclusiveness into politics, know very : little of that community. Is there a more religious, a more Catholic country—a country that has endured more for the Catholic | faith than Ireland has done? Let me ask a “ Lutheran ” and the other revilera of that country and creed have the Irish Catholic people since the days of Catholic Emancipation in 1829, ,when they began to enjoy theircivil rights "and privileges ever ostracised a nonCatholic ? Did they exclude from a Parliamentary seat or a Municipal honor any man on account of his religion ? Did they not share their newly acquired privileges generously—magnanimously and nobly with their Protestant fellow-countrymen 1 Did they in the strength of their power as an overwhelming majority raise any hateful religious cry or trample down and exi dude a minority as a “ Lutheran ?” No—on the contrary, and even in the most Catholic counties of Ireland they took the ' Liberal Protestant by the hand and con- . ferred. Parliamentary honors upon him, and in our most Catholic cities they elected the Liberal Protestant to the highest civic honors in opposition to Catholic candi- / dates. Did this praise-worthy conduct on the part of the Catholics, did it, I ask a ' Lutherean, elicit a similar a reciprocal ac- ■ tion on the other side? When did the cities of Belfast and Derry raise to the Mayoralty a Catholic ? When did a Protestant constituency in the North ever send •• a Catholic member to Parliament ? Who are Parnell, Shawe, Biggar, etc., etc? - Who were Butt, Mitchell, Gray, Martin, r O’Brien, Emmett, Burke, Wolf, Tone, jj Lord Edward Fitzgerald, and countless ■ others who have been the trusted leaders of the Irish Catholic people ? Were they not all Protestants ? And still it is said Catholics are essentially bigotted and exclusive in their politics. If a “ Lutheran” ,v be a true disciple of William, Prince of Orange let him adopt and practice the ■ tenets of that magnanimous sovereign. ‘ .William’s great desire was to treat his ■ -Catholic subjects in a spirit of conciliation and justice, and to extend to them the : fullest exercise of their civil and religious liberties. But this is not the doctrine of those who call themselves followers of the
Prince of Orange, and drink “to the glorious and immortal memory.” No, their principles and tenets are to foster religious hate and discord, to extinguish natural affection in the breasts oi their fellow colonists for each other, and if they could, to facilitate and perpetuate, means in their power, the work of discord, by making Catholicity appear almost irredeemably odious as the monstrous incarnation of all moral perversions. It is to he hoped that the evil spirit; of fanaticism and bigotry will never gain ihoh a footing in this country as to be led away by the perversions and misstatements of a “Lutheran.”—lam, etc., Thomas Walsh.
[Our correspondent is not justified in Stating that we have allowed any insults to be heaped on the Catholic body. Our columns for correspondents are open to every shade of opinion without respect to religious creed or denomination; but let It be distinctly understood that we in no way identify ourselves with those opinions, whatever they may he. If Mr Ivess or any one else wishes to make use of our /v/nmnE they are open to them, but we oannot agree with our correspondent that the former has been a “ martyr” through bis ** dignified indifferenceon political nestions, any more than the other Canutes have been fairly or even honorably if in the columns of his own journal. *•]
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 506, 1 December 1881
RELIGION IN POLITICS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 506, 1 December 1881
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