Iowa's Puritans

21 January 1869

Iowa’s Puritans are once again doing their favorite work. They’d like to establish a state church or church state with the “Lord Almighty,” who suffers no other gods, and with a Christ Almighty, who curses all who displease him, at the head.

On the twelfth of this month our Senator Harlan put before the Congress a petition with the following contents:

“that the introduction of the U.S. Constitution should be changed so that ‘God Almighty’ is the source of all force and power of the civil government and that Jesus Christ is the sovereign of mankind and his revealed word is recognized as the highest authority in all things.”

What such a modification of the U.S. Constitution would signify is evident to everybody. It would exclude from their civil rights all Jews and “infidels” and all educated Europeans. It would exclude them and all Americans free of religion from serving in government, leaving it in the hands of a Puritanical and hypocritical autocracy. We don’t fear that this petition submitted by Mr. Harlan will have a fate any different from that of similar petitions that, since a number of years, have annually been presented to the Congress and then silently thrown into the junk room. Therefore the people has no less cause to carefully monitor a party that has recently become too powerful, that hates our government and Constitution and is diligently endeavoring to overthrow it.

It’s odd that the Des Moines Standard and other prohibitionist papers from our state support the above-mentioned petition. For wasn’t it in the Bible the Lord Almighty himself who gave Noah the grapevine, and the Lord Christ, who changed the insipid water into strong wine for the thirsty and faithful guests in Canaan? Wasn’t it also Paul, who if the “revealed word” suggested gallons of wine to his son Timothy to strengthen his stomach? But the old Lord Almighty is a very patient man, for whom the pious already can already make an X for a U, as certainly testify the 77 different denominations in this land.