Organized Humanism Produces
A Growing Anti-Christian Society

Robert L. Waggoner[1]

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:12-13, N-KJV).


Many Christians realize we’re in the midst of a philosophical and cultural anti-Christian revolution. However, most Christians do not understand how to fight against the forces producing this revolution primarily because most do not understand their philosophical enemy. When the philosophical enemy is identified and understood, then the means of resistance can be more readily determined. The primary philosophical enemy confronting Christians today is humanism.

Humanism has had growing influence since the Renaissance, although most of that time it was not an organized movement. However, during the last century, humanists have organized themselves. Through their organizations, humanists have been able to produce a thoroughly anti-Christian cultural revolution. Because of their organized efforts, the influence of humanism is now regarded by many as greater in the western world than that of any other religious group or of any combination of other religious groups.[2]

Since humanism has become so extremely influential through its many and varied organizations, Christians should become much better informed, not only about humanism, but also about its many organizations. What follows is an attempt to chronicle some of the major historical developments in the founding of humanistic organizations in this country.

Early Organizational Efforts

One of the first efforts toward organizing humanism in America was made by Dr. Felix Adler, a former rabbi. He is responsible for organizing the Society for Ethical Culture in New York City in 1876. This was the first of some thirty autonomous societies for ethical culture to be organized. These were eventually unified by the American Ethical Union (established by Dr. Adler in 1889) and the International Humanist and Ethical Union (established in 1952). Dr. Adler also founded the Ethical Movement in 1893 and it was organized internationally. The Philosophy Club of Faculty was founded by Dr. Adler in 1904 at both Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary. At later dates, John Hopkins, Princeton, and Yale also had a Club of Faculty organized on their campuses.

In addition, other organizations were established either by Dr. Adler, by persons of similar values, or were eventually spawned by organizations which Dr. Adler had founded earlier. Among these were Free Kindergartens, Neighborhood Guild, the Good Government Club (now known as the City Club), Settlement Houses, Child Study Associations of America, Legal Aid Society, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood centers.[3]

Among other organizations whose leaders have strong ties with these humanist organizations are the “National Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy (SANE), the Fabian Socialist Movement, World Federalists, USA (formerly the United World Federalists), Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) and various agencies of the United Nations.”[4]

Major Organizational Growth In the 1920s and 1930s

In 1920, the American Civil Liberties Union was established by Roger Baldwin in New York City. It had previously existed as American Union Against Militarism, and as National Civil Liberties Bureau. “The ACLU is actually a carefully decentralized grassroots network of fifty-one separately incorporated affiliates, over four hundred local chapters, and approximately five thousand volunteer lawyers from coast to coast.”[5] It “is the world’s oldest, largest, and most influential association of lawyers, political activists, and social reformers.”[6] While the ACLU does not promote itself as a humanistic organization, its values are generally consistent with those of humanism. It has had great success in transforming America’s legal system by removing Christian values as the foundations for law and replacing them with humanistic ones.

In 1929, Charles F. Potter, having preached formerly for a Baptist church and then for the Unitarians, founded the First Humanist Society of New York, as a religious society. In 1930, he wrote a book entitled, Humanism: A New Religion,[7] in which he declared in the first sentence of the preface that the “purpose of this book is to set forth . . . the main points of the new religion called humanism.”

The early harbingers of humanism were followed in 1933 by the publication of the first Humanist Manifesto. It was signed by thirty-four influential national leaders – the first and the most notable of which was John Dewey. This document rejected traditional Christian beliefs in favor of naturalism, materialism, rationalism and socialism. It also declared that the purpose of humanism is to evaluate, transform, control, and direct all institutions and organizations by its own value system. In short, this was a declaration that humanists intended to produce a cultural revolution by removing Christianity from its foundational underpinning of American society and by substituting humanistic religious beliefs in its place. Later major documents that would further specify humanistic ideologies and goals include Humanist Manifesto II (1973), A Secular Humanist Declaration (1980), and A Declaration of Interdependence: A New Global Ethics (1988).

Other Major Organizational Advances

The Humanist and Free Inquiry Magazines

Major advancements in humanistic efforts were achieved in 1941 with the coming of The Humanist magazine, the founding of the American Humanist Association and the establishment of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Humanist magazine claims (on its frontispiece) to present “a non-theistic, secular, and naturalistic approach to philosophy, science, and broad areas of personal and social concern. It focuses on humanistic ideas, developments and revolutions.” This publication actively promotes a cultural revolution. “Humanistic revolutions are underway in religion, education, health care, family structure, civil liberties, housing, institutional care, racial equality, treatment of animals, birth control, ecology. These are most evident in the westernized nations.”[8] While there are many humanistic magazines, another major humanistic journal began, in the winter of 1980/81, with the publication of Free Inquiry magazine, edited by Paul Kurtz, the best known if not the most influential humanistic philosopher in the United States.

The American Humanist Association

The American Humanist Association was founded in Illinois as a tax-exempt organization for educational and religious purposes. The Bylaws of the American Humanist Association, amended in 1968, “reflect that the Association has a legal status as a ‘religious organization.’” The roots of AHA go back to 1927. University of Chicago professors and students then “began publication of a mimeographed sheet called The New Humanists.  This group became the New Humanist Association and organized the Humanists Press Association. In 1934 they changed their name to the American Humanist Association.”[9]

When it was incorporated in 1941, the AHA “became the formal representative of Humanists in the United States and Canada.”[10] The organization was derived largely from Unitarians who considered themselves religious humanists.

Planned Parenthood Federation

The roots of Planned Parenthood go back to 1916 when Margaret Sanger founded the first birth control center in the United States. Birth control leagues soon spouted up all over the country. They were united first under the name of National Birth Control League then the name was changed to American Birth Control League. In 1941 the American Birth Control League became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Then in 1963 this group became affiliated with World Population Emergency Campaign. Planned Parenthood has probably done more than any other group in the world to promote pre-marital and extra-marital promiscuity, abortion, and condom distribution. Its founder, Margaret Sanger was named Humanist of the Year in 1957.

United Nations and Its Agencies

In 1945, the United Nations was established. Some persons connected with the United Nations might object to it being designated as a humanistic organization. However, its charter is consistent with humanistic precepts, and several of its agencies, such as World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), have usually been directed by leading humanists. Moreover, these agencies generally have policies that mirror humanistic goals and objectives.

The Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies

In 1949, a major humanistic training institute, The Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, was founded in Aspen, Colorado. Although its central office is in New York City, the Aspen Institute has major centers of activity in many places, including Tokyo, Hawaii and Berlin. Probably the most important is located in Maryland, just outside Washington, D. C., where it is most accessible for training national leaders. Its purpose is to conduct advanced seminars in global ideology and humanistic studies. It trains “leading officials of the Trilateral commission, the White House, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation . . . the World Bank, the Council on Foreign Relations . . . etc.”[11] Through The Aspen Institute, humanist have a plan of action by which trained national humanistic leaders seek to implement the revolutionary values of humanism into cultural structures.

International Humanist and Ethical Union

In 1952, the influence of international humanism again accelerated with the establishment of the International Humanist and Ethical Union. This super federation of over thirty-five humanistic groups and associated organizations, including American Humanist Association, now claims over 4,000,000 members in twenty-four countries. It is linked to the United Nations as a non- governmental organization on a consultative status.

Sex Information and Education Council of the United States

In 1964, Dr. Mary Calderone, a member of Planned Parenthood, and five others, established the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) to promote sex education in public schools. While its articles of incorporation claim it has a religious purpose, its religion is definitely humanistic. Since 1964, the “SIECUS orbit has expanded to envelope publishing houses, film producers, governmental and private agencies, foundations, medical societies, educational institutions, and religious bodies. This massive network of interlocking organizations is the power structure through which SIECUS operates to exert pressure on local schools and an unsuspecting public to adopt its sex education program.”[12]

The Council for Democratic and Secular Humanism

In 1980, The Council for Democratic and Secular Humanism (CODESH) was founded by Paul Kurtz, who serves as its chairman. CODESH seeks to demonstrate the viability of a thoroughly secular, humanistic way of life. It sponsors several organizations, such as The Academy of Humanism, Secular Organizations for Sobriety, and The Secular Humanist Aid and Relief Program. Among its many publications are Free Inquiry magazine and The Secular Humanist Bulletin. It also sponsors annual lecture conferences to explore controversial topics of interest to humanists.

Public Schools, NEA, and other Educational Agencies

A less obvious but highly successful attempt to organize humanistic values into American culture was the effort made by John Dewey and others in the late nineteenth century. They captured public schools and incorporate humanistic values (although not generally designated by that name) into curriculum content and teaching methodology in every classroom in America. Through educational agencies (such as the National Education Association (NEA) and its various state affiliated organizations) and through educational courses in teacher training colleges and universities, humanistic values have been successfully preached to our nations teachers (generally without teachers being aware of it). Teachers have then passed those values on to their students. Humanism has also entered the school classroom through school textbooks. Modern educational philosophy and psychology is thoroughly humanistic.

The result, declared by a humanist back in 1930 but only recently realized by some Christians, is that “every American public school is a school of Humanism.”[13] And this is not likely to change, because humanists fight to keep the public school as an institution through which its ideas may be imparted to our nation’s children. Through public schools, children are “humanized.” Then, they then grow up to assume positions of responsibility and leadership in every possible vocation, whether in the arts, politics, or profession. And they carry their humanistic values with them from the schools to their professions. As a result, humanistic values permeate every facet of our culture.

A Growing Anti-Christian Society

Humanistic ideas are little known by Christians. Those ideas are reinforced by organized efforts to implement them through public policies that restructure all social, political and cultural institutions. When those organizations (including public schools) which implement humanistic ideas are not recognized to promote values contrary to those held by Christians, then Christians generally have mixed reactions when those organizations began to achieve their objectives.

On the one hand, some Christians are confounded - not understanding what’s happening nor why. On the other hand, some Christians have been so weakened in their convictions by humanistic ideals that they are simply not concerned - they have no will to resist. Most Christians are therefore simply not prepared to deal with the humanistic cultural revolutions now facing us.

Christian leaders must therefore initiate educational programs to inform Christians not only about humanistic ideas, organizations and tactics, but also about appropriate measures to defend themselves and their families, and to take offensive measures to overthrow these anti-Christian cultural revolutions.

The growing influence of humanism has already produced a loss of Christian freedoms and a growing anti-Christian sentiment in this country. Unless Christians get more understanding of humanism and its many organizations, objectives and processes, and until Christians effectively resist these organized efforts, Christian freedoms will continue to decrease and Christians will be everywhere out maneuvered in efforts to mold public opinion and shape public policies in keeping with Christian values.

[1]Copyright © by Robert L. Waggoner. Permission is granted to reproduce and distribute this document for non-commercial educational purposes provided it is unaltered and copyright and authorship are given.

[2]A James Reichley, Religion in American Public Life, Washington , DC: The Brookings Institute, 1985, 47, with quotation from Leo Pfeffer, “The Triumph of Secular Humanism,” Journal of Church and State. Vol. 19, Spring, 1977, 211.

[3]See Claire Chambers, The SIECUS Circle: A Humanist Revolution, (Belmont, Mass.: Western Islands, 1977), 60-61.

[4]Same source, 61.

[5]George Grant, Trial and Error: The American Civil Liberties Union and Its Impact on Your Family, (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc., 1989), 29.

[6]Same source, 23

[7]New York: Simon and Schuster.

[8]Lloyd L. Morain, The Humanist, July/August, 1984.

[9]Allan Turner, “Organized Humanism,” Humanism: Devotion to Man, (Tampa, FL: Florida College Bookstore, 1985), 100.

[10]Claire Chambers, 65.

[11]Michael Loyd Chadwick, “Global Ideology, Humanistic Studies and the Aspen Institute,” Freeman Digest, 1979, 1.

[12]Claire Chambers, same source, Forward, xiii.

[13]Charles F. Potter, Humanism: A New Religion, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1930), 128.