No Witches--No Angels.--The reader must reach this conclusion in his own reasoning--we are not intent on persuading you to believe something you do not want to believe; persuasions are not made that way. If we do not have witches, as some would tell us, then we cannot have angels, according to those others who feel they do some thinking, too. Denying the one, and not excluding the other, makes a man's everyday reasoning look silly, does it not?
When we compare notes with men of the cloth, as to the possibility of there being witches in the world, and here at home, they usually greet the comment with a rather blank expression, but no rebuttal.
Yet, it just must be true that we do have witches and "witchcraft" in Pennsylvania--in and out of religious circles--for we have great faith and belief in the presence and power of angels--not only those that hovered over the hills of Judea, but also the red and blue hills of our beloved Pennsylvania!
To accept belief in one element and not in the other would tend to destroy the joys of many holidays fostered by the Christian church.
State to Banish Belief in Witches.--One of the most interesting news items we have seen in two score years, appeared in one of the Harrisburg papers a few years ago. lt was inspired in one of the highest state departments, but got out of the department, into the papers, without the head-man knowing anything about it (so he said). This is the item; read it thoroughly:
SEE EDUCATION ENDING 'HEX' BELIEFS IN PENNA.
Harrisburg (during the Earle Administration).--State educators declared here yesterday that hexerei, terror of numerous rural farm communities for many years, is being banished from Pennsylvania by the public schools.
School authorities explained that instruction in the sciences, even in the lower grades, has proved the most effective weapon against the superstition.
They said that "hex" symbols calculated to cause illness in a farrn-house or disease of cattle still may be seen on farms and houses, but that the younger rural folk spurn beliefs that frightened their kin only a few years back.
Court records show the "hex" responsible for many crimes, including murder and arson, during the past 50 years.
Many items of news get into the papers--all types of stories--but it is noteworthy to record that some one had in mind becoming a new Savior of the human race!
How in the world are the school authorities going to do all this? Do they think that children will remember only what they learn in school, and forget all they learn at home, in the Sunday-school, church, in the theatres, AND on the streets?
Will the schools teach a new truth--that "all is good"--"nothing is evil?"--and won't the kids forget? With teachers who are recruited from every type of religion, some anti-religious, and some too religious, what impress will that make on the student, as against "science?"
Will the public school system evolve a new plan of study that will prove the stories in the Bible to be something different than children have been led to believe--for years?
And, what will the new studies have to say on the subject of, let us say: "holy-water," as used by the Catholics in their devotions; or, even plain water, as used by the Protestants in their baptism ceremonies?
If the schools must support this phase of religion and its symbolism, will they declare that water for baptisms, or holy-water, are efficacious when used in a religious sense, and not be of effect when used by "witch doctors" either at home, or abroad?
Science already agrees that there is no value to either of these waters, or services, but if it is forced down the throats of youngsters in school, it will upset the plans of the church fathers of all creeds! The latter claim that holy-water, accompanied by "prayers," has a special virtue that beats anything science has yet produced! Can school-learning overcome this belief?
The science which the school authorities are teaching is a poor science that says "hex" slayings and practices, are so much more vicious and devastating in Pennsylvania, than "sex" slayings and their many practices; so much more degrading and superstitious than the thousand and one promises delivered from a hundred thousand platforms in America and throughout the world, which never come true; and worse than the countless self-abuses of which they say little or nothing--and certainly not in the public press.
The State and school authorities flounder in their own mire when they fail to recognize that many of our superstitions are condoned and taught within church and school, and which, per se, makes them "perfect" (or "white art"); but when practised outside church or school, makes them "black art."
Let us talk about "hallowe'en," the season when witches, vampire bats, black cats, and fantastics with their false-faces and hideous make-up, are abroad in all America. Where, if you please, do we see greater evidences of a survival of the idea of "witches" than in the grade schools of America?
We received a number of very interesting comments from well known Americans on the subject of "Science vs. Witches--in the Schools." Some are from physicians, professors, educators, writers, and just plain everyday citizens.