SAYS THE PIOUS HINDER
Pastor Hopkins Declares Lack of Christian Charity Causes Increase of Vice.
SEES EVIL IN LOW WAGES.
The Rev. W. H. Head Want Laws Against Immoral Resorts Enforced Strictly.
Social customs and greed, even of Christians, were mentioned by the Rev. Frederick E. Hopkins in Pilgrim Congregational church yesterday as hindrances to the elimination of vice an crime.
After referring to the great parade led through the south side "red light" district by "Gipsy" Smith, he said:
"Instead of paying wages that are only 15 per cent higher than ten years ago, in spite of the fact that the cost of living has increased 20 per cent, and instead of being in such a mortal hurry to become millionaires, let our merchants pay men and women enough to live decently and save something, so they can afford to marry and have a home. Then we shall not see a host of men and women compelled to enter a career of mental agony and moral degeneration.
"Hundreds of men and women have become gamblers in this city simply to pay the rent. If in some way thousands of people in this prosperous country were able to get a larger share of its benefits they would be fare less liable to fall into temptation. Our selfishness and our greed are some of the reasons for our scarlet women, gamblers, and their victims.
"It is all right to say to the scarlet women, ‘Come to Jesus,’ and to tell them we are glad they have come, but sometimes that is the cruelest thing that ever happened.
Evil in Unsatisfied Hopes.
"To raise hopes we make no sincere effort to satisfy is almost sure to drive some man or woman back into more bitter hatred of everything that calls itself Christian.
"When Mr. Stead visited our city he went into the homes of the fallen. In one of them he found a woman who believed in Jesus, but she had a story to tell of the uncharitableness of her won sex and of their unwillingness to help her that shames the church. It was a story of snubs and slights and all that sort of thing, which is sure to doom every scarlet woman to stay in her gilded prison of filth.
"Every pastor knows what it is to have convicts turn to him for help. He knows it is one of the hardest things in the world to get an employer to give such a fellow a job. And a lot of workingmen and workingwomen who make a great deal of noise about the hypocrisy and inconsistencies of the church members would not work one day beside a companion like that who was trying to get back on his feet. Somehow this gospel which we preach and believe has not taken hold of us. It is preached eloquently and sung beautifully; it looks like the real thing, but too often, when we get real close to it it is only a bouquet of artificial flowers.
Opposes Segregation of Vice
Segregation of vice into "red light" districts was opposed by the Rev. W. A. Bartlett in First Congregational Church.
"In the establishment and continuance of a red light district there is a frightful menace to both morals and health," he said. "The crusade of Gipsy Smith has swept away the barriers of false delicacy which has made the life conditions of the outcast a theme to be shunned in polite society. It has been well said that not the problem has been forced on the city, the matter cannot rest here.
"Jesus Christ was more lenient with the outcases from society that with any other class — certainly with the women. But he had no mercy for the men who were responsible for their condition. Men always have been responsible. Our laws are made by men and broken by men. Man, who has the official power to remove these vicious resorts refuses to do so and states that they are a necessity. If one form of crime is a necessity other forms of it may be. What is the use of attempting to rescue here and there one brand from the burning when the whole section is on fire?"
Praise Redlight Parade
Gipsy Smith’s parade was commended by the Rev. W.H. Head of the Seventy-seventh street Methodist church.
"If that procession did no more than show that there were 10,000 men and women in Chicago interested enough in religion to get out en masse one night and march the streets for two hours it did its work," he said. "But it did more. As results have shown, it was the means of converting several whose lives were a curse to themselves and a burden to others.
"It cast for the first time perhaps in years the light of hope across the dark pathway of some despairing denizen of the darker underworld; it focused the gaze of all Chicago for a time upon that awful seething maelstrom of lost souls. That gaze is still fixed and from it will come some time a Chicago without a red light district.
"To throw light upon hideous sin that the intensity of the rays may forever banish the sin is not sensation, nor is it a dangerous and unprofitable investment. What right have we in our modern civilization to have plague spots where our boys and girls can be contaminated and our wives insulted"
Wants All Vice Suppressed
"I believe it is time the law shut down on all public places of vice. I am not one who believe it more dangerous to compel vice to run under cover than to allow it to run openly, nor do I fear the much cried scare about the results upon residence neighborhoods. Neighborhoods that have a decent conscience can easily arouse sufficient strength to protect that conscience. Neither do I believe the best way to protect me from the bit of the rattlesnake is either to colonize or nourish them in one place or scatter them about upon my neighbor’s farm.
"There is power enough in the law and public sentiment to throttle these vipers. Let the law begin. Let public sentiment begin, and put the social brand of Cain upon all alike, men as well as women.
"We have continued this policy of temporizing form many years and matters have steadily grown worse. An organized system of white slavery has grown up among us. Were there no public dives there would be no white slaves. Get rid of white slavery? Yes. How? Abolish the levee where the white slave is sold."
Warns Woodlawn of Danger
The Rev. M. P. Boynton in Lexington Avenue Baptist church told of an investigation of the neighborhood of Cottage Grove avenue and Sixty-third street which he had made at 2 o’clock one morning in company with Arthur B. Farwell, president of the Law and Order league.
"I am told the inspector of police says that there in nothing unlawful being done in this district," he said. "If that is true, it is at least not disputable that morals are outraged. It seems perfectly feasible, according to this authority, that young may be debauched according to law."
The minister said he had seen a party of girls and boys made drunk in a Woodlawn saloon back room, and that there was "loud music and lewd dancing," going on all the time up to 12:30 a. m. in dance halls in residence neighborhoods. He said any pair could rent a room for an hour or two in Woodlawn hotels.
"I would like to ask the inspector," he said, "if these things are ‘according to law.’"
The conclusion of the comment was given in praise of Chief of Police Steward and to the press for their efforts on behalf of vice suppression.