October 16, 1890
THE St. Louis Globe-Democrat runs into the same way of error with several other papers on the subject of the Bennett law and the opposition to it. It makes the opponents of the law to be “the opponents of the English language,” while they are nothing of the kind. They teach English in their schools; their children learn to speak English; they themselves learn it and use it on occasion. It is a total perversion of the question at issue to make the action of the opponents of the Bennett law to be against the English language or its use. The sole point at issue is whether the State shall assume control of the private schools and dictate what shall be taught there, or how it shall be taught.
Again the Globe-Democrat misstates the question when it says:—
In the matter of the regulation of the schools the people will not submit to dictation from any church or churches, however widely extended or powerful.
In this contest there is no attempt whatever on the part of either of the churches concerned to dictate to the State in any way in the matter of the regulation of the State schools. It is strictly and really a denial of the right of the State to dictate in the matter of their own, private schools. As the State would be right in resenting dictation from any church in the matter of the regulation of the State schools, so any church is right in resenting the dictation of the State in the regulation of the church schools. Such action on the part of the churches is only allegiance to the principle of the absolute separation between Church and State. For, for any church to assume control of the State schools or dictate in any manner whatever what shall be taught there, or how, would be a union of Church and State; and it is none the less a union of Church and State when the State presumes to assume control of the church schools and dictate what shall be taught there, and how it shall be taught. Whoever pleads for the separation of indeed, will be an open straightforward opponent of the Bennett law, and everything like it.
A. T. J.