Quotation by Henry David Thoreau

In some lyceums they tell me that they have voted to exclude the subject of religion. But how do I know what their religion is, and when I am near to or far from it? I have walked into such an arena and done my best to make a clean breast of what religion I have experienced, and the audience never suspected what I was about. The lecture was as harmless as moonshine to them. Whereas, if I had read to them the biography of the greatest scamps in history, they might have thought that I had written the lives of the deacons of their church. Ordinarily, the inquiry is, Where did you come from? or, Where are you going? That was a more pertinent question which I overheard one of my auditors put to another once,—"What does he lecture for?" It made me quake in my shoes.
Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Life Without Principle" (1863), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, pp. 469-470, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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