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Christian Socialism., Issue 8025, 30 September 1889
However much of evil may be intermingled with modern Socialism, there ape at its foupdation principles to which Chi Istians must take heed. We cannot afford to allow the enemy to take possession of them to the destruction of society. Good men on both sides of the sea are awake to this fact. Charles Kingsley and Thomas Hughes were among the first to recognise this trpth in England, and with other clergymen and laymen of the Church of England, formed in London the first society of Christian Socialists. Their thought was to Christianise Socialism and socialise Christianity. They started a journal which was shortlived, and their society passed into the wider Rochdale movement, but their thoughts lived and permeated philanthropies in other countries as well as in England. The St. Matthew’s Guild of London is practically a society of Christian Socialists, as are several organisations under various names' in Prance, Germany, fielgium, and Norway. In America, such men as Rev. Heber Newton and Dr Washington Gladden have for some time been advocating positions of Christian Socialism; others in widely separated localities and departments of philanthropic work discovered that, all unknown to each other and working on wholly separated lines, they had reached substantially similar results. A meeting was called in Tremont Temple, Boston, last February, ip which were represented most of the religious denominations, to consider this matter, and, if it seemed best, draft a platform upon which all could stand. This proved a work of time, many meetings of the Committee were held; but at length, with marked unanimity, they adopted the following declaration of principles. To exalt the principle that all rights and powers are gifts of God, not for the receiver’s use only, but for the benefit of all; to magnify the oneness of the human family, and to lift mankind to the highest plane of privilege, we band ourselves together under the name of Christian Socialists; 1. We hold that God is the source pnd guide of all human progress, and we believe that all social, political, and industrial relations should be based on the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, in the spirit and according to the teachings o! Jesus Christ. 2. We hold that the present commercial and industrial system is not thus based, but rests rather on economic individualism, the results of which are: (a) That the natural resources of the earth'and the mechanical inventions of man are made to accrue disproportionately to the advantage of the few instead of the many. ' (hj) That production is without 'general
plan, and commercial and industrial crises are thereby precipitated. (c) That the control of business is rapidly concentrating in the hands of a dangerous plutocracy, and the destinies of the masses of wage earners are becoming increasingly dependent on the will and resources of a narrowing number of wage payers. ((I) That thus large occasion is given for the moral evils of mammonism, recklessness, over-crowding, intemperance, prostitution, crime.
3. We hold that united Christianity must protest against a system so based, and productive of such results, and must demand a reconstructed social order which, adopting some method of production and distribution that starts from organised society as a body and seeks to benefit society equitably in everyone of its numbers, shall be based on the Christian principles that “We are members one of another.”
4, While recognising the present dangerous tendency of business towards combinations and trusts, we yet believe that the economic circumstances which call them into being will necessarily result in the development of such a social order which, with the equally necessary development of individual character, will be at once true Socialism and true Christianity.
5. Our objects, therefore, as Christian Socialists are:
fa) To show that the aim of Socialism is embraced in the aim of Christianity.
(b) To awaken members of Christian churches to the fact that the teachings of Jesus Christ lead directly to some specific form or forms of Socialism ; that therefore the church has a definite duty upon this matter, and must, in simple obedience to Christ, apply itself to the realisation of the social principles of Christianity. 6, We invite all who can subscribe to this declaration to active co-operation with us, and we urge the formation of similar fellowships in other places throughout the The new society has started its official organ, * The Dawn.’ Its managing editor is Rev. W. D. P. Bliss, and its first number gives promise that it will be worthy of its near juxtaposition to the Massachusetts W.C.T.U. headquarters. In its ‘Salutamus ’ ‘ The Dawn ’ declared its message to be the application of Christianity to social problems, and its aim to further all measures, present all news, and aid all organisations moving in that direction, especially to appeal to the Christian church. Among the legislative measures it advocates are: The extension of suffrage to women; compulsory education, with opportunities for industrial and technical study ; the enforcement of an eight-hour day; the making of marriage laws the same throughout the land. The reforms which it recognises as next in order and nearest at home are:
(Where not already adopted) ballot reform, on the Australian or some essentially similar system, of necessity the first of all political reforms. Civil service reform, in radical, thorough, and universal application.
The eight-hour movement. Suppression of the saloon. Municipalisation of city light and transit. Nationalisation of railroads and the tele graph. Taxation of land, timber, mines held for speculative purposes, as fully as land in use.
Concentration of taxation more and more upon ground rents, We count it one of the promising signs of the times that the great questions which arc surging with such menacing force through the business world are coming to be studied from a Christian standpoint. ‘ Union Signal.’
Christian Socialism., Issue 8025, 30 September 1889
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