Secularists in Today’s American Classroom

By Danette Clark    November 24, 2012 (originally posted April, 2011)

One might think the real push to remove God from the classrooms of America began in 1963 with the lawsuit to remove prayer from schools filed by Madalyn Murray O’Hair against the school board of Baltimore. Not even close.

In 1837, Horace Mann became the first secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education, which was the first board of education established in the United States. This was the first major step in removing schools from the influence and control of families, parents, churches, and local communities and placing them in the control of state government. Although state-run schools allowed children from all classes and backgrounds to receive an education and provided needed funds for learning materials, Mann immediately began pushing for the removal of religious sectarian instruction in class.

Once considered brilliant education reformers of their time, men like Horace Mann, John Dewey and G. Stanley Hall are still considered brilliant education reformers — among progressives, that is. They believed they could bring about social change and a democratic society through education. Dewey claimed that democracy is the frame of reference for education.

G. Stanley Hall based his studies of childhood development on the theory of evolution and so began the segregation of children in the classroom based on their position on the evolutionary scale. Hall believed children should be indoctrinated to save them from the individualism that he believed was damaging to the progress of American culture.

In a video interview with Doug Phillips on education in America, John Dewey is described as a radical secular humanist, a bonafied God hater, and an atheist.

Humanism continues to be a foundation of progressive education today. The work of removing God from schools continues in thousands of schools across America under the model and ideas of Dewey and other radical progressive educators and psychologists.

Bill Ayers has this to say about John Dewey:

“But John Dewey was one of the brilliant, brilliant writers about what democratic education would look like and was himself an independent socialist. But he never resolved a central contradiction in our work, the contradiction between trying to change the school and being embedded in a society that has the exact opposite values culturally and politically and socially from the values you’re trying to build in a classroom.”

John Dewey aided in drafting the first Humanist Manifesto in 1933, which was written with the purpose of creating a new religion, humanism. The manifesto states that “… man’s larger understanding of the universe… requires a new statement of the means and purposes of religion”.

The drafters and signers lay out fifteen theses, or affirmations, reflecting their beliefs and the foundation of this new “religion.” The first affirmation is that “Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.”

The goals of humanists, according to the 1933 manifesto, included the evaluation, transformation and control of all associations and institutions, including the reconstitution of “religious institutions, their ritualistic forms, ecclesiastical methods, and communal activities”.

Humanists are progressive socialists. The fourteenth affirmation of the first Humanist Manifesto states, in part, that “a socialized and cooperative economic order must be established to the end that the equitable distribution of the means of life be possible. The goal of humanism is a free and universal society in which people voluntarily and intelligently cooperate for the common good. Humanists demand a shared life in a shared world.”

Maxine Greene, mentor and close associate of Bill Ayers at Columbia University, aided in drafting the second Humanist Manifesto in 1973, which declares:

“As in 1933, humanists still believe that traditional theism, especially faith in the prayer-hearing God, assumed to live and care for persons, to hear and understand their prayers, and to be able to do something about them, is an unproved and outmoded faith. Salvationism, based on mere affirmation, still appears as harmful, diverting people with false hopes of heaven hereafter. Reasonable minds look to other means for survival.”

Sol Stern wrote in the Summer 2006 City Journal about Bill Ayers’ relationship with Maxine Green:

“But he experienced an epiphany in a course taught by Maxine Greene, a leading light of the “critical pedagogy” movement. It hadn’t occurred to Ayers that an ed-school professor could speak or write as an authentic American radical. … Her vision was a far cry from the democratic optimism of the Founding Fathers… Maxine Greene urged teachers not to mince words with children about the evils of the existing social order. They should portray ‘homelessness as a consequence of the private dealings of landlords, an arms buildup as a consequence of corporate decisions, racial exclusion as a consequence of a private property-holder’s choice.’ In other words, they should turn the little ones into young socialists and critical theorists.”

President Obama and Bill Ayers have a much more extensive relationship, especially with regard to education, than most people realize. They share the same humanistic view of education and social order.

Read here about President Obama’s deep involvement, even today, with a secular humanist education reform movement that now operates in thousands of schools nationwide.

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