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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

CHAPTER XII.

THE STATE'S RELATIONS TO RELIGION.

I COME now to an important and difficult subject, on which
the opinions of almost the whole past, since states were founded,
differ from those which are entertained at the present time by
large numbers of thinking persons, and by nearly everybody
in this country. In another part of this work ($ 76,  78, a)
I have tried to show that, for the same reason for which the
state furnishes education to children and seeks to promote
morality, not only the protection of religion, but even the
establishment of a state church can be defended, provided,
however, all the people be allowed the free exercise of their
worship, according to their preferences. Yet I added that
while a state can get along very well with such a national
church when all are of one way of thinking, dissent will in-
evitably creep in, if an age ensues when men speculate and
debate on religion, and then the religious establishment may
struggle for its life, and the struggle may imperil the interests
of the state or of religion itself. The safest way, therefore,
of dealing with religion at such a time, is to leave it entirely
to itself, and in some few countries no other adjustment of
relations is possible.
That which gives this question its great weight among
questions touching the duty and policy of the state, is the
importance of religion as a power in the state and in the life
of man, and the attachment which multitudes of persons feel
for their religion. It was no overestimate of the Romans,
which in the phrase pro aris et focis, made religion and the
family stand for the objects that are most worth defending.
The heathen valued their religions because the stability of
earthly interests was found in the protection of spiritual