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    October 31, 1905

    “Religion in the Public Schools” The Watchman 14, 44 , pp. 710, 711.

    ATJ

    [In Elder Jones’ closing article on Religious Liberty he mentioned the movement that was so actively carried on last spring in Washington to get the teaching of religion in the public schools established by the civil authorities; and that this was but part of a national movement for the same purpose. For this reason that battle is always a living one; and the discussion of it is of interest everywhere. Brother Jones took part in the discussion of the issue as it was raised in Washington, and has supplied us with abstracts of his three principal addresses on this subject there. They are presented of course as they related to the issue there; but the principle applies equally everywhere. This one was given in LaFayette Theater, Washington, D. C. March 10, 1905.—ED.]SOWA October 31, 1905, page 710.1

    THE proposition of the committee whose report we are to-night considering is that religion shall be taught in the public schools of Washington; and this example to be followed throughout the whole nation. In the interests of this city, in the interests of the whole nation, and in the interests of the Christian religion itself, this proposition and movement should be opposed. Thus we oppose it.SOWA October 31, 1905, page 710.2

    This thing is contrary to the Christian religion itself. Religion is briefly defined as “the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it.” It is altogether of faith; for “without faith it is impossible to please God;” and, “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”SOWA October 31, 1905, page 710.3

    And faith itself is of God, a gift to men. It lies wholly between the individual and God, upon the freely made choice of the individual himself as it is written: “Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God.” Religion therefore, pertaining solely to God, and lying wholly between the individual and God, is, by the Author of all true or right religion, confined exclusively to this realm, in the notable words, “Render therefore unto Cesar the things which are Cesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”SOWA October 31, 1905, page 710.4

    In these words of the Lord Christ there is drawn for all people in the world a close distinction between that which pertains to Cesar—the state—and that which pertains to God. And this distinction must be recognized always and everywhere, or else confusion will reign. Men are to render to god, not to the state, that which is God’s; that is religion. And they can so render this to God alone and direct, and not by the state.SOWA October 31, 1905, page 710.5

    And yet more than this, in those words of Christ there is no recognition whatever of any relationship, but only positive distinction and separation between the state and God. There is that which is due to the state, and that which is due to God. And neither of those is due to the other. There is no suggestion nor intimation, nor recognition that anything is due from the state to God, nor that anything is to be rendered by the state to God.SOWA October 31, 1905, page 710.6

    By those words of Christ, the realm of Cesar and the realm of God are shown to be two realms wholly distinct from each other. In the realm of God, which is the realm of religion, God is sole and exclusive sovereign. And in that realm God in Christ by the Holy Spirit through his own chosen and appointed church, is the sole Teacher. When the state undertakes this, it simply obtrudes itself between the soul and God, presumes to dominate in a realm where it can only defile, and attempts that which it cannot possibly do.SOWA October 31, 1905, page 710.7

    So much on the general principle involved. In what I shall say further to-night, I shall confine myself briefly to four points: I. The merits of the case before us; 2. The examples and precedents cited in the committee; 3. A piece of national history; and 4. Some lessons of the world’s history.SOWA October 31, 1905, page 710.8

    I. First to the merits of the case, that while there is ostensibly a proposition to teach the ten commandments in the schools as the basis of religion and morals, yet as a matter of fact and plain truth, the teaching of the ten commandments is not to be allowed. Indeed, it is to be “absolutely prohibited.” For in plain words the committee’s report as adopted declares that it is made “in a spirit which would absolutely prohibit any teaching or interpretation of the ten commandments which would fail to recognize, and to set before the children of our schools in the most liberal spirit, the fact that conscientious differences exist as to the day of the week to be observed as a day of rest.”SOWA October 31, 1905, page 710.9

    The fourth commandment designates “the seventh day” as the day that is to be observed as a day of rest. No teacher is to be allowed to have the children learn the commandment as it reads, and leave it there. Every teacher is “absolutely prohibited” from that, and must not fail to recognize and set before the children “the fact that conscientious differences exist” as to the true observance of the commandment.SOWA October 31, 1905, page 710.10

    Thus instead of allowing the children to learn the ten commandments as those commandments stand written from God, the children are positively to be launched into the sea of “conscientious differences” among men. For the same order of “conscientious differences” do just as certainly exist with regard to the second and others of the commandments, and even regarding the whole law itself, as exist regarding the day of the week to be observed as a day of rest.SOWA October 31, 1905, page 710.11

    .2. The examples and precedents cited in the discussion of the report in the discussion of the report in the committee, in favor of the report, unquestionably prove the same thing. It was there declared that in this thing the committee are but following the example of “Justinian and Charlemagne, who made the ten commandments the basis of their word and legislative systems.” All this can be freely admitted. But do the people of this city and this nation want reproduced here the examples and the times of Justinian and Charlemagne?SOWA October 31, 1905, page 710.12

    Was there ever in the world a time of more, or more perverse, “conscientious differences” in religion and morals than in the time of Justinian! And was there ever a person less regardful of “conscientious differences” than was Justinian? Was there ever a more consistent, or more persistent persecutor of all conscientious difference from his own religious or irreligious views than was Justinian?SOWA October 31, 1905, page 710.13

    And Charlemagne. Was there ever in the world a more perverse or more confirmed disagreement with the ten commandments themselves, than in the times of Charlemagne and following? Was there ever a more flagrant disagreement with the seventh commandment (the sixth in the Roman Catholic numbering) in the personal conduct of any legislator who ever thought or heard of the ten commandments than in that of Charlemagne?SOWA October 31, 1905, page 710.14

    And Justinian and Charlemagne are approvingly cited as the example and precedents for the program adopted by this committee for this city and this nation. That ought to be enough for anybody who knows the A B C of history.SOWA October 31, 1905, page 710.15

    And does the committee mean to imply that in the legislation of Justinian and Charlemagne there was no union of church and state, but only of religion and the state? If so, then let them please indicate the difference either in principle or in effect. A. T. JONES.SOWA October 31, 1905, page 710.16

    (Concluded next week.)

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