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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 49

A Triangular Contest

A Triangular Contest.

Thus, as some declare, a triangular contest is inaugurated. The Albany Argus, of Nov. 30, 1875, in reviewing a sermon of the Rev. Dr. Darling, in which the reverend doctor insists on keeping the Bible in the common schools, and because this is a Christian country, remarks : "Who shall decide? Shall the schools be secularized? Shall they be exclusively Christian, after the Darling model? Shall room be allowed for the McQuaid pattern of schools pervaded by Christian influences? The School Question, then, does not bisect the community. It is a page 21 triangular contest, with the Darlings and McQuaids as allies and yet as antagonists; and with the Secularists receiving strong support from Protestant pulpits, beside the partial support they receive from arguments such as are advanced by Dr. Darling." Three parties there are beyond doubt, but the contest can scarcely be called triangular. It is rather a struggle of three in one line, with the Catholic party in the middle. Each of the others has a hand in his pocket, taking his money to support schools to which he cannot in conscience send his children. If he but opens his mouth to complain, a din of angry sounds deafens him, and he gets more knocks than pence. His right to a conscience is admitted when his conscience conforms to the dictates of others. A few years ago his claim of conscientious convictions on the Bible question was derided. Now it is allowed. To-day he claims to educate his child in schools in harmony with his religious convictions. Neither contending party gives him heed. All point to the common schools, and while quarreling among themselves as to what they are, and what they ought to be, bid him take them as they are and as they have made them, or go his way, build his own schoolhouse, and please himself. This is moderate language; rougher and much less civil is what he hears. Strange to tell, however, no word is said of sending after him his money paid in school taxes. The ordinary principles of commercial honor are disregarded. The justice and equity required by the Constitution of Connecticut are ignored. Instead of justice the Catholic receives insults. "His money! It is the State's money—public money belonging to the State treasury—Protestant money. Be thankful that a generous people permits you to be blessed by the school advantages brought to your door."