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unity of religious and political sympathy. Instinct with devotional and polemical fervour, American religion passed through the successive stages from ecclesiastical domination to toleration, and from that to divorce of Church and State, till the dominion of religious liberty has become more potent than that of absolute hierarchy, and religion seems destined to greater supremacy than where Church and State are united. Voluntary religion, always progressive with civil liberty, was in the grain of American institutions before its incorporation with the federal and state constitutions of the United States. Religious freedom preceded the Revolution. The Church of England was the established church, but tithes and glebes were hardly known. While nearly the whole of a vast scarcely inhabited country was part of the See of London, Church democracy was working its independence of all the old jurisdictions. In that respect so little cause of complaint existed that the Declaration of Independence, in its catalogue of grievances, mentions no religious abuse. No Unitarian scruple prevented Franklin and Adams from signing the definitive treaty of peace with
Great Britain, in the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity, nor did repugnance to Slavery forbid Jay, together with them, from subscribing to the English stipulation that negroes are property. The Articles of Confederation bound the states to assist each other against all attacks upon any of them on account of religion. But the last line of the federal constitution merely declares that no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification for any office or public trust; to which sparing salvo the first amendment adds, that Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The state constitutions, more appropriate repositories of such provisions, abound with interdicts of all connection between Church and State and with protections for the rights of conscience.
Christianity is claimed throughout the United States as the religion of self government, the appropriate faith of republicanism. Spontaneous piety produces ecclesiastical establishments of all kinds, and pastoral influences are at least as numerous and effectual as wherever religion is part of politics. Toleration is an American reality;
mere sufferance is unknown. States, society, seminaries of education, families, experience no annoyance from variety of creeds. Most of the education proceeds from clergymen; and is equally acceptable, whether the teacher be a Presbyterian, a Jesuit, or a Quaker. The teacher's merit is, that he is qualified to teach, not that he is of any particular creed. The extensive school system begun in New England and extending everywhere, fortifies clerical authority by uniting the power
of knowledge to the strongest of feelings. Religious principle thus strengthened by toleration, political separation of Church from State has had the further unlooked for result of aggrandizing the Church by irresistible influence, beyond that of political government. So intense is religious feeling that political rights are even rejected by some because Christianity is not acknowledged by the constitution. It is inseparably connected with the whole frame of society. American separation of Church and State binds them together more closely than ever. Religion is the essence of governing, though government be dissevered from it. Its authority in America exceeds that of the political govern
ment. As government forbears, religion interposes and becomes the cement of the community. The divorce of Church from State, while it annuls compulsive obedience and support, substitutes the stronger tie of voluntary attachment, which is often enthusiastic. It is only necessary to observe how the Sabbath day is kept holy throughout the United States, to be sensible of the extensive, nearly universal predominance of Church discipline. Free religion has raised up a predominant Church, composed of all creeds, which rivals, if it does not regulate, the commonwealth. The American Church is as well if not better organized than the American State. It has its polity, its officers, its constituency, its numerous sects and controversies; all moving together for religious supremacy.
It is a dynasty of more unity, perhaps of greater perpetuity, than the State. Religious associations, charitable and beneficial institutions, combine masses of intelligence, wealth and żeal; all the elements of union, activity and control. The Church has more seminaries of learning than the State; more constant, ardent and able advocates; its offices are mostly filled by educated men;
there is no rotation in office among them; the incumbent is always so by life tenure; if he behaves well, from eighteen to eighty years of age his services, influence, and maintenance do but in
Ecclesiastical jurisdiction is universal, active and uncontradicted, while that of the State is limited, forbearing, timid and often frustrated. The State does not interfere with the Church; while the Church is continually regulating the State. Religion in the United States is a vocation more attractive, absorbing and profitable than politics. The pecuniary contributions to ecclesiastical purposes, and their affiliated objects in the United States exceed many millions of dollars a year; probably as much as an established State Church would cost, perhaps as much as the federal government does cost. Church missionary establishments, both foreign and domestic, are more extensive and expensive than any relations maintained by the federal government. Bible, temperance, abolition of slavery societies, and various other combinations, open, ardent, opulent and numerous, are constantly in energetic action. They rival, check, and control political government.