Communist Defector and Christian Convert Orestes Brownson: “The Great Object was to get Rid of Christianity, and to Convert our Churches into Halls of Science”

It has taken more than a century and a half for the government schools to degenerate into the militantly anti-Christian, nightmarish system that it is today. However, the socialist propagandists of the 1830s did indeed intend that their proposed system would take us to our present predicament. One of the architects of the public-school movement during that period was co-founder with Robert Dale Owen and Frances Wright of “The Working Men’s Party” in New York, Orestes Brownson, He was a very influential New England writer-editor-philosopher, then a disciple of socialist Robert Owen who converted to Christianity, broke with his former comrades and exposed their plot. He wrote in An Oration on Liberal Studies (1853), p. 19:

It is far easier to educate for evil than for good, for children since the Fall take to evil as naturally as ducks take to water. The enemies of religion and society understand this perfectly well, and hence whenever in their power they seize upon the schools, and seek to control the education of the young. To accomplish their purposes, they have only to exclude religion from the schools, under the plea of excluding sectarianism, and instead of teaching religion, teach as Frances Wright was accustomed to say, knowledge, and they may soon have a community whose thoughts and affections will be exclusively of the earth earthy.

It is not without design that I have mentioned the name of Frances Wright, the favorite pupil of Jeremy Bentham, and famous infidel lecturer through our country, some twenty years ago; for I happen to know, what may not be known to you all, that she and her friends were the great movers in the scheme of godless education, now the fashion in our country. I knew this remarkable woman well, and it was my shame to share, for a time, many of her views, for which I ask pardon of God and of my countrymen. I was for a brief time in her confidence, and one of those selected to carry into execution her plans. The great object was to get rid of Christianity, and to convert our Churches into Halls of science. The plan was not to make open attacks on religion, although we might belabor the clergy and bring them into contempt where we could; but to establish a system of state, we said, national schools, from which all religion was to be excluded, in which nothing was to be taught but such knowledge as is verifiable by the senses, and to which all parents were to be compelled by law to send their children. Our complete plan was to take the children from their parents at the age of twelve or eighteen months, and to have them nursed, fed, clothed and trained in these schools at the public expense; but at any rate, we were to have godless schools for all the children of the country, to which the parents would be compelled by law to send them.

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