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Christian Paganism and ; Conscience.


Christian Paganism and Conscience. the REV. W. REES, Llechryd. From Cell No, 3 Cardiff Barrncks our brave Comrade Emrys Hughes sent me a letter, to hand this morning, in which he says:—" It is a pleasure to see the old veterans like you backing us up in this great fight against a black aad monstrous reaction. As Meredith says, The compensation for injustice is this, that in the dark ordeal we gather tlqe worthiest around us.' With an upturned face t6 the Omnipotent Prince of Peace, I desire no greater joy and honour on earth than to realise the kinship of our Conscientious Objectors; to live in their bosom; experience their heroism, and sympathise with them in their sufferings willing to share their fate. Most of them are remarkable men—school- masters scientists; journalists; poets; patriots, philanthropists—pioneers and leaders in the progress of the world: men with minds recept- ive of the ideas and sentiments of international and industrial Socialism, freed from narrow and seWish national ideas. Hence their eager desire for Peace, and for the emancipation of the oppressed toilers, with an enlightened un- compromising hostility to all the capitalistic governments and the Christian Paganism of the pulpits which support the plutocrats and their wars of aggression which overwhelm the world with howlings, shriekings, groanings; shud- derings and woeful sobs innumerable, destroying those who would live in peace and sweet repose. Dishumanised men are worse than lions, wolves and tigers. Obstructing the way of the innocerft, and of the ever-pitying Jesus and all His holy angels, who wail and weep in view of the "black and monstrous reaction" of the churches, making Christianity, as Thomas Tho- mas vigorously and graphically writes, "a reli- gion of expediency" —a dolorous fact which makes the golden heavens to tremble. This co- ercion of Conscience by a Christian State, and the ghastly scandals reported concerning Con- scientious Objectors handed over to the Military Authorities, shut up in dark and damp cells, badly fed, brutally handled, threa- tened with death, placing the bayonet at the heart, sentenced to solitary confinements, and hard labour, their hair plucked, spat upon, kicked—thus our beloved and heroic comrades in Christian Britain are treated just like the primitive Christians in Pagan Rome—because the primitive Christians, like the Conscientious Objectors, refused obstinately to disobey tie Prince of Peace by obeying the military orders of the Pagan Empire. Well I remember, with deep regret. that Lloyd George in the time of the Boer War promised to be a Prince of Light and Love who would strive to keep the poor people outside the huge caverns of murderous wars but, alas' he now is occupied and absorbed with the cruelties and the gory revenges of Christian Paganism, and pagan politics, so that Tie glorifies even in Compulsion and sees no indignity in it. As he said at Conway: There is no indignity in Compulsion. I am in favour of Compulsion." Whilst Com- pulsion to anyone that keeps the dignity of man with soul erect is abhorrent in the ex- treme, the quintessence of meanness and im- pudence. a putrid corpse in the deserts of ndless corruption, which dethrones, with hor- rid stench, the throne of eternal life in man, in order to feed the vultures of capitalism and the ravenous beasts of Christian Paganism. Faith in Compos ion is the faith of devils. and has in it the seed of decay and of the second death. It darkens the Majesty of Jehovah-Jireh, and ruthlessly cuts asunder the living bond between man and his Maker. The pathway of power and immortality runs parall- el with the freedom of Conscience. Whitherso- ever the Spirit of Liberty goes, this pathway goes. And the empires and the churches that dare block the pa-thway of Conscience are doomed to be wrecked, though they deem themselves invincible. The law of Compulsion is similar 'to the law of gravitation which rules dead matter. Life resists it, and will not obey it. The smallest insect that creeps upon the ground combats and conquers it; everv little fly on the wing victoriously scorns it; every daisy sings a song over it as it opens its golden heart to the shining Slim. And so the Conscientious Objector, having the Life of Peace in him, defies Compulsion, and breaks in pieces all military and all arbitrary orders which are the devices of tyrants to control the flesh and blood of morally dead and deluded fools led astray by the phantasies of Christian Paganism, pa,gan. pulpits, pagan parliaments, and pagan press. [ am intensely delighted with the letters which I often receive from Conscientious Ob- jectors. Like those of Emrys Hughes and J-ol. May. 1916, they inspire me. and open my heart afresh in mv old age to feel the thrills of Celestial .Free- dom vibrating boundless from the vision and vesture of the Son of Man in the midst of the Seven Golden Candlesticks. In their ringing reckless words of wisdom I hear the rumb- lings of the coming storm of Socialism. the tramp of the prancing horses of intellect, and the noise of the new flaming, whirling chariots of the New Education and the New Christ- ianity which will run like lightnings and rage triumphantly against our mcl8,rn tnl'. C' a:nl-1 ber, our High Courts and our InqUJ8tirons, our Christian Paga!ll-m and our pagan prophets Be'oved Comradef of the Barracks, who stand and suffer so) heroically for the tremendous meaning of IJife, and Jike Nietzche demand a new valuation of things, I love and admire you without dissimulation. My soul is united to your soul. My mind conjoined to your mind; and I feel vow heart beating in my bosom day and night. I remember you in all my prayers, and plead for you in my pulpit, and hold you up before the people as patterns of pure Christianity. In the presence of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Elect of God, Your faith and fate will awake the pulsative furore of myriads to repeal the pulsative furore of myr i a d s to repeal the horrid la.w of Compulsion with the mightiest scorn and abhorrence, and demand the release of our modern martyrs whose reward Is great in Heaven.

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