Pilgrim Holiness

The statement below is from a Pilgrim Holiness congregation during WWI in response to vigilante investigators.  Notice how their Holiness based aversion to alcohol, tobacco, dancing, and other “worldly” entertainments led them to oppose giving money to the Red Cross.  It was not unusual for Holiness groups to use apocalyptic language to refer to the Red Cross as the mark of the Beast from Revelations, because the organization co-opted the christian symbol of the cross and because local fund-raisers would interfere with individual’s rights to buy and sell, freely, unless they had the lapel pin of the Red Cross (the Mark of the Beast).

Pilgrim Holiness Church (San Diego, California)

[War], 1918

…a statement in brief concerning the attitude of the First Pentecost Pilgrim Church of San Diego, California, toward war and its allied associations. We are conscientiously opposed to all war, believing it is utterly incompatible with the plain precepts of our divine Lord and Lawgiver, and the whole spirit of His Gospel, and that no plea of necessity or policy however urgent or peculiar, can avail to release either individuals or nations from the paramount allegiance which they owe to Him who hath said, “Love your enemies.”  We are opposed to the use of alcoholic liquors, other than for medicinal and mechanical purposes; also the use of tobacco in any form believing it to be a kindred evil to the liquor, and equally condemned in the Scriptures. We are opposed to dancing, theaters, and such classes of amusements as incompatible to holy living, and cannot conscientiously contribute funds to purchase such for the soldiers and sailors.

We are in sympathy with the humanitarian efforts, and deeds of mercy exhibited by the Red Cross, but cannot conscientiously contribute funds, either for membership in or donation to the society, when such are spent for the above purposes.

We believe in, and pledge loyalty to our government in all matters wherein it does not conflict with our paramount obligations to Him whom we worship and serve as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Trusting we have made our position clear, and that you will understand us, as not harboring any hostility to the government we are Yours on behalf of the Church.

See Beaman and Pipkin (2013), p. 110.

A number of Pilgrim Holiness men requested status as religious objectors to WWI.

Jesse Howard Beecher; Pilgrim Holiness, WWI Draft Registration

Benjamin Awe; Pilgrim Holiness, WWI Draft Registration

David William Reynolds, Pilgrim Holiness, WWI Draft Registration

The draft cards of these men requested exemption from military service as religious objectors to war in their words, Jesse Beecher, as a member of the “Holiness Christian Church”, Benjamin Awe, “conscientious objector”, and David Reynolds, “religious faith.”  Each were members of the Pilgrim Holiness Church at some point.

Most of the churches in the Pilgrim Holiness, later merged with the Wesleyan Church or some with the Nazarene Church.