“I have heard that in some debating clubs there is a rule that the members may discuss anything except religion and politics. I cannot imagine what they do discuss; but it is quite evident that they have ruled out the only two subjects which are either important or amusing.” — G. K. Chesterton, Introduction to Dickens’ Hard Times
Lowry, L. S. The Old Town Hall and St Hilda’s Church, Middlesbrough. 1959. Oil on canvas.
“It seems undeniable that, collectively, the American churches have encouraged puritanism, philistinism, manicheanism, and racism. They have encouraged the cult of individual material success growing out of raw capitalism and the imperialism of a good conscience (the two fundamental ingredients of Americanism in the eyes of its internal and external adversaries). . . . At the same time, the inculcation of individualism, nonconformity, and Protestant freedom have combined to preserve the country in its whole history from the worst horrors of totalitarianism. Religion has nourished the dynamism, egalitarianism, tolerance, generosity, humanity, and idealism of this great people – the only one in history which has mixed all the major ethnic groups and built a great world power without ever falling under the heel of a tyrant or a military oligarchy. Religion has helped this immense continent, filled with all sorts of people, to acquire a soul, to forge itself into a nation, and to anchor itself in its diverse past without ceasing to look toward the future.” — Claude-Jean Bertrand