Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

See other formats

the unanimity with which the law of Christian states forbids
it can be justified.
But no laws against the propagation of opinions on religious
doctrine, when these opinions are supported by calm argu-
ment, can be defended, except in the extreme case when such
propagation attacks principles which are necessary or are
judged to be necessary for the existence of the state itself.
Thus, it could not have been regarded as worthy of blame, if
the pope's primacy had been attacked within the ecclesiasti-
cal state, to make such an attack punishable by law, for
church and state were bound up together. On the same
principle, the theocracies of the Jews and of other parts of
the world might be protected. By the close tie between the
religion and the civil state, an offense against one became an
offense against the other. Just as words spoken against the
king are actionable in a monarchy when similar words uttered
against a chief magistrate in a democracy would not be, so
the theocratic form makes necessary for its own existence a
wider control over human action and even human thought.
The only question can be, ought such a government to exist?
That its existence, though exceptional, may be necessary at
certain stages of human culture and for certain purposes, I
should not dare to deny.
If we pass beyond blasphemy, there is, I believe, no crime
which is punished as a religious crime directly, and as injuri-
ous to society on that account. 2. Perjury calls in, for the
aid of testimony before courts, the belief in divine knowledge
and of abhorrence of falsehood. But it is punished rather as
a crime obstructing the administration of justice, than on
account of its religious character. The state makes use of a
faith in God which the witness professes to hold, although
even the existence of a divine being may not be mentioned
in its instrument of government. And it punishes perjury
more than it would naturally punish bare false testimony in
the same circumstance, because it is an extreme crime. 3.
The violation of burial-places is a crime like burglary against
human property and public order; but a reason for estima-