At the opening of the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Maryland, the bishops declare their support and approval of Prohibition.
Bishop Joseph F. Berry of Philadelphia says in his opening address:
"At the last quadrennial general conference there was much rejoicing because the United States of America had a short time before outlawed the rum traffic. It was hailed as an extraordinary economic and moral achievement, and such it was.
Since that time different States of the Union have enacted laws to aid in the enforcement of the Eighteenth amendment. Only two States have taken a backward step, and because of that action all good citizens of these commonwealths, irrespective of party affiliations, feel a deep sense of humiliation.
The prohibitory law has not been perfectly enforced, of course. Did any thoughtful person expect it would be? For a century and a half the traffic in liquor was a perfectly lawful, business, just as much so as banking and farming. Millions of money were invested, and there was no single item of trade that yielded profits so large.
Moreover, drinking was a popular social custom, and a fixed personal habIt of hundreds of thousands of our people. Did any one imagine that a traffic so deeply entrenched could be destroyed overnight? There are centuries-old laws upon our statute books against burglary and arson and murder. But are not these crimes committed every day?
We affirm that, under all the circumstances, the Federal prohibitory law has been a great success. Its success is to be seen in the enlarged savings deposits at the banks, increased expenditures for legitimate commodities, the decrease of crime, the increased efficiency of labor, in broken homes repaired, in separated families reunited and in fact that the Church of God is permitted to do its work wltbout the: handicap of a drunken and brutalized community."
Bishop Berry also insists that Prohibition will never end in the United States:
"All agitations seeking to modify or repeal the prohibitory law have failed and will fall. Prohibition has become the permanent policy of the American people. The prohibitory amendment is in the federal Constitution to remain as long as the Constitution remains.
There is as much prospect of returning to the practice of human slavery as of resuming the legal sale of rum and every citizen who lays claim to patriotism will gIve his utmost influence toward building up respect for this and all other laws of the land.
The basis of civilization is obedience to law. Encouragement to law-breaking is easily the most direct and violent form of attack upon the Constitution. President Coolidge is exactly right when he declares that 'the authority of the law is questioned in these days altogether too much. The binding obligation of obedience against personal desire is denied in many quarters. If these ideals prevail, all organized Government, all liberty, all security is at an end.'
And Governor Pinchot admirably expresses a sentiment which we all strongly feel when he says: 'There is no Communist who bores so successfully from within as those so-called respectables who, at the behest of habit or appetite, are willing to sully their Americanism by open defiance of the Constitution, their Constitution, which has the most sacred claims upon their fidelity and obedience."