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Evangelical Christian Book Mounts Major Attack on Secular Humanism

by Arthur Urrows


The following article is from the Secular Humanist Bulletin, Volume 17, Number 3.


Secular humanists should be on guard about a new book, Mind Siege: The Battle for Truth in the New Millennium, by Tim LaHaye and David Noebel. This book is a call to arms of evangelical Christians against secular humanism and Paul Kurtz, in particular.

The main theses of LaHaye and Noebel are that secular humanism is a “religion” and that the secular humanist ideology dominates all of the major institutions of American life—including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Organization for Women, the National Endowment for the Arts, the major television networks, the major foundations (Ford, Rockefeller, MacArthur), the National Council of Churches, the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, the United Nations, Harvard, Yale, and 2,000 other colleges and universities.

They also allege that secular humanists have “undermined the moral fabric of America” and that evangelical Christians (80 million strong) need to gear up for an all-out battle to root secular humanists out of public life and political office.

The book repeats the litany of libelous charges against secular humanism first made by LaHaye in his earlier 1980 book, Battle for the Mind. The book was influential in initiating a major fusillade against secular humanists. It helped galvanize both religious and political opposition to secular humanism during the early Reagan years. The attacks on secular humanism subsided in the 1990s, as the Religious Right turned to other enemies

Is this book a harbinger of another major assault on secular humanists?

LaHaye is coauthor of a series of best-selling novels. He is founder of the fundamentalist Creationist Institute and his wife, Beverly, heads Concerned Women of America, another ultra-conservative organization. Both LaHaye and Noebel are outspoken opponents of humanism.

What is unique this time around is that Mind Siege concentrates on Humanist Manifesto 2000, which was first published in Free Inquiry in the fall of 1999 and is held to be “the bible of humanists” along with Humanist Manifestos I and II. LaHaye and Noebel deplore “scientific naturalism” and “planetary humanism” as undermining Christian faith and American patriotism. They shift back and forth between the various Manifestos, even though the older ones were written decades ago when global political and economic conditions were different.

The Council for Secular Humanism has explicitly and repeatedly denied that it is a “religion,” and we have affirmed that secular humanists can lead a moral life and be good citizens without religious faith. Secular humanism is an ethical, philosophical, and scientific outlook. It is not a religion. Yet in this broadside, all humanist organizations in the United States are equally condemned.

Let us hope that this not the beginning of a major new assault, and that it will not be used by the religious right or their cohorts in the Bush administration and the conservative media to restrict the rights and freedom of secular humanists. We have countered this angry diatribe with a reasoned video of our own. (Copies are available by calling the Council for Secular Humanism at 1-800-335-1095.)

*     *     *

Meanwhile, plans are moving forward to renovate the new home of Center for Inquiry–West in Los Angeles. The new CFI–West will house the National Media Center, a dedicated facility from which experts in communication, public education, and every aspect of the paranormal and religion will inform and monitor the media industry.

Content specialists will be on site to: appear as guests on Los Angeles-based news and entertainment programs; advocate before Hollywood-based media production groups for more responsible handling of science, reason, and religion; inform producers who require in-depth background on CFI’s topics of expertise; coordinate a worldwide network of distinguished specialists to deliver timely, accurate criticism when media handle religious or paranormal topics irresponsibly; produce or support production of programs that uphold a scientific and rational worldview; and recognize outstandingly good, and bad, information and entertainment programs in a voice the media community cannot ignore.

To contribute to the fund-raising campaign to support these efforts, contact me at the Center for Inquiry–International, (716) 636-7571 ext. 311 or e-mail me at aurrows@centerforinquiry.net


Arthur Urrows is director of development for the Council for Secular Humanism.


CFI–West staffers (left to right back row): Armen Saginian of New Horizons, SOS Director Jim Christopher, CFI–West Executive Director Jim Underdown, and Project Coordinator Vaughn Rees. Front row: summer intern Danielle Lebens and Director of Internet Services Terry Rozelle.


[*] Secular Humanism Online Library

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