Nellie McClung, In Times Like These (U of
Toronto Press, 1972) 18-19.
"In the first days of panic, pessimism broke out among us,
and we cried in our despair that our civilization had
failed, that Christianity had broken down, and that God had
forgotten the world. It seemed like it at first. But now a
wiser and better vision has come to us, and we know that
Christianity has not failed, for it is not fair to impute
failure to something which has never been tried.
Civilization has failed. Art, music, and culture have
failed, and we know now that underneath the thin veneer of
civilization, unregenerate man is still a savage; and we see
now, what some have never seen before, that unless a
civilization is built upon love, and mutual trust, it must
always end in disaster, such as this. Up to August fourth,
we often said that war was impossible between Christian
nations. We still say so, but we know more now than we did
then. We know now that there are no Christian nations.
Oh, yes. I know the story. It was a beautiful story and a
beautiful picture. The black prince of Abyssinia asked the
young Queen of England what was the secret of England's
glory and she pointed to the 'open Bible.'
The dear Queen of sainted memory was wrong. She judged
her nation by the standard of her own pure heart. England
did not draw her policy from the open Bible when in 1840 she
forced the opium traffic on the Chinese. England does not
draw her policy from the open Bible when she takes revenues
from the liquor traffic, which works such irreparable ruin
to countless thousands of her people. England does not draw
her policy from the open Bible when she denies her women the
rights of citizens, when women are refused degrees after
passing examinations, when lower pay is given women for the
same work than if it were done by men. Would this be
tolerated if it were really so that we were a Christian
nation? God abominates a false balance, and delights in a
No, the principles of Christ have not yet been applied to
nations. We have only Christian people. You will see that in
a second, if you look at the disparity that there is between
our conceptions of individual duty and national duty. Take
the case of the heathen—the people whom we in our
large-handed, superior way call the heathen. Individually we
believe it is our duty to send missionaries to them to
convert them into Christians. Nationally we send armies upon
them (if necessary) and convert them into customers!
Individually we say: 'We will send you our religion.'
Nationally: 'We will send you goods, and we'll make you take
them—we need the money!' Think of the bitter irony of a boat
leaving a Christian port loaded with missionaries upstairs
and rum below, both bound for the same place and for the
same people—both for the heathen 'with our comp'ts.'
Individually we know it is wrong to rob anyone. Yet the
state robs freely, openly, and unashamed, by unjust
taxation, by the legalized liquor traffic, by imposing
unjust laws upon at least one half of the people. We wonder
at the disparity between our individual ideals and the
national ideal, but when you remember that the national
ideals have been formed by one half of the world—and not the
more spiritual half—it is not so surprising. Our national
policy is the result of male statecraft".