A Secular Humanist Declaration, the sequel to Humanist Manifesto I and II, is a significant statement setting forth the views of prominent scholars and writers in defense of free inquiry, science, reason, and democracy. At a time when religious fundamentalism is gaining adherents worldwide, the Declaration defends the separation of church and state, skepticism about supernatural claims, and the conviction that ethics can be developed independently of belief in God.
Its publication, reported on the front page of the New York Times and featured in newspapers and magazines throughout the world, has provoked intense controversy and debate.
The first principle of democratic secular humanism is its commitment to free inquiry . . .
Countless millions of thoughtful persons have espoused secular humanist ideals . . . and have contributed to the building of a more humane and democratic world . . .
We deplore the growth of intolerant sectarian creeds that foster hatred . . .
We do not believe that any one church should impose its views on moral virtue and sin, sexual conduct, marriage, divorce, birth control, or abortion, or legislate them for the rest of society . . .
We do not think it is moral to baptize infants, to confirm adolescents, or to impose a religious creed on young people before they are able to consent . . .
We deplore the efforts by fundamentalists . . . to invade the science classrooms, requiring that creationist theory be taught to students . . .
The media . . . are inordinately dominated by a pro-religious bias. The views of preachers, faith healers, and religious hucksters go largely unchallenged . . .
Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), professor emeritus of philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, was the author or editor of more than fifty books, including The Transcendental Temptation,… More about Paul Kurtz