Denunciation hurled from pulpits




DENUNCIATION HURLED FROM PULPITS [excerpts]

Rev. Wark, of the First Congregational Church said in part:
“Has crossing the mountains and becoming Americans belittled us? Must we, like the Australians, close up our country and refuse these outsiders, simply because they do not live according to our customs, do not ask the same wages, we do, or are of a different race? Must we admit to the world that we do not know how to deal with the Hindu, and are simply keeping them out by brute force until we solve the problem? This is no way to solve it… The world must not believe that we settle our differences in cowboy style and that this is still the border land of the United States….
     Think what the people of other cities will think when they read of the kind of police force we have in Bellingham. Think of the moral condition of a man who, as chief of police, knew that the riot of Wednesday was to occur; who , I am told on very good authority, had been informed that trouble was brewing, and yet took no step towards preventing the disturbance. … Take this thought home with you: Do you want your homes ‘protected’ by men of such weak morals?”

Rev. Cheatham, of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, said in part:
“Commercial instinct – that of getting on in the world – is making grim demands, as is shown by the fact that the Hindus of this city have been driven out by the mob. When we think of these helpless, dreamy sort of folk being expelled in violation of all law, simply because of fear that they might lower wages, we see the greatness of the problem. And we must look at the occurrence with shame. Such an outbreak has seldom occurred, even in the South against the negro. The assaults were usually made by individuals, rather than by mobs. There has been little disposition shown to drive the negro from his work. The uprising in this city shows the danger of greed, and as civilized people we should be heartily ashamed of it.
     The police force showed an exhibition of impotence… A set of thugs accomplished their object, magnificently and the official s might as well have been on vacation…

Rev. Thomas H. Cornish, of the First Baptist Church,
…The fact of such a mob being possible in our midst reveals to us the possibility of a great multitude of American citizens being susceptible to the influence of worthless demagogues. This is a tendency that, as it grows, becomes a menace to our democratic government and free institutions. Conversations with the employers of the Hindus brings to light also a decadence in some directions in the American laboring man. Orientals are hired here, not from choice, but rather from necessity. And this is not because there are not enough white laboring men, but because there is a large class of white laborers so irresponsible, that they cannot be depended upon. The outbreak of the other evening was to say the least unpatriotic, un-American, cowardly and unchristian… The educational and commercial enterprises show to us that the Hindus are now coming into contact with the great world of thought and activity and they are breaking loose the old shackles that for so many years have held them down in their infantile condition. This is why the Hindus are now in our midst. Communication has been opened up between them and the outside world. They have heard of an opportunity of bettering themselves and thus have come to this world to seek their fortune. In conversation with them I learned that practically none of them ever expect to return to India. One, at least, of the younger men, Indar Singh, who has had nine years schooling in India, had expected to work here for a year or two and then attend some American institution of learning. The Hindu people, as well as showing a capacity for western learning and western enterprise, are very susceptible to the teaching of Christianity. Christianity does not need to tear down all that it has in their past history built up. They are mystics and the mystic element of Christian religion appeals to them strongly. Herein lies the possibility of us being a real source of helpfulness to these people.
     While we help to educate them we can also give to them a foundation of moral principle and worth upon which they may build and make themselves a great nation.”

Rev. J.W. Flesher, of the First Methodist Church said:
…A howling mob of men gathered at C street to expel the Hindus. A burning, lasting stigma on our name, as well as a hindrance to our prosperity. Bad, yes, unspeakably bad, but they do not represent the decent people. While you think of the five hundred who gathered there, think of the thirty-seven thousand in this city who believe in government of intelligence, law and order.
     Men were needed in our mills. They could not be had, and the means of mob violence is only a step to anarchy and when a mob is let loose civilization ceases. Mob violence cannot be justified under any circumstance. We talk of universal arbitration and then act like degenerates. The authorities are to be commended for swearing in additional men and they ought also to welcome the investigation of the whole matter by the British government and show to the world that we still believe in right, patriotism, law and commercial progress.”


Bellingham Herald Sept. 9, 1907 p.1,5