By Edward O. Bragwell, Jr.
As a preacher of the gospel, I have always tried to avoid references to political issues in my preaching. In most cases I think that preachers should avoid trying to make political statements. After all, our main concern is to be for the spiritual welfare of others rather than being too concerned with the social, economic, or political affairs of the world. I am a strong believer in this. I also try to avoid too much involvement in these areas in my writing. But I think that something has occurred which merits comment, because it does in a way strike at our spiritual well-being. So please bear with me.
An interesting thing has happened here in the state of Alabama, the ramifications of which affect the whole country. A federal judge in Mobile has handed down what I think to be a very needed ruling. U.S. District Judge William Brevard Hand handed down a ruling on March 4, the results of which was that “36 schoolbooks must be removed from Alabama public schools because they advance the religion of secular humanism’ in violation of the U.S. Constitution” (The Anniston Star, March 5, 1987, p. 1A). This was the lead story in almost every newspaper in the state and on almost every local TV and radio newscast. Most of the national news outlets also quickly picked up on the story and it is easy to see why. This was a major blow to the humanists who want free access to the schools to preach their religion while they continue their fight to subvert other values being taught to our children. Of course the ACLU and other groups such as the American Way have already vowed to appeal this ruling.
This ruling and the publicity that surrounds it ought to cause Christians to come to some very strong realizations. I think that there are three basic realizations that we must come to:
1. The realization that secular humanism is a religion. One of the significant things about this ruling is that here we have a federal judge saying what many of have said all along. Secular humanism is a religion. Of course, humanists deny this. In response to the judge’s ruling Delos McKown, a humanist counselor at Auburn University and a member of the American Humanist Association board is quoted as saying, “No matter what he (Hand) says, no matter how he traces it back secular humanism is not a religion because it has nothing sacred in it” (The Anniston Star, March 5, 1987, p. 10A). What we need to realize, however, is that humanism does have something “sacred in it.” It makes man sacred and elevates humankind as the thing to be worshiped. Just as Satanism promotes Satan as its god and as idolatry promotes idols as its gods, humanism promotes man and humankind as its god. In humanism man glorifies himself and worships himself. Get a copy of the Humanist Manifesto (the humanist’s creed book) and read it and see if that’s not true. Humanism, therefore, must be dealt with as any other false religion. We must teach and exhort against its evils.
2. The realization that humanism has invaded our schools. This ruling would have never been handed down and there would not be so much publicity surrounding if this were not true. The decision was a result of a lawsuit filed by a group of 600 parents and teachers who had come to a realization of this fact. They had seen the humanist doctrines taught in some of the textbooks that were used in the state of Alabama and asked that these books be removed from the schools. Let me quote something from one of the home economics textbooks that was banned as a result of this ruling. “To strict a conscience may make you afraid to try new ventures and meet new people. It may make you feel different and unpopular. None of these thins belongs to a healthy personality” (Today’s Teen by Joan Kelly, Bennett & McKnight Publishing Co., 1981). Are you alarmed by such being in the textbooks that our children our using? I know I am. One who denies that humanism is in our schools is being naive. Take a good look at your children’s textbooks sometime. Ignoring humanism will not make it go away.
3. The realization that we must fight for our children’s minds. Humanists are making an assault on our children’s thinking throughout public schools. They freely admit this. Just read some of their writing sometime where they reveal their plans. It is well documented. What then are we to do? I think we must do what Christians have always done and what Christians are commanded to do. We need to make sure that we bring up our children “in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). Parents have always had to fight for the minds of their children. Humanism is not the first thing that Satan has used to try to draw away our young people, just the latest. We must not sit around wringing our hands and lamenting, “What are we going to do to protect our children from these humanist educators?” We must do what Christian parents have always done to protect their children from Satan’s devices. We must teach them the Lord’s way, the words which the Lord commands. “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you He down, and when you rise up” (Deut. 6:7). That is how we win the fight for our children’s minds.
Humanism has been in our schools for some time, although many are only now realizing it. The most influential force upon our American educational system is the ideas of John Dewey, an avowed humanist. It has been in the schools for years, although gaining a stronger hold in the past few years. I am a young man and remember that the humanist philosophies were present in my own education. Throughout grade school, humanistic ideas were promoted. Evolution was taught, and efforts were made to influence my values. The influence of humanism became even stronger as I went on to a state institution of higher learning and proceeded through both undergraduate and post-graduate study. I encountered the philosophies that we so readily associate with the false religion of humanism. As far as I can tell, I have not been greatly affected by humanism. I hope that I have not deceived myself in this assessment. I have been bombarded with the idea that man is here by chance, yet still firmly believe that God put us here on the earth for a purpose. I have been told that values are relative, yet still firmly believe that God has given us an absolute standard to live by. Why is this so? I believe that the great part of the credit for that lies at the feet of two godly people, my Mom and Dad. They taught us children that God’s way was the right way regardless of what anyone else might say. They warned us of the dangers and threats that there would be to our faith wherever that we might find ourselves in the world. We were made to realize that we must not be deceived by the blatant attempts by the people of the world to sway our thinking or by the subtle attempts on the part of those who claim to be brethren. So whether we were in the wide open arena of state controlled higher learning or in the sheltered confines of a “Christian” school, we had been taught not to believe everything we heard, but to rely upon God and His word as our standard. I realize that holding one’s own parents up as an example is risky, but I’ll take that chance, because I’m proud of what they have done for me.
So, what I am saying is, don’t leave the education of your children up to the world. Teach them the values at home that will help them withstand whatever outside threat they might encounter, even humanism. You can win the battle for your child’s mind if you are willing to put forth the effort.
We certainly praise the ruling of Judge Hand, but must not wait for a federal judge to tell us the dangers that lie in front of our young people. We must continue to teach them diligently the way of righteousness.
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 11, pp. 334-335
June 4, 1987