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Secularization of the Public Schools.
of the public peace, but the same things INTRODUCTION.
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 theBible is opposed to good ical newspapers as the Cincinnati Times 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 disapprovaland 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, inore 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 vied 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 gen-enjoy alike the benefits of the Common
Resolved, That so much of the reguWhenever a man says, that an Infidel is lations on the Course of Study and Text not as intelligent and honest as a christian, Books, in the Intermediate and District 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 owo 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 resident child in five has ever attended them.
REMARKS OF S. A. MILLER. 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 Iy 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."
Thereupon the Chronicle and the Gazette amplified this statement and enlarged
upon it. One statement of the Gazette THE RESOLUTIONS,
was as follows: At a meeting of the Board of Education “In other words, the Catholic Church, of the Common Schools of Cincinnati, on which does not propose to use the schools the evening of the 6th. day of September, unless they can control them, demand that 1869, Mr. S. A. Miller offered the follow the Bible shall be excluded from the public ing resolutions :
schools, and the Board of Education make "Resolved, That religious instruction haste to bow to priestly authority, and proand the reading of religious books, includ- pose to comply with the request. ing 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
written it, I handed it to the President of shall be compelled to attend, erect or sup this body, and he suggested the second res port any place of worship, or maintain any olution. I then wrote that. It was handed form of worship against his consent.” to Messrs. Wisnewski, Eckel, Story and The reading of the Bible under the diRhodes, 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,
Then Mr. President, what were the motives while all Protestant sects are in favor of that prompted the introduction of these res- so reading the Bible. olutions ? What were the motives of the men Mr. Mack said there was no such rule who approved them? Well, let me say that among the Jews. some people in this community believe that Mr. Miller replied : I have been informed the reading of the Bible in the schools, that the Jews do not read the Bible until tends to bring it into contempt and ridicule. they are thirty years of age. Others think, that the reading of it occupies, Mr. Mack said it was a mistake. half an hour a day, which is one eleventh Then the rule applies as I have stated it part of the time, which is, for the term of (said Mr. Miller) to the Catholics at least. our schools, nearly a month occupied in Again I read from the Constitution. "Nor that which does no good and probably does shall any interference with the rights of harm.
conscience be permitted.” This regulation But, it is not with me alone, the fact that interferes with the "rights of conscience'' reading the Bible is of no practical value in of the Catholics, because it is contrary to school, nor that the reading of it tends to one of the laws of their church. They say bring the Bible in to contempt, as claimed by this is with them a matter of “conscience," the Catholics. I place my reasons for the and I maintain that when a man says any support of these resolutions upon what part of his religion is with him a matter of seems to me a much broader and more solid conscience, that I häve no right to dispute foundation.
it. His conscience belongs exclusively to I believe the regulation of this Board is himself, and from the very nature of its exin palpable violation of the Constitution of istence, I know nothing about it, except the State of Ohio, in open violation of the from his own statements. statute law and decisions of the Supreme This regulation is then in violation of this Court, and contrary to the whole spirit of section of the Constitution, which is found our institutions.
in the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is. The Constitution of the State of Ohio a declaration of the natural and inalienable provides (Article 1. Section 7.) “that all men rights of man. Rights that can not be inhave a natural and indefeasible right 10 terfered with by the Legislature, nor by a worship Almighty God according to the Constitutional Convention ; but rights which dictates of their ownconscience. Noperson! belong to man as a sovereign and independ