Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 76.djvu/362

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THAT church and state should be separate has long been held in the United States. It is one of our proudest boasts that every citizen of our country is free to worship God in his own way. It is also usually assumed that each may have his own definition of the God he worships. Our educational system, as well as our government, is based upon this assumption that it is best for state and church to be entirely independent of each other; for, in America, as in most enlightened countries, the education of the youth is considered a duty of the state. The public schools provided for by public funds are nonsectarian. The highest branches of the system, the state college and state university, are similarly constituted and similarly provided for. Neither upon entrance in these institutions nor later is any profession for or against any religious denomination, or any expression of "attitude," demanded of boards, trustees, presidents, principals, instructors or students. Religious organizations are permitted to exist among the members of these institutions, and are accorded the same assistance and courtesies as are technical, literary or purely social clubs, but the fact that they are religious organizations does not of itself entitle them to any additional consideration.

This is apparently an ideal condition. Our educational system attends to the intellectual and technical training of our youth, and to the task of developing them into useful and desirable citizens. The church, an independent organization, gives such religious and theological instruction as each citizen desires for himself and his family. Each citizen follows his individual preference as to the kind of religious teaching he needs, and of his own free will pays for it, directly instead of indirectly, and in accordance with his own rating of his duty towards it and the value of the services which it renders.

Unfortunately, however, this apparently ideal condition exists in but a part of the educational machinery of the United States. Besides our excellent system of public grade schools, high schools, technological schools, colleges and universities, we have an enormous number of educational institutions which were not founded by public legislation, and are supported by private munificence. The entire situation may be stated as follows: (1) Our city evening schools, schools for the blind, reform schools, Alaskan and Indian schools, are entirely public institu-