IN the California Prohibitionist of September 11, 1889, somebody who signs himself “Christian Citizen,” and says that he is not a Roman Catholic, indorses the assertion of the Roman Catholic Church that “our public schools are godless,” and protests, “in the name of Protestant, Christian Americanship, against the continuance of such an outrage against the home, the State, and God;” and loudly exclaims, also in the line of Roman Catholicism, “Let there be a division of the school fund.” This person, however, asks that there shall be a division of the fund into but two parts. He says:—
“Let one portion of it be used for the support of such schools as at present exist, where infidels, and scoffers, and patriots of the Harcourt stripe—may send their children if they like; and let the other portion be devoted to the support of schools in which the principles of morality and Christianity, as laid down in the Bible, shall be taught without sectarian bias.”
That is to say that the school fund should be divided into two parts, one part to be given to those who do not believe as he does, and the other part to him and those who do believe as he does. Oh yes, true patriotism never appears more glorious than when I am the patriot and I the one to be delivered from oppression! Unselfishness never appears more truly sublime than when I can unselfishly demand that half the public school fund shall be appropriated, applied, and used to support my views of religion and what religious instruction ought to be!
What this “Christian citizen” means by “patriots of the Harcourt stripe” is explained by the fact that Rev. Dr. Harcourt, of San Francisco, has been delivering a series of Sunday evening discourses, in opposition to the Roman Catholic demands for religion in the public schools or else a division of the school fund. Dr. Harcourt consistently and patriotically holds that the public school is for the public. That as the public school funds are drawn by taxation from all classes, without discrimination or preference, so they shall be applied.
It would be a real good thing if those who profess religion could recognize the fact that no man gains any additional civil right or privilege by virtue of his religious profession. If there is not virtue enough in his religion to pay him for professing it, without demanding that the civil power should pay him, then there certainly is not enough virtue in it to pay for forcing it on somebody else.
A. T. J.