AT the hearing before the Senate Committee on Education and Labor February 15, 1889, in behalf of the Blair resolution, to teach religion in all the schools of the nation, there were prominent men pleading for adoption of the proposed amendment, from Philadelphia, New York, and Baltimore. Rev. George K. Morris, D.D., of Philadelphia, drew the line between those who favored the amendment and those who opposed it, by the following statement:—
“I ask your attention to the fact that on this matter of the proposed constitutional amendment, the country stands divided principally along the line indicated by the evangelical church bodies on the one side, and the Roman Catholic Church on the other.”
Upon this the chairman asked,—
“In that do you count all who are Catholics on one side and all who are not Catholics on the other?”
Rev. Dr. Morris—“No, sir, we count all who are Catholics on one side and all who are of evangelical faiths on the other side.”
Then presently Senator George inquired,—“Exclusive of the Mormons, too?”
Rev. Dr. Morris—“No, not the Mormons. They would be evangelical in one sense.”
And so the Mormons have become evangelical! We don’t see, then, why the churches should make such a great complaint about the Mormons and their hierarchy so long as they can be classed with the evangelicals. But Dr. Morris says they are evangelicals in one sense. He didn’t say in which sense it is, but it is presumable that they are evangelicals because they favor the Bible and the teaching of religion in the public schools.
From Dr. Morris’ speech it is evident that those who favor the use of the Bible and the teaching of religion in the public schools, are evangelical, and all who oppose it are not. All who favor it are evangelical, even though it be; the Mormon Bible and the Mormon religion which they favor. Joseph Cook favors the Edmunds amendment rather than the Blair amendment to the Constitution. And the Edmunds amendment proposes to allow the reading of the Bible in the public schools. It would devolve upon the people in each State or Territory or school district to say what Bible should be read, and the majority, having the power to decide, would have the Bible which pleases the majority. Where the Catholics are in the majority it would be the Catholic Bible; where the Protestants are in the majority it would be the Protestant Bible; and where the Mormons are in the majority it would be the Mormon Bible. But, as the Mormons are evangelical, we suppose it is badly unorthodox to protest against any such system.
We do protest, nevertheless. We deny the right of the Protestant majority to compel the Roman Catholic minority to read, or to listen to the reading of, the Protestant Bible in the public schools. We likewise deny the right of a majority of the Catholics to compel the Protestant minority to read, or listen to the reading of, the Roman Catholic Bible in the public schools. We deny the right of the Mormon majority to compel the gentile minority to read, or listen to the reading of, the Mormon Bible in the public; schools; and we deny the right of the evangelical Protestant and Mormon majority together to compel the unevangelical Catholic and gentile minority to submit to the dictates of their unevangelical religion.
The sum of it all is, that by no right whatever can religion ever be taught, or the Bible read, in the public schools.
A. T. J.