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men, speaking and writing in the name and by the authority of God. The source of these precepts constitutes a most vital part of their power. They are precepts in virtue of this fact, and not merely ideas or maxims. “ Thus saith the Lord” stands behind the whole of them.
The real trouble in using the Bible to teach either its doctrines or its morals in the public school, is precisely what it would be in using the Westminster Catechism for the same purpose. The laws of this country do not establish the Divine authority of either.
Neither has any authority before the law. And if the morals of the Bible are to be taught in the public school by using it for this purpose, and taught as Divine morals, as they should be, if taught at all, then the State will be engaged in the business of religious propagandism, at the public expense; and that too, as really as if Dwight's system of theology were thus taught, or if the State did the same thing in the Christian pulpit on the Sabbath Day.
We do not escape this result by talking about the morals of the Bible in distinction from its doctrines. It is the Divine book in the faith of the Christian ; and those who insists upon its use in the public school expect and mean that it shall go there in this character. The Bible cannot go any. where in its true character, without bearing upon its face the stamp of being a religious book; and it cannot be used according to its own design without being used to teach religion, and that, too, whether the use respects its doctrines or its morals. Those who would use it in the public school for its morals, but not for its doctrines, not only seek to divorce what is inseparably united, but are inconsistent with themselves.
5. “ But did not our Puritan fathers make the Bible a part of their school system ?"-Yes: they did as a general fact, and they added the Westminster Catechism to it. They did not stop here, since they made Puritan Christianity a part of their civil system, and taxed the people for its support. They did not stop even here, since in some instances they actually became persecutors. The old fashioned New England Puritan public school, sometimes referred to as if it were a good precedent for this age, belonged to a dispensation that hung witches, whipped Quakers from town to town, and made Roger Williams an exile from his home. It suited an age in which the doctrine of religious liberty for all the people was not understood, and certainly not practiced. New England now, by her State Constitutions, repudiates many things which she then did.
We do not mean to disparage the Puritan Fathers. They were stern, stanch, and in the main good men. But to glorify their mistakes, or seek to make these mistakes precedents for this age, or for any age, is a species of veneration for antiquity from which we beg to be excused. The New England
public school, during the colonial period, and even for some time after the Revolution, was as distinct an example of a legally preferred religion as was ever witnessed on the face of the earth. We admit the facts of history on this subject, but we wholly deny their authority as a precedent.
6.—“Is not this a Christian country?”—Yes: it is, if you mean that Christianity is the religion which has the greatest prevalence among the people, and exerts far the greatest influence upon their thoughts, habits and usages, and in this way reaches and affects the policy of the State in its legal operations. No: it is not, if you mean that the State has adopted Christianity, or clothed it with any civil power, or given it legal preference over any other religion. Christianity, as a system of religion revealed in the Bible, has no more authority over the body politic in its organic character, or through the body politic over the people, than the poetry of Virgil or Homer, or the sacred books of the heathen. The State does not know it as a law for any body. It is known as such only by individuals; and the State very wisely leaves them to judge of its claims upon their own responsibility. Any inference in respect to the public school that rests upon the assumption that Christianity is, ipso facto, a part of our legal system, and that in this sense Christian country, rests upon a false premise.
7. “But is not this a Protestant country?” Yes; it is, if you mean that Christians form the
majority of religionists, and that Protestants form the majority of Christians. No; it is not, if you mean that the State has set its seal to Protestantism in distinction from Catholicism, or any other type or form of religion, or that the government of the country is Protestant. If we except the Protestant office-holding test of New Hampshire, no such governmental fact exists in the United States. The people, as citizens, stand on an equal footing, no matter what may be their religion. It is one of the glories of our political system that this is not a Protestant country in any sense that legally discriminates between citizens on religious grounds. The world has had quite enough of that kind of Protestantism.
8. “These Catholics who are making so much disturbance about the public schools, being largely of foreign birth, are mere interlopers.” This is simply an appeal to anti-Catholic prejudice, as antiAmerican as it is bigoted and ignorant. It may be well to remember that our Protestant ancestors were all of them a set of interlopers. The Puritans were interlopers. The whole people of the United States, with the exception of the Indians, are either interlopers or the descendants of interlopers. A great and powerful nation started with interloping. and interloping has been one of the elements of its rapid increase.
It is a fundamental article of our political faith that this country, on all its sides, should be open to the ingress of peaceable interlopers, whether black or white, in whatever clime born, and bringing with them whatever religion; that all these interlopers may, by naturalization, become citizens of the United States ; that, being such, they are citizens of the State in which they reside ; and that, possessing this double citizenship, they are entitled to all its privileges and immunities as perfectly as if they had been native-born for a dozen generations. Our political system, with the single exception of eligibility to the Presidency of the United States, makes no distinction between a naturalized and a native-born citizen.
The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution expressly says that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Their rights as citizens, whether such by birth or by naturalization, do not depend upon their religion, whether Protestant or Catholic. The Catholic has just as many rights as the Protestant, and no more; and the Protestant has just as many rights as the Catholic, and no more. No class has any monopoly of these rights, whether home or foreign-born, whether of this or that religious faith. That is not a true American head or heart that fails to recognize and cordially accept this principle. Our constitutions and laws do not abridge the religious liberty of anybody, and have no prejudices or spleen