Saturday, January 17, 2015

Humanism and church-state separation

by Edd Doerr

Humanist Manifesto II (1973, excerpts): “The separation of church and state and the separation of ideology and state are imperatives. . . . The right to birth control, abortion, and divorce should be recognized.”

Unitarian Universalist General Assembly resolution (1982, excerpts): “Defend the democratic, pluralistic public school, opposing all forms of direct or indirect public aid to support sectarian private schools, such as tuition tax credits or vouchers. . . . Uphold religious neutrality in public education . . . oppose religious indoctrination in public schools [and] the introduction of sectarian religious doctrines, such as ‘scientific creationism’. . . . Uphold the constitutional privacy right of every woman, acknowledged by the Supreme Court in 1973 in Roe v Wade  and other rulings, to plan the number and spacing of her children and to terminate a problem pregnancy in collaboration with her physician, opposing all efforts through legislation or constitutional amendment to restrict that right or to impose by law a ‘theology of fetal personhood’.”

In 1982 prominent Humanist leaders/writers Edward Ericson and Sherwin Wine founded Americans for Religious Liberty (ARL) to defend precisely what the two above statements proclaim. To head the new organization they picked Edd Doerr, a columnist in The Humanist and editor of Americans United’s Church & State magazine since the early 1970s (and, incidentally, the author of the UUA resolution above and an original signer of Humanist Manifesto II) and currently a columnist in Free Inquiry magazine. Joining the ARL staff in 1990 was Al Menendez, an expert election analyst. Doerr and Menendez are the authors of over 60 books.

In its third of a century ARL has published 129 issues of its quarterly journal, Voice of Reason, the only church-state separation journal that reviews books in this important but neglected field, and over two dozen books and studies. All of ARL’s over 30 years of journals may be accessed on its web site –

ARL has reached millions through print and electronic media and public speaking, has presented testimony at congressional hearings, has been a member of various relevant coalitions, and has been involved in over 60 major church-state lawsuits, some before the Supreme Court. In one successful suit in the late 1980s, a challenge to the diversion of US aid to sectarian schools abroad brought in cooperation with the ACLU, the plaintiffs included Isaac Asimov and Corliss Lamont.

Attached in pdf is ARL’s most recent journal.

ARL would like to invite you to join and support this unique organization. It’s only $25 per year (tax deductible) and brings you the Voice of Reason either in print or pdf format. ARL is solely dependent on individual donations. Further information on request.

Edd Doerr
Americans for Religious Liberty
Box 6656
Silver Spring, MD 20916

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