Harshmanites

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Church of Jesus Christ (Harshmanites)
Founder
Reverend S.R. Harshman
Regions with significant populations
Illinois, United States
Religions
Christianity
Scriptures
Christian Bible
Languages
English
 
Jump to: navigation, search
Church of Jesus Christ (Harshmanites)
Founder
Reverend S.R. Harshman
Regions with significant populations
Illinois, United States
Religions
Christianity
Scriptures
Christian Bible
Languages
English

The Harshmanites, or the Church of Jesus Christ, is a small Christian sect in Illinois, United States that believes in pacifism. A tenet of the church is that force should not be used, even in self-defense.[1]

The church was founded in the late 1880s.[2] The Reverend S.R. Harshman, who organized the church, had a dairy herd and ran a delivery wagon in Sullivan, Illinois to supply fresh milk for 5 cents a quart.[3] Harshman was a Methodist minister, but did not believe the Methodist church was sufficiently pacifist. For this reason, he founded a separate church.[4] One of the church's basic principles is to follow Christ's command to "love thy neighbor as thyself," and this clearly prohibits violence.[5]

During World War I there was so much hostility to the church that its members could not find jobs. Some of them formed a small factory, employing church and non-church workers, that made ladies' aprons, candy, and later branched into garden tractors and tools.[6] One night the Harshmanite church was painted yellow, a reference to cowardice. An 82-year-old assistant minister was knocked down. However, the Harshmanites would not prosecute. They believed in the biblical statement: "Revenge is mine, sayeth the Lord."[4]

In response to the depression of the 1930s, the church members felt that Federal relief projects would not bring lasting prosperity. They expanded their "Community Industries" as a way to provide employment.[3] During World War II the candy operation was unable to obtain sugar unless it agreed to sell some of its products to the armed forces, and a small amount was sold to the Air Force to be including in emergency survivor kits. The church also sold ladies dresses for use by women in the Armed Forces.[6] For these reasons, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit decided on 9 December 1954 that the church had contributed to the war effort and its members could therefore not be considered conscientious objectors.[6] This was later reversed, and members of the church who refused induction into the armed forces were again treated as Conscientious Objectors.[7]

In 1955 a member of the church declined to use the word "solemnly" in affirming to tell the truth in court. The court refused his testimony. However, an appeals court found that he was not required to use this word, or any particular form of oath, but only "a form or statement which impresses upon the mind and conscience of a witness the necessity for telling the truth."[8]

By 1973 "Community Industries" enterprise had 475 employees making dresses, candy, and lawn and garden equipment.[3]

References[edit]

Citations

Sources