…seems surprising, if not misguided.
The general tenor of the religious argument seems to be that “secularists” want to overthrow Christianity’s rightful place at the center of American culture, outlaw religion, brainwash youth into believing there is no God, and accomplish all this by a denigration of the human spirit accomplished through the promotion of pornography, the devaluing of human life, and the acceptance of a plurality of cultures.
But isn’t it, rather, that the roles in this formulation are reversed?
Ultimately, it is fundamentalists professing humility while blithely ignoring the irony surrounding their claims to personal knowledge of the mind of God, who purportedly gives them access to the one and only Truth, who pose a significant threat to America’s promise of a pluralistic, egalitarian society.
What are these pernicious secular ideals which threaten the supposed “soul” of America? Quoting from The Affirmations of Humanism: a Statement of Principles—
- We believe in an open and pluralistic society and that democracy is the best guarantee of protecting human rights from authoritarian elites and repressive majorities.
- We are committed to the principle of separation of church and state.
- We attempt to transcend divisive parochial loyalties based on race, religion, gender, nationality, creed, class, sexual orientation, or ethnicity and strive to work together for the common good of humanity.
- We believe in the cultivation of moral excellence.
- We respect the right to privacy. Mature adults should be allowed to fulfill their aspirations, to express their sexual preferences, to exercise reproductive freedom, to have access to comprehensive and informed health-care, and to die with dignity.
- We believe in the common moral decencies: altruism, integrity, honesty, truthfulness, responsibility. Humanist ethics is amenable to critical, rational guidance. There are normative standards that we discover together. Moral principles are tested by their consequences.
- We are deeply concerned with the moral education of our children. We want to nourish reason and compassion.
“Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error.” – Thomas Jefferson