Do We Want A Uniform Divorce Law; Or What Is The Remedy -- By: Ralph E. Prime
BSac 69:273 (Jan 1912) p. 136
Do We Want A Uniform Divorce Law; Or What Is The Remedy1
Yonkers, New York.
American decency was so shocked last summer by the brutal defiance of the law by one whose prominence consisted only of inherited name and money, that the outraged community made haste to find a remedy for a crying evil. In an unconsidered hurry, and with utterly thoughtless haste, all that was said and written suggested but one remedy, and that, a uniform divorce law. In such a race to do something were the outraged, that little or no thought was given to the efficacy and appropriateness of the remedy. Something was needed, and that was needed right off. Even legislators in the state legislatures were run away with; and, voicing the indignation of the whole decent community, it was actually suggested that Senators and members of Congress should be importuned, to the end that an amendment of the Constitution of the United States should be proposed by Congress and sent down to the States for adoption, the terms of which should enable Congress to enact a uniform divorce law. No better illustration could be given of the wisdom of the adage “Make haste slowly,” and the unwisdom of undue haste in any matter of such importance and consequence.
Marriage is to be viewed in two aspects. The religious side of the matter and its symbolism is one side; and, on the other hand, the law of the land merely recognizes marriage as a civil contract, indissoluble during life, except by decree of the court, or by the unusual and now practically unknown oper-
BSac 69:273 (Jan 1912) p. 137
ation of a legislative act. Of course all Christian people look upon it in the two aspects; but the community as such only in the one aspect, that of a civil contract, and as such only is the subject to be dealt with by the law of the land. Christian people, so far as the law of the land limits divorce to the ground justified by Scripture, stand with and actively sustain the law. So far as the law goes beyond the scriptural authority, Christian people must occupy the negative position, not by any means approving the law, but by no manner of means disobeying or giving their faith and credence to the law. Any resistance to the law. or to the law on any other subject, would be criminal. So far as marriage is a civil contract and regulated by the statute, we must admit that it is within the province of any State, for its own community and people, to regulate it. That such is the law of the land is to be regretted, but it is, nevertheless, within the realm of state rights.
We apprehend that the evil is not so much in the divorce laws of the different States as in the violation of those la...
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