Daily Dose of Ingersoll

One of the first things I wish to do, is to free the orthodox
clergy. I am a great friend of theirs, and in spite of all they may
say against me, I am going to do them a great and lasting service.
Upon their necks are visible the marks of the collar, and upon
their backs those of the lash. They are not allowed to read and
think for themselves. They are taught like parrots, and the best
are those who repeat, with the fewest mistakes, the sentences they
have been taught. They sit like owls upon some dead limb of the
tree of knowledge, and hoot the same old hoots that have been
hooted for eighteen hundred years. Their congregations are not
grand enough, nor sufficiently civilized, to be willing that the
poor preachers shall think for themselves. They are not employed
for that purpose. Investigation is regarded as a dangerous
experiment, and the ministers are warned that none of that kind of
work will be tolerated. They are notified to stand by the old
creed, and to avoid all original thought, as a moral pestilence.
Every minister is employed like an attorney — either for plaintiff
or defendant, — and he is expected to be true to his client. If he
changes his mind, he is regarded as a deserter, and denounced,
hated, and slandered accordingly. Every orthodox clergyman agrees
not to change. He contracts not to find new facts, and makes a
bargain that he will deny them if he does. Such is the position of
a Protestant minister in this nineteenth century. His condition
excites my pity; and to better it, I am going to do what little I
can.

Robert Green Ingersoll – “Some Mistakes of Moses” (1879)