Council for Secular Humanism Decries Comments Made By California Justice Janice Rogers Brown


For Immediate Release: April 27, 2005
Contact: Jefferson Seaver, Communications
press@centerforinquiry.org - (207) 358-9785

Amherst, N.Y. (April 27, 2005)—The Council for Secular Humanism deplores the intemperate and uncalled-for attacks California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown made on secular humanists at an April 24 church-sponsored service delivered to judges and lawyers in Connecticut. The comments were seized upon this past Monday by evangelical leader Gary Bauer, of the ultra-conservative advocacy group American Values, in an e-mail blast Bauer sent to his supporters, praising Brown and her comments.

President Bush’s nomination of Brown to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.—largely considered a fast track to the Supreme Court—is an ominous development.

She has libeled tens of millions of Americans who do not share her ideological bias. “We particularly object to her claim that Secular Humanism threatens to divorce America from its religious roots,” said Paul Kurtz, Chairman of the Council for Secular Humanism, the largest and most influential secular humanist organization in North America, and publisher of

Free Inquiry

magazine. “We strongly support the freedom of all Americans to their right of freedom of conscience and religious liberty.”

Secular Humanism is committed to democratic values. As professor Kurtz points out, the American Constitution is a document that is rooted among the people, as is stated in its preamble: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union….do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Indeed, Article VII of the Constitution states: “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Continued Kurtz, “The Constitution of the United States is a secular document, and Judge Brown’s attack on secular humanism is an attack on the American system of government itself.”

Kurtz observed that the Council for Secular Humanism is fearful that Judge Brown will interpret the Constitution in such a way as to deny equal rights to Americans who do not share her religious faith. We submit that a Supreme Court Justice should defend the rights of all Americans, whether they be secular humanists or religious believers. “We are alarmed at the implications that this first overt attack on secular humanism—by such a highly placed jurist—portends for the rights of unbelievers and the separation of religion and state guaranteed in the constitution,” said Kurtz. “We are facing a clear and present danger to our liberties in the United States by militant religionists.”

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at centerforinquiry.org.