2 JULY 1910, Page 21


Sin,—Your article in last week's issue misses the most important point in the opposition of the Nonconformists—or the majority of them—to a religious Census. They are not afraid of allowing certain facts to become visible. From `their point of view the Welsh people have given expression to their views by the erection of churches and chapels and by the election of Members of Parliament. In each case the result is overwhelming. For many years the great question at issue at every election has been that of the Church, which has overshadowed every other. Out of thirty-four Members, thirty-two are committed to Disestablishment. And there is no comparison between the number of churches and of chapels. In the face of these facts the demand—or supposed demand, for it is not real—for a religious Census on the part of Church-people is absurd and short-sighted. But responsible Churchmen do not ask for a religious Census, and the Archbishops will not commit themselves to accept the decision of the Census paper as final. If all persons, of every faith and of none at all, are to be com- pelled to return themselves as adherents of some religions body or other, the result will prove disastrous to the Church. A compulsory Census return would show how terribly the Church—the State Church—has failed in her duty. A com- pulsory prison return shows that ninety per cent. of prisoners 'are adherents of the Established Church. The Church cannot he allowed to have the benefit of a religious Census without also having to put up with the disadvantages. A religious Census would show in the most merciless manner the Church in her true colours. The Spectator's suggestion that a man may put himself down as a Churchman or as a Nonconformist, or neither, gives the whole case away. A Census of a portion of the population would be worse than useless. The Noncon- formists object to people being included as adherents of the Church who know nothing of it, except that in the past their people have been, most of them, buried in the churchyard, and probably baptised and married by the clergy. In these 'days most of the people who are not attached to some denomi- nation are married at a registrar's office. Nonconformity is a living religious organisation, and Nonconformists very properly object to being outweighed in the balance by people who are indifferent to all outward forms of worship. In clubs and societies only those who contribute to the funds are recog- nised as members. And yet it is proposed to call in to the aid of the Church men and women who are in no sense con- nected with it.—I am, Sir, &c., Josh MORGAN. - Aberytswyth.

[In other words, people are not to be allowed to say what is the Church to which they adhere, but some one else is to judge for them whether they have a right to call themselves Churchmen. In the same way the Referendum, or poll of the people, is to be resisted at all costs. Those who happen to dislike a particular measure, but ought, in the opinion of certain other people, " to know better," are not to be allowed to express their opinion. To give them this opportunity would be an abuse of liberty ! That is not our view of popular government. We want the will of the people to prevail. Mr. Morgan only wants it to prevail when he and his friends have given it their approval and imprimatur. We are perfectly willing to run the risk of all the criminals patting themselves down as Churchmen if they choose. No Christian Church worth its salt will turn faint at the thought of the accusation of associating with publicans and sinners being thrown in its teeth.—En. Spectator.]