John F. Kennedy '40, Democratic Senator-elect from Massachusetts took a stand yesterday against President Conant's desire for a single school system in the United States.
Kennedy, in an interview on "Youth Wants to Know," a radio television broadcast by a group of New York high school students, said he is opposed to "a growing trend" against religious education."
He said he agreed with the statement issued Saturday by the Roman Catholic Bishops of the United States who implied a strong attack against Conant, as they challenged all critics who would "create a monopoly of education for a secularized public school."
The statement was released after the Bishops' annual meeting in Washington, and although they expressed a general concern over the rise of secularism in America, the brunt of their blast seemed directed at Conant's speech to the American Association of School Administrators in Boston last April.
Among the 13 perlates signing the statement was Archbishop Richard J. Cushing, who last April labelled Conant's views on private and parochial schools as Fascistic.
At that time, Conant advocated a single school system in America, serving all creeds. He declared then that "The greater the proportion of our youth who attend independent schools, the greater the threat to democratic unity."
In the Bishops' statement, they maintained that "an all-embracing state controlled school system completely devoid of religion" was "totalitarian."
Referring to the advocates of secularized education, the prelates termed them "devotees of the pseudo-religion of progress" rather than Christians. These people, they said, "are promoting the disintegration of those social institutions whose foundations are in religion--freedom equality, human dignity, the stable family, and that constitutional democracy which has been characteristic of this country."
They claimed the real danger to this country does not. He in religious education; rather, they said, "it comes from the threatening disintegration of our wocial life, due to the weakening of religion as a constructive force."
Further, they maintained that the secularists are contering their main efforts "on the divorce of religion from education."
In what evidently was meant to answer Conant's statements, the Bishops declared that "education which is truly religious is a unifying rather than a dividing force."
Against Tax Aid
One of the Conant's main points concerned tax money used to support private and parochial schools. Conant was particularly opposed to this practice: the Bishops did not mention directly.
The only reference to tax support in their statement was a reaffirmation of church policy that the government "should help parents fulfill their task of religious training and instruction."
In Cushtug's attack on Conant, made from the pulpit of the Holy Cross Cathedral, the Archbishop took a definite stand for public support of parochial schools.
On the same day as the release of the Bishops' statement, 1,250 members of the Protestant Teachers Association of New York were told that it is neither possible nor desirable to maintain a separation of religion from education.
Dr. D. Campbell Wyckoff, Chairman of the Department of Religious Education at New York university made the statement.