Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

See other formats

498                               POLITICAL SCIENCE.
tance.    It has been felt even that a state, being a moral per-
son, must follow its convictions in acknowledging God's being
and providence, as also that a Christian state ought, in its in-
stitutions, to acknowledge Christ.    And even in states which
have no religious establishment, like the United States, the
practice has long prevailed of setting apart annually, by pro-
clamation of the chief magistrates, days of thanksgiving and
of fasting, of opening meetings of the legislature by prayer,
of having chaplains in the army and navy, in prisons, public
asylums and hospitals ; in short, there is a recognition by the
community to which no one is forced, of a divine law and of
a revelation.    It is to be hoped that this will continue to
the end of time, and that no tithing of the mint, anise, and
cummin of a theory will interfere to procure its abandon-
We have already admitted that, to provide for the religious
wants of a people on the supposition that all rights are re-
spected, is as much within the competence of a state as to
establish a system of education.    And if compulsory educa-
tion is no violation of the rights of parents, but rather a de-
fence of the rights of children, it would seem to flow from
theory that children should have religious instruction furnished
to them by the state, if their parents do not provide it for them.
And to this we add that in many communities, as in the mid-
dle ages when the Catholic system was uniformly held, or in
the colonies of New England and Virginia, where the new set-
tlers were all of one way of thinking and worshipping, a state
religion could  violate no  rights  of  conscience, and might
otherwise, if the ministers of it were not controlled unduly by
the state, do great good.    In heathen lands, the state religion
could not be oppressive, except where caste prevailed, and
wherever new, outlandish rites awakened the suspicions of
the government; for every man had his own special objects of
worship, and the rites of the public cultus were mere shows
and forms.    But it is very different with monotheistic religions.
They are in their own nature exclusive.    They must look
with  repugnance  on the  association  in worship of finite,