President Roosevelt and the Bible.

January 5, 1907

Summary

After Roosevelt penalizes 190 innocent black soldiers, Mitchell deems him unholy because he believes that if God spared the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, Roosevelt should spare the soldiers.

Transcription

President Roosevelt and the Bible.
The action of President Roosevelt in punishing the members of Companies B, C and D of the Twenty-fifth Infantry, consisting of from 170 to 200 persons for the alleged offenses of ten or twelve of them has caused us to remember that he has at times shown a decided aptitude for the Scriptures and that he has professed a desire that we all should observe its precepts. We knew that he did not have “a leg to stand on,” when it came to the New Testament and we were interested to know where he would find his authority under the commandments of the Old Testament.
           The War Department admitted that some members of the Twenty-fifth Infantry were innocent for it used the following language, which language was encouched in President Roosevelt’s order of dismissal.
           “In making this recommendation I recognize the fact that a number of men who have no direct knowledge as to the identity of the men of the Twenty-fifth Infantry, who actually fired shots on the night of the 13th day of August, 1906 will incur this extreme penalty.”
           Secretary of war Taft, who seems to be afraid that someone may answer his question in the affirmative and therefore proceeds to answer it himself in the negative said:  
           “It may be that in the battalion are a number of men wholly innocent who know neither who the guilty men are, nor any circumstances which will aid in their detection. Though this cannot be true of many. Because there may be innocent men in the battalion, must the government continue to use it to guard communities of men, women and children when it contains so dangerous an element impossible of detection? Here is the order:
           “I recommend that orders be issued as soon as practicable discharging without honor every man in Companies B, C and D of the Twenty-fifth Infantry serving at Fort Brown Texas on the night of August 13th, 1906 and forever debarring them from re-enlisting in the army or navy of the United States as well as from employment in any civil capacity under the government.”
           We have shown that in this he violated the laws of man, now we expect to prove that he has gone contrary to the practices of God.
           In Genesis XVIII chapter 25th verse, we find the following:
           “25. That be far from thee to do after this manner to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
           This was a case where the whole of Sodom and Gomorrah was wicked and yet when God announced that he would destroy the city Abraham pleaded with him and God promised him if he could find fifty righteous, he would spare the city. In the case of Companies B, C, and D of the Twenty-fifth Infantry, it is admitted that out of two hundred there were one hundred and ninety soldiers not guilty. What was the ruling of President Roosevelt and the War Department?
           God agreed to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if there could be found forty-five righteous persons and then he agreed to spare it, if he could find thirty righteous persons, and then he agreed to spare it if he could find twenty righteous persons. The Bible says:
           “32. And he said, Oh, let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake. 33. And the Lord went his way, as soon as he left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his Place.”
           God himself agreed to save a whole city provided he could find even ten righteous and finally permitted Lot and his family to leave the city and thus only the righteous were saved.
           President Roosevelt and the War Department took an exactly opposite course. They included the guilty with the innocent and they branded all of the men as murderers. Surely the advocate of a square deal, the champion of the weak against the strong should be able to see by this biblical illustration that he has violated the fundamental principles of the Old Testament and he knows that he has not lived up to the basic principles of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
           It is indeed surprising then that President Roosevelt, despite all of the pleading of the members of this disgraced battalion and the plea for a re-hearing should have denied all of this and then send emissaries of the government to take “star chamber” evidence in Texas in order to sustain him in a position that is as wrong as it is untenable.
           We rejoice in the fact though and in this the Scriptures bear us out when it says in Matthew VII chapter:
           “Judge not that ye be not judged 2. for with what judgnien ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete , it shall be measured to you again.”
About this article

Location on Page

Upper Left Quadrant

Contributed By

Benton Camper

Citation

“President Roosevelt and the Bible.,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed November 16, 2018, http://blackvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/4.