Even over 200 years after the Constitution’s ratification, the interaction between the Church and the government is still a hot-button topic, these days mainly taking the form of the evolution/intelligent design debate. I was thinking about this the other day, because I had been talking with some friends about a professor we all had for a biology class at Cal State, who was and is virulently pro-evolution and anti-Intelligent Design, and it was in my mind this morning, when something struck me: if the courts are going to disallow the teaching of creationism and intelligent design because they constitute an undue promotion of religion, then the teaching of evolution theory should be banned for the same reasons.
This thought came across my mind because I remembered something I read in an excellent book by David A. Noebel called The Battle For Truth. The book compares and contrasts four different worldviews in ten different areas, but the first two chapters are dedicated to explaining the nature of the book and the reasoning behind it. One of these chapters examines the worldviews and justifies calling all four of them ‘religious worldviews.’ Noebel took the time and effort to make this justification because two of the worldviews, Marxism/Leninism and Secular Humanism, are atheistic worldviews.
In the section of the chapter where Noebel addresses Secular Humanism, he not only points out that leading members of the Secular Humanist movement have addressed their worldview as religious, but also that Secular Humanism has been recognized as a religion by the Supreme Court. In a 1961 Supreme Court decision (Torcaso v. Watkins) the Court’s opinion stated that “Among religions in this country which do not teach what would be generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism, and others” (emphasis mine). This was further emphasized in a 1965 Supreme Court decision (United States v. Seeger), when the Court allowed Daniel Seeger, a Secular Humanist, to claim conscientious objector status because of his religious beliefs.
According the First Amendment to the US Constitution, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Due to the actions of militant atheists and organizations such as Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, this has been construed to mean that a ‘wall of separation’ must exist between the Church and the government. This re-definition of the First Amendment has led to such things as the illegal restriction of prayer in schools (not only the required all-school prayers that were initially banned, but voluntary, student-led prayers), and even such outrages as a Texas sheriff threatening to arrest anyone who mentioned Jesus at a high school graduation ceremony (check out David Limbaugh’s book Persecution for this and many other cases).
My point is this: according to Americans United, Creationism and Intelligent Design cannot legally even be mentioned as alternatives to evolution in any context in a public school (a school in a town just south of here tried to introduce an elective philosophy class on ID; AU sued, but the case went unresolved, as the class ended before the suit came before the courts): to do so would constitute an entanglement with religion, and thus violate the Lemon Test, as defined in the 1971 case Lemon v. Kurtzman. That being the case, the same test should also be applied to evolution theory – after all, Secular Humanism has been officially recognized as a religion by the United States Supreme Court, and according to Humanist Manifesto II, “science affirms that the human species is an emergence from natural evolutionary forces.” What’s more, Carl Sagan, a noted Humanist, stated that “Evolution is a fact, not a theory.” Another leading Humanist, Julian Huxley, went even further: “The first point to make about Darwin’s theory is that it is no longer a theory, but a fact…We are no longer having to bother about establishing the fact of evolution.” The first glaring observation about these statements is quite clear: if Darwin’s evolution theory had been proven factual, it would be big news – huge news. But while I may take up the intellectual dishonesty of Secular Humanism at a later date, that is not the issue here. The issue is that Secular Humanism is out there, actively promoting its religious beliefs. As Huxley put it, “Modern science [read: Secular Humanism] must rule out special creation or divine guidance.”
This leads to the crux of the problem: if the teaching or mention of Creationism or Intelligent Design is inherently illegal under the First Amendment, then so is the teaching of Evolution. Furthermore, any Humanists who have participated in suits to eliminate the teaching of Creationism or Intelligent Design in schools should be prosecuted for conspiring to have their religious beliefs taught in schools to the exclusion of any others.
It appalls me that the Supreme Court, which has depended so heavily on stare decisis, or “settled law” (precedent) for the basis of its legislation, has mysteriously forgotten the Torcaso and Seeger cases. If Secular Humanism is a religion (and it is), then it should be treated as any other religion. The problem is that over the years, Secular Humanism has so permeated our schools (John Dewey, of the famed Dewey Decimal System, was, in fact, a Secular Humanist) that it is making itself the materialistic standard against which religions are to be measured, rather than being treated as a religion itself. This is the most underhanded, insidious form of proselytizing our nation has ever seen – entire generations are essentially being indoctrinated into the Secular Humanist religion, unbeknownst to the populace, who sees little or no way to fight back against the onslaught.