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Acton, Lord John Emerich
Liberty is the highest political end of man...[but] no country can be free without religion. It creates and strengthens the notion of duty. If men are not kept straight by duty, they must be by fear. The more they are kept by fear, the less they are free. The greater the strength of duty, the greater the liberty.
We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
Oct. 11, 1798 - from an address to the military, quoted in
The Works of John Adams
Increasingly, Canadians are giving up on traditional religious dogma in favour of a less guilt-ridden sprituality. Growing numbers of hedonistic and experience-seeking Canadians reject the existence of a devil or Hell.
1997 - from
Sex in the Snow
The critics of our post-modern culture see it as poor, narcissistic, trivial and ultimately meaningless. The believe that there are no more great ideas, nor great men to advance them, only "empowered" consumers in a futile quest for the god they abandoned in pursuit of the good life in shopping centres and television sitcoms.
1997 - from
Sex in the Snow
Canadians' enthusiasm for ... new technologies, and their growing ability to form their own networks rather than rely on historical institutions, is contributing to the 'values tribalization' of the country. Once defined by our race, religion or region, now we define ourselves by our values, by our personal priorities and by our life choices.
1997 - from
Sex in the Snow
Faith is a continuation of reason.
It is important to understand that equality for the individual as in equal opportunity or equality before the law is a classic liberal ideal, while parity for a group is at best a political and at worst a profoundly reactionary notion. Equality stresses that any qualified human being may become an engineer, plumber, prime minister or jet pilot, regardless of gender, religion or race; while parity maintains that a proportionate number from each group must achieve such positions regardless of merit or utility. The belief in parity is based to some extent on a genuine error - the view that any disparity in society has to be the result of discrimination as well as the cynical politician's view that when disparity makes some people restless it should be eliminated, even at the expense of freedom and fairness.
1992 - from her column "The Secret Agenda of Gender", published in
Arnold, Dr. Thomas
What we must look for here is, first, religious and moral principles; secondly, gentlemanly conduct; thirdly, intellectual ability.
from an address to the Rugby students, quoted in
The MacMillan Dictionary of Quotations
Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.
1850 - from
Every society seeks to establish a set of meanings through which people can relate themselves to the world. These meanings specify a set of purposes or, like myth and ritual, explain the character of shared experiences, or deal with the transformations of nature through human powers of magic or techne. These meanings are embodied in religion, in culture, and in work.
1976 - from his book
The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism
, New York, Basic Books
The Constitution, [the American founding fathers] said, provided a remedy for the 'diseases' most incident to democratic government, and
(written to persuade the people to give it their consent) leaves no doubt as to what they understood to be a disease: zealous opinions 'concerning religion,' 'tyrannical majorities,' 'angry and malignant passions,' 'a factious spirit,' the dangerous ambition that 'often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people,' and those who begin their careers 'by paying obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants.' To guard against these democratic diseases, or vices, the Constitution, in addition to consigning religion to the private sphere by separating church and state, withholds powers, separates powers, and excludes the people
in their collective capacity
from any share in the exercise of these powers. In a word, republican (or limited) government would be possible under a Constitution that excluded, or at least inhibited, the zealous, the angry, the morally indignant; and this, in turn, depended on confining the business of government to issues that did not give rise to zeal, anger, or moral indignation. Throughout most of our history -- if we ignore the slavery issue and the Civil War -- the Constitution succeeded in doing this.
Feb. 09, 1997 - from a collection of essays published under the title "On the Future of Conservatism" by
Black, Hugo L.
... a union of government and religion tends to destroy government and degrade religion. The history of governmentally established religion, both in England and in this country, showed that whenever government had allied itself with one particular form of religion, the inevitable result had been that it had incurred the hatred, disrespect and even contempt of those who held contrary beliefs. That same history showed that many people had lost their respect for any religion that had relied upon the support of government to spread its faith.
Jun. 25, 1962 - from the decision in
Engel et al. v. Vitale et al.
, which outlawed state-mandated school prayer
An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support.
Buchanan, James M.
Why didn't we have deficits before? You see the Keynesian economic revolution gave the politicians an excuse for deficits. You give politicians half an excuse; they play out this natural proclivity. ... As you destroy the old-time fiscal religion, you're going to have this natural proclivity toward deficits. In 1977 [my book] called
Democracy in Deficit
[made] the argument that the Keynesian destruction of the old mythology about balanced budgets would guarantee the regime that we've had. Certainly the predictions in that book have held up very well.
Sep. 1995 - from an interview published in
, a publication of the Woodrow Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
Freedom, and not servitude is the cure of anarchy; as religion, and not atheism, is the true remedy for superstition.
Mar. 22, 1775 - from his second speech on conciliation with America
A good parson once said that where mystery begins religion ends. Cannot I say, as truly at least, of human laws, that where mystery begins justice ends?
1756 - from
A Vindication of Natural Society
You can do very little with faith, but you can do nothing without it.
Cattell, Raymond B.
Historically most cultures have not felt it necessary to remove the last vestiges of poverty (if that were possible) before proceeding with cultural creation. Pericles persisted with the construction of the Parthenon despite poverty and other distress in Athens. ... As in Upper Egypt or at Minos, the many had to be 'exploited' by the few. ... In our present age, probably through the Christian religions rather than the political Athenian-Icelandic form of democracy, and in the absence of evolutionary ethics, it is frowned upon to push ahead with creations meaningful and possible (at first) only for a few. It is as if an army were compelled, by internal prejudices, to advance single file abreast, regardless of the tactical formation for success.
1994 - from
How Good is Your Country
, Institute for the Study of Man, Washington D.C.
Chesterton, Gilbert K.
At least five times faith has, to all appearances, gone to the dogs. In each of these five cases, it was the dog that died.
quoted by Cal Thomas in "The Sixties Are Dead: Long Live the Nineties", a presentation at Hillsdale College
Colton, Charles Caleb
In politics, as in religion, it so happens that we have less charity for those who believe the half of our creed than for those who deny the whole of it.
1825 - from
Historically the belief in heaven and the belief in utopia are like compensatory buckets in a well: when one goes down the other comes up. When the classic religions decayed, communistic agitation rose in Athens (430 B.C.), and revolution began in Rome (133 B.C.); when these movements failed, resurrection faiths succeeded, culminating in Christianity; when, in our eighteenth century, Christian belief weakened, communism reappeared. In this perspective the future of religion is secure.
Fosdick, Harry Emerson
No man can be wrong with man and be right with God.
I think vital religion has always suffered when orthodoxy is more regarded than virtue. The scriptures assure me that at the last day we shall not be examined on what we thought but what we did.
1738 - from a letter to his father
When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not care to support it, so that its professors are obliged to call for the help of the civil power, 'tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.
1754 - from
Poor Richard's Almanac
(Works, Volume XIII)
Over the past couple of generations there has been a monumental cultural disestablishment in the United States, the effect of which is that the country's earlier Protestant-Christian foundations can no longer be taken for granted. One of the staples of the scholarly literature on American exceptionalism used to be that American conservatives were different from conservatives anywhere else in the world because they were actually Lockean liberals -- that is, believers in limited government and laissez-faire, and reconciled to the creative-destructive energies of a capitalism that was constantly remaking the social order. This could be the case only because there was a substantial degree of cultural consensus among political elites, Right and Left, on matters like religion and values. There was no tension, in other words, between the country's Lockean liberal political order and its sectarian Protestant cultural inheritance, because the latter could be taken for granted.
Feb. 09, 1997 - from a collection of essays published under the title "On the Future of Conservatism" by
Gandhi, Mahatma Mohandas
The most heinous and the most cruel crimes of which history has record have been committed under the cover of religion or equally noble motives.
1927 - from
Heinlein, Robert Anson
I've never understood how God could expect His creatures to pick the one true religion by faith - it strikes me as a sloppy way to run a universe.
1961 - from
Stranger in a Strange Land
What are the marks of a sick culture? It is a bad sign when the people of a country stop identifying themselves with the county and start identifying with a group. A racial group. Or a religion. Or a language. Anything, as long as it isn't the whole population.
1982 - from
The farther we go, the more the ultimate explanation recedes from us, and all we have left is faith.
It has been pointed out often enough that politics takes on religious overtones when religion proper withers.
1991 - from
The Survival of the Adversary Culture
[On doctrinaire religions] Men dare not avow, even to their own hearts, the doubts which they entertain on such subjects. They make a merit of implicit faith; and disguise to themselves their real infidelity, by the strongest asseverations and the most positive bigotry.
1996 - as quoted by Carl Sagan in
The Demon-Haunted World
, Ballantine Books
Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous.
1739 - from
A Treatise of Human Nature
Huxley, Thomas Henry
Missionaries, whether of philosophy or of religion rarely make rapid way, unless their preachings fall in with the prepossessions of the multitude of shallow thinkers, or can be made to serve as a stalking-horse for the promotion of the practical aims of the still larger multitude, who do not profess to think much, but are quite certain they want a great deal.
1893 - from
Collected Essays I: Method and Results
Jackson, Robert H.
If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.
1943 - from the decision in
West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
Jan. 1, 1802 - from a letter to the Danbury (Connecticut) Baptist Association
The First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between church and state, but that wall is a one directional wall; it keeps the government from running the church, but it makes sure Christian principles will always stay in government.
widely cited as being from a letter to the Danbury Baptists, but it does not appear in that letter. See the quotation "Believing with you that religion..." etc. in the collection here on conservativeforum.org for the words Jefferson used.
Our particular principles of religion are a subject of accountability to our god alone. I enquire after no man's and trouble none with mine; nor is it given to us in this life to know whether yours or mine, our friend's or our foe's, are exactly the right.
Sep. 26, 1814 - from a letter to Miles King
What is important in history is not only the events that occur but the events that obstinately do not occur. The outstanding event of modern times was the failure of religious belief to disappear. For many millions, especially in the advanced nations, religion ceased to play much or any part in their lives, and the ways in which the vacuum thus lost was filled, by fascism, Nazism and Communism, by attempts at humanist utopianism, by eugenics or health politics, by the ideologies of sexual liberation, race politics and environmental politics, form much of the substance of the history of our century. But for many more millions--for the overwhelming majority of the human race, in fact--religion continued to be a huge dimension in their lives.
1983 - from
America's federal experience, it is true, was bedeviled by slavery and race, two factors which do not divide the Europeans. As against this, however, Americans had overwhelming compensatory advantages in building a continental federation: a common language and literature, a common political culture and law; for the most part a common religion; even shared inspirational texts, such as Locke's
Second Treatise on Civil Government
; and, not least, a common Anglo-Saxon tradition of pragmatism and compromise.
Aug. 1992 - from an essay in
To the dismay of Plato's latter-day disciples who are forever trying to set up the Just Society by central edict, right and wrong are resolved by the inner moral compass of people, though modified from time to time by their religion, common experience, climate, technology, social organization, historic period, and cultural fashion. Even commissars or ayatollahs have to deal with something akin to Immanual Kant's categorical imperative.
Oct. 16, 2000 - from "The evil men do lives after them", published in the
Along with T.S. Eliot and Donald Davidson ... Malcolm Muggeridge tells us that, as Christian belief is rejected, so modern civilization stumbles down to dusty death. So thought the novelist Robert Graves; so the historian Eric Voegelin; so the sociologist Pitirim Sorokin. Culture arises from the cult; when the cult dissolves, so in time does the culture.
Sep. 21, 1989 - from his essay "Malcom Muggeridge's Scourging of Liberalism"
This period offers an enormous opportunity and obligation for the churches because religion has been so suppressed in the communist countries. But one of the things we’ve learned in the transition [of communist countries to democracy] is that societies turn out to be very tough. Like human infants, they survive more than you think they can survive. Just as the Russians and the Soviets didn’t manage to wipe out languages in Lithuania, neither have they managed to wipe out religion to the extent that we had feared.
Apr. 1992 - from "Toward Humane Governance", published in
Religion and Liberty
by the Acton Institute
The influence Marxism has achieved, far from being the result or proof of its scientific character, is almost entirely due to its prophetic, fantastic and irrational elements... Almost all the prophecies of Marx and his followers have already proved to be false, but this does not disturb the spiritual certainty of the faithful...for it is a certainty not based on any empirical premises or supposed 'historical laws', but simply on the psychological need for certainty. In this sense Marxism performs the function of religion...
People need religion. It's a vehicle for a moral tradition. A crucial role. Nothing can take its place.
Two Cheers for Capitalism
Lebret, R.P. Louis-Joseph
Civilization ceases when we no longer respect and no longer put into their correct places the fundamental values, such as work, family and country, [and] such as the individual, honor and religion.
The Christian religion is interwoven with all the institutions which surround us and in which we have our social being. The Christian religion has found its way into a thousand laws, and has generated a thousand others. It can no more be excluded than the common law, or our language.
1881 - from "The Necessity of Religious Instruction in Colleges" in his
Lieberman, Sen. Joseph
By driving religion from the public square, we have gone a long way toward dislodging our values from their mooring in moral truth. ... Without the connection to a higher law, we have made it more and more difficult for people to answer the question why it is wrong to lie, cheat or steal; to settle conflicts with violence, to be unfaithful to one's spouse, or to exploit children; to despoil the environment, to defraud a customer, or to demean any employee.
Nov. 1, 2000 - from a speech delivered at Notre Dame University
Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not.
1785 - from "Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments"
The role of the federal government should be neutral towards culture just as it is towards religion.
Many [people] now believe public education has become largely unaccountable to those who have the most at stake in using it -- parents. The system's approach to issues such as homosexual conduct, sex education and religion have heightened concerns by parents that public education is imposing an alternative agenda on our children. But these issues are only a symptom of a much deeper problem in our education system -- the outright dismissal of teachings related to morality and virtue. In the past, public education played an important role in modelling and developing character and moral standards. This has steadily diminished over the past two decades and many parents and educators now encounter opposition and confusion over whether it is possible or even desirable to teach children about morality.
Oct. 1997 - from a column in
Christian Info News
Mencken, Henry Louis
We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.
from "Minority Report", published in
Intellectuals in the United States are overwhelmingly secular. The ruling attitude, as far as I can see, is that no real intellectual could possibly take religion seriously. There is not a lot of animus. The attitude toward religion is more dismissive than anything else.
Jan. 1995 -
from "Forbidden Thoughts", a discussion published in
by the American Enterprise Institute
Wealth is, for most people, the only honest and likely path to liberty. With money comes power over the world. Men are freed from drudgery, women from exploitation. Businesses can be started, homes built, communities formed, religions practiced, educations pursued. But liberals aren't very interested in such real and material freedoms. They have a more innocent -- not to say toddlerlike -- idea of freedom. Liberals want the freedom to put anything into their mouths, to say bad words and to expose their private parts in art museums.
Give War A Chance
O'Scannlain, Diarmuid F.
By allowing any speech the student chooses, [school district] policy neither advances nor inhibits religion. The policy does not mandate or direct that prayers be read, and may or may not result in prayer at all. Even if a prayer is read, the policy does not make this an act of establishment [of religion] by the school district.
May 27, 1998 - from his decision upholding the right of students to decide whether or not prayers would be included in graduation ceremonies
As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents.
Faith begins where Reason sinks exhausted.
Powell, Lewis F.
... since religion permeates our history, a familiarity with the nature of religious beliefs is necessary to understand many historical as well as contemporary events.
1987 - from his concurring decision in
Edwards v. Aguillard
Religions tend to disappear with man's good fortune.
A Model History
Reagan, Ronald Wilson
Without God there is not virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience, without God there is a coarsening of the society; without God democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under.
quoted in "The Forgotten Roots of American Freedom" by Brad Chaver
An informed patriotism is what we want. ... Those of us who are over 35 or so years of age grew up in a different America. We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. ... But now, we're about to enter the nineties, and some things have changed. Younger parents aren't sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children ... well-grounded patriotism is no longer the style. Our spirit is back, but we haven't reinstitutionalized it. We've got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom--freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare. It's fragile; it needs protection.
1989 - from his Farewell Address
... in this actual world, a churchless community where men have abandoned or scoffed at or ignored their religious needs is a community on the rapid downgrade.
quoted by William Simon in "Why America Needs Religion", a Heritage Foundation Lecture
Ross, Kelly L.
The combination of moralism and moral aestheticism [in radical philosophy] thus results from a secular rejection of traditional religion and its morality (the morally aesthetic aspect) together with an unconscious and unreflective revival and adaptation of the religious impulse, in its most dogmatic and irrational forms (the moralistic aspect), to political purposes. The result is an oxymoronic 'secular religion'
from "The Fallacies of Moralism and Moral Aestheticism"
I think the subject which will be of utmost importance politically is mass psychology. ... Various results will soon be arrived at [including] that the influence of home is obstructive ... in time anybody will be able to persuade anybody of anything if he can reach the patient young and is provided by the State with money and equipment. ... Although this science will be diligently studied, it will be rigidly confined to the governing class. The populace will not be allowed to know how its convictions were generated. When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for a generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen. ... Educational propaganda, with government help, could achieve this result in a generation. There are, however, two powerful forces opposed to such a policy: one is religion; the other is nationalism.
1953 - from
The Impact of Science on Society
As the essence of courage is to stake one's life on a possibility, so the essence of faith is to believe that the possibility exists.
Truly religious minds, while eager perhaps to extirpate every religion but their own, often rise above national jealousies; for spirituality is universal, whatever churches may be.
1905 - from "Intuitive Morality" in
The Life of Reason
[In their] life and death struggle for survival [under communist oppression] the Czechs were sustained by their consciousness of history and by their religious and cultural inheritance.
Jul. 21, 1998 - from a article in the London
Shaw, George Bernard
There is only one religion, though there are a hundred versions of it.
European democracy was originally imbued with a sense of Christian responsibility and self-discipline, but these spiritual principles have been gradually losing their force. Spiritual independence is being pressured on all sides by the dictatorship of self-satisfied vulgarity, of the latest fads, and of group interests.
From Under the Rubble
I believe though I do not comprehend, and I hold by faith what I cannot grasp with the mind.
Statutes of Nova Scotia
It shall be the duty of every (school) teacher... (5) To inculcate by precept and example a respect for religion and the principles of Christian morality, and the highest regard to truth, justice, love of country, loyalty, humanity, benevolence, sobriety, industry, frugality, chastity, temperance, and all other virtues... (8) To reimburse the trustees for any destruction of school property by the pupils which is clearly chargeable to gross neglect or failure to enforce proper discipline on the part of the teacher...
1884 - from Chapter 29, Section 74,
The Revised Statutes of Nova Scotia
I believe politicians must see that religious education has a proper place in the school curriculum. The Christian religion - which, of course, embodies many of the great spiritual and moral truths of Judaism - is a fundamental part of our national heritage. For centuries it has been our very lifeblood. Indeed we are a nation whose ideals are founded on the Bible. Also, it is quite impossible to understand our history or literature without grasping this fact. That is the strong practical case for ensuring that children at school are given adequate instruction in the part which the Judaic-Christian tradition has played in molding our laws, manners, and institution. How can you make sense of Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott, or of the constitutional conflicts of the seventeenth century in both Scotland and England, without some such knowledge?
May 21, 1988 - from "Christianity and Wealth", a speech to the leaders of the Church of Scotland
If we will not be constrained from within by the power of God, we must be constrained from without by the power of the State...
Mar. 1995 - from an article in
Trevelyan, George M.
All the great religions meet on the esoteric level, and they all teach the one great maxim to mankind: "Do unto others as you would have them do to you. Do not do to others what you would not have them do to you." If we look at the world today, how many are really following that great maxim?
Jul. 23, 1983 - from a speech in London
I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's.
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labour to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politican, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them.
Sep. 17, 1796 - from his farewell address
If we and our posterity reject religious instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us, that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity.
Will, George F.
Ohio's Supreme Court recently joined Wisconsin's in affirming the constitutionality of school choice voucher programs that leave it up to parents to choose where the vouchers are redeemed: They can be redeemed at religious schools without violating the First Amendment proscription of 'establishment' of religion. Do the teachers' unions have [U.S. Vice President Al] Gore on such a short leash that he still opposes such voucher programs that would empower poor parents to make the kind of educational choices that he and Tipper made?
Jun. 20, 1999 - from his column "Promises from Carthage"
Wilson, Robert Anton
I regard a 'cult' as a religion small enough to be easily victimized by the authorities and a religion as a cult big enough to force the authorities to treat it with respect. And that is the only difference I can see.
Pollsters and theologians agree that Canadians prefer their faith unmediated by doctrine or denomination. Religion is now a matter of private judgement and observance for a majority, and thus we have become a country of not a few hundred different creeds but a few million.
Jun. 10, 1996 - from "Every man his own church",