It’s about time. The American Humanist Association thinks it has scored a win for Secular Humanism by having a federal judge declare that Secular Humanism is a religion. They may have won a battle, but they have made it more difficult for them to win the war.
“The court finds that Secular Humanism is a religion for Establishment Clause purposes,” the ruling read.
The decision highlights the unusual position of the Humanist community, which has tried for years to obtain the same legal rights as more traditional religious groups while simultaneously rebuking the existence of a god or gods. But while some Humanists may chafe at being called a “religion,” others feel that the larger pursuit of equal rights trumps legal classifications.
Think for a second about what this means. If Secular Humanism is a religion, that means it has the same rights as Christianity. The same rights to butt out of politics. The same rights to be removed from public schools. The same rights to withdraw itself from public policy. Is that really a win? I don’t think so. Thoughtful Christians have actually been claiming for years that Secular Humanism is actually a religion and not just a philosophy, and we’re happy they have finally secured the dubious privilege of that definition from the civil government.
It is not likely that Secular Humanism will be treated the same way Christianity has been, however. Darwinism, largely dependent on the religion of Secular Humanism, will likely still be taught in schools as “science.” And atheists will probably continue to fight for the removal of any trace of theism from the public scene, in spite of the fact that such a removal would now constitute a public establishment of religion. But that’s to be expected.
The important reality here is that it will be harder for proponents of Secular Humanism to claim they aren’t a religion. In other words, it will be very hard for them to say they have no faith. Christianity requires faith in God. Secular Humanism requires faith that there isn’t a God. Neither position is purely philosophical or scientific. Both positions are fundamentally religious. We’ve been saying this for years. I’m glad to see atheists have finally gone public with it.