Although the U.S. Constitution forbids the creation of a national establishment of religion, the closest we have come to the creation of such an establishment is that of Secular Humanism, the worldview philosophy that now governs the curriculum of our tax-funded public schools. Some humanists claim that secular humanism is a religion; other humanists claim that it isn’t.
However, In March 1987, U.S. District Judge W. Brevard Hand ruled that Secular Humanism was a religion. Indeed, Phyllis Schlafly, a graduate of Harvard Law School, wrote in 1980, “Secular Humanism has become the established religion in the U.S. public school system.” The landmark 172-page ruling in this case of Smith v. Board of School Commissioners of Mobile County, Ala., affirmed what Christians had been saying for years: that the government school curriculum is based on and teaches the tenets of Secular Humanism and that this, therefore, constitutes an establishment of religion sponsored and sanctioned by the state, which is expressly forbidden by the Constitution of the United States.
The case really boiled down to determining what is a religion. The plaintiffs contended that Secular Humanism is a religion; the defendants argued that it is not. Since the U.S. Supreme Court had not stated an absolute definition of religion under the First Amendment, Judge Hand wrote that “any definition of religion must not be limited, therefore, to traditional religions, but must encompass systems of belief that are equivalent to them for the believer.”
He then wrote: “[A]ll religious beliefs may be classified by the questions they raise and the issues they address. These ... may be grouped as [follows]: (1) The existence of supernatural and/or transcendent reality; (2) The nature of man; (3) The ultimate end, or goal, or purpose of man’s existence, both individually and collectively; (4) The purpose and nature of the universe.”
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Sam Blumenfeld (photo)