The Real Enemy - Political Humanism


In the name of tolerance and freedom, speaking out against sin may become illegal.

By Richard Paul Salbato


Everyone has seen the moral change in the world.  Some have accepted it as social evolution.  Others have fought against it as though beating their heads against a brick wall.  Catholic and Protestant parents have opted out of the school systems of their countries and even their churches and are teaching at home.  But even these seem to be so overwhelmed by the social environment, everything seems out of control.  Television, radio, the people around their home, the coffee shops, the very government are all influences that make one question what is true and false, moral and immoral, right and wrong.  In most cases parents simply give up and go along with the times. 


But where is this social evolution taking us and who is behind it.  In this new world there are no dogmas - no truths except the dogma of relativism.  To say that there really is a truth, a binding and valid truth  is a genuine attack against the modern spirit and is a manifold threat against its supreme gods: tolerance and freedom.  Relativism considers all opinions as true, even if they are contradictory and this is the greatest problem of our time.

It is not unusual to meet people who think that it is a primary condition required of citizens (in order to be tolerant of one another and to live in peace with one another) to not hold to any truth, or to not to adhere firmly to any assertion as unshakably true in itself.

But these people are in fact the most intolerant people, for they impose their ideas of "no truth" on others as something unshakably true.  They feel compelled to impose by force and coercion their own belief of "No-truths" on their co-citizens. 


Where is Social Evolution taking us?


Up until recent times sociologists were concerned about the questions of social order and the common good. This involved maintaining that social stability as founded on moral order. Integral to this concept of moral order is a shared concept of "what is not acceptable" or "deviance", and a willingness to identify the boundaries of appropriate behavior. 

Deviance as a concept helps to define the framework within which a group can develop a sense of its own cultural identity and social order.   Now, however, deviance is being redefined.  Starting about 20 years ago courses on deviance were deleted from the academic programs of many sociology faculties, and most current sociology textbooks reject the idea of defining any behavior as being deviant.

At the same time Catholic priests were being vilified for pedophilia abuses, academic groups were busily engaged in promoting what is termed "intergenerational intimacy." A 1991 collection of essays, "Male Intergenerational Intimacy: Historical, Socio-Psychological and Legal Perspectives," was penned by an international group of scholars, many in important teaching positions. In works such as these, pedophiles are no longer seen as deviants, but as "border crossers." Many of the essays seek to normalize underage sexual practices by proposing a neutral terminology that seeks to eliminate "the bias against pedophilia."

In 1994 the American Psychiatric Association revised its "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual" so that neither pedophilia nor child molestation would in itself necessarily be indicative of psychological disorder. To qualify as disordered the molesters must feel "anxious" about their acts or be "impaired" in their work or social relationships. Then in 1998 a study released by the American Psychological Association argued that sexual abuse of children does not cause emotional disorders or unusual psychological problems in adulthood.

Heterosexual relations among teen-agers have also been redefined. The book cites examples where sexual promiscuity among adolescents is now seen as perfectly normal. According to this view, the real problem is with programs that promote abstinence. Proponents of promiscuity allege that such programs contribute to deviant behavior, intolerance and a dangerous failure to use contraceptives.

Another area of behavior now being targeted for change is suicide. Taking one's life  has traditionally been seen as a deviant act because it devalues human life. But euthanasia campaigners are trying to change opinions by portraying suicide as an issue of "choice" and talk about "the right to die."

And at the academic level it is increasingly common to talk about two types of suicide: those that need to be prevented, and "rational" suicides that should be respected and even helped. At the time the book was written, there were about 100,000 sites on the Internet dedicated to the theme of suicide.


No wonder Cardinal Dias lumped psychiatrists in with "quacks," saying, "Never before in the history of humankind has there been such a proliferation of soothsayers and black magicians, of psychiatrists and quacks, of esoteric theories and healers."


Changing language


Redefining language referring to human behavior is part of a larger campaign to change perceptions. In the suicide debate, changing the terms from "disturbed" or "crazy" to "dignity" or "autonomy" is an important move. She notes that we are in the age of experts whose views are promoted as being more reliable than those of traditional morality and the churches. Combined with this is the influence of cultural relativists who call for the rejection of the concepts of good and evil.

But  a society that "refuses to acknowledge and negatively sanction the deviant acts our common sense tells us are destructive, is a society that has lost the capacity to confront evil that has a capacity to dehumanize us all."        


Veritatis Splendor - the Splendor of Truth


John Paul II in "Veritatis Splendor": "By acknowledging and teaching the existence of intrinsic evil in given human acts, the Church remains faithful to the integral truth about man; she thus respects and promotes man in his dignity and vocation" (No. 83).   Too often truth is not accepted, "and freedom alone, uprooted from any objectivity, is left to decide by itself what is good and what is evil" (No. 84).

"Veritatis Splendor" also deals with a common objection to moral norms, namely, that defending objective precepts is often seen as intolerant or not taking into account the complexity of an individual's particular situation. But, explains John Paul II, upholding the truth does not mean the Church is lacking in compassion. The Church is both a mother and teacher, and concealing or weakening moral truth is not consistent with genuine understanding and compassion.

Setting limits to what is acceptable behavior and maintaining the force of negative moral norms that prohibit evil, continues the encyclical, is a valuable service.


Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on "Truth"


Is it possible to pray jointly with members of other religions, whether monotheist, polytheist, pantheist or transcendental? Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger responds to this question in his latest book.

"A distinction must be made between multi-religious and inter-religious prayer," the cardinal says in "Fede, verità, tolleranza -- Il cristianesimo e le religioni del mondo" (Faith, Truth, Tolerance -- Christianity and the World Religions), released by Cantagalli Publishers.

The prayers for peace in Assisi, called by John Paul II, are multi-religious, as all participants pray at the same time but in different places.

In these cases, the participants "know that their way of understanding the divinity and, therefore, their way of addressing it, is so different that a common prayer would be a fiction, it would not be true," writes Cardinal Ratzinger, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

On the contrary, in inter-religious prayers, people of diverse religious traditions pray together, he explains.  "Is it possible to do so in a truthful and honest way?" the author asks. He responds by saying that he seriously doubts it.  If such inter-religious prayers are organized, however, they require three conditions, Cardinal Ratzinger stresses.

First, he says, it must be made clear that one is praying to the one, personal God; second, it must be established that what is being prayed for is not in contradiction to the Our Father; and third, it must be stressed that for Christians Jesus Christ is the sole redeemer of all people.



The real problem is that of truth, (Faith, Truth, Tolerance -- Christianity and the World Religions) -  "whether relativism is really the assumption necessary for tolerance; whether religions are really all the same," or whether, in fact, "truth can be known."   "Tolerance and respect for the other seem to have imposed the idea of the equivalence of all religions,"
Catholic Democracy: The principles of heroic democracy are: respecting each citizen as a person; rejecting a natural "anthropocentric" humanism; promoting the common good; living a supernatural "integral" humanism; cultivating prophets of the people; educating children for freedom; facilitating faith-based and community initiatives; practicing the principle of solidarity; protecting freedom of thought, conscience, religion and expression; engaging in divine contemplation; expecting and embracing persecution; seeking international cooperation; and recognizing democratic evolution.

Anthropocentric Humanism = several categories of natural humanist viewpoints, all of which share the feature of being "emancipated from every metaphysics of transcendence. At one extreme rests the idea of secular humanism, the idea that all religious thought should be banned from expression in the public square. At the other extreme rests the idea of ethical humanism, the idea that a full-bodied natural ethics should govern all relations in the public square.

Political Humanism:   As society enters into the third millennium, many politicians and social planners recognize that an empty secular humanism is incapable of maintaining the global social fabric. However, they likewise recognize that the global state is incapable of developing and implementing a normative ethical humanism that can be understood and practiced by all humanity.

Thus, these global agents are left with two alternatives: rely on the formative and remedial capacities of traditional religions; or, construct and promote what I refer to as "political humanism." It is against this new political humanism that Christian humanism must compete in the third millennium.


What are the goals of Political Humanism?


Political Humanism ia relativist and utilitarian, and it is selective in that it protects and promotes only those human rights that further the social and commercial agenda of the international community. Therefore, political humanism is intolerant of peaceful and particular religious beliefs that cannot be reconciled with that agenda. It is also developed and promoted by international bodies and their affiliated nongovernmental education and human rights organizations.  Finally, political humanism is coercive in that it relies on monopolistic school funding practices that handicap parents who seek to educate their children in peace-loving and peace-promoting religious schools.  These last features make it clear that the promoters of political humanism understand that children must be indoctrinated in this new "religion of humanity."


This indoctrination is being conducted under several names, including human rights education, education for a culture of peace, education for democratic citizenship and character education.

UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the United States Department of Education, Amnesty International, George Soros' Open Society Foundation and university human rights centers around the world develop the political humanism education curriculum, train educators and coordinate the implementation of political humanism in state-sponsored schools.

For example, UNESCO presently has posted on its Web site a job opening for chief of its Section on Education for Peace and Human Rights. One of the listed main responsibilities of this position is to "ensure the intellectual coherence of a focused program on education for peace and human justice, which reflects and builds a growing global consensus."

The global consensus of political humanism dehumanizes the person by insisting on social conformity, stifles education for freedom, discourages subsidiarity and the formation of faith-based and community initiatives, denies freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and expression, and makes a farce of international efforts to promote a genuine common good.

These shortcomings of political humanism will be exacerbated if, as expected, world leaders justify the expansion of the political humanist education of youth as a means of addressing the root causes of international terrorism.

Many European political and social leaders have embraced political humanism to the exclusion of Christian humanism.  Pope John Paul II reminds Europe that, "The Gospel is not against you, but for you."  The Gospel inspiration is the true living soul of democratic philosophy.  But is all lost?  Not if we fight back.   First, we must understand the nature and threat of political humanism. Then, we need to examine whether state authorities in our respective nations are imposing a political humanist agenda, particular in the schools. It is also important to educate sympathetic lawyers, lawmakers and judges regarding the reality of political humanism.  And finally, it is our duty to combat discrimination against the Christian humanist viewpoint by those seeking a coercive monopoly for the political humanist viewpoint.

Let me emphasize that state authorities are relying on two seemingly positive values as justification for promoting political humanism: tolerance and peace.  Of course if we tolerate pedophilia there is peace except for the child.  If we tolerate theft there is peace except for the one who lost goods.  If we tolerate abortion, there is peace except for the child.  If we tolerate sin, there is peace but not peace of soul.


Richard P. Salbato