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be classified for this purpose.” And, naming six denominations for possible separate classes, he adds: “And if there should be other varieties let them be classed accordingly."
This article was reprinted in the Common School Journal of Massachusetts and issued in pamphlet form for gratuitous distribution at the expense of a friend of New England common free schools.
NOTED PERIODS OF DISCUSSION OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION,
In 1840 the effort of the Catholics to secure appropriations of public school money in the city of New York attracted some attention elsewhere, and there has been some continuous interest on the subjects of parochial schools and appropriations of public money for denominational schools. Two periods, however, are especially noticeable for general attention to these subjects. The first was that known for the so-called “Know-Nothing" movement, which had a distinctive existence long enough to elect some mayors of cities and some governors of States in the early fifties. The second period may be said to have begun about 1889, and it has not yet ended.
In 1834, M. J. Spalding, D. D. (Catholic), bishop of Louisville, discussing the subject of education, directed attention to the arrangement for separate schools existing in other countries: 1
“In countries much less free than ours the common school system is so organized that Catholics and Protestants have separate schools. Austria, with all her alleged tyranny and with her triumphant Catholic majority of population, freely grants separate schools, supported out of the common fund, to the Protestant minority. England, with all her hereditary hatred of Catholicity, permits the Catholics to have their own separate schools; and this is not found to conflict in practice with her common-school system. Lower Canada, with its immense Catholic majority, freely concedes the privilege of separate schools to the small Protestant minority; and everyone who reads the public prints must be familiar with the controversy which is now carried on in Canada, and even in the Canadian Parliament, on the same equitable provision, extended, in all its privileges, to the Catholic minority of Upper Canada. Strange that Catholics, when in power, should be so liberal in granting a privilege which a Protestant majority is so slow to concede !"
Under the title, “Shall our common schools be destroyed,” Joseph P. Thompson, D. D., pastor of Broadway Tabernacle, New York City, delivered an argument against perverting the school fund to sectarian uses (1870). Dr. Thompson was one of the original e litors of the (New York) Independent, established as an organ of Congregational polity. He cites Judge Cooley:
“Mr. Cooley (Constitutional Limitations, p. 469) enumerates the following things concerning religion as not lawful under any of our State constitutions:
“1. Any law respecting an establishment of religion.
“4. Restraints upon the free exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience.
“5. Restraints upon the expression of religious belief.”
He embodies in his address a letter which he had written at the request of Richard Cobden in 1853, and which had been published by order of the British House of Commons. It is a token of the reciprocal action of English thought, as represented in the home country and in other English-speaking nations. Dr. Thompson seve
verely condemned the attempt “to secure the aid of the State directly to the support of a particular sect,” and to divide the school fund among sects.
J An address to the impartial public on the intolerant spirit of the times, p. 34.
“We have no right to force any to receive their religious teaching from the State, nor does the State become atheistic by refusing to teach religion. Religion must be taught in the family. It will be taught in the Church. It will be taught in the Sunday school. Christians for whom I speak are content with these modes of teaching religion. Shall they who are not content with such modes, or do not feel that these will satisfy them, compel us to pay for teaching their religion in some other way? That is the question! Let the Roman Catholic Church teach her tenets in these and other lawful ways, but not tax you to pay for it.”
In January, 1887, an article in the New Princeton Review, “Religion in the public schools,” by A. A. Hodge, D. D., insisted on religious instruction, advocating an agreement between Catholics and Protestants “ with respect to a common basis of what is received as general Christianity
especially in the literature and teaching of our public schools. The difficulties lie in the mutual ignorance and prejudice of both parties, and fully as much on the side of Protestants as of the Catholics, Then let the system of public schools be confined to the branches of simply commonschool education. Let these common schools be kept under the local control of the inhabitants of each district, so that the religious character of each school may conform in all variable accidents to the character of the majority of the inhabitants of euch district. Let all centralizing tendencies be watchfully guarded against.”
National Educational Association. There have been recent notable debates upon tho subject of moral and religious teaching in the public schools. At the meeting of the National Educational Association, July, 1889, Cardinal Gibbons and Bishop Keane presented the Catholic view, Edwin D. Mead and Jolin Jay, other views.
Cardinal Gibbons said: “It is not sufficient, therefore, to know how to read and write, to understand the rudiments of grammar and arithmetic.
We want our children to receive an education that will make them not only learned, but pious men.
We wish them to be not only men of the world, but, above all, men of God.
The religious and secular education of our children can not be divorced from each other without inflicting a fatal wound upon the soul. The only efficient way to preserve the blessings of civil freedom within legitimate bounds is to inculcate on the mind of youth whilst at school the virtnes of truth, justice, honesty, temperance, self-denial, and those other fundamental duties comprised in the Christian code of morals.
“The catechetical instructions given once a week in our Sunday schools, though productive of very beneficial results, are insufficient to supply the religious wants of our children. They should as far as possible breathe every day a healthy religious atmosphere in those schools in which not only is their mind enlightened, but the seeds of faith, piety, and sound morality are nourished and invigorated. This would be effected if the denominational system, such as obtains in Canada, were applied in our public schools.
“The combination of religious and secular education is easily accomplished in denominational schools. To what extent religion may be taught in the public schools without infringing the rights and wounding the conscience of some of the pupils is a grave problem, beset with difficulties and very hard to be solved, inasmuch as those schools are usually attended by children belonging to the various Christian denominations, by Jews also, and even by those who profess no religion whatever."
Bishop Keane said: “A distinguished orator of our day has truly declared that the civilization and prosperity of our country depend on its Christianity, and that its Christianity depends on education. But, alas, how illogically he concluded from these premises that therefore the welfare of our country was to be safeguarded by a system of education in which it is not permissible to teach Christianity. Look now at the people of our country and we see them divided into two classes.
On the one side the Catholic church emphatically declares for Christian education, and with us sido all those non-Catholics, whatever may be their denomination, who believe in Christian schools, and in them are giving their children an eilucation, leavenedl and animated by Christianity as they understand it. Can anyone in his senses hesitate which of these two sides is for the real welfare of our country?”
Mr. Edwin D. Mead said: “\Vhenever, therefore, the parochial school or any school accompanies its demand for place in America by a petition for public money or remission of taxes, by any claim that is opposed to the integrity of the public school system, we may say very plainly that it has not proper place in America.
“The Roman Catholic school, parochial or other, does properly havo the same place in America (and this rigiit must be firmly secured it) which the Episcopal school has, the Unitarian school, the Lutheran school, or any private school whatever--the right to open its doors, to make itself as attractive as it can, and to invite any body it will. Like every other private school it must satisfy the standards of the State, but it has the same right as every other to resent all officious medaling.
“I have contined myself to tho Catholic parochial school because no other raises any serious problem in our society.
“The public schools are the great moralizing institution in America to-day. This is shown by the simplest analysis of the discipline and essential methods of the schools--tho training which they give in habits of punctuality, order, obedience, industry, courtesy, and respect for simple merit.”
Mr. Jay deals with two points: (1) The exclusion of the Bible from the public schools; (2) the claim for public money for denominational schools. He speaks as if the Bible were generally used in the public schools, and quotes Judge Bennett, of Wisconsin, in the case of Weiss r. School Board of Edgerton, approvingly:/ "But the Bible remains, and it would seem like turning a good, trne, and ever faithful friend and counselor out of doors to exclude it from the public schools of the State. And I have been unable to find any authority in the decisions of the courts for so doing.”
Mr. Jay sees the present public schools as Christian schools:
“The Puritans of New England appreciated the necessity of public schools, and that feeling was shared by the Huguenots and the Hollanders, by the Walloons from Flanders, the Vaudois and Waldenses from the Italian Alps, Protestants from Germany and Scandinavia, by the followers of Huss from Bohemia and Zwinglius from Switzerland, by the l'nited Brethren, the Moravian Brothers, the Salzburg exiles, with Christian reformers of every race and tongue who hail contended at home, even to the death, for the open Bible as the true standard of Christianity, and the only euro foundation of civil and religious freedom. Touching the instruction given in our American schools during the colonial period, the teaching of Christian ethics was from the first an essential feature.
“The movement for religious liberty by separating church and state began, nearly simultaneouly, in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania soon after the Declaration of Independence; but in separating church and state they were careful not to separate ('bristianity from the common law.
“The public school, if faithfully maintained, as established by our fathers, teaches not only the elements of education, but teaches personal responsibility, freedom of conscience and of thought, loyalty to American principles and constitutions, love of country, and duty to our fellow-men.
“The aim of the parochial school is to form a subject of the Pope and not an independent citizen of the American Republic, and the character of the education is aılmirably fitted for this purpose.
“As an American author who has studied the question well remarks: “Roman
i The Suprema ('onrt of Wisconsin in the appeal from the circuit court, where Judge Bennett presided, reversed his decision and granted a mandamus to exclude the Bible. This is more fully noticed elsew here, p. 1617. - J.H. B.
Catholicism and modern civilization stand apart as the representatives of two distinct epochs in the world's history; not only are they unlike, they are absolutely antagonistic and irreconcilable;
what is life to one is death to the other.'
“ To allow each denomination to teach its own peculiar doctrines, and to receive its share of the public money
is converted into an act of inequality and unfairness to all other Christian denominations
by the fact that the Roman Pontiff claims as belonging to the Church of Rome, and subject to its teaching and discipline, all persons whomsoover who have been baptized no matter by whom the ceremony was performed.
" Then comes the serious objection that the eminent cardinals and prelates of the Roman Catholic Church, who make this proposition to tax the people for the support of the parochial schools,
do not represent the great body of Roman Catholic laymen in this country.”
Symposium in Public Opinion.-In a symposium, Public Opinion, July 13, 1889, Cardinal Gibbons furnishes his address delivered before the National Educational Association, already cited. Thomas Hill, D.D., LL. D., ex-president of Harvard University, insists that “religious instruction is, as the State of Massachusetts declares it to be, the first and most important end to be aimed at by all teachers of youth, whether in public or private schools.
Some men seem to have been dazed ly claims of the Catholic Church upon the one side and of agnosticism on tlio other.
It is not required by justice to yield to these claims." Minot J. Savage, 1. D., says: “ The public may be divided into two classes. First, there are those who sincerely believe that the eternal welfare of their children's souls depends on the teaehing and acceptance of their particular kind of religion. Secondly, there are those who do not believe this. Now, in the case of those who do believe that the salvation of their children is at stake, there can not possibly be a more odious tyranny than that of compelling them to submit to a teaching that to their minds entails such unspeakably horrible consequences. * Taxation without representation’ is a trivial grievance compared with it. So far as this goes, therefore, my sympathies are entirely with the Romanist as against the teaching of any form of Protestantism in the scliools.
If a Calvinistic father wants to teach his boy Calvinism, nobody questions his right to do it. But most certainly he has no right to take money ont of my pocket (by a tax or in any other way) to do it with. And the same holds true of the Romanist, or the Jew, or the agnostic."
William T. Harris, LL. D., says: “It seems to me that religious instruction in the public schools is inexpedient on the ground that these schools are for all citizens, whatever their religions belief, or no belief, just as the public market, the public library, the municipal government, and the Sta’es are for all alike, whatever their creeds. The question is not in regard to boarding schools or asyluns or reformatories. In those institutions the school takes up the functions of the family and should provide religions instrnction, in my opinion. But in the case of the public school, which receives a child for only a few hours daily, the family and the church are left sufficient time for religion.”
Ilinois State Teachers' Association.-In December, 1890, a joint discussion occurred between Right Rev. J. L. Spalding (Catholic), bishop of Peoria, and George P. Brown, editor of the Public School Journal, before the Illinois State Teachers' Association. Bishop Spalding's address is not at hand, but his views can be seen in his books, especially in Means and Ends of Education, containing a chapter on the Scope of Public School Education, where he says:
“All true belief, when we come to the last analysis, is belief in God, and the teacher of religion must keep this fact always in view.
Public school education, to be education at all in any true sense, must be a training, discipline, development, and instruction of man's whole being, physical, intelleetual, and moral.
"All these thinkers (Herbert Spencer, Montayne, Comenius, Milton, Locke, Ilerbart, Kant, Fichte] agree that the supreme end of education is spiritual or ethical.
“ The scope of public school education is to cooperate with the physical, social, and religious environment to form good and wise men and women. Unless we bear in mind that the school is but one of several educational agencies, we shall not form a right estimate of its office. It depends almost wholly for its success upon the kind of material furnished it by the home, the state, and the church;
hence the teacher's attitude toward the child should be that of sympathy with him in his love for his parents, his country, and his religion.
The fountain heads of his purest and noblest feelings are precisely his parents, his country, and his religion, and to tamper with them is to poison the wells whence he draws the water of life.
“What the teacher is, not what he utters and inculcates, is the important thing. The life he lives, and whatever reveals that life to his pupils, his unconscious behavior, even, above all what in his inmost soul he hopes, believes, and loves, have far deeper and more potent influence than mere lessons can ever have.
“The purpose of the public school is, or should be, not to form a mechanic or a specialist of any kind, but to form a true man or woman. Hence the number of things we teach the child is of small moment. Those schools, in fact, in which the greatest number of things are taught give, as a rule, the least education.
“I am willing to assume and accept as a fact that our theological differences make it impossible to introduce the teaching of any religious creed into the public school.
“The fact that religious instruction is excluded makes it all the more necessary that harmonizing and ethical aims should be kept constantly in view.
“ The Catholic view of the school question is as clearly defined as it is well known. It rests upon the general ground that man is created for a supernatural end and that the church is the divinely-appointed agency to help him attain his supreme destiny. If education is a training for completeness of life, its primary element is the religious, for complete life is life in God.
“The atmosphere of religion is the natural medium for the development of character.
If the thinkers, from Plato and Aristotle to Kant and Pestalozzi, who have dealt with the problems of education, bave held that virtue is its chief aim and end, shall we thrust from the school the one ideal character who, for nearly nineteen hundred years, has been the chief inspiration to righteousness and heroisin?
Current American opinion assigns to them (the family and the church] the business of moral and religious education. But this implies that conduct and character are of secondary importance; it supposes that the child may be subject to opposite influences at home and in the school, and not thereby have his finer sense of truth and goodness deadened.
“If the chief end of education is virtue; if conduct is three-fourths of life; if character is indispensable, while knowledge is only useful, then it follows that religion, which more than any other vital influence has power to create virtue, to inspire conduct, and to mold character, should enter into all the processes of education. We have done what it was easiest to do, not what it was best to do; and in this, as in other instances, churchmen have been willing to sacrifice the interest of the nation to the whims of a narrow and jealous temper. The denominational system of popular education is the right system. The secular system is a wrong system The practical difficulties to be overcome that religious instruction may be given in the schools are relatively unimportant, and would be set aside if the people were thoroughly persuaded of its necessity.”
The following is Mr. Brown's summary of his position: “The doctrine of this paper is:
“(1) That the separation of the church from the state in the fundamental law of the land forbids the teaching of any theory and practice of religion in the State schools by order of the State.