Saturday, September 17, 2016

Blessed are the cheesemakers

     "The raising and habitual using of Tobacco is contrary to the spirit of the Gospel.  The weed is a narcotic poison; so virulent that a drop of its oil is a fatal dose.  A wilted leaf placed on the breast of a child will soon be followed by death.  Its use is an exceedingly filthy and loathsome practice in all its parts and phases.  Its nauseous and unsightly pools of disgusting slime are almost unendurable; defiling every thing with which they come in contact.  It unnerves the system, injures the health, produces irritability of temper, and creates an appetite for strong drink.  The raising and using of it involve an inexcusable waste of time, a perversion of valuable lands, and a misapplication of millions of money.
     "The raising of the wine-plant and hops for the market we regard as little better than the rum traffic generally.
     "We place the making of cheese, and the selling or delivery of milk to the factory on the Sabbath, in the category with Sabbath-breaking generally.
     "Adopted by the Conference."

     Committee on Raising and Using Tobacco, Raising Hops, Raising the Wine Plant, and Making Cheese on the Sabbath, Minutes of the [Fifth] Genesee Annual Conference [of the Free Methodist Church], Akron, New York, Sept[ember] 29, 1864.
     This seems to have been an ad hoc committee, as it does not appear either before or after this point in the Minutes of the Genesee Annual Conference.
     Are all of the claims about tobacco accurate?  The statement on the making of cheese makes, of course, perfect sense, especially if meant to be closely associated with (as seems undeniable) the phrase "on the Sabbath".  And, of course, Genesee County, New York, would have been a dairy region.  Still, it strikes the funny bone for some reason today.
     At the Third Genesee Annual Conference of 1862, by contrast, a powerful resolution on slavery had been adopted.

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