A personal god sustains the same relation to religion as to politics. The Deity is a master, and man a serf; and this relation is inconsistent with true progress.
For my part, I insist that man has not only the capacity, but the right to govern himself. All political authority is vested in the people themselves. They have the right to select their officers and agents, and these officers and agents are responsible to the people. Political authority does not come from the clouds. Man should not be governed by the aristocracy of the air. The Bible is not a Republican or Democratic book. Exactly the opposite doctrine is taught. From that volume we learn that the people have no power whatever; that all power and political authority comes from on high, and that all the kings, all the potentates and powers, have been ordained of God; that all the ignorant and cruel kings have been placed upon the world’s thrones by the direct act of Deity. The Scriptures teach us that the common people have but one duty – the duty of obedience.
I deny this wretched, this infamous doctrine. Whether higher powers are ordained of God or not, if those higher powers endeavor to destroy the rights of man, I for one shall resist. Whenever and wherever the sword of rebellion is drawn in support of a human right, I am a rebel. The despicable doctrine of submission to titled wrong and robed injustice finds no lodgement in the brain of a man. The real rulers are the people, and the rulers so-called are but the servants of the people. They are not ordained of any God. All political power comes from and belongs to man. Upon these texts of Scripture rest the thrones of Europe. For fifteen hundred years these verses have been repeated by brainless kings and headless priests. For fifteen hundred years each one of these texts has been a Bastille in which has been imprisoned the pioneers of progress. Each one of these texts has been an obstruction on the highway of humanity. Each one has been a fortification behind which have crouched the sainted hypocrites and the titled robbers. According to these texts, a robber gets his right to rob from God. And it is the duty of the robbed to submit. The thief gets his right to steal from God. The king gets his right to trample upon human liberty from God. I say, fight the king – fight the priest.
Each voter is a sovereign. There the poorest is the equal of the richest. His vote will count just as many as though the hand that cast it controlled millions. The poor are in the majority in this country. If there is any law that oppresses them, it is their fault. They have followed the fife and drum of some political party. They have been misled by others. No man should go an inch with a party – no matter if that party is half the world and has in it the greatest intellects of the earth – unless that party is going his way.