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Gift of
George Dexter,



Secularization of the Public Schools.

of the public peace, but the same things have been indulged in to such an extent by laymen, that on one evening while the res

THE attempt to make the Common Schools olutions were under discussion in the of Cincinnati alike free and equal to all School Board, a christian mob armed with children, by abolishing, as the opening ex-revolvers filled the auditory, and for a ercise, an old form of worship, peculiar on-time, threatened the commencement of ly to Protestant sects, and by prohibiting, bloodshed. All such danger however in the future, such exercises as are exclu- seemed to pass away with the attempt on sively religious, has produced considerable the part of the Superior Court to enfore rediscussion throughout the United States. ligious instruction with an injunction, but Most of the political and literary newspa- even then, Mr. Sage, said before the court, pers have expressed their approbation, while that "The man who is opposed to religion the Protestant newspapers and such polit and opposed to the Bible is opposed to good ical newspapers as the Cincinnati limes government, and not entitled to any great and Gazette have expressed, with more or consideration." And, Mr. Ramsey, said less warmth, their disapprobation. The" The law will not compel the infidel to bepulpits have been made to thunder their lieve-it will not compel him to support or disapproval and in the city of Cincinnati and erect or attend any place of worship, or to vicinity to ring with the ancient Chris- maintain any form of worship. Thus far tian folly of persecution. The cry of per- and no further will his rights of conscience secution has rung its changes, first against be respected." And Mr. King said "but, all the Catholic, then against the Infidel, and at once, a very strange coalition of twentythen against the Jew; while liberal enqui- two gentlemen takes place, ten of whom ry and liberal men have again, as in all were Catholics, and what I can not well get history, been the sole barrier between the through my head, with my knowledge of language of persecution, and the terrible the School Board, is how ten Catholics details of a christian insurrection. For it got into that Board. For the fourteen cannot be doubted, that as long as chris- years, I knew that Board, there were never tian superstition reigns in the minds of men, more than two or three gentlemen of that they may be easily persuaded, that the at- faith on the Board, because they did not tainment of immortal glory may be had by consider it a matter of sufficient interest the destruction of a few helpless heretics and to them. But all at once, ten of them are unbelievers. and to such, the terror of earth- on the Board! What are they there for? ly punishment is only a reminder of the They with twelve other gentlemen, making story of the sufferings of Christ on the twenty-two in all, nearly all of whom, I becross, and a stimulant to their rage and hor- lieve, are from Europe, at least, a majority rid infatuation. of them, and who, in their native country, Not only have Protestant preachers v'ed had been accustomed to love one another with each other in efforts of falsehood and with the love that Wolves have for Sheep, slander, and attempts to incite a disturbance and treated each other with such soft dal


liance as the ax and the faggot, these gentlemen are found all at once in loving embrace, and they pass this resolution."

Resolved, That so much of the regulations on the Course of Study and Text Books, in the Intermediate and District

Whenever a man says, that an Infidel is not as intelligent and honest as a christian, or that an Infidel has not the same rights Schools, (page 213, Annual Report,) as of conscience as a Christian, he is either a reads as follows, "The opening exercises fool or a knave. There is no excuse for in every department shall commence by such malicious utterances. And when a reading a portion of the Bible, by or under man argues, that a Catholic has no rights the direction of the teachers, and approin the School Board if the people elect him, ate singing by the pupils,' be repealed." and follows up such argument with a mean After considerable discussion the resoluspirited falsehood, he only removes the tions were laid over for one week and or mask from his own bigotry and intolerance. dered to be printed.


The Protestant sects of Christianity have controlled the Common Schools of Cincinnati for years, while only about one resi dent child in five has ever attended them. Children have been scared in school with absurd stories of Hell-fire and even been On the 13th day of Sept., 1869, at a told that the only sure way of salvation is regular meeting of the Board, Mr. S. A. through the Methodist Church. The MILLER, in support of the resolutions, schools have been maintained at an ex- after some preliminary remarks said: pense of nearly one million dollars annual- And here I wish to call your attention to ly levied upon everybody alike without any a few of the misrepresentations. In the distinction as to whether they believed or first place, the Cincinnati Times, on Tuesdisbelieved the Protestant dogmas, or were day last, contained the following: willing or unwilling to have such things "The secret of the strong force brought taught to their children. There is a pros- to the support of the main proposition last pect now, that this union of the Protestant night is the fact, now well known, that church with state taxes may be broken during the past week a document commitasunder, and the schools made free and ting members to it had been circulated and equal to all children alike. This contest twenty signatures obtained. One more will be fought at the Spring election and pledge and a majority of the board is seevery man who votes will be compelled to cured. The Catholic party is, therefore, vote "For free Schools" "or against free under the strongest drill, and corresponding Schools." There will be no dodging of energy on the other side will be required the question. to match them."


At a meeting of the Board of Education of the Common Schools of Cincinnati, on the evening of the 6th. day of September, 1869, Mr. S. A. Miller offered the follow ing resolutions:

enjoy alike the benefits of the Common
School Fund; and


Thereupon the Chronicle and the Gazette amplified this statement and enlarged upon it. One statement of the Gazette was as follows:

"In other words, the Catholic Church, which does not propose to use the schools unless they can control them, demand that the Bible shall be excluded from the public schools, and the Board of Education make haste to bow to priestly authority, and propose to comply with the request.

"Resolved, That religious instruction and the reading of religious books, including the Holy Bible, are prohibited in the Now, Mr. President, on last Monday eveCommon Schools of Cincinnati, it being ning, after I came to this Board, after seven the true object and intent of this rule to al- o'clock in the evening, I wrote the first part low the children of parents of all sects and of that resolution without consultation with opinions in matters of faith and worship to a single member of this board. After I had

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shall be compelled to attend, erect or sup
port any place of worship, or maintain any
form of worship against his consent."

written it, I handed it to the President of
this body, and he suggested the second res
olution. I then wrote that. It was handed
to Messrs. Wisnewski, Eckel, Story and The reading of the Bible under the di-
Rhodes, not one of whom are Catholics, and rection of the teacher, and appropriate
no Catholic ever saw the proposition or singing, is a "form of worship." And under
heard tell of it except Mr. Rauch, who was the law of the State, that compels the Infidel,
present at the time these other gentlemen the Jew, and the Catholic to pay the school
saw it, until they came in to this body and tax, and under the regulation of the Board,
after the board was organized. Then for they are each compelled "against their
the purpose of taking the sense of the board consent" to "maintain a form of worship!"
before introducing it, it was passed around, in violation of the Constitution and the
and 22 members then present approved the natural and indefeasible rights of man.
resolutions. Now, I would suppose as a I read again from the Constitution:
matter of course, that all Catholics in this "And no preference shall be given, by law,
board and all the Catholics who now attend to any religious society. The regulation
our common schools and all the more liberal of this Board gives a "preference" to the
Catholics would support this proposition, Protestant sects in their religion over both
because the reading of the Bible in the the Jews and the Catholics, because, as I
schools is contrary to one of the canons of am informed, the Jews do not read the Bible
their church, and it is, therefore, a matter to their children in school, and there is a
of conscience with them. But they were law or canon of the Catholic Church against
not consulted at all in the matter.
reading the Bible to children in school,
while all Protestant sects are in favor of
so reading the Bible.


Then Mr. President, what were the motives that prompted the introduction of these resolutions? What were the motives of the men who approved them? Well, let me say that some people in this community believe that the reading of the Bible in the schools, tends to bring it into contempt and ridicule. Others think, that the reading of it occupies, half an hour a day, which is one eleventh part of the time, which is, for the term of our schools, nearly a month occupied in that which does no good and probably does


But, it is not with me alone, the fact that reading the Bible is of no practical value in school, nor that the reading of it tends to bring the Bible in to contempt, as claimed by the Catholics. I place my reasons for the support of these resolutions upon what seems to me a much broader and more solid foundation.

I believe the regulation of this Board is in palpable violation of the Constitution of the State of Ohio, in open violation of the statute law and decisions of the Supreme Court, and contrary to the whole spirit of our institutions.

Mr. Mack said there was no such rule among the Jews.

Mr. Miller replied: I have been informed that the Jews do not read the Bible unti they are thirty years of age.

Mr. Mack said it was a mistake.

Then the rule applies as I have stated it (said Mr. Miller) to the Catholics at least.

Again I read from the Constitution. "Nor shall any interference with the rights of conscience be permitted." This regulation interferes with the "rights of conscience" of the Catholics, because it is contrary to one of the laws of their church. They say this is with them a matter of “conscience," and I maintain that when a man says any part of his religion is with him a matter of conscience, that I have no right to dispute it. His conscience belongs exclusively to himself, and from the very nature of its existence, I know nothing about it, except from his own statements.

This regulation is then in violation of this section of the Constitution, which is found in the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is a declaration of the natural and inalienable rights of man. Rights that can not be in

The Constitution of the State of Ohio provides (Article 1. Section 7.) "that all men have a natural and indefeasible right to terfered with by the Legislature, nor by a worship Almighty God according to the Constitutional Convention; but rights which dictates of their own conscience. No person belong to man as a sovereign and independ

ent being, that may not be abridged, res- by legislative enactment would be declared
tricted, or controlled by any human power. unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Again, the Constitution provides, Art. vi., With how much more reason does it fol-
Sec. 2. that "The General Assembly shall low that this regulation is contrary to the
make such provision, by taxation or other. laws, the Constitution and the whole spirit
wise, as with the income arising from the of our institutions; because this Board
school trust fund, will secure a thorough and possesses no legislative power whatever,
efficient system of common schools through. but only ministerial powers and duties for
out the State; but no religious, or other the purpose of organizing and maintaining
sect, or sects, shall ever have any exclusive the common schools under the express
right to, or control of any part of the school provisions of the acts of the Legislature.
funds of this State."
It is true that the infidels send their chil-
This regulation gives to the Protestant dren to the common schools, notwithstand-
sects an exclusive right to and control ing this regulation, because they care but
over that part of the school funds of this very little about it. It is true that the Jews
State, that pays the expenses of the schools send their children to the common schools
for the time occupied in this religious in- also. But only about three thousand chil-
struction, For the Catholics do not parti. dren of Catholic parentage in this city at-
cipate in this religious instruction, that tend the common schools, while eighteen
occupies fifteen minutes or half an hour thousand children are deprived of that
of each day in the public schools-or one privilege on account of the canons of their
eleventh part of the time-which amounts church and their right of conscience upon
to nearly one month in each year. And the subject of this regulation. A large
this exclusive right to and control over the body of these children would be in the
school funds extends even farther than that, schools at this time if this regulation was
because, as I am informed by a catholic out of the way. And I am fully assured
priest, there are 21.000 Catholic children that not less than five thousand of them will
in this city and it is estimated that only be in the schools this winter if these reso-
about 3,000 of them attend the common lutions are adopted, even though no com-
schools, the remaining, 18,000 children be- promise or arrangement is made with the
ing virtually excluded by this regulation. Catholic clergy.
The Supreme Court of the State decided "It is to the interest of the State at large
in the case of Bloom against Richards (2 O. that all children shall be educated, and it
St. Rep. page 337.) that "Christianity is a is upon this theory that the property of the
part of the common law of England, but, citizens of the whole State is taxed for the
under the provisions of our Constitution, support of the great school system of Ohio.
neither Christianity, nor any other system of And this reason applies with peculiar force
religion is a part of the law of the State." to the children of parents of limited means.
The Court were unanimous in this opinion. "The children are not responsible for the
The Supreme Court again held, in the case superstition, religious opinion or conscience
of McGatrick vs. Wasson. (4 0, St. Rep. of their parents, and if these children are
566.) affirming unanimously, the opinion de- kept out of school for any reason or whim,
livered in the case of Bloom vs. Richards. it is our duty to remove the objection, if
within our power so to do. This is justice
and humanity.

that the statutes were "wholly secular,"
that no power whatever is possessed by any
department of this State over things spirit-
ual, but only over things temporal.



"As the statutes of the State are "wholly secular," as the Legislature has power only On the 25th. of October, 1869 at a regular over things temporal and not over things meeting of the Board, Mr. S. A. MILLER said: spiritual, as neither Christianity nor any Since these resolutions have been before other form of religion is any part of the law the Board, I have taken some pains to asof this State, it follows that even the Legis- certain how many Boards of Education in ature would be wholly powerless to enforce the State of Ohio have adopted such a regsuch a regulation as this, and any attempt ulation as the one in force here. I believe

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that I am correctly informed, that no They showed some of that spirit in this Board of Education in this county ever hall, and they showed it outside of this hall. adopted a rule requiring the Bible to be Instead of a fair open and frank discussion; read in the Schools with appropriate sing- of the question-instead of treating it as ing, except this Board. But on the con- men who are attempting to do their duty trary, some of the School Districts have they treated it after the manner of bigots adopted regulations prohibiting all religi- and enthusiasts. They endeavored to inous instruction of what kind soever in flame the public mind, to arouse personal their Public Schools. The local trustees animosities, religious prejudices, and really of the Corryville Precinct, four or five to create disturbances in the City. Finalyears ago, adopted a resolution prohibiting ly three lawyers were induced to make the reading of the Bible in their School. speeches at Pikes Hall, that have been her


Immediately thereafter seventy children, alded extensively all over the country, as who had never before attended the School, the legal defense of the use of the Bible in attended it. The trustees of the Second the Public Schools. The first of these District in Mil-Creek Township, known as lawyers opened his speech with the declara Woodburn on East Walnut Hills, two or tion that the "Bible had lain for two hundred three years ago by a resolution that is now years at the foundation of "that great Amerstanding on their journal, and strictly en- ican institution, the Public Schools." forced prohibited the reading of the Bible, might as well have said for two thousand and all other religious exercises, in their years, or if he wanted his discovery to apSchool. But few Public Schools in this pear as large as moving mountains, with a County outside of this city have ever been margin sufficient to fall "a cat or two," two opened with such religious exercises and hundred thousand years. Either statement yet the reasons against such opening exer- would have been alike destitute of history, cises are stronger in this City than in of truth, and foreign to an honest and any other part of the County. fair discussion of the subject before this School Board.

I have been informed reliably, as I think, by persons acquainted in about fifteen counThe history of the School question does ties of this State, that no Board of Educa ̄ not date prior to the ordinance of 1785 tion, in any of these counties has ever nearly eighty-five years ago. That ordiadopted any such religious regulation. In nance provided for the laying out of the some of the counties not a single School North-Western Territory into townships of District in the county has been in the habit six miles square each, and dividing each of having any such devotional exercises at township into thirty-six sections, and for the opening of the School. A further in giving the sixteenth section in each townvestigation will in my opinion discover ship for school purposes. No action was the fact that this Board stands almost alone ever taken under that ordinance for the adin this regulation. vancement of schools, and history does not

In this City it seems, by the enumera- make mention of any Public Schools in tion, that there are about ninety-five thous- Ohio, until since the year 1802 almost and white children, while only about twenty within the memory of some of the members thousand attend the Public Schools. The of this Board.

other children attend Catholic Schools, pri- In April 1802, a Convention being about
vate Schools or other Schools, or do not to convene, for the purpose of adopting a
go to School at all. Any person at all ac- constitution, preparatory to admission into
quainted with the public feeling upon the the Union as a State of that part of the
School question, knows that there is some- North-Western Territory now known as
thing wrong about it, and that this question Ohio, the Congress of the United States, by
of religious instruction is one of the caus- resolution, made a series of propositions to
es preventing a full attendance.
the convention, the leading one being the
When these resolutions were introduced, proposition to grant to the State one thirty-
they were met, as I think, on the part of sixth part of all the lands for School pur-
many of the Clergy, and not a few of the poses. The Convention assembled in No-
laymen of this City, in a very bad spirit. vember and accepted the propositions with

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