Last weekend the Church of the Conspiracy Theorists (also known as “secular humanists”) had a conclave in New York City. They reveled in the rants that get their adrenaline pumping. The rants were aimed at what they call “The Religious Right.” In their jargon, this term applies to professed Christians who vote Republican.
As in all efforts to demonize one’s opponents, they treat this “Religious Right” as if it were a monolithic, hierarchical organization. To wit, one Ralph White of the Open Center, said, “The religious right now has an unprecedented influence on American politics and policy. It is incumbent on all of us to understand…its aims, methods, beliefs, theology and psychology.” This was said with a straight face, as if a group of Christian denominational leaders met every Monday morning to coordinate their “aims, methods, beliefs, theology and psychology,” then went forward to issue instructions to their congregations.
Not to be outdone, Bob Edgar, who heads the left-wing National Council of Churches (and was once a member of Congress), intoned, “This may be the darkest time in our history.” One CCT speaker, Joan Bokaer, of TheocracyWatch.org, railed against the Federal Communications Commission’s efforts to curb indecency on television, a problem with which large numbers of American parents grapple every week. Comparing the FCC to the Taliban, Ms. Bokaer carried her illogical analogy to its logical conclusion: “Indecency police are a major part of a theocratic state.”
Perhaps these secularist orators had all been inspired by former Vice President Al Gore, who earlier last week gave a speech against the Republican efforts in the Senate to end filibusters of judicial nominees. In the type of rhetoric for which he is famous, Gore said these efforts were evidence of an “aggressive new strain of right-wing religious zealotry.”
Amidst all of this frothing-at-the-mouth intolerance, one man spoke out. He was Chip Berlet of the human rights group, Political Research Associates. He had not forgotten his Christian tenets. He said, “I am uncomfortable when I hear people of sincere religious faith described as religious political extremists.”
About a thousand miles to the west of last weekend’s secular fiesta, the Thomas More Law Center of Ann Arbor, Michigan, is fighting two cases against secularist intolerance. Both have to do with permitting teachers to include in their science classes references to an “intelligent design” theory of the creation of the universe, alongside Darwin’s theory of evolution. While the two theories are not necessarily incompatible, secular humanists think they are. The American Civil Liberties Union, true to form, last year filed suit against a Pennsylvania school district that decided to include both theories in its science classes. The Thomas More Law Center is defending the school district.
Now, it is turning the tables and threatening to sue the Gull Lake Community School District of Lansing, to permit two teachers to include the intelligent design theory in their classes. Actually, they had been doing so for two years until recently when the school superintendent ordered them to stop, perhaps worried that the ACLU might sue the district. Now the superintendent has a new worry: a public interest law firm on the other side, threatening suit over academic freedom and the students’ right to learn about two theories of the creation of the universe.
Note to the ACLU and other secularists: If the universe was created from a “Big Bang” of accumulated cosmic dust, where did the cosmic dust come from? Who put it there?