“Of course not!” says John Q. Public. Ask a public school teacher or administrator and they will say, “No!” too. After all, US Public Schools rarely even teach about the well documented influences of the Bible on American culture. They certainly don’t promote one religion over another – right? Wrong! I believe that “Secular Humanism” is now the established religion in American public schools. And in this article, I will explain why!
Secular Humanism is a religion in the same way that Islam and Judaism are religions. The doctrines of Humanism have been set forth in two Humanist Manifestos. (1) The first tenet of Manifesto I states:
“Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.” The US Supreme Court has identified Secular Humanism as a religion. It ruled that the First Amendment grants the same protection and the same limitations on the “religion of Secular Humanism” as are applicable to other religions. (2)
In another decision, Justice Clark stated, “The State may not establish a ‘religion of secularism’ in the sense of affirmatively opposing or showing hostility to religion, thus ‘preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe.’ ” (3)
Many, maybe most, public schools in America are not listening to the US Supreme Court, because they continue to teach character education to the exclusion of integrating personal religious faith and the theory of evolution without the theory of creation. What is really stunning is the Declaration of Independence says, "We hold these truths to be self evident. That all men are created...". This, by definition, is teaching the tenets of the religion of Humanism, while showing hostility toward those who don’t agree with their situational ethics.
Unfortunately, many Americans have been deceived about how most, perhaps all, US Public Schools are promoting the religion of Humanism over all others and no one is doing anything about it! This has happened so gradually that few have even noticed it. But how has this happended? Let me illustrate. It’s much like manipulating the temperature in a hot tub. When a person first sits in a hot tub, the temperature can be a comfortable 80-90 degrees. But, if another person gradually raises the temperature, the hot tub can get so hot that the person in the hot tub can literally boil to dead without them even knowing it! The key is to gradually raise the temperature, while the person in the hot tub is not aware. That is exactly what has happened in our US Public Schools. And, unfortunately, many of those that have been aware of this secularization of our public schools have left public schools to home school their children or formed private schools. I call this the “Prophet Jonah Syndrome”. I used to have that until I was in the belly of the US Public School system for many years.
Over the past 50 years, the secular humanist heat has been gradually increasing, while public school educators have been lulled to sleep and persuaded by many universities and colleges to believe a cynical, secular founding of America. Today, this secular world view is called “The Progressive Movement”. They have been duped into believing that only those with doctorate degrees from accredited, prestigious universities are "the real experts” when interpreting the intentions of the American founders. They also feel that they know what is constitutional and what is not better than anyone else. However, the US Supreme Court decides what is constitutional, not the humanists or the conservative Christians. Although many of the school legal battles have been initiated by the humanists, thinking that their ideas were 'consitutional", in 2012, the Christian conversative legal network, Alliance Defending Freedom, won 80% of their lawsuits against the secular humanist dominated US Public Schools and their supporting Humanist organizations.
It appears that the Chinese government understands America’s religious influences better than the secular humanists. You can read about that in my article entitled, “The Chinese Government Affirms the Bible”. Just Google it! The secular humanists see America and its founders as creating a pluralistic America and believing in a secular worldview of the US Constitution, enabling them to downplay the influences of the Bible on American culture, while over emphasizing the role of other religious faiths like Islam. They love to say that if you teach about the Bible in public schools, you have to also teach about other religions simultaneously. But that is not true, because the Bible has had an unparalleled influence on American laws and culture like no other religion. The Bible has even found its way into the American English language through various idioms. You can learn about those at my website, www.biblecultureit.com.
Unfortunately like sheep to the slaughter, there have been many Christian educators who have blindly cooperated with the secular humanist influences in today’s public educational system to the exclusion of their personal religious faith and of their students' faith. This is most obvious when they implement a “Character Curriculum” designed to develop desirable positive character qualities in students to the exclusion of personal religious faith. And without personal faith in God, there is nothing to establish what is right and wrong, leaving the secular humanists to invent “situational ethics”, teaching that right and wrong is relative and not absolute as the Bible affirms. You see, there are at least things at play here: 1. the life principles articulated in the Torah – the first five books of the Old Testament - also called the books of Moses as ascribed by the Judaism today and 2. salvation from sins that is provided by Jesus Christ as articulated in the New Testament and ascribed by most Protestants and Catholics. The first outlines a philosophy of life on earth and the second presents a new (spiritual) Kingdom through Jesus Christ. The first teaches its believers how to live a life consistent with certain life principles, living from the outside inward. But the second teaches its believers to live by a new set of spiritual principles from the inside out with the help of the Holy Spirit of God in which Jesus Christ to indwell all of those that believe in him.
I believe that the writers of the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence understood these two ways to view the Bible. That is why the Declaration of Independence states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.” Clearly, the words ‘truths’ (absolutes), ‘creator’ (not evolved apes) and ‘unalienable rights’ (The state of a thing or right which cannot be sold) are not from a humanist worldview, but a biblical worldview. I could write an entire article just on the biblical allusions and truths written in the US Constitution or the Declaration of Independence, but not in this article.
John Dewey Was the Chief Designer
John Dewey was the chief designer of the 1933 Humanist Manifesto. He is recognized as the “father of progressive education”. In 1932, he was elected honorary president of the National Education Association. Dewey’s educational philosophies were a reaction to the disciplined teaching of basic subjects and established rules. (4)
Charles Francis Potter was a signer of “The Humanist Manifesto I.” He was also an honorary president of the National Education Association. One of the quotes attributed to him summarizes what has actually happened in American Public Schools.
“Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism.”(5)
Neutral education is therefore impossible. Teaching knowledge without God is the religion of Humanism.
The flood of Humanistic philosophies in school textbooks is freely admitted by the Humanists. The following quote is from the January/February, 1976 issue of The Humanist magazine:
“Something wonderful, free unheralded, and of significant to all humanists is happening in the secondary schools. It is the adolescent literature movement. They may burn Slaughterhouse Five in North Dakota and ban a number of innocuous books in Kanawha County, but thank God the crazies don’t do all that much reading. If they did, they’d find that they have already been defeated. Adolescent literature has opened Pandora’s Box…Nothing that is part of contemporary life is taboo in this genre, and any valid piece of writing that helps to make the world more knowable to young people serves an important humanistic function.”
Contrary to Justice Clark’s admonition that the state may not “affirmatively (oppose) or (show) hostility to religion,” (6) there is mounting campaign to remove all traces of Christianity from American public schools and institutions of our land. Meanwhile, some public schools have offered courses and textbooks that teach the religious tenets of Humanism. These are diametrically opposed to the basic principles of the Bible and the Judeo-Christian tradition in America.
US Courts have ruled that it is illegal to display the Ten Commandments in a classroom of a public school. (7) Courses in “Values Clarification” indoctrinate children to reject the moral absolutes of the Bible. This is accomplished by introduction of “Situation Ethics”.
A sociology textbook explained that “there are expectations to almost all moral laws, depending on the situation. What is wrong in one instance may be right in another. Most children learn that it is wrong to lie. But later they may learn that it is tactless, if not actually wrong not to lie under certain circumstances.” (8)
The Humanist Manifesto II contains the following statement, “We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics is autonomous and situational, needing no theological or ideological sanction. Ethics stems from human need and interest. To deny this distorts the whole basis of life.” (9)
Can we legislate morality and encourage good character?
Every law legislates morality – either from the Bible or from man. Every legal system must be based on a set of religious beliefs. Public policies require decisions that inevitably reflect moral standards. Every time a law is passed, one set of beliefs is preferred over another. For this reason a “pluralistic” society in which all points of view are treated equally is unrealistic and ultimately unworkable. In reality, a pluralistic society is one that is making a transition from one set of beliefs to another controlling set.
American laws were established primarily on the moral principles of the Bible The colonies made this very clear by statements such as the following in their charters:
“We…submit our persons, lives, and estates, unto our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and to all those perfect and most absolute laws of His, given is in his Holy Word.” (10)
In a July 10, 2005 Dallas Morning News article,
Reporter Jennifer Arend wrote that a local public school district’s students were determined as “more like to lie, cheat, steal, and bully others around than the national average,” although they had been taught character using their “Character Counts” curriculum the previous four to five years. What happened? History has clearly taught us that desirable character qualities like the ones found in the Bible must be developed in its people or that civilization will self-destruct, causing chaos and lawlessness, because no one can trust anyone.
What we tolerate we can’t change!
If we continue to allow our public schools to teach character void of religious faith, to teach that human life is an accident of nature or humans evolved from apes - and to teach Humanistic situational ethics, calling it character, then we shouldn’t be surprised when our children think it is alright to lie, cheat on exams, steal and bully others around. After all, they are just doing what they have been taught!
1) Humanist Manifesto I & II, 1933, 1973.
2) Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 US 488 (1961).
3) Abington School District v. Schempp, 374, US 203, 83 S Ct. 1560, 10L.Ed.2d 844 (1963).
4) Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed., 1974, Vol. 5, pp. 680-382.
5) Charles Francis Potter, as quoted by Suzanne Clark in the Bristol Herald Courier, January 24, 1982.
6) Abington School District v. Schempp.
7) Stone v. Graham, 449 US 39 (1980)
8) Inquiries in Sociology, (Allyn & Bacon, 1972), p. 37.
9) The Humanist Manifesto II was originally published in the September/October 1973 issue of The Humanist.
10) Rhode Island Charter of 1638.