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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arthur Urrows is director of development for the Council
for Secular Humanism.
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.