Rev. Ben M. Bogard Fails To Halt Devil Darrow
Ah, Brother Ben, with what humiliating chagrin, what agony of spirit, your most faithful followers must learn that their armored and anointed champion has permitted the Devil's Disciple, Clarence Darrow, to invade the sacred precincts of Little Rock, pollute the sanctuary with his awful blasphemies, and then escape unscathed!
Brother Ben cannot plead that he was taken by surprise. It was months ago that the newspapers carried the announcement that a religious organization -- presumably one affiliated with a local Jewish synagogue -- had arranged a debate between Darrow and Rabbi Sanders; to be held in the city of Little Rock on November 2. Preparations for the iniquitous event were carried on right in broad daylight; there was no pretense of secrecy about it. Thus the Lord had given His prophet Ben timely and ample warning of what was coming.
Yet Ben cravenly permitted the Wicked One to come right into the fold among his flock -- and maybe devour some of his little ewe lambs! Ah, woe is you, Ben! What a shameful and egregious defection this. I'll bet you Jehovah holds you personally responsible. Indeed, you need not be surprised to learn that, henceforth, on the roll of the Lamb's Book of Life, your name will be Ichabod.
It is true that Ben tries to salve his conscience and save his face by emptying one little vial of wrath into his Baptist Commoner AFTER the Wicked One had licked his bloody chops and departed. But note what a weak, insipid solution he had in that little vial:
The coming of the noted infidel, Clarence Darrow, to debate with Rabbi Sanders, gave occasion for a display of this arrogance and insolence, The infidel part of the lawyers used the Bar Association to give Darrow the glad hand and then gave him a reception at one of the big hotels and a second reception in the form of a smoker and thus lauded him to the skies and flaunted this arch-atheist in the face of the church people in Little Rock. In addition to that they spent their money buying seats at a dollar and fifty cents each. This disgraceful thing was held in the high school auditorium. When Bryan came to Little Rock a few years ago and lectured on evolution, although he had been three times the nominee of the Democratic party for president and was the most outstanding man in American life at that time, no bunch of lawyers gave him the glad hand. No reception was given, and instead of that some of them scoffed at him. I had rather be a dead "nigger" in a backwoods graveyard than to be in their shoes. What a pity that we have come upon such times.
Think of It! The biggest and worstest old ogre in the country comes from his lair in Chicago right down into Beulah Land among the church people of Little Rock, desecrates the sanctum, as it were, and gets away to desecrate other sanctums and perhaps devour more little ewe lambs.
And Ben, what did he do? Not a thing.
How different were the prophets of old! When, for example, Servetus, who had expressed some doubts about the Holy Trinity, came to Geneva in 1553 the great saint, John Calvin, captured him and burned him at the stake. There was a man filled with the Holy Ghost, a man not afraid to do the will of Jehovah. Yet with that shining example, and hundreds of other such examples before him, Brother Benjamin, hidden under the bed, perhaps, allowed Clarence Darrow, a far worse ogre than Servetus ever was, to come among the church people of Little Rock, gorge his fill, and get away. But Servetus didn't get away. Bruno didn't get away. There were thousands of other heretics in the days of the Old-Time Religion who didn't get away. This was probably what Brother Ben had in mind when he lamented: "Whata pity that we have come upon such times."
Ah, Brother Benjamin, you cannot hope to escape the consequences of your pusillanimous negligence by hiding behind the times. "God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever." He probably sent the ogre Darrow down to Little Rock just to try your faith. Then you had your opportunity. But instead of rising to it nobly, as Calvin rose to his when God sent Servetus to Geneva, you cowered in the background and failed ignominiously. Now you whine about the times.
And what an opportunity Brother Ben let slip. If he had captured Darrow and burned him at the stake, why, Ben's name would have been bandied about the world for ages to come; and five hundred or a thousand years from now he might have been canonized -- by fellows of his own kidney. And, moreover, what a star he would have got in his crown! (Being a mere worldly man and therefore carnal-minded, I have no way of estimating the candlepower of that hypothetical star, but surely it would have been dazzling enough to satisfy such a Follower of the Lamb as Brother Ben.)
Ben may think that he can obfuscate the minds of his followers by printing a little editorial denouncing Darrow in his paper -- and maybe he can -- but He who sees all the English sparrows fall and keeps a careful record of the number of hairs on Ben's pate certainly has not failed to take note of Ben's apostasy.
Personally, I am fair enough to admit that there appear to be some extenuating circumstances which, taken into account, might excuse him under our present loose worldly standards of requirement. For instance, had Ben and his Baptist brethren undertaken to burn Darrow at the stake, it is quite likely that the police, if they could have reached the scene in time, would have interfered and stopped them. But, evidently, Ben didn't even try! He might have gone ahead and done his duty as a bold soldier of the Cross, leaving the results of his efforts in the lap of Jehovah. Or, if he felt so sure that the secular authorities would not permit him to deal with Darrow as Calvin dealt with Servetus, he might have gathered a few husky anthropoid Baptists around him and stoned Darrow to death. But he didn't even attempt that. In fact, he did nothing, and herein he betrayed his lack of the ancient faith and really proved himself an apostate. For this he will surely have to answer at the Last Judgment.
Brother Ben, I fear, cannot even plead ignorance. Ignorant as he notoriously is concerning the frivolous and ephemeral things of this world, he knows, perhaps, as much as Calvin knew about the High and Mighty Things beyond this vale of tears -- the things Occult, Spooky, and Heavenly. He may know little about the world and the flesh but certainly he knows his devil. His knowledge of things divine is really marvelous; indeed, he is a regular practicing doctor of divinity. No, Ben can't plead ignorance at the High Court of Heaven.
Just what his alibi will be for this gross neglect of duty I have no idea.
The plain truth of the matter, however, is that the Church of Yahweh, has fallen upon evil times -- that is to say, upon civilized times and its present-day prophets are becoming weak and flabby mollycoddles. They have become soft, rotund, fat-jowled, and compromising. They have more lard in them than they have faith; more paunch than Christian fortitude. They have indulged their appetites for the modern fleshpots too much; and Brother Ben, I fear, belongs to that plump and contented category.
If he would shoulder up his cross and take to the desert mountains, clad in a good stiff breech-clout, and would go on a diet of manna, locusts, and wild honey, he would undoubtedly recapture much of the ancient faith. That's what Brother Ben needs, I feel sure -- a few good messes of locusts. Look what John did on a diet of that sort. Ben might do just as much. Who knows? In the absence of locusts, he might find grasshoppers efficacious in restoring his waning faith.
Let Brother Ben try this good old saintly plan. Let him gather a trusted few of his faithful followers around him and do this, praying, meanwhile, unceasingly. Then let Clarence Darrow, or any other infidel, go among them advocating rationalism and we shall see that Yahweh is still in His Heaven and that the flames of a holy fire will still roast a heretic as eagerly as they did in the day of the Inquisition.