The State Church of America

September 28, 2011

There’s no need for me to multiply words here. The leaders and theologians of what’s quite possibly the most effective church in the land speak well enough. Just believe what they themselves say. More eloquence and clarity would be hard to add. We right-wing, round-the-bend rubes don’t need to foam at the mouth. Just take these clergy-types at their own word.

First to the podium is Charles Potter, former honorary president of the National Education Association:

Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism, and every American school is a school of humanism. What can a theistic Sunday school’s meeting for an hour once a week and teaching only a fraction of the children do to stem the tide of the five-day program of humanistic teaching?

(Charles E. Potter, “Humanism: A New Religion”, 1930)

I’ve said for a long time that every school is a religious institution. Looks like I’m not the only one who sees that.

Hear now from humanist John Dunphy:

I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers that correctly perceive their role as proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being … The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and new. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing the classroom instead of the pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level – preschool day care or large state universities.

(The Humanist, Jan/Feb 1983)

He sees what many don’t see, that the issue of education is a battle for the future of mankind. Ideas have consequences. Neutrality is a myth, but it’s an effective one, because lots of people believe it.

Remember Benjamin Bloom, the “father” of outcome-based education?

By educational objectives, we mean explicit formulations of the ways in which students are expected to be changed by the educative process. That is, the ways in which they will change in their thinking, their feelings, and their actions.

(Taxonomy – Handbook I – pg. 26)

Just what is that humanist religion? Read from the Humanist Manifesto:

“Humanism asserts that the nature of the universe depicted by modem science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantees of human values…. Religious humanism considers the complete realization of human personality to be the end of man’s life and seeks its development and fulfillment in the here and now…

“Religious humanism maintains that all associations and institutions exist for the fulfillment of human fife. The intelligent evaluation, transformation, control, and direction of such associations and institutions with a view to the enhancement of human life is the purpose and program of humanism. Certainly religious institutions, their ritualistic forms, ecclesiastical methods, and communal activities must be reconstituted as rapidly as experience allows, in order to function effectively in the modern world.”

More could be added. These preachments are the proverbial surface scratches. The message is clear.

There’s an established religion in these United States. It’s been so for a long time. I think those who shrill the most loudly for “separation of church and state” don’t mean this church.

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