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Humanism - The Established State Religion

 

  Ben Rast

  Contender Ministries


Humanism Home | Humanist Manifesto I | Humanist Manifesto II | Humanist Manifesto 2000 | Humanism in our Schools


 “Education is the most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism.  What can the theistic Sunday Schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?

 

Godless political forces in the United States fight tirelessly to rid the public school system of anything that seems remotely Christian.  Darwinian evolution is now taught to the exclusion of even the scientific support for creationism.  Displays of the Ten Commandments have been ripped from the walls, and lawsuit after lawsuit has sought to eliminate prayer, Bible reading, and evangelism – even when those actions are thought of and conducted by the students as opposed to the school itself.  School administrators and teachers commonly violate the constitutional rights of Christian students (such as a private prayer, Bible reading, or organizing Bible clubs) either because they are afraid to be sued by the litigious unredeemed, or because they personally want to squelch Christian expression in schools.

Christianity is kept out of the schools due to a faulty understanding of the First Amendment’s “Establishment Clause.”  The separationists claim that any religion taught or tolerated within the school (except for historic instruction) constitutes an intolerable government endorsement of religion.  They keep teachers from teaching anything about creationism – or even pointing out the problems with evolution – for the same misguided reason: no government endorsement of religion or religious doctrine.  As creationism is a belief held by Christians, Jews, and other religions, it must not be allowed to be taught or tolerated within public schools.  But there is a double standard now.  By doing what they have done, they have created a public school system that actually teaches the doctrines of one religion, to the exclusion of all others.  This indeed is a violation of the First Amendment.  One single religion is preached in public schools, and no other religion may compete with it within those walls.  I refer to the religion of humanism. 

Some of you are saying, “Now wait a minute.  Humanism isn’t a religion!”  Oh, but it is.  Let’s look at some evidence that will show that not only humanists consider humanism a religion, but the government of the United States also recognizes it as a religion.  Then we’ll examine how that religion is being taught in the schools.

There’s no doubt that many humanists consider their ideology a religion.  Charles Francis Potter, signer of the Humanist Manifesto and author of Humanism: A New Religion, wrote, “So Humanism is not simply another denomination of Protestant Christianity; it is not a creed; nor is it a cult.  It is a new type of religion altogether.”1 Potter also directed attention to the battleground where the humanist religion dominates – the public school system.  Potter said, “Education is the most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism.  What can the theistic Sunday Schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?”2 A former president of the American Humanist Association, Lloyd Morain, stated, “Down through the ages men have been seeking a universal religion or way of life…. Humanism…shows promise of becoming a great world faith.  Humanists are content with fixing their attention on this life and on this earth.  Theirs is a faith without a god, divine revelation, or sacred scriptures.  Yet theirs is a faith rich in feeling and understanding.”3 Humanist educator John Dewey, also a signer of the Humanist Manifesto, called for a new humanist religion in his work A Common Faith

Humanism has also gained external recognition as a religion.  Herbert Wallace Schneider included humanism as a religion in his book, Religion in 20th Century America.  Another of humanism’s monikers, “Ethical Culture”, is listed as a religion in the Census of Religious Bodies published by the United States Government.  Ethical Societies have received religious tax exemptions.  But perhaps the most interesting recognition of humanism as a religion has come from our courts.  In the case Torcaso v. Watkins, the U.S. Supreme Court stated, “Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and others.”4   In the Texas Tech Law Review, an article cited several court decisions that have referred to humanism as a religion.  For example, “One Federal Court in Reed v. Van Hoven has held that ‘In light of the decided cases, the public schools, as between theistic and humanistic religions, must carefully avoid any program of indoctrination in ultimate values.’”5 

Let us return to why this is all so important.  The establishment clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits congress from passing legislation concerning an establishment of religion.  Throughout the years, the courts have held that no government body can favor one religion over another.  Yet in our public schools, the doctrines and beliefs of humanism are taught to the exclusion of any other belief.  Now that we have established, both in the minds of humanists and in our federal courts, that humanism IS a religion, we find that the public schools are violating the establishment clause of the First Amendment by favoring the doctrines of humanism over other religious doctrines.  A prime example is in the presentation of the doctrine of evolution while excluding curriculum that presents even merely the scientific evidence for divine creation. 

Why then, are public schools able to get away with this obvious violation of the constitution?  I can think of at least two major reasons.  The first reason has to do with activist federal judges that believe in reinterpreting the constitution to suit their own humanist ideologies.  Our nation needs federal judges that will rightly apply the constitution, as intended by its framers, when humanists and atheists illegally force policy in the public education system.  Our president nominates federal judges, and our senate confirms them.  We must elect to office those candidates we feel will put judges on the bench who understand the correct application of the constitution.

The second reason is that humanists have worked their way into the positions of power of our education system.  The NEA and the Department of Education are populated with humanists.  Humanists also dominate state and local boards of education.  This is not simply because of the motivation of humanists; it also indicates that Christians are not running for positions on school boards and other education policy bodies.  If every Bible-believing church body had one or two qualified persons run for local and state education boards, we could soon stem the tide of humanist domination.  During many elections, the school board races are often given little attention.  Yet we as Christians must be aware of who we are electing to set policy in the education of our children.  The stakes are too high.  If you are still skeptical, let me repeat Charles Francis Potter’s astute observation, “Education is the most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism.  What can the theistic Sunday Schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?”

 

NOTES:

1.        Charles Francis Potter, Humanism: A New Religion (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1930), p. 3.

2.        Ibid., p. 128.

3.        Lloyd Morain and Mary Morain, Humanism as the Next Step (Boston: The Beacon Press, 1954), p. 4.

4.        TORCASO v. WATKINS, 367 U.S. 488 (1961), Footnote 11.

5.      John W. Whitehead and John Conlan, “The Establishment of the Religion of Secular Humanism and Its First Amendment Implications,” Texas Tech Law Review 10 (winter 1978): 19.

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