Equality to all Essay

This essay has a total of 4396 words and 19 pages.

Equality to all





Equality for All?


The question has been raised: who is in control of curriculum in our school? Not just the
choosing of the precise books, but who is in charge of the contents of the books that
curriculum directors can choose from? Once the answers to these questions are found, what
should be done if they point to one group? So many problems in the United States have
arisen when the people discover that one group is violating the people’s rights in some
way by not allowing others power, that it would be logical to conclude that it would be
perceived by many to be unfair if it is found that one interest group chooses what all
American children learn, especially if that interest group is furthering their own
interests by doing so.

However, finding out the answers to these questions is quite difficult at best. The
subject has been written about extensively, and since there are so many opinions, the
unbiased truth is virtually impossible to come by. In this topic, it has been at least
suggested by others that everyone is biased, including our Supreme Court, so one must
tread carefully in stating so-called "facts." Humanism and secular humanism and what they
have to do with present educational curriculum will be discussed for the remainder.
Though human nature tends to make all humans biased in some way, both sides of the
argument have been researched and will be documented until fair conclusions can be made.

First, the term "humanism" must be defined. To do this fully, the definition of
"humanism" will be given from the dictionary, and then humanists themselves will have a
turn to define themselves. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary terms "humanism" as "a
doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values; esp.: a
philosophy that usually rejects supernaturalism and stresses an individual’s dignity and
worth and capacity for self-realization through reason." The same dictionary defines
"doctrine" as "a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge
or system of belief: DOGMA." To understand fully what this is pointing to, one must then
look at the definition of "dogma"—"a doctrine or body of doctrines concerning faith or
morals formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church." Most will agree that
an accredited collegiate dictionary is an acceptable place to look for information, and
here it is shown that humanism can be tied to a religion.

People who claim to be humanist would also seem to be a good place to look for a formal
term for humanism. Rebecca Bushnell writes of early humanist pedagogy when she says,

"This is a humanism based on belief that people are largely responsible for what happens
on this earth; committed to tolerance, attention to the differences among people and the
need to treat them with equal respect; shaped by a cheerful acceptance of ambivalence and
contradiction; and informed by an almost painful historical consciousness, which sees the
past as estranged yet able to illuminate present concerns (8)."

This explanation definitely sounds like what most people want to feel, or at least what
they claim to, but humanism is more than this.

Humanism is also defined by the worship of man; Curtis W. Reese writes, "There is a large
element of faith in all religion. [Christianity has faith] in the love of God; and
Humanism in man as the measure of values…Hypotheses, postulates, and assumptions in their
proper realm are comparable to faith in the realm of religion. In this way I speak of the
faith of Humanism." Another humanist deals with the humanistic beliefs in right and
wrong: "In humanism right and wrong are defined in terms of consequence to human life
(10)."

To further clarify what humanists believe, more writings of humanists will prove that they
consider humanism to be their religion. Gerald A. Larque, a man who signed the Humanist
Manifesto II, writes, "Our religion is based upon the best that we know about our cosmos,
our world, and ourselves…We recognize our oneness with the cosmos and our spatial and
temporal minuteness…We see ourselves as the highest life-form the evolutionary process has
developed…(11)." The 1979 Humanist of the Year, who co-founded and edited The New
Humanist, also believes humanism to be a religion: "…Humanism in a naturalistic frame is
validly a religion…(7)."

A Humanist Manifesto, also known as the Humanist Manifesto I, continually describes
humanism as a religion. "The time has come for widespread recognition of the radical
changes in religious beliefs…In every field of human activity, the vital movement is now
in the direction of a candid and explicit humanism…religious humanism (13)." From the
Humanist Manifesto II, one can see that Kurtz thinks of humanism as " a philosophical,
religious, and moral point of view" and that it offers a believer a formula for salvation
and a future sanctuary (12).

Other humanists who claim humanism as their religion illustrate what "religion" means to
them. Julian Huxley says in Religion Without Revelation, "There are whole religions which
make no mention of God. The most notable example, as already mentioned, is that of
Buddhism (14)." Furthering this thought, "Religion, then,…will mean a ruling commitment
practiced by a community of individuals to what they believe creates, sustains, saves, and
transforms human existence toward the greatest good (15)." With this, one has sufficient
information concerning basic humanism beliefs.

Besides the fact that humanists themselves admit to being a religious organization, there
are several examples of how the American legal system treats humanism—as a religion. In a
Supreme Court case, Torcaso v. Watkins, a Notary Public from Maryland was reinstated after
being fired for refusing to proclaim a belief in God. The Court recognized religions that
do not believe in God as "real" religions when it wrote, "Among religions in this country
which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in God are Buddhism,
Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and others (7)." This statement will be
considered later in the discussion.

All formal humanist membership organizations in America claim 501(c )3 religious tax
exempt status or deem themselves expressly religious. Dr. Paul Kurtz states, "Even the
American Humanist Association (3,500 members)…has a religious tax exemption (7)." An
editor of The Humanist magazine, Paul Blanshard says, "There has been another victory for
those who would interpret the word "religion" very broadly…the appellate court reversed by
a unanimous decision. Now the F.O.R. [Fellowship of Reconciliation] is established as a
"religious" organization, with full right to tax exemption (7)." Tax-exempt status is
serious business.

In an article titled "The Religion of Democracy: Part II," Rudolph Dreikurs argues that
humanism should be thought of as religious because of the form and content. "The new
religion will probably be humanistic. It will be concerned with man and not with God."
This "new religion" will have new principles, new rituals, and new symbols (16).

Those involved in the humanist religion also have their own ministers, and "minister" is
defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as "one officiating or assisting the officiant
in church worship." Harvard University has its own Humanist chaplain, Thomas Ferrick, who
is also "one of the 34 full- and part-time chaplains that make up the United Ministry at
Harvard and Radcliffe, and he also serves as executive director of the Humanist
Association of Massachusetts’ local chapter (17)." In Auburn University’s Student/Faculty
Directory, under "Auburn Pastors and Campus Ministers—Humanist," there is a Humanist
Counselor for the students (7). The University of Arizona’s Student Handbook for
1990-1991 lists "Humanists" under the title "Religious Services" (7). These facts should
only prove further that Humanism is a religion.

Now that humanism is understood, it is time to link humanism with present-day educational
curriculum. Paul Vitz conducted research on the censorship of student’s textbooks, funded
by the National Institute of Education, a part of the federal government, and came to the
conclusion that they are strongly biased for the Secular Humanist worldview. "Whether one
calls it secular humanism, enlightenment universalism, skeptical modernism, or just plain
permissive liberalism, the bottom line is that a very particular and narrow sectarian
philosophy has taken control of American education (18)." This seems to be a documented
conclusion from an recognized institute, but yet it has not been fully discussed with the
American public at large.

Humanists themselves have admitted to the fact that they use the classroom to further
their religion. John J. Dunphy states in his A Religion for a New Age, "[T]he battle for
humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who
correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity
that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human
being (19)." Another man who calls himself a "Humanist minister", Charles Francis Potter,
says:

"Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a
school of Humanism. What can the theistic Sunday-schools, meeting for an hour once a
week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day
program of humanistic teaching? (20)"

He then continues, "So very Humanistic is modern education that no religion has a future
unless it be Humanism (20)." These men obviously believe very strongly not only that
humanism is being taught in American public schools, but also that it should overpower
other religions.

John Dewey, who signed the Humanist Manifesto I, wrote a book, Education Today, in which
he voices many opinions about education and how humanism should be implemented. "I
believe that…it is the business of every one interested in education to insist upon the
school as the primary and most effective instrument of social progress and reform…(21)".
On page eighty he says, "We certainly cannot teach religion as an abstract essence. We
have got to teach something as religion, and that means practically some religion." He
also believes public education to be the vehicle by which this "deeper religion" is
promoted (21).

Now that it has been documented that the humanist religion is being funneled into public
schools, it is time to give a few examples of the things in school curriculum that are
humanist in nature. First, homosexuality is being pushed as acceptable behavior to
students. The schools are teaching that it should be looked at as positive to have "full
sexual adjustment without any hang-ups caused by outdated religious concepts. And our
schools are the main tool used to teach the young people this human freedom (6)." Not
only is homosexuality taught as "okay," but they are also teaching the theory of evolution
in full force. Teachers are not allowed to present any kind of argument for creationist
theory; Jerry Bergman, Ph.D., states, "In fact, it is often considered inappropriate to
criticize evolution, let alone present the creationist position (6)." This occurs without
much argument, despite the fact that there are many books very critical of evolutionary
theory "written by either evolutionists or by individuals who at least do not agree with
the creationist perspective (6)." The biology textbook Of Pandas and People by Percival
Davis and Dean H. Kenyon was included by the trustees in Plano, Texas, in the school
curriculum, and humanist educators lost all pretense of "tolerance" because the book
"acknowledges the abundance of design manifest in the natural world and thus reasonably
postulates an intelligent Designer (7)." Homosexuality and evolution are just a couple
examples of humanist perspective in the schools.

The logic these humanists use, that schools are the best place to push their beliefs,
makes complete sense, even "falls in line" with some of the basic thoughts of sociological
theory: that "no knowledge is value-neutral; no knowledge is free of presuppositions. All
knowledge is rooted in the social structure in particular ways and reflects (even if
indirectly) the particular interest of different sectors of the population (4)."
Reasonably, this idea is also true for knowledge given to children in public schools.
Even John Dewey said (as quoted earlier) that the teaching of religion is inevitable in
schools, that "some religion" would have to be taught. Is this what the American
Constitution allows? It is wrong, and very punishable, for public schools to advocate
Christianity or to teach any of its beliefs, but the teaching of humanism’s beliefs
remains untouched.

Humanists tend to label certain "unpopular" ideas (those that they do not agree with) as
religious, and those they do support as non-religious. For instance, schools are free to
teach "thou shalt not steal, lie, or murder" but not "thou shalt not commit adultery or
take the name of God in vain." What is the difference between the two statements, which
are both from the Ten Commandments, the most basic Western religious law? Other concepts
taught presently that have a religious origin are "the goal of treating others as one
would like to be treated, the need to take an occasional break from one’s work, to be
balanced in all things, and the attempt to be fair to all people (6)." One of the biggest
objective of liberals in recent years has been to insure equal rights for all people, yet
this idea was adopted as a religious goal over 2,000 years ago in the Christian
Scriptures. Bergman states, "Incidentally, the source of the belief in the equality of
Continues for 10 more pages >>




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