October 2, 1890
ON the subject of the appropriation by Congress of public money to church schools, we have already given the history and the facts. We have also noticed the protest that was entered after it was discovered by the Protestant churches involved, that the Roman Catholic Church was getting an increase when they could get none. But, as already shown, there was nothing heard of the protest by any of the Protestant churches so long as they, with the Catholic Church, got their proportionate share of the public plunder. It was only when they discovered that the Catholic Church was getting something that they could not get, that a protest was raised.
This illustrates the beauties of that idea of non-sectarian religion, that is made so much of nowadays, and which is demanded shall be taught by the State and the Nation in the public schools. By this it is seen that the theory of the non-sectarian religion is apparently a very nice thing, and seems to work very well so long as each sect gets its proportion of the public plunder; but just as soon as one denomination gets a little advantage over the other, then the jealousy of all the others is aroused; that denomination instantly becomes “sectarian,” and whatever appropriation is made to it becomes an appropriation for “sectarian” uses. All the other non-sectarian sects then stand up nobly, and in righteous indignation virtuously “defend American institutions” from the encroachments of sectarianism.
In this we speak from the Record. Among the protests that were made in Congress on this subject when it was under consideration, was one from that so-called League for the Protection of American Institutions, which has its headquarters in this city. From all that we can gather, it appears that the chief protest was raised and carried on by this League, and the following is a part, if not all, of the protest that was made. It was read by Senator Jones, of Arkansas, as a statement which had been sent to him by an “eminent man, a minister, resident of New York:“—
Last year there was given to the Roman Catholics, for Indian education, $356,000. They demanded from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs $44,000 more, making a total of over $400,000. The request was denied, and the Commissioner announced that he would not extend the contract system, and would make no contracts with new schools. On this the Catholics endeavored to defeat his confirmations, but did not succeed.
Foiled in this raid upon the public treasury, they then attempted to accomplish their ends through Congress. In the Indian Appropriation bill as introduced into the House of Representatives there are two items, one appropriating $8,330 for a Roman Catholic school at Rensselaer, Indiana, and the other appropriating $12,500 for a Roman Catholic school to be opened among the Mission Indians in California.
The special appropriations for the Roman Catholics in the Indian bill for last year were, for St. Ignatius school in Montana $45,000, and for Roman Catholic schools in Minnesota $30,000. This made a total last year of $75,000. The total amount this year is $95,830. In addition to this large sum they will demand of the Commissioner, doubtless, the same amount granted them last year.
It should be remembered that in 1886 the amount of money secured from the Government by the Roman Catholics was $184,000, and in 1890 it had reached the large sum of $356,000. Is it not time that this perversion of public money to sectarian uses should cease?
Now that would be an excellent protest  if it were an honest one. It would be a strong one if it were only fair. From this statement alone, nobody would ever get the idea that any church but the Catholic was engaged in this “raid upon the public-treasury,” or had been a beneficiary of “this perversion of public money to sectarian uses.” Yet this statement was written and distributed to United States senators by a minister—clearly a Protestant minister. Was that minister Rev. James M. King, D. D., General Secretary of the National League for the Protection of American Institutions? It was written by a minister who knew the facts; and he knew that last year while the Roman Catholics received $356,967, the Protestants received $204,993. He knew that while the Roman Catholics asked an increase of $44,000, the Protestants also requested the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to increase the appropriation to them. He knew that in 1886 although the Roman Catholics received $118,343, the Protestants at the same time from the same source received $109,916; and he knew that although in 1890 the appropriation to the Roman Catholic Church had “reached the large sum of $356,967,” the amount secured by the Protestants in the same time, and from the same source, had also reached the large sum of $204,993. Yet in the face of these figures showing the large amount of money received by Protestant denominations from the public treasury for church uses, he says not a word about it, and lays against the Roman Catholics only, as though they were the only guilty parties in the whole transaction, the charge of that “raid upon the public treasury,” and protests against and denounces this “perversion of public money to sectarian uses.”
Now if the Roman Catholics’ securing from the national Government $118,343 was a “raid upon the public treasury,” the securing by Protestants from the same source $109,016 is just as certainly a raid upon the public treasury; and if the continuation and increase of the appropriation to the Roman Catholics up to the amount of $356,967 was a continuous raid upon the public treasury, then the continuation and the increase of the appropriation from the same source to Protestants up to the amount of $204,993 was just as certainly a continuous raid upon the public treasury; the only difference being that the raid of the Protestants was not quite so successful as the raid of the Catholics.
Nor is it exactly correct to put it in this way. The raid was not made by the party in two distinct divisions. They were united in solid phalanx in the raid, each division supporting the other. It was only when the Protestants found that the Catholics were securing a little more plunder than they could seize, that there was any division at all among the invading host, or that there was among them any idea that their action would be upon the public treasury. As soon as this was discovered, however, the invading hosts separated in two divisions—the “sectarian” and the “non-sectrian,“—and the Protestants, the “non-sectarian” division, suddenly discovered that there was a “raid being made upon the public treasury,” and that there was being carried on a “serious perversion of public money to sectarian uses.”
This is a hint, but a powerful one, of what would come of the non-sectarian religion which the National League for the Protection of American Institutions demands shall be taught in the public schools, and established by constitutional amendment. It would soon end in the total destruction of the whole public school system. And that is just what this League means. Instead of the protection of American institutions, it means the destruction of the most sacred of these institutions. A. T. J.