It wasn't too many centuries ago that Christ drove the money-lenders out of the temple. It wasn't more than a few years ago that someone remarked that the temple built to protect a spiritual fire is become the theatre of social manners. And it wasn't more than two days ago that Bishop Manning versus ex-Judge Lindsey took place in the tabernacle of the Lord, situated on Fifth Avenue.
The impromptu scene was edifying. The picture of 3500 "well-groomed decent citizens"--the epithets are culled from the Associated Press--shouting at the top of their lungs to "punch" Lindsey, to "lynch him" is only slightly amusing to the cynic. More pleasing was the image of the battered advocate of companionate marriage, who is sincere if nothing else, being snatched from the rioters by four burly detectives. Howis of glee must attend the non-partisan when he reads that this formally attired herd docilely returned to their pews, no longer menaced by the black sheep, sand "Fight the Good Fight" and then shouted "God bless Bishop Manning!" The Church Militant.
Act Two should prove sustained. There will be front-page articles for a week. Bishop Manning will refuse to prosecute. Clarence Darrow, trial lawyer and atheist par excellence will delight in protesting against charges of inducing to riot. Lindsey, a bit chastened, will contend that his indignation at being accused by the Bishop of writing "the most filthy, insidious and cleverly-written piece of propaganda ever published in behalf of lewdness, promiscuity, adultery and unrestrained sexual gratification" carried him away. The 3500 will continue behaving as well-groomed and decent citizens. The limelight will bestow its honors on everyone connected with the affair, except possibly the Prime Mover for whose worship the Cathedral of St. John the Divine was built.
God's in his Heaven, but Browning, for the sake of being epigrammatical, evidently sacrificed Truth for a good second line.