A new civil religion, not secular humanism, is being imposed

6 Nov

From Bruce Frohen:

In court at least, one no longer hears the argument that federal policies are establishing a “religion of secular humanism.” The reason for this is simple: raising the issue is a guaranteed way of losing, immediately and with extreme prejudice, the suit in which the claim is made. This does not necessarily mean that criticizing decisions interpreting the First Amendment’s prohibition against a national, established religion for promoting their own kind of religion is clearly wrong, only that it violates judicial self-conceptions. Judges find it insulting to have their precepts, which they have been told since law school are rooted in the only enlightened, democratic vision of law possible, actually bespeak something so “irrational” and “superstitious” as faith. These decisions are rooted in faith. But it is a political, not a properly religious, faith.

The claim that judges are imposing on us a secular humanist religion is inaccurate. But its inaccuracy does not stem from its entirely valid charge that post–World War II religion clause jurisprudence is rooted in a specific conception of the human person and his relationship to God. Rather, the inaccuracy of the secular humanism argument comes from its failure to make the distinction between religion qua religion and its political doppelganger, civil religion.

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