What Would Jonathan Blanchard Do?

BlanchardI my recent response to Aaron Griffith’s post on Wheaton College’s history in light of the Larycinda Hawkins case, I included this sentence:

Griffiths may be right when he argues that Hawkins’s decision to stand with persecuted Muslims in America is fitting with 19th-century Wheaton. (Although I am not sure that Jonathan Blanchard’s activism would have extended to non-Christian religions). 

Over at Old Life, D.G. Hart has seized on this point and elaborated on my parenthetical remark about what Jonathan Blanchard would have thought about Islam.

Hart writes:

Yes, it’s a shame if Dr. Hawkins loses her position over her remarks. Yes, it’s tough for administrators to protect faculty privileges while also maintaining institutional identity (not to mention satisfying alumni and donors).

But we don’t need to make up theology or history to justify our own rooting interests. The idea that the Blanchards would have been on the side of Muslims is risible, almost as funny as thinking that anyone would want to justify an institutional policy or personal conviction today by appealing to — wait for it — Jonathan and Charles Blanchard. Those guys would chew any contemporary Protestant up and spit us out. If they’d do that to Protestants dot dot dot

Read Hart’s entire post here.  He is right.


2 thoughts on “What Would Jonathan Blanchard Do?

  1. This section from one of Blanchard’s [book against secret societies](https://books.google.com/books/about/Secret_Societies.html?id=nkMiAQAAIAAJ) may be helpful context:

    >Odd-fellowship knows no God but the god of the infidel; it recognizes the Creator of the Universe and the Father of men, but not the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The name of Christ has no more a place in the religion of Odd-fellowship, according to its principles and regulations, than in a heathen temple or an infidel club-room. It is quite likely that sometimes chaplains, officiating in the lodge-room, pray in the name of Christ; but a Turk, according to the principles and regulations of Odd-fellowship, would have just as much right to pray in the name of Mohammed, or a Mormon in the name of Joe Smith. These are facts which, we presume, all acquainted with the forms and ceremonies in use among Odd-fellows will admit. Grosch, in his Manual, makes the following declaration: “The descendants of Abraham, the divers followers of Jesus, the Pariahs of the stricter sects, here gather round the same altar as one family, manifesting no differences of creed or worship; and discord and contention are forgotten in works of humanity and peace.” (Pp. 285, 286.) This declaration has reference, of course, to all the members of the associations–believers in Christianity, Jews, Mohammedans, Indians, Hindoos, and infidels. How do they manage to worship so lovingly together in the lodge-room? Our author asserts that they “leave their prejudices at the door.” Of course their forms of worship embody no “prejudices.” The thing is managed in this way: Whatever is peculiar to Judaism is excluded from the ritual and worship of Odd-fellows; whatever is peculiar to Hindooism is excluded; whatever is peculiar to Mohammedanism is excluded; whatever is peculiar to Christianity is excluded; whatever is peculiar to any form of religion is excluded. Only so much as is held in common by Jews, Hindoos, Mohammedans, and Christians is allowed a place in the ritual and worship of Odd-fellows. But how much is held in common by these various classes? After every thing peculiar to each class has been thrown overboard, how much is left? Nothing but deism or infidelity. The only views held in common by the Jew, Mohammedan, Christian, and others are just those held by infidels. The religion of Odd-fellowship is infidelity, and its prayers are infidel prayers.
    >Not only such are the prayers and religion of Masonry and Odd-fellowship, but such must be the religion and prayers of all associations organized on their principles. The only way to welcome all of every creed, Jew, Mohammedan, Hindoo, etc., and make them feel at home in an association, is to exclude every thing offensive to the conscience or prejudices of any one of them. And when every thing of that sort has been excluded, the residuum, in every case, as every one must see, will be deism or infidelity. This is a serious matter. Christians are not free from guilt in countenancing such prayers and services. The tendency of such religious performances must be very injurious. Whoever adopts the religious, or rather irreligious, spirit and principles of Masonry, Odd-fellowship, and other similar associations must discard Christianity and the Bible. No doubt there are some, perhaps there are many Christians in connection with such associations, but they certainly do not and can not approve the Christless prayers of the lodge-room, much less join in them. Is it right for the disciples of Jesus, or even for believers in Christianity, as the great majority of people in this country are, to sustain any association which puts Christianity on a level with pagan superstition, which treats Jesus Christ with no more regard and veneration than it does Mohammed, Confucius, or Joe Smith, and whose only religion is the religion of infidels?


Comments are closed.