Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Christianity for Public Schools, in Washington, D.C.

It has already been pointed out a few times in this venue that Thomas Jefferson, as first president of the Washington, D.C. PUBLIC Schools approved the Bible and the Watts Hymnal as the two main sources of reading. Now here is a bill from the House of Representatives that codifies a similar idea. It specifies Christianity as a foundation of good morality. It also demonstrates that in matters of religion, our Founders (even 80 years after the Constitution) considered Christianity to be optimum, but wished to avoid preference to one Christian sect over another Christian sect.

H.R. 374

January 14, 1868

"A Bill To establish a system of schools for the District of Columbia, which shall serve as a model for similar institutions throughout the nation. Whereas the capital of a great nation, though a political necessity, is generally a social evil; and whereas it is incumbent upon the nation to lessen, as far as practicable, by its aid, this evil, which, though local in its direct operation, is national in its effects as well as its causes; and whereas the proper training of youth is, next to Christianity, the surest remedy for such evil and the best foundation for virtue and safeguard of republicanism: Therefore,..."

One of its provisions: "Seventh. That the school books used shall be such as shall best promote the acquirement of the branch of knowledge to which each relates, and shall be Christian in their character without affording preference to any sect or denomination."

View the bill at the Library of Congress

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