Machen on Roman Catholic Indoctrination

anti-catholicismSince the Christian school advocates are invoking Machen, here is one more relevant quotation that may clarify his views on American liberty and how it affects folks from different faiths even if they happen to be in the Protestant majority. Since Machen refers in the following to debates over public education, the quotation may also shed light on why he admired the Dutch Calvinist day schools.

The attack upon tolerance in America is appearing most clearly in the sphere of education. The Oregon school law, it is true, with its provision that children should be taken by brute force from their parents and delivered over to the tender mercies of whatever superintendent of education happens to be in power in the district where they reside, will probably be declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. And the Nebraska language law, which made literary education a crime, was thrown out by the same tribunal. But the same ends may well be accomplished by indirect means, and if the Sterling-Reed Bill is passed by Congress, we shall have sooner or later that uniformity of education under the control of the state which is the worst calamity into which any nation can fall.

Against such tyranny, I do cherish some hope that Jews and Christians, Roman Catholics and Protestants, if they are lovers of liberty, may present a united front. I am for my part an inveterate propagandist; but the same right of propaganda which I desire for myself I want to see also in the possession of others. What absurdities are uttered in the name of a pseudo-Americanism today! People object to the Roman Catholics, for example, because they engage in “propaganda.” But why should they not engage in propaganda? And how should we have any respect for them if, holding the view which they hold — that outside the Roman church there is no salvation — they did not engage in propaganda first, last, and all the time? Clearly they have a right to do so, and clearly we have a right to do the same. . . .

Does this mean, then, that we must eternally bite and devour one another, that acrimonious debate must never for a moment be allowed to cease? . . . . There is a common solution of the problem which we think ought to be taken to heart. It is the solution provided by family life. In countless families, there is a Christian parent who with untold agony of soul has seen the barrier of religious difference set up between himself or herself and a beloved child. Salvation, it is believed with all the heart, comes only through Christ, and the child, it is believed, unless it has really trusted in Christ, is lost. These, I tell you, are the real tragedies of life. And how trifling, in comparison, is the experience of bereavement of the like! But what do these sorrowing parents do? Do they make themselves uselessly a nuissance to their child? In countless cases they do not; in countless cases there is hardly a mention of the subject of religion; in countless cases there is nothing but prayer, and an agony of soul bravely covered by helpfulness and cheer. (From “The Relations between Christians and Jews,” in Selected Shorter Writings, pp. 419-20)

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57 Comments

  1. Nancy D.
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    All, that which divides us is that which keeps us from being in communion.

  2. Posted May 28, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    My take is that Nancy is Richard Smith’s wife gone off the Reservation.

  3. mikelmann
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    That’s a tautology, Nancy, but you do make it sound like so much more.

    Imagine a first date with Nancy. She holds it together without being dissolved into the mystical One, and you think it went OK. The next day she’s somehow gotten your email and Facebook passwords, your cat is dead, and she pulls into your driveway with a U-Haul and all her stuff.

  4. Nancy D.
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Mikelmann, what you just said makes no sense, whereas the fact that there can be no division in a communion of persons united as One Body in Christ, makes perfect sense.

  5. mikelmann
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    ” what you just said makes no sense, whereas the fact that there can be no division in a communion of persons united as One Body in Christ, makes perfect sense.”

    Erik, you may be on to something with your Richard reference. The above from Nancy is stylistically quite distinct from her earlier offerings and formally looks like just the kind of thing Richard would say.

  6. Nancy D.
    Posted May 30, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Mikelmann, it is through, with, and in Christ, that The Body of Christ, His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, exists. Communion with Christ, is not a matter of degree. You are either with Christ, or anti Christ.

  7. Posted May 30, 2013 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    I knew “Richard” couldn’t stay away forever. The fact that he has morphed into a “Catholic woman” is a new twist.

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