The World According to Tim LaHaye: Chapter Three - Satanic Secular Humanism
Chip Berlet printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 04:40:31 PM EST
Senior Analyst,
Political Research Associates
(author info)
Left Behind
Tim LaHaye sees the earth as a battleground between the Godly and the Satanic, facing an approaching confrontation prophesied in the Bible's book of Revelation. The master plan of the Satanic conspiracy, according to LaHaye, is Secular Humanism.

LaHaye is not referring to an actual existing group of secular humanists, mind you, but his fantastic idea of a vast socialist utopian conspiracy hatched back in the 1800s.
In a long article on how this conspiracy theory intersects with apocalyptic millennialism, I wrote:
One of the core ideas of the fundamentalist Christian Right during this century has been that modern liberalism is a handmaiden for collectivist, Godless communism. Many conservative Christian anticommunists believe that collectivism is Godless, while capitalism is Godly. They often link liberalism to Godless collectivism; then to the notion of a liberal secular humanist conspiracy; and finally conclude that globalism is the ultimate collectivist plot. Prior to the collapse of communism, many leaders of the new Christian Right had already embraced a variation on their long-standing fear of secret elites in league with Satan: the secular humanist conspiracist theory, (Dances with Devils).
James Davison Hunter and Carol Mason have traced the concern with the influence of secular humanism on U.S. society to Catholic intellectuals in the 1950s. This was later picked up by Protestants, and in the 1970s and 1980s there were a number of books and pamphlets warning about how secular humanism was displacing Christianity as the core ideological basis for Americans. Some of these--such as the work of Francis Schaeffer--avoided obvious conspiracy theories. Others--such as the books by LaHaye--were built around conspiracy theories:

1969: José María González Ruiz, Atheistic Humanism and the Biblical God.
1976: Onalee McGraw, Secular Humanism and the Schools: The Issue Whose Time has Come.
1976: Barbara M. Morris, Why Are You Losing Your Children?
1980: Tim LaHaye, The Battle for the Mind.
1981: Rosemary Thomson, Withstanding Humanism's Challenge to Families: Anatomy of a White House Conference.
1981: Francis A. Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto.
1982: Franky Schaeffer, A Time for Anger: The Myth of Neutrality.
1982: James Hitchcock, What Is Secular Humanism?
1982: Tim LaHaye, The Battle for the Family.
1983: Tim LaHaye, The Battle for the Public Schools: Humanism's Threat to our Children. 1984: Phyllis Schlafly, ed., Child Abuse in the Classroom.
1987: John W. Whitehead, The Stealing of America.
1990: James Dobson and Gary L. Bauer, Children at Risk: The Battle for the Hearts and Minds of Our Kids.

Through these and other publications the Culture War was framed by the Christian Right as aimed at stopping creeping secular humanism. Sara Diamond points out that LaHaye and other Christian Right leaders developed "an elaborate theory on the humanist conspiracy, linking the ACLU, the NAACP, the National Organization for Women, Hollywood movie producers and even Unitarianism to the impending downfall of modern civilization," (Diamond, Spiritual Warfare, pp. 84-87).

LaHaye offered a solution--Christians had to take over the government to resote Godly rule. LaHaye argued in his book The Battle for the Mind that "we must remove all humanists from public office and replace them with promoral political leaders,"(p. 10).

Twenty years ago, LaHaye was seen as a fanatic and theocrat. For example, in 1985, Richard N. Ostling, wrote in Time magazine:
One of the shrillest of the Fundamentalist ideologues in Washington is the Rev. Tim LaHaye, 59, who moved to the capital from San Diego last year. He runs the new American Coalition for Traditional Values (ACTV, pronounced active), which has been praised by Reagan and is endorsed by Falwell. A Baptist, LaHaye is lobbying in the capital and also building a network of clergy activists in more than 300 cities. He speaks of Reagan's presidency as nothing less than God-ordained ("the Heavenly Father looked down and saw our plight") and says a second Carter Administration "might have plunged us into another French Revolution, only this time on American soil." LaHaye advocates a quota of 25% of federal jobs for Christian conservatives and, at the same time, insists that "no humanist is qualified to hold any governmental office."

LaHaye is now entering his 80th year on Earth, and while awaiting the Rapture, LaHaye has carefully reinvented himself to appear less shrill. Few journalists bother to do the research needed to challenge LaHaye's bizarre conspiracy theories. In upcoming blog entries, I will take a closer look at specific books by LaHaye.

Chip Berlet and Margaret Quigley, 1995, "Theocracy & White Supremacy: Behind the Culture War to Restore Traditional Values," in Chip Berlet (ed.), Eyes Right! Challenging the Right Wing Backlash, (pp. 15-43). Boston: South End Press.

Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort, New York: Guilford, 2000, pp. 208-212, 228, 239-242.

Chip Berlet, 1998, "Dances with Devils: How apocalyptic and millennialist themes influence right wing scapegoating and conspiracism," double issue, Public Eye 12 (2-3), (Fall): 1-22.

Sara Diamond, 1989, Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right, Boston: South End Press, pp. 84-87, 233;

Sara Diamond, 1995, Roads to Dominion: Right-Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States, New York: Guilford,

James Davison Hunter, 1991. Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America, : New York: Basic Books, p. 202.

George Johnson, 1983, Architects of Fear: Conspiracy Theories and Paranoia in American Politics. : Los Angeles: Tarcher/Houghton Mifflin, pp. 169-173;

Rebecca E. Klatch, 1987, Women of the New Right, Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, pp. 55-83.

George M. Marsden, 1991, Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism, Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., pp. 108-109.

Carol Mason, 2002, Killing for Life: The Apocalyptic Narrative of Pro-Life Politics, Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Richard N. Ostling, "Jerry Falwell's Crusade: Fundamentalist legions seek to remake church and society," Time magazine, September 2, 1985

William Martin, 1996, With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America, New York: Broadway Books, pp. 195-197, 332, 335, 344-345, 383.

On LaHaye:

by Chip Berlet

"Left Behind Video Reflects Bigoted Apocalyptic Violence of Original Fiction Series," (6/12/2006)

"LaHaye and Jenkins: Why is the Criticism Left Behind? "

The World According to Tim LaHaye: A Series
Part One: Hunting Down the Enemies
Part Two: Pre-Trib Perspectives
Part Three: Satanic Secular Humanism
Part Four: Secular Humanism as False Religion
Part Five: The Secular Humanist Web
Part Six: The Council for National Policy
Part Seven: Humanists Attack the Family
Part Eight: The Age Old Conspiracy

Chip Berlet, Senior Analyst, Political Research Associates

The Public Eye: Website of Political Research Associates

Chip's Blog

Is the public school system part of the liberal conspiracy?  This explains why LaHaye supports the Alliance for the Separation of School and State.
Many political candidates who have signed their pledge are running in the fall mid-terms. This outfit just scares the hell out of me.

by Steven D. Martin on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 08:45:59 PM EST
Yes, and that is the subject of an upcoming blog entry.


Folks here are just too smart.

_ _ _

Chip Berlet: Research for Progress - Building Human Rights
by Chip Berlet on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 09:05:15 PM EST

Education is definitely on their list. Between them and the privatizing groups they want their schools to be for profit and turn out their kind of people.

by Nightgaunt on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 09:23:27 PM EST

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