For Next Christmas…

A friend of mine sent me this. There is much to appreciate in the sentiments. Note the date it was written. This battle we wage has been going on for a long time. And we can never give it up…

by Robert G. Ingersoll*

originally published in The Arena, Boston
December 1897

If I had the power to produce exactly what I want for next Christmas, I
would have all the kings and emperors resign and allow the people to govern
themselves.

I would have all the nobility crop their titles and give their lands back to
the people. I would have the Pope throw away his tiara, take off his sacred
vestments, and admit that he is not acting for God — is not infallible —
but is just an ordinary Italian.** I would have all the cardinals,
archbishops, bishops, priests and clergymen admit that they know nothing
about theology, nothing about hell or heaven, nothing about the destiny of
the human race, nothing about devils or ghosts, gods or angels. I would have
them tell all their “flocks” to think for themselves, to be manly men and
womanly women, and to do all in their power to increase the sum of human
happiness.

I would have all the professors in colleges, all the teachers in schools of
every kind, including those in Sunday schools, agree that they would teach
only what they know, that they would not palm off guesses as demonstrated
truths.

I would like to see all the politicians changed to statesmen, — to men who
long to make their country great and free, — to men who care more for
public good than private gain — men who long to be of use.

I would like to see all the editors of papers and magazines agree to print
the truth and nothing but the truth, to avoid all slander and
misrepresentation, and to let the private affairs of the people alone.

I would like to see drunkenness and prohibition both abolished.

I would like to see corporal punishment done away with in every home, in
every school, in every asylum, reformatory, and prison. Cruelty hardens and
degrades, kindness reforms and ennobles.

I would like to see the millionaires unite and form a trust for the public
good.

I would like to see a fair division of profits between capital and labor, so
that the toiler could save enough to mingle a little June with the December
of his life.

I would like to see an international court established in which to settle
disputes between nations, so that armies could be disbanded and the great
navies allowed to rust and rot in perfect peace.

I would like to see the whole world free — free from injustice — free from
superstition.

This will do for next Christmas. The following Christmas, I may want more.

*Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899) was an abolitionist, lawyer, Civil War
veteran, political leader and orator, noted for his defense of agnosticism,
freethought, and humanism. He spoke on a vast number of subjects including
Shakespeare, Reconstruction, religion, slavery, and woman’s suffrage. During
a time when oratory was public entertainment, he recited his speeches,
sometimes more than three hours long, from memory. Despite being referred to
as “The Great Infidel,” he attracted huge numbers of people willing to pay
$1 or more —a large sum at that time —to his lectures.

**In 1897 when this was written, the pope was Italian, as had been nearly
all previous popes.

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