"No power of government ought to be employed
in the endeavor to establish any system or
article of belief on the subject of religion."
Jeremy Bentham
(1748-1832) English jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer
The Book of Fallacies, 1824. 90.
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Reader comments about this quote:
I disagree fully with state-funded, forced-servitude, religion (The old Church of England); however, history has proven that when the Bible was used in American schools to instill morality and a code of ethics in each student-- un-married teenage pregnancy, drug use, teenage violence, hate crimes, etc., all remained low. Up until 1962, public school teacher's main complaint in class was 1) chewing gum, and 2) speaking out of turn. Only after such things as prayer and principles of morality were stripped out of education did problems rise. After 1963 public school teacher's top complaints were 1) violence, 2) un-married teenage pregnancy, and 3) drug use (smoking, drinking, substance abuse). Any man or women who actually knows American history already knows these facts-- You can argue legal philosophy and theory all day long concerning whether or not religious text should be taught in government funded education; however, the facts that these problems have only increased since 1963 (per capita of students) speak plainly for themselves. Plus, Bentham was a rotten pre-thinking socialist-- I'll take Blackstone (the teacher) over Bentham (his student) any day.
 -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
    yes jeremy bentham was abolutely 100% right. the terrible problems we face today have all been fostered by the indoctrination of children (and adults) in various fundamentalisms
     -- Anonymous     
     -- Anonymous      
    I Absolutly Agree!
     -- me again     
    The Bible/Judeo-Christianity do not have a monopoly on ethics nor morality. These things can be taught without ever referring to scripture. I agree that some kids today do need a bit more ethical guidance, but fear of god or eternal damnation is not the way to go. People need to be taught that ethical behavior and decency towards others are best for society as a whole, for continued civilization, not the self-centered pseudo-morality of religion, which is too often simply a cover for a multitude of sins. It is also proven that positive reinforcement and immediate reward for good behavior (eg. friendliness begets friendliness) are far better learning tools with longer lasting results than fear, ergo, leave the bible out of the schools.
     -- Someone, GA     
    This concept is a mental exercise in futility, it has never happened and it never will. Those in power over education will always teach their religious belief system as the course to follow. The current national establishment of religion (socialism, atheism, etc.), as a monopoly, excludes all other moral or belief systems. Logan is right, he who forgets history is doomed to re-live it. If properly applied, the bible allows for dissenting opinions and arguments, by way of example: look at the numerous denominations. The issues that are undeniable from the scriptures are the nobility of man, and what progresses that. It is precisely those principles that brought about the Constitution. The founders looked to Judeo/Christian history for governmental principles and law, and to the all of history as how best to apply such.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Folks, read the quote. No power of the government is to be used to establish a system of belief on the subject of religion -- that means that the government is not to use its power to establish a religious system or belief. As far as establishing a political philosophy, well, that is what politicians do. Politicians may espouse whatever belief they wish -- however, they do not have the power from the People to establish ANY religious system or belief. Socialism is not a religion -- it is a political philosophy just like Republicanism. For those who keep calling dissenting opinions 'socialist', why don't you do a little study -- there are Leninists, Marxists, Utilitarians, Liberals, Classic Liberals, and on and on -- make a distinction. Bentham was a Utilitarian.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    "He who shall introduce into public affairs the principles of Christianity, will change the face of the world." Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
     -- Marc, SaveTheGuns.com     
    I agree with the principle behind this quote. However, it has been taken to the extreme by the NEA and our present-day public school system, such that the meaning is turned on its head--every form of moral depravity is tolerated, while religion and morality are derided.
     -- Daniel B. Johnson, Gig Harbor, Washington     
    Hey, 'SaveTheGuns', Me thinks thou protest too much. ;-) Please keep your comments brief and to the point. You may provide a link to all your quotes and articles, but please do not post them all here (most of which are already found on this web site). I have deleted most of your multiple posts on the same quote (one comment was over 3 pages long and contained dozens of quotes). Thanks.
     -- Editor, Liberty Quotes     
    I agree FULLY - the end does not justify the means - as you can tell from the above comments.
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
    Religion is a system of belief, with respect to a deity and the universe, while God is a living spirit, inseperable from life, and the author of morality. Religion is one thing, while life and morality are another. Evolution is a theory, based on faith in something unproven, that is taught dogmatically as though true, mostly by those who reject the idea that God exists.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
    Marx actively promoted atheism, which is a religion. Socialism officially rejects God. Therefore, socialism is a religion.
     -- David L. Rosenthal     
    Thanks "SaveTheGuns' I saved your comment before it was edited out of this blog. I smile, it was a little over the top for this forum, good job :-)
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    As they say "God help us", cause its clear that the crazies who all want us to worship like they do are dragging us down the drain.
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
    1) Religion: a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny; an institution to express belief in a divine power... 2) Atheism: the doctrine or belief that there is no God; a lack of belief in the existence of God or gods... 3) Doctrines and beliefs are not necessarily religious. Therefore: Atheism is not a religion. Also... 4) Socialism: a political or economic theory in which community members own all property, resources, and the means of production, and control the distribution of goods. In the literal sense, socialism makes no reference to religion, either positively or negatively. Regardless of what Marx thought as an individual, socialism does not directly address religion itself, and so therefore is not a religion.
     -- Anonymous     
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