Some Gritty Remarks by Bishop H. M. Turner of the A.M.E. Church
The GRIT Newspaper: Washington, DC: February 24, 1884
A few days since Bishop H. M. Turner, L.L. D., called at our sanctum, and after congratulating us upon the publication of GRIT, the conversation turned upon the political affairs of the coming campaign. The bishop thinks Arthur or Logan will be the Republican presidential nominee; yet, he says some dark horse may turn up unexpectedly and win the race. He denies being an American citizen, and says since the decision of the Supreme Court, which nullifies the civil rights act, that he is simply a citizen of Georgia; that decision decitizenized him, and as such he is a mere moving nondescript, having no civil or political states in the land, and only lives by the grace of the white man.
The convention then turned upon the character of the delegates from the District of Columbia to the National Republican Convention which is to meet in Chicago, when the Bishop said he highly approved of our custom here of sending one white and one colored man.
We then asked the Bishop who ought they to be?
He replied, as for the colored man, I have no special choice, but would all be a set of ingrates not to send Col. Ingersoll. I mean so far as the colored voters are concerned.
Would you vote for a man who did not believe as you to do with a man’s personal sentiments or religious conviction?
I detest Col. Ingersoll’s atheism as much as any man. But he is as good, if not better, than a man who believes in God and daily blasphemes his name. Yes, he is better than a God-believing blasphemer. Our people all over the country will run crazy over there lying, hypocritical, two-faced, liquor-drinking, and in many instances, church-going scoundrels, who care no more for the Negro than the devil does for holy water, except when they want an office. And then, when the only man living who is worthy to wear the mantle of Sumner is spoken of, his religious sentiments must be called into question. While I detest and regret the atheism of Mr. Ingersoll, he is a better man than half the so-called white Christians in the Nation. He is a friend of the poor and needy, a friend of the Negro, the only remaining Sumner so far developed. I am a Christian if I know myself, but if I were here I should do all in my power to send him to the National Convention.