From Don Kemerling This is an excerpt from THE BEST OF ROBERT INGERSOLL, edited by Roger

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From Don Kemerling This is an excerpt from THE BEST OF ROBERT INGERSOLL, edited by Roger E. Greeley and published by Prometheus Books. 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 the nobility drop their titles and give their lands back to the people. I would have the Pope throw away his tiara and take off his sacred vestments, and admit that he is not acting for God-is not infallible-is just an ordinary Italian[now a Pole]. 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 all tell 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 all 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 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 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 enobles. I would like to see the millionaires unite and form a trust for the public good. I would lke 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-free from injustice-from superstition. That will do for next Christmas. The following Christmas, I may want more. (1897) --------------- Great harm has been done by those who have successfully kept the writings and speeches of Robert Ingersoll from our nation's schools and collective consciousness so effectively and by those who neglected to promote him as the great American thinker and orator that he was. This man should be brought to the public's attention now, as he was when he lived and packed halls with overflowing crowds consistently and drew extravagant praise from the best of his time, like Mark Twain and President Hayes. dk


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