Howse Hassles the Humanists

The February/March 2007 issue of Free Inquiry contains an extensive review of Brannon Howse’s book One Nation Under Man: The Worldview War Between Christians and the Secular Left (Broadman and Holman Publishers, 2005). Free Inquiry is one of the major think-tank publications of the Secular Humanists.

Since the editor of Free Inquiry, Tom Flynn, wrote the review the Secular Humanists have decided the book merits their attention. And Flynn indeed levels his 105 Howitzer right at Howse, Noebel, Tim and Beverly LaHaye, and the Religious Right in general.

How dare Howse openly proclaim that Secular Humanism is a worldview that denies the existence of God and especially the God of the Bible? How dare Howse suggest that humanists place man in the center of their universe and not God? How dare Howse equate Secular Humanism with political liberalism and deride the A.C.L.U., John Dewey, and the National Education Association? Such outlandish rhetoric, says Flynn, is “laughable.” And not only laughable, but “dishonest, negligent, misleading and sloppy.”

Well, that’s interesting. I’ve been studying Secular Humanism for years and it seems to me that this is exactly what Secular Humanism is about — atheism in the classroom with the wink of the NEA and the ACLU; Darwinian evolution in the classroom with the wink of the same team players plus the Ford Foundation. Liberalism greased throughout the public school curriculum. John Dewey prominently displayed throughout the curriculum etc. etc. And all under the banner that “we foxes” in the chicken coop aren’t “religious” but are just here to help the chickens learn naturalistic science from a non-religious atheistic point of view.

Howse presents enough hard facts to clearly give Flynn the jitters. In fact, if nothing else Howse has actually brought out into the open via Mr. Flynn a number of facts that most humanists would rather bury and forget.

For example, while Flynn maintains that Free Inquiry’s brand of Secular Humanism is not religious in nature he does admit the following: “there are some humanists whose worldview is genuinely religious. There are others, probably a large number, who claim the label ‘religious humanist’ for its warm connotations, although nothing in their worldview is technically religious. Meantime, the American Humanist Association continues to maintain its religious tax exemption, as Howse eagerly reminds us.”

Flynn further coughs up the following gem: “You should know that [Humanist] Manifesto I [1933] was drafted by philosopher Roy Wood Sellars for the explicit purpose of proclaiming humanism as a new religion.” Although I have been saying this for years (see my Clergy in the Classroom), Mr. Flynn is the first one that I can recall finally admitting this piece of truth. I don’t think Paul Kurtz ever admitted as much!

Unfortunately, Flynn doesn’t tell the whole story regarding Sellars who, according to Frank L. Pasquale, “apparently prevaricated over whether it was appropriate to use the term religion for a movement without belief in God, but opted in favor of the practice since a predominately religious world is more likely to swallow something called religion than atheism.” (See Free Inquiry, Winter 2002/3, p. 67)

John Dewey, an atheist, evolutionist and socialist (Dewey presided over the League for Industrial Democracy — a British Fabian branch), also sought to sell his version of atheistic Secular Humanism under a religious label and entitled his book A Common Faith. Yale University press printed Dewey’s book, which has made its way into the public school bloodstream under the euphemism of “progressive education.”

Regarding liberal politics, if one doesn’t think that Secular Humanism and political liberalism are as close as Mary and Mary’s little lamb, one merely needs to read Paul Kurtz’ editorial in this very issue of Free Inquiry (pages 4–7). Kurtz actually calls for the impeachment of President Bush, a far-leftwing bit of agenda.

In truth, I can’t find anything that Howse says about “the lying, evil religion of humanism” that I disagree with although I probably would have said it a little more diplomatically. But then Howse is not a polished politician, but a pit bull that has one of Flynn’s legs fastened in his teeth and is enjoying the chew.

But note the consequences of Flynn’s review. I have been saying for years that Secular Humanism is a religion and should not be in the classroom. Flynn finally admits that Humanist Manifesto I is religious. Indeed, I have a copy of Humanist I and II with a preface by Paul Kurtz stating that humanism is, “a philosophical, religious and moral point of view.” There is basically little difference between Humanist Manifesto I and Humanist Manifesto II. And to be frank about the matter little difference between I and II and Kurtz’ latest Humanist Manifesto III (2000). In the Manifesto 2000 Kurtz simply drops the word religion. The dogmas remain essentially the same: atheism, naturalism in philosophy, ethical relativism (except for abortion and gay marriage), world government, etc.

Howse is definitely right in his analysis of Secular Humanism and its attempt to eradicate religion from the public square and Flynn is definitely treading water. Flynn’s own Free Inquiry columnist, Richard Dawkins, more than proves this point! Dawkins, who parades himself about the globe as Mr. Science and Mr. Objectivity, has announced his intension to eradicate all religion (especially Christianity). If this is the case will Flynn and Dawkins join us in at least eradicating the religion of Humanist Manifesto I from the public school curriculum? Isn’t its presence a violation of the church/state doctrine? Will they help us eradicate the influence of John Dewey and his A Common Faith from the public school system? The answer surely must be “blowin-in-the-wind” somewhere.