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Evening Star, Issue 15682, 22 December 1914
We gather from the summarised report of “ a lavgely-at-The Electors and “tended meeting of the Churches. “delegates of the
“ Bibb in State “Schools League” at Wellington that while the results of the recent elections may not be satisfactory, they provide cause for “ thankfulness.” No ouo who has felt compelled, in the interests of the children and of tho educational system of this Dominion, to oppose tho policy of tho league will question their right to be thankful for mercies that are not altogether obvious to the outaido public. We have heard of a certain congregation that was so ill provided with the customary necessaries for the conduct of its services that on one occasion the minister had to lend his own hat as a collection box to take up tho usual offerings. When tho hat came back to him with the contents still uncounted the owner found therein a total sum of two cents. “Ah, well,” remarked tho good man, “I ought “to bo thankful that I got my hat back “from such a crowd.” In like manner, wo suspect, the Rev. Dr Gibb, of Wellington,, must have expressed himeolf when he saw the fruits of his labors—those passionate pleas, indignant remonstrances, and scathing denunciations—garnered in on election night. When the impetuous Romeo, dimly realising some of the consequences of his own folly, railed at life and destiny and ail things, Friar Laurence oifered him, by way of comfort, "adversity's ewoet milk, philosophy.” The slayer of the fiery Tybalt told the friar to “hang up philosophy.” Dr Gibb, however, is both elder and wiser. He calls philosophy to his aid, and under its gracious influence ho is able to extract thankfulness, if nothing else, from the returns of that political campaign on which his own and other churches were, wo think, unfortunately persuaded to embark. V?o have eo far made no comment of any moment upon tho verdict that was so plainly pronounced by. the electors on the demands of the league.' Prom our standpoint, which is that of what wo believe to be the best interests of th© community, it was an eminently sound one,, and in harmony with what w© from time to time had suggested, as probable. But in controversies of this nature sober .men have no desire to do more than record the facts and' pass on. Exultation appears to us to be' foreign to the spirit in which questions of this character should be undertaken, and of premature ‘boasting
and confident assertion we have had enough and to spare,- Wo simply desire here and now to doubt the accuracy of the league’s'figures. Thirty-six’ members, we are informed, have been returned to Parliament to support the referendum asked for by the churches constituting the league. Against this declaration we place that of the ablest- authority upon the subject, Mr J. Caughley, of Christchurch, not the least of whoso testimonials is that when his name is mentioned oven Dr Gibb remains silent for fear he should speak naughtily. In the passionless and judicial summary recently published by this journal under the heading ‘Religion and Politics,’ Mr Caughley wrote as follows :
Of the, members elected to tho now Parliament, 48 are totally opposed to a religious referendum. Of the remaining 28 who are prepared to support a Referendum Bill, only 18 would support the whole Bill as demanded by the, league. Several have made provisos which would bo rejected by the league. Thus there is a majority of 20 against the whole Religious Referendum Bill, and a majority of 30 against tho unaltered Bill, as demanded by the league. Our readers will hardly go wrong if they decide to accept Mr Caughley as the more reliable authority until stronger evidence than any we have yet seen is furnished to the contrary. We suggest, too, though, with a painful' premonition that wo shah not bo thanked therefor, that tho league abandon all such chaises as that .the opponents of the league’s platform are neccs sarily opponents of Bible-veading in schools—this is to assume that the Bible and tho league are synonymous terms, which God forbid —and that “the sovereign tribunal of the people” has not been given an opportunity to speak its will. The vox populi was heard, and its answer was made sufficiently plain. It nitty not have been, from tho standpoint of the league, vox Dei, but, such as it is,- the league should in fairness accept it at its face value. If there were any lessons taught by the recent voting, one of them, it seems to us, is the unwisdom of the shoemaker abandoning his last. The tactics employed in the Dunedin Central electorate, and subsequent exhibitions of pettiness, .such ns refusing to re-elect a representative elder who dared to differ from the policy of the churches on questions of Prohibition and tho league’s referendum proposal, cannqt enhance the respect it is desirable the general public should retain for the Christian Church and its representatives.
Evening Star, Issue 15682, 22 December 1914
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