Northwest Ordinance, Article III, 1787 Quote

“Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”


Ratings and Comments


E Archer, NYC

Yes, well, perhaps we shouldn't leave it up to the government to educate us -- the last 80 years should be proof enough that they cannot be trusted. Nice sentiment, but history speaks otherwise (and you'll have to read about it outside of class because it ain't taught). When the People start taking responsibility for themselves instead of begging the government for more and more crap, we might actually learn something. The churches are no better, I am afraid, as the primary lessons they teach are their own dogma at the exclusion of everything else. What should be instilled within us is a desire for Truth, and an unyielding study of every seeker's findings.

RobertSRQ
  • Reply
RobertSRQ    1/22/08

I believe we have had this discussion... …Look, religion is good for those who are religious – it’s sad that religion has taken morality out of the classroom and into the nave. Ethics, of which morality is a primary product, was the fundamental education of the earlier curriculums, unfortunately governments and schools boards have forsaken this pivotal education. Children learn this now from the parents, religion, spiritual guru’s, and of course, Fort Knox. I also believe that morality forms part of our genetic make-up and that morality, like other forms of evolution, can be retained in the genes. Life experience is of course the platform from which children and adults spring from and forms the major contributing factor in how we react and communicate with our fellow human beings. The statement is correct but you could place a number of other nouns that would also be appropriate.

Mike, Norwalk

Most religions have commenced by trying to explain the existence of events and the otherwise results of happenstance. Most religions incorporate the unseeable laws of cause and effect as demonstrated through history and function by any given set of beliefs. Morality (truth, faith, fidelity, charity, love, hope, etc.) is that standard relegated to religion and there best served. Atheism is an amoral set of beliefs (religion), where existence is by accident and survival is by the fittest Government gives order to day to day activities by administering the God of Nature's laws in protecting life, liberty, and property. All three: religion, morality, and government are separate branches of a corporeal existence. Government performs best when religion and morality are the personal premise of persuasion that moves men to action. Religions and governments are most free when they are totality aloof from each others entangling codes, rules, statutes, and administrations. Morality can not be legislated. When religion is forced by government on to the people, the result is a welfare state, forced ID/insurance/charity, etc. Government's vain claimed morality inevitably leads to pain, ruin (of religion, morals, prosperity, government, etc., etc., etc.), and war. It is a complete education or religion, morality, and government that will bring about lasting peace, prosperity, and the ultimate enlightenment of man.

Paul, Union, WA

RobertSRQ writes us that "I also believe that morality forms part of our genetic make-up and that morality, like other forms of evolution, can be retained in the genes." Well, Robert, "might makes right" is a true statement, and from that I hold that God is the ultimate Might, therefore His decree of right and wrong = true morality. Your sentence above is an exercise in words that mean nothing in the end. I can ignore your moral code and anyone else who has no power, and decide that to poke you in the eye, steal your lunch, is both moral and good. And who are you to disagree, and why should I care? Your invented source of morality (evolution) has no might, no power to invalidate my morality. Indeed, I would say your source has already firmly decreed it is no more immoral for me to steal your lunch than it is for the cougar to mug a deer. Lunch is served, and that is good in the eyes of the survival of the fittest. Know that every time you employ the word 'morality' as an evolutionist, you are stealing the word from the religious camp, because true, ultimate, immutable morality can only come from God who has the power to decree and enforce it, and who chooses to hardwire it into every one of His created people so they know right and wrong internally.

Wally, Philadelphia, PA

Just look at the government that the secular humanist Liberals - read democrats - are offering us. They have no religion -- other than Algore's Global Warming nonsense, they lack morality (look at Hollywood and the garbage that is on TV), and our schools are evidence of the complete lack of knowledge.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Things are the way they are because that is the way "we" want them to be. Archer blames everything on the government for the last 80 years as if there is some monolithic person named government. The people in public service come and go, they are your friends and neighbors. To always be against your friends and neighbors who form the majority who manage our schools is well just being poor sports. We all have a right to vote and elect the school boards and the "government". When the election is over we have the responsibility to accept the result until the next election. This is part of living in a republic that is a democracy rather than in a republic that is a dictatorship, oligarchy, or aristocracy.

Mike, Norwalk

Waffler, you make me more than smile. Your referencing of a Democracy and a Republic makes me believe you are a giant Lenin advocate: "A lie told often enough becomes the truth"; or maybe Joseph Goebbels is your idol: "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." In fact, "Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth" (Franklin D. Roosevelt) Several on this blog, including me, have shown you the correct entomology of the words, the legal definitions, historical definitions, Supreme Court definitions, military definitions, and practical applications. So by all means, continue the rhetoric, and we will continue to smile and consider the source. A Democracy could void the quote as a Democracy is an arbitrary giver of law, being the mouth of the majority. The God of Nature's inalienable laws would prove the statement to be eternally true or false (in a Republic) with the majority or minority having no say at all.

Logan, Memphis, TN

Well said, Mike. The problem in dealing with ignorance is that it's difficult to establish a basis of truth... It is difficult to reason with people who lack exposure to key basic concepts, definitions, and ideas. There are plenty of people who have been exposed to the redefinition of today's philosophies and ideas, but who lack the basic fundamental understanding and exposure to the ancients. It is a lack of exposure that would lead anyone to believe that Archer's comments ever conglomerate government into a monolithic persona. Government is an arbitrary system created, filled, and run by the people--Archer's comments do not define government in monolithic terms, but expose the ignorance of the people who wrongfully place their "trust" upon the only entity that can legally use coercion. "Government" is not my neighbor, it is my servant. While my neighbor may serve in office, he must do so with the knowledge that he serves the people.

E Archer, NYC

I have my great-grandmother's elementary school books. Not only was her vocabulary and penmanship impeccable at age 8, but she learned more in that little one room school house by age 12 than most who are currently attending university. Civics is not even taught anymore -- and that was the class that taught children their rights and the 'rules of engagement' with the government. Dewey got rid of that quick. I went to Catholic school because the public schools (in Washington, D.C., mind you) were horrendous. The nuns did a better job -- of course, they devoted a significant percentage of time to indoctrinating us into Catholicism, too. (Just don't bring up the Inquisition and the Crusades if you want to get a good grade ...) Waffler, you are an obvious product of the public school system -- boy, did they do a number on you. A mind is a terrible thing to waste -- never stop studying.

A.Woods, Gloucester

Mike, I think you meant "the correct etymology of the words" when you were chiding Waffler. Entomology is the study of insects.

Tryatt, Siloam Springs

As I read the eleven responses above from E. Archer to A. Woods I was intrigued by the comments, and surprise at the failure to respond to the syllogism: Major Premise -- Religion, morality, and knowledge are necessary to good government; minor premise (implied) -- religion, morality, and knowledge are all fundamental elements of education; Conclusion -- Congress and the territorial governments shall always ENCOURAGE education. >> Dewey and his secular humanist disciples to the contrary, the founders of our nation listed knowledge as a third element of education, after religion and morality. >> Congress was not funding or providing education for the states but encouraging it, particularly in the territories.

Keith Atchley

this is amazing

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