“Freedom is denied in education today. This may sound bizarre to some educators who have been shouting catch-words about freedom for decades. But I submit they are talking about license — not freedom. They are concerned with freedom from something; not freedom for something; they are interested only in freedom without law rather than freedom within the law. And the proof? Do not many educators today assume that evil and sin are due to ignorance, and that if we educate, we will remove evil? Do not others assume that evil is due to bad environment, bad teeth, or bad glands, and that an increase of material wealth will obliterate evil? Can they not see that these assumptions destroy freedom; for if evil is the result of ignorance, and not the result of a perverse use of freedom, then Hitler is an ignoramus, but he is not a villain? Can they not see that education without a proper philosophy of life can be made the servant of evil, as well as of good? Have they not the vision to see that if evil and sin are to be attributed solely to external circumstances, then man is not free to do wrong? Then wrong is in our environment, but not in us. Is it not inconsistent to praise a free man for choosing what is right, and at the same time, when he does wrong, to deny that he is free?
That kind of education which denies guilt and sin is destroying freedom in our schools, while our soldiers are fighting for it on the battle fronts of the world. Modern religion has also denied freedom. Oh, do not misunderstand! I know it preaches freedom. But here we are searching hearts, not lips. Modern religion denies freedom because it denies hell. In a recent survey of ministers in Europe it was discovered that seventy-three percent did not believe in hell.
If there is no hell, why should there be a heaven? If there is no wrong, and hence no sin for which men ought to be punished, why should there be a heaven where they should be rewarded for their virtues? If there are statues erected to our patriots, why should there not be prisons for our traitors? Whom do they think God is — a kind of grandmother who laughs off the wrong-doing of His children, as if there were no scales of Justice, and He were not the God of Righteousness?”
Fulton J. Sheen (From an address delivered on April 4, 1943)