By J. Frank Norris
I have more respect for Tom Paine in his grave, and Bob Ingersoll—at least they had self respect enough to stay out of the church and out of the pulpits, they were not like these little modernistic, lick-the-skillet, two-by-four aping, asinine preachers who want to be in the priest’s office so they can have a piece of bread, and play kite tail to the Communists.
I am not going to say anything about them this afternoon, but I plan to do so sometime soon.
“Oh!” some sister will say, “I don’t think that’s the Christian spirit” — Honey, you wouldn’t know the Christian spirit, any more than a bull would know Shakespeare.
I’ll tell you the spirit we need in this compromising, milk-and-cider, neither-hot-nor-cold — you want to know the kind of spirit we need? We need the spirit of old John the Baptist when he told that Sanhedrin, “You are a generation of snakes.”
We need again the spirit of the Apostle Peter when he stood before the Sanhedrin and said, “Is it right to obey man rather than God.”
Talk about you Methodists, we need again the spirit of old John Wesley when he walked out of his fathers’ church and stood on his father’s slab and preached a sermon that shook the world!
We Baptists need the spirit of Roger Williams when he walked out in the snows with the Naragansett Indians rather than to stultify his conscience.
We need again the spirit of those Baptist preachers in 1767 yonder on the Court House yard in old Culpepper, Virginia, when stripped to the waist with hands tied and held up, the strap was put on their bare backs and drops of blood fell — Patrick Henry rode up and said, “What crime have these men committed?” — when they answered, “They were preaching the Gospel of the Son of God without a license.” He answered two words three times: “My God, My God, My God.”
(An excerpt from one of his sermons)