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Newspaper Page Text
THE Illinois Issue
The Church in Action Against the Saloon Vol. I Chicago, Illinois, February 16, 1606 No. 5 COUNTY ORGANIZATION Governor Hanley of Indiana in his address of welcome to the delegates to the National Anti-Saloon League Convention at Indianapolis, said: “When a question arises touching the morals of the nation or the state no organization has such a right to speak or such a right to he heard speaking as the church of Jesus Christ.” This is certainly a truth which cannot be disputed as the church stands for moral as well as spiritual instruc tion. But the question arises, How can the church speak most effectually in these modern days on the saloon question, which is acknowledged by all classes as the most blighting among all the influences for evil in the community? The answer must certainly be, By united action. Father Cleary of Minneapolis has said, “Let Catholic and Protestant, Jew and Gentile, unite to drive the saloon out of our civilization.” UNITE is the word which we need to emphasize. How can this be done? By individual churches getting up a set of resolutions and signing them and sending them to every member in the legislature, or by one de nomination uniting its forces for a similar purpose? These are certainly good as far as they go, but the dif ficulty is that they do not go far enough and the effort is too scattering. The bible says that the children of this world are wiser than the children of light, and it is certainly true that the Christian churches of our country may learn a lesson from the conduct of worldly men and organizations. What old line party would think of carrying the county and electing its nominees without the county organization? How is the Liquor Dealers’ Protective Association making itself felt so effectually throughout the state? It is by having its local organizations in almost every county, through which they can bring local pressure to bear upon the candidates for office and upon the people who vote for them and bring ft at the crucial time. There is scarcely a religious denomination today in our state that does not stand committed by the highest authorities of the church against the open saloon. There are few, if any, churches that are not suffering from the evil influence of the saloon in many ways and almost without exception would be glad to see the influence of this destroyer of the home, of society and of the church curbed, but we never will until we join hands and hearts and votes in a common cause against it. This means that there must be organization and co-operation. In seeking for a unit of organization, the most natural unit as well as the most convenient one for prac tical purposes is the county. Why is it not possible for all the denominations in a single county to unite and form a County Anti-Saloon League? The writer would offer the following suggestion for the formation of such an organization. It doubtless can be easily improved upon but it will furnish a basis for a beginning: All moral, law abiding people should be invited to co-operate but the organization should be formed and kept under the con trol of the members of the Christian churches of the county. County Conventions The first move suggested would be the call for a county convention. This call can be issued by the Ministerial Association or by a group of preachers, and the conven tion held at some place most convenient to reach from all points in the county. The pastor of every church of all denominations in the county should be invited to come and bring two or three of his most influential men with him as delegates. At the convention there could be tbe usual temporary organization, followed by the perma nent organization, with the usual officers of such an or ganization, namely, president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer. County Central Committee The convention could then elect or appoint a County Central Committee to take direct charge of the work in the county. Said Committee should have from nine to twenty members. They should be well scattered over the county, and yet enough of them situated so that a quorum can conveniently get together for meetings called on short notice for emergency cases. They should be enthu siastic and self-sacrificing men, for the success of the organization will depend upon them. The officers of the permanent organization should be members of this Com mittee. Sub Committees—Literature There should be at least three sub-committees. First, a committee on literature aud publication. The business of this committee should be to look after securing the influence of the county press as far as it is possible to do so; to secure, when needed, a list of the voters; to edit and print circulars containing information concern ing the various candidates, and recommend to the voters those candidates which the League endorse, sending the same through the mail to the voters, and distributing them in public meetings. The Illinois Issue, the State organ of the Anti-Saloon League, will be very glad to co-operate with said committee in helping to furnish such printed matter as may be desired.