1781. A Presbyterian minister speaks out against religious & political domination and control by minority as being compatible in any way with Christ and His Kingdom.

"In the strength of this conviction, permit me to subjoin a few plain inferences from what hath been discoursed on this subject. 

And 1st. 

As the kingdom of Christ is not of this world-As it did not originate from worldly policy; doth not join issue with the passion and prejudices of men; disclaims the aid of violence and oppression; and arrogates to itself no authority but what truth and righteousness should possess over the minds and conduct of men; we may infer that every attempt to influence belief, or regulate modes of worship among men, by human policy or power, is inconsistent with its spirit. It is a kingdom purely moral and religious; morality and religion are personal; and the religious belief of every individual must depend upon the light in which religious subjects are presented to his understanding.


As Christianity proposes the happiness of mankind as its end, prohibits the violation of his person, character, and property, and denounces its judgements against those who counter-act it; we may infer that every act of perfidy, oppression, cruelty, and injustice is highly offensive to that merciful and righteous God, from whom it derives its solemn sanction. If this inference be just, in respect to individuals who fill private walks of life; it cannot be less so, in regard to those, who, from more elevated stations extend their influence through a wider circle; or states, the effects of whose rapacity and ambition, are still more dreadfully destructive. As Jesus came to subdue the passions of men, direct them into proper channels, and regulate their influence; all offensive wars, for wealth, empire, fame, or even religion itself, are evidently inconsistent with his character and dominion. We can never suppose that he would forbid the poor man to purloin a morsel of bread, or lift his hand against his neighbour, under pain of damnation, and yet, suffer the great to plunder and destroy with impunity; or states to deluge the earth with blood. The thought is too big with absurdity to find reception, for a moment, into an enlightened mind.

To us, my Revd. Fathers and brethren, who hold the character of Ministers, under the Messiah's Kingdom, what hath been offered upon this subject, applies with more than common force"

Rev. William Steel Dickson addressing the General Synod of Ulster, June 1781. Dickson was later imprisoned without trial for three years 7 months. It was claimed that he was implicated in 'treasonable and seditious practices' and that he was the United Irish General for County Down - charges he strenuously denied. Pages 72.73  Scripture Politics: Brendan Clifford