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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 49

The Catholic Conscience should be Free

page 11

The Catholic Conscience should be Free.

Having proved that the Catholic conscience is founded on the natural and the revealed law, protected in its right by the common law and the Constitution of the United States, the claim that Catholic parents should be untrammelled in the exercise of parental duties brings me to the consideration of school education as affecting this conscience.

It is conceded by Free Religionists, by the ablest of the secular press, by many representative ministers of the Evangelical churches and by large numbers of the people, that to tax Catholics, Jews, and Infidels for schools in which the Bible is read and religious exercises are held, is a wrong, an act of injustice, a form of tyranny. So understanding the case, the cities of Troy, Rochester, Cincinnati and Chicago, have forbidden religious exercises of any description in their common schools. This is a confession that would not have been made thirty years ago. It is a partial reparation of the past. Especially is it a warning to Boards of Education in other places to cease inflicting this mode of religious persecution on citizens who object to any kind of religion, or to the peculiar kind prevailing in their schools. Mr. Beecher says: "It is not right or fair to tax Catholics or Jews for the support of schools in which the Bible is read." His congregation applauded the saying. If it is not right, it is wrong, and Catholics who are thus taxed are, to the extent of the taxes they pay, punished,—persecuted for religion's sake.