By Diane Dew
Critique by Punkerslut
When I read this essay by Diane Dew, I was shocked in a variety of ways. First, I noticed that she used a great deal of deception. Of course, I'm not sure if it would be accurately classified as "deception." She might have honestly believed the words that she said to create her case. If not deception, then perhaps the most illogical and unreasonable assertions to prove her case. Second, I noticed that she held a great deal of bigotry and prejudice. It is one thing to oppose the ideas of certain group. I, for example, do not believe in the reincarnation of Hinduism or the gods of Paganism or the salvation of Christianity. However, I am not going to write an essay about the inherently brutal nature of a person who has accepted Christ, any more than I will write a treatise or dissertation on how all Hindus are just plain bad people. It is this respect for tolerance and acceptance that Diane Dew was without when she wrote this piece. But, enough of an introduction. On with the critique.
Well, the Supreme Court says!
I've heard this quote before from others, and decided to investigate it for myself. I had a very difficult time in doing this at first -- namely, because the government documents on the case were, well, spelled differently than how Diane Dew spelled it. It's actually "Torcaso," not "Torkoso." It makes things a bit difficult when you're trying to do a search or trying to look something up. [Case numbers: 367 U.S. 488.] So, I started reading. If the Supreme Court really did rule that Secular Humanism is a religion, then the case must be about Secular Humanism applying as a religion. I was quite distressed to find that the case, in fact, had absolutely nothing to do with Secular Humanism applying as a religion. To quote the document, the case was about: "Appellant was appointed by the Governor of Maryland to the office of Notary Public; but he was denied a commission because he would not declare his belief in God, as required by the Maryland Constitution. Claiming that this requirement violated his rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, he sued in a state court to compel issuance of his commission; but relief was denied." Well, that's quite amazing. This court case had absolutely nothing to do with Secular Humanism. What was the final ruling of the Supreme Court? "This Maryland religious test for public office unconstitutionally invades the appellant's freedom of belief and religion and therefore cannot be enforced against him." Okay, I'll reread that. Okay, I'll reread that one more time. Hhhmmmm... I'm still not seeing anything about the court ruling that Secular Humanism is a religion.
I kept looking, thinking that Diane Dew suffered from some serious lack of ethics. I mean, if you publish an essay, deliver it to the public, and use misleading and backhanded tactics to demonstrate your point of view, then you are a liar, in the most deceitful sense of the word. Not only are you a liar, but you're using misinformation, lies, and deceit to demonstrate your point. If you can prove Christianity only by using lies and misinformation, how does that speak for Christianity? Quite poorly. So, I think it is quite just to say this: Diane Dew has done a disservice to her readers, other Christians, and herself. Christians ought to oppose her fanatical ideals as much as Atheists. I'm an Atheist, but just because I am, it doesn't mean I support Stalin, or any other dictator whose rule was simply to brutalize society. Anyway, on with the critique...
So, I kept reading the case. I read the decision of the court, and then I was looking through the footnotes. And, that's where I found it. Footnote number 11, second to the bottom, states: "Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and others." Okay, there is a little lesson in logic that I would like to teach anyone who agrees with Dew's statement, "...secular humanism is a religion, even the Supreme Court has recognized it as such." For example, I am just as qualified in stating this: the Supreme Court said, "Can a negro ... become entitled to all the rights, and privileges, and immunities, guarantied by that instrument [the Constitution] to the citizen? [...] We think they [African humans]... can claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States." It's true, the Supreme Court definitely did say this. For those doubting me, look up this famous case: U.S. Supreme Court, DRED SCOTT v. SANDFORD, 60 U.S. 393 (1856), 60 U.S. 393 (How.).
What's misleading about such a statement? Imagine this. You're reading a pamphlet for the National Socialist Party, and it begins with a quote, "The Supreme Court ruled that Negros are not allowed to the same rights as whites!" Then, needless to say, it was probably followed by a misspelling of "Dred Scott v. Sanford." What's misleading about this? Well, for one, it's a case that has been disregarded, because it was based on slave law. But even besides that, the court case was about a slave suing for his liberty, when the court ruled that a slave cannot sue, since he is not a citizen. Does this put into stone, proof, that African humans have no rights? Absolutely not. This was a footnote to the case, which only partly reflected on the opinion of the court.
How, then, was it misleading for Diane Dew to quote the Supreme Court as "recognizing" Secular Humanism as a religion? Simple. Any person could simply dig up all the case files of the Supreme Court and look through until they find one of the justices say one thing or another that might relate to their case. Take a Civil Rights case and quote a dissenting justice who says that "Negroids are inferior!" Take an early Federalist case and quote a dissenting justice who says that "Every state must have the right to enslave Africans if they want." Take some case in the 1800's where one of the judges states that being a Baptist is the only way to get to heaven, and you can say, "Well, the Supreme Court says that all Catholics are bound to suffer all the tortures in hell!" Has there been any case, though, that was an argument over whether catholics are going to hell? No, not to my knowledge, there hasn't been. (But, I would definitely be highly amused if I heard of such a case.) Has there ever been in a case, that was an argument over whether Secular Humanism is a religion or not? To my understanding, also, there has not.
Some Humanists may call themselves a religion. One dictionary defines it as, "A system of thought that centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth." [dictionary.com] I really don't see how it qualifies as a religion. Today, a member of the Democratic Party might say, "The Democratic Party is a religion." Does that mean anything? The Democratic Party has been around for probably one hundred years longer than this person has been a member. The fact that he calls it a religion, does that simply make it a religion? The same can be said of the Republican Party, or a bingo club, or any other sort of title that people afford themselves. Maybe being African American could be a religion, as much as being Latino American, or Caucasian. Whatever. The fact that some Humanists call themselves a religion is, in fact, rather irrelevant.
We Hate Christians..... eerrrr?
Very simply, all of this can be described as bigotry. If you read a text by a Nazi political party, and it begins with, "Blacks hate all whites. It is their intention to cause all whites misery and suffering," among other things, then it is not dissimilar to Diane Dew. If you read a text by a Capitalist, or a Republican, it might begin with, "Liberals hate America," as Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh seem to believe. These people try to spread their hatred and their bigotry through convincing people that they are persecuted. The Nazi will say that Jews are persecuting Aryans, the Capitalist will say that Liberals are persecuting the working class, and the Republican will say that gays are persecuting heterosexuals. When we read this propaganda, we are not being taught anything meaningful. It is simply a lesson in how people try to get rouse the public into unrelenting cruelty among each other. When Diane Dew stated that Secular Humanists hate Christians, she was simply trying to spread bigotry by using poor logic, ill-reasoning, and an extremely narrow point of view. I'm pretty sure that if it was her intention to turn America into a Christian nation, that it will only be at the cost of our liberty and freedom to think, say, and believe as we wish.