“A ‘Non-sectarian’ Myth” American Sentinel 12, 40, pp. 628, 629.

IT is entirely proper that the Roman Catholic press should protest against governmental recognition of “non-sectarian” Protestantism. This is a myth which certain Protestant religious journals have persistently assumed to be a reality. They have assumed, in other words, that a union of Church and State could only be where the State was joined with some particular religious denomination, and that where State aid was given in behalf of principles and dogmas held by a number of denominations in common, no union of Church and State could be charged.

These Protestants have always maintained emphatically that State aid or patronage given to the Catholic Church constituted a union of Church and State, but they have denied that a similar relation of the State to the Protestant Church in general, as distinguished from the adherents of the papacy, constituted a similar union.

Now comes the Catholic Review (New York) with a strongly-worded demand that Protestants shall stand by their professions of regard for a secular government,—professions made when opposing the advances of Rome,—and that the government shall give no aid or recognition to Protestantism, just as she is asked to do toward the Church of Rome.

The program of reform which this Catholic journal demands is given as the following:—

“Put the Protestant version of the Bible out of the public courts and the public schools; do away with the religious oath at the taking of testimony; discharge the Protestant ministers who are chaplains of legislatures, prisons, and reformatories; dismiss preachers and priests who are drawing money from the public treasury in payment for their services in preaching their beliefs in the [629] Christian religion to soldiers and sailors; forbid the election or appointment of a clergyman to any political office; and let the so-called American principle of the separation of Church and State drive God and his Christ and the Word and his rule and his kingdom and his clerical representatives out of the official life of this nation. Let it not be only Catholic Indian schools or Catholic charters that are ‘sectarian.’ Let Protestant schools, and Protestant teachers, and Protestant ministers, and Protestant institutions fall under the same ban. It is Protestants who are prescribing this treatment. Let them take their own medicine.”

Rome frequently displays the virtue of being consistent, and does so in this instance. The Protestant preachers should not refuse to take their own medicine, and cannot refuse without standing discredited in the public place. But Rome does not want the Protestant bodies to “take their medicine,” and of course, knows full well that they will not do so. Her object is to force them to assist from their opposition to herself, by exposing their inconsistency in the matter.

Let it be noted that the Church of Rome stands fully … of any Protestant church in claiming that the American principle of separation of Church and State since “God and his Christ and his Word and his rule and his kingdom … out of the official life of this nation.” The Church of Rome does not admit that all this can be in the official life of the nation without having Protestantism first driven out: and on the other hand, the “national reform” Protestant bodies are equally positive that the rule of God and his Word in the seat of national government is entirely incompatible with any recognition of the Church of Rome. The principle which leads any religious body to seek for governmental support of its principles, dogmas, or institutions, is an intolerant principle, and always leads to bitter sectarian words. It is not a Christian Church in any sense.

It the Roman Catholic Church be a sect, the Protestant Church is likewise a sect, for the two bodies stand over against each other. And when any Protestant body calls for a non-sectarian government, it calls for its own exclusion, and that of all other religious bodies, either singly or combined, from any position of government patronage or aid.

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