I am reading (and reviewing) a book about religion and politics in the United States and came across a quotation from Lyman Beecher — who put novelty into New School — about the influence clergy had on Connecticut politics:
I remember that while at New Haven we had a meeting to consult about organizing a society for the promotion of reform. We met in Judgje Baldwin’s office; and a number of the leading lawyers were invited to meet us, some seven or eight perhaps. We took up the subject, and discussed it thoroughly, Dr. Dwight being the chairman of the meeting, and such men as David Daggett, Judge Baldwin, Rog^ Minot Sherman participating.
That was a new thing in that day for the clergy and laymen to meet on the same level and co-operate. It was the first time there had ever been such a consultation between them in Connecticut in our day. The ministers had always managed things themselves, for in those days the ministers were all politicians. They had always been used to it from the beginning.
On election day they had a festival. All the clergy used to go, walk in procession, smoke pipes, and drink. And, fact is, when they got together, they would talk over who should be governor, and who lieutenant governor, and who in the Upper House, and their counsels would prevail.
That sounds amazingly civilized. So if we can add elders to the consultations between clergy and civil magistrates and maintain the festivities, I’m willing to reconsider distinctions between the temporal and eternal realms.