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ble, and impressed us sufficiently to lead us to re-examine the whole subject. As the result of this investigation, we have been led ourselves, and we believe, that the Christian, or, at all events, the Protestant mind of the country, is working its way, with more or less clearness and decision, to the following positions:
1. That our government is bound to protect all in the free and full enjoyment of their religious principles, until this conflicts with the just and equal rights of others, or with the peace and order of society. But while it is, to this extent, equally bound to protect all sects and persuasions, it is no less bound not to espouse or support any of them with positive pecuniary or other special privileges.
2. This principle, however, ought not to be carried so far that the state will ignore or disown the moral and religious nature of its subjects, or its supreme importance, or its own subjection to moral law, and its obligation to and dependence upon the Supreme Ruler and Sovereign Lord of all. This were to sink its subjects into mere animals, and itself into a mere unprincipled, immoral, atheistic, or materialistic organization. Nor can a government, the great majority of whose people are Christians, ignore their sacred convictions, or that the morality which governs them is a Christian morality. There are issues and occasions in states in which not to be moral is to be immoral; not to be religious is to be irreligious; not to be Christian is to be anti-Christian; not to be for Christ is to be against him. Not to be governed by the fundamental principles of Christian morality, or to honor the Sabbath because some have scruples to the contrary, is to violate the conscientious convictions of nineteen out of every twenty of the people in order to please the twentieth part of them.
3. The whole history of our nation, in all its governmental procedures, State and National, confirms this view. It is proved to be the true meaning of their fundamental constitutions, as understood by their framers, by the whole course of concurrent legislative and judicial action, and by all public practice under them from the first. We are quite in sympathy with our friends who desire, and have organized to promote, the express recognition in our national constitution, of some belief in God and Christianity. But we do not admit for one moment that, because not expressly mentioned, it is not in effect and substance the supreme element of the national life, lying deeper than constitutions, and conditioning their practical interpretation and working, through Congress, legislatures, courts, and public institutions. All our governments, State and National, recognize the Christian's God in the oath, in stopping and outlawing business on the Lord's dar, opening their sessions with prayer, in their annual calls upon the people for thanksgiving, and their frequent proclamations inviting the people to public prayer and fasting. Not only so, but by furnishing chaplains for the army and navy, for military and naval schools, our government has shown its conviction that men cannot be fitly educated for high responsibilities and commands, without duly educating their moral and religious nature; also that it will not subject the Christian people of the land to the cruel necessity of shutting out their sons from these spheres of occupation and preferment. The same is true of State governments. Almost without exception, they enact Sunday laws, require oaths, supply Christian chaplains to their prisons, their reform schools, and institutions for deaf, dumb, and blind. They dare not bring these children of their care down to the standards of atheism, or refuse to provide for the due training of their immortal nature. It is past all doubt,
. therefore, that the unsectarian character of our civil constitutions does not mean atheism or infidelity, or the disowning of our common Christianity.
4. The State provides common-school education for all her children whose parents will permit them to accept it, in order to make them good citizens. This end cannot be accomplished unless they become upright and virtuous. Such only can preserve a democratic government from corruption and ruin. But all sound morality must have its roots in religion, and the only religion which the mass of our American States know, or can know, is the religion of the Bible. The very object which the State aims at, therefore, in its common schools is defeated by the extrusion of religion and Christianity. Is it said that religion can be taught in the family, in the church, and the Sabbath-school? But how does this reach the case of the vast number whose parents are indisposed or incompetent to give them moral and religious teaching, and who are not reached by other agencies ? And however well-taught at home, how is it to keep the tender and sensitive minds of children closed against all religious or moral ideas in their reading, their study of history and geography, without leaving them profoundly ignorant of what is most essential in these studies, - what exhibits man in all that most exalts him above the brute, the phenomena of his moral and religious nature. Further still, the intellectual is so implicated with the emotive, the moral, and religious nature, that the development of the former is dependent on the latter; to starve the one is to dwarf the other. It is religious and moral truths, ideas of the infinite and perfect, God and eternity, that most quicken, expand, and sublime the human, and especially the youthful, intellect. Education, therefore, divorced from morality and religion, becomes shrunken, distorted, and monstrous.
5. Still, this teaching must be unsectarian. Is it not so, in every fair sense, if the Bible, or selections from the Bible, are read without note or comment, and in such translation thereof, as the parent may signify, that he prefers ? May it not speak its own meaning and leave its own impression without injustice to the claims of any sect? This is precisely what is done in the schools of Cincinnati, the prohibition of which by the School Board of that city has been set aside by the courts, as contrary to public policy and the clause of the State constitution which, after forbidding religious tests, etc., declares, “ Religion, morality, and knowledge, however, being essential to good government, it shall be the duty of the General Assembly to pass suitable laws to protect every religious denomination in the peaceable enjoyment of its own mode of public worship, and to encourage schools and the means of instruction.” Is not the pretence that the recognition and teaching of principles recoguized by all bodies of Christians, and disputed by none, are sectarian, unreasonable and unworthy of regard? Do the Romanists who make it aim thereby to render our common schools acceptable and worthy of public favor, or do they not aim thereby to render them so utterly godless as to deprive them
of the confidence of the whole Christian community, and thus effect their ruin? We shall see.
6. But it is said, we shall thus offend and wrong the atheistic, infidel, and sceptical part of the people who are unwilling that any religious, if not even moral dogmas, shall be taught in our public schools, and that they will thus be led to join the crusade of Papists against the common schools. The answer is: 1. We must take a stand somewhere, unless we turn these schools into herds of human animals, without heart or soul, conscience or morality. Are we to have, to recognize, to presume upon no moral standards in our dealings with, in the mutual relations of, the hundreds of children often gathered in our public schools, that are contrary to the creed of Confucius, of Brigham Young, of polygamists, adulterers, idolaters, libertines, and blasphemers ? The thing is simply as impossible as monstrous. We cannot live together, or permit our children to live and be educated together, on such a basis. We cannot de humanize; therefore we cannot demoralize; therefore we cannot de-religionize; therefore we cannot de christianize them. Not to give us any religion, or morality radicated in religious sanctions, is to give us immorality and irreligion. Here neutrality is impossible. So, these schools must observe the Christian, and not the Jewish Sabbath. We must hare some standards. The attempt to please Mormons, Chinese, Jews, idolaters, atheists, and infidels, is out of the question. It would, and ought to destroy the schools. Christians could have nothing to do with them.
And this in effect settles the question of the expediency of abstracting all religious exercises, or reading of the Scriptures, from the public schools for the purpose of conciliating the sceptical part of people, and detaching them from the Romanists to re-enforce us in this contest. Our impression is, that the irreligious element is small who will join the Romanists in destroying our common schools, when once the object of the latter is understood to be their destruction. However this may be, it is unquestionable, that the project to de-religionize and de-christianize our common schools would alienate ten of our Christian people from their support, where it would gain to it one of the contrary sort. Not only so, but it would arm
the Papists with weapons of tenfold power, to compass their destruction, and deprive them of the support of multitudes of Christian people. The following, quoted in the Christian World from the Western Watchman of St. Louis, a Romish paper, shows sufficiently to what purpose the Romanists will turn any exclusion of the Bible from public schools in accommodation to their consciences :
"The much vexed question of Bible-reading in the public schools of Cincinnati is at length settled.
The resolution of the Board is sweeping; and not only is the Bible excluded, but all hymns, prayers, and whatever else savors of religion. Books, too, in which Christianity is taught, must be replaced, or expurgated, and no vestige of religious truth can be allowed to disgrace the ballowed precincts of the school-room. Protestants are found for the first time in the history of our State school system, who teach that no religion, not even that weak dilution of it, which we call Puritanism, is compatible with the well being of their much extolled institution. Our school instruction must be purely materialistic. If the name of the Author of Christianity is mentioned at all, he must be spoken of as one of the men who figured prominently in history, as we would speak of Mohammed, Julius Cæsar, or Napoleon. Under no circumstances may we hint to the child that the great preacher and teacher was God. We may not even tell him that he has a soul, or that there is any code of moral. ity outside the statutes of the city, and the records of the police courts. There must be nothing in the character or surroundings of our schools which might offend a Jew, a Mohammedan, a disciple of Confucius, or a common infidel. Our State has no religion, and our schools can have none."
The writer in the Christian World justly adds :
" This logical and practical issue of the proposed withdrawal of the Bible we commend to consenting Protestants, as coming from the very men on account of whose consciences it is proposed. Coming from such a source, and in such a connection, surely the mere ideal conception of so fearful a result in the establishment of a godless State, must have a weighty argumentative force to every honest, thoughtful Christian mind.”
7. The plea that the reading of the Bible in public schools is a perfunctory exercise, and that all moral and religious teaching in them must be feeble, does not answer its purpose. Prayers in colleges, high schools, the army and the navy, in Congress and in legislatures,--nay, we might even add, sometimes in our Sabbath assemblies, are not always attended with becoming reverence. They are quite too much attended in a perfunctory manner. This is to be deplored. But then, do they not constantly and publicly recognize the right, the true, the good, the divine, the infinite and eternal, and in most