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A Hard Lesson for an Ex-Minister

By From 'In the Beauty of the Lilies' / February 29, 1996



HE had not fully grasped how far his resignation from the church would drop him in the social scale; he had somehow imagined proceeding by inertia along the same paths of respectability, only without the encumbrance of hypocritical pretense. Robert Ingersoll had written stirringly of freeing the clergy; well, now he was free - free to sink. He had vaguely thought that, with his languages and love of print's silent song, he might find an appropriate niche as an instructor.... But his locally notorious apostasy, he soon realized, put a shudder into headmasters .... He had deserted his post. The world can accommodate many sincere opinions but has no lasting use for turncoats. Having made such a point of renunciation, with a pious wife at his side and a disheartened congregation spread before him, why would he ... not seek to propagandize credulous children?

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