The World According to Tim LaHaye: Chapter Seven - Humanists Attack the Family
Chip Berlet printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Aug 07, 2006 at 10:58:22 AM EST
Senior Analyst, Political Research Associates (author info)
Left Behind Tim LaHaye is a Christian family counselor, rooted in apocalyptic evangelicalism. In 1975 LaHaye wrote Revelation: Illustrated and Made Plain, followed in 1978 by, The Unhappy Gays: What Everyone Should Know About Homosexuality. These two themes converge into an elaborate conspiracy theory about secular humanism in his series of books on The Battle for the Mind (1980), The Battle for the Family (1982), and The Battle for the Public Shools (1983)

In 1972 Tim and Beverly LaHaye launched a national series of workshops called the Family Life Seminars, which is what first gained the LaHaye’s national attention, at least in evangelical circles.

A biographical study written by Shintia R. Argazali, as part of a bibliographic research project provides important details that set the historic context:

During 1948 – 1950 he served as Pastor of Baptist churches in Pickens , S.C. , and then in Minneapolis , Minn. 1950 – 1956. From Minnesota he moved to El Cajon , California , and became the senior pastor in Scott Memorial Baptist Church during 1956 - 1981.

Tim LaHaye founded the largest Protestant high school and a school system of ten Christian schools including two accredited Christian high schools, and a Christian Heritage College, where he became president in 1970- 1976. He also assisted Henry Morris in finding the Institute for Creation Research.

In 1980 he started Californians for Biblical Morality, a branch of Moral Majority, where he was one of the founders. In the same year, he formed a coalition of religious right leaders, named the Council for National Policy. (Argazili, read more at:

LaHaye starts writing his series on the secular humanist conspiracy, at a time when this is a hot issue on the Christian Right. In 1976 the Heritage Foundation published Secular Humanism and the Schools: The Issue Whose Time Has Come, a tract by Onalee McGraw, in which she argues that humanistic education in the public schools does not focus on “the traditional and generally accepted virtues” based on “Judeo–Christian principles taught by most families at home,” but on secular humanist theories of “moral relativism and situation ethics” that are “based on predominantly materialistic values found only in man’s nature itself” and “without regard for the Judeo–Christian moral order, which is based on the existence and fatherhood of a personal God.”(McGraw 1976)

This may seem odd coming from the Heritage Foundation, but recall that it was Christian Right strategist Paul Weyrich who had been sent to DC as agent of Joseph Coors to found the Heritage Foundation in 1973. The next year Weyrich set up a lobbying group, the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress. As Heritage became more Inside-the-Beltway policy wonkish and secular, Weyrich left Heritage to turn the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congressinto the Free Congress Foundation, to continue with the battle to extend Christian evangelical influence through what Weyrich called “Cultural Conservatism.” Weyrich and LaHaye helped create the New Right and the Moral Majority in 1979.

Before his series on the Secular Humanist conspiracy, LaHaye attacked the growing gay rights movement. As the Southern Poverty Law Center explained in their timeline of the anti-gay movement, in 1978:

John Birch Society trainer and "family activist" Tim LaHaye publishes The Unhappy Gays (later retitled What Everyone Should Know About Homosexuality). Calling gay people "militant, organized" and "vile," LaHaye anticipates anti-gay arguments to come.(SPLC 2005,

John Cloud in Time magazine noted that:

On another subject—gays and lesbians—LaHaye's views are not just eccentric but downright odious. In his 1978 book The Unhappy Gays—which even today LaHaye calls "a model of compassion"—he wrote that homosexuality is "vile" and that gays share 16 pernicious traits, which include "incredible promiscuity," "deceit," "selfishness," "vulnerability to sadism-masochism" and "poor health and an early death." He wondered who was more "cruel and inhuman"—those who accept gays even though they are so unhappy or "those who practiced Old Testament capital punishment" on gays. (Cloud, 2002,

In his 1982 book The Battle for the Family, LaHaye continues to list acceptance of sinful homosexuality as part of the secular humanist conspiracy, but his top three enemies of the family are:

LaHaye Chart
  1. One: Humanism
  2. Two: The Government
  3. Three: Our Public Schools

LaHaye also has chapters on the other enemies of the family: television; a “controlled” media; feminism, materialism, urbanization, easy divorce, women in the work force, pornography, free access to drugs, rock music, and homosexuality.

When asked by a parent if they shouldn’t send their children to public school as a way to “be witnesses for Christ?” LaHaye writes that he responded: “You mean cannon fodder for Humanism!” (p. 88). According to LaHaye, “Modern public education is the most dangerous single force in a child’s life: religiously, sexually, economically, patriotically, and physically.” (p.. 89)

LaHaye then reproduces a list of common school problems in 1940 and 1980. In 1940, the problems are running in the halls, chewing gum in class, “talking out in class.” The 1980 list includes violence, stealing, forcible rape, arson, etc. But this list is something of a hoax, because it is derived from a number of sources that are not actually based on survey data.

Barry O'Neill, writing in the New York Times Magazine, reports:

Their originator was T. Cullen Davis of Fort Worth , a born-again Christian who devised the lists as a fundamentalist attack on public schools. Davis was born again through a remarkable course of events. He and his brother Ken had built the family business in oil equipment into a billion-dollar conglomerate, but in 1976 Cullen was arrested for a double murder, accused of shooting his stepdaughter and the lover of his estranged wife. The sensational trials, which featured lurid tales of his wife's drug and sex parties and his mansion, became the talk of bridge tables and barrooms across Texas .

After his acquittals, Davis turned from the fast life to Christianity. One night at his home, he and James Robison, a television evangelist, took hammers to Davis 's million-dollar collection of jade and ivory statues, smashing them as false religion. He plunged into a reading program on public schools, fought plans for sex education and lobbied for the teaching of creationism.(O’Neill 1994)

LaHaye states that “Feminism is the ultimate in selfishness,” because:

It appeals to "my rights," "my goals," "my feelings"; consequently it destroys whatever it touches. Historically and biblically, selfishness has always been a destroyer. God challenges us, "Give and it shad be given unto you." Feminism is not interested in giving -- it takes….(p. 145).

Working women throughout the Western world are coming to the sad realization that by the time they have paid the additional costs of transportation, higher-income and social-security taxes, tithes, union dues, clothing, lunch, and particularly child care, they only gain 12 to 30 percent by working forty hours a week outside their home. Because their efforts put such a strain on the whole family, many are beginning to take a second look at it and ask, "Is it really worth it?" (p. 172, read more at:

According to LaHaye, the feminist movement is really about advancing “the cause of homosexuality, lesbianism, and radicalism.” (p. 140). In this and other sections of the book, LaHaye repeatedly returns to the theme of a vast secular humanist conspiracy that tracks back to John Dewey and the plot to take over the public schools system and use it to turn children against God and family.

More on this in the next installment.


Shintia R. Argazali, “Tim LaHaye, Introduction to the American Right, course developed by James Danky, SLIS, University of Wisconsin, Madison,

Brian Balogh, University of Virginia, “Viewing America: The United States from 1945 to the Present,” course materials, online,

Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort, New York: Guilford, 2000.

John Cloud, 2002, “Meet the Prophet” Time Magazine, July 1,

Sara Diamond, 1989, Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right, Boston: South End Press.

Sara Diamond, 1998, Roads to Dominion: Right-Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States, New York: Guilford Press.

Tim LaHaye, 1975 Revelation: Illustrated and Made Plain. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Tim LaHaye, 1978, The Unhappy Gays: What Everyone Should Know About Homosexuality, Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Tim LaHaye, 1982, The Battle for the Family, Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1982).

Onalee McGraw, 1976, Secular Humanism and the Schools: The Issue Whose Time has Come, Pamphlet, Washington, DC: Heritage Foundation.

Barry O'Neill, 1994, “The History of a Hoax,” New York Times Magazine Section, March 6, pp. 46-49

Amy Smyth, “Beverly LaHaye,” Introduction to the American Right, course developed by James Danky, SLIS, University of Wisconsin, Madison,

SPLC, 2005, “The Thirty Years War: A timeline of the anti-gay movement,” Intelligence Report, Spring, Issue 117,

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

For example, divorce in the US has - nationally -  been in steady decline since the med 1980's.

by Bruce Wilson on Mon Aug 07, 2006 at 12:21:26 PM EST
As a general pattern, states and regions in the US where the culture of feminism is strongest tend to have the the lowest divorce rates. In other words, facts on the ground provide a picture that is 180 degree in opposition to Mr. LaHay's claims.

Indeed, I've done rough mapping of anti-gay sentiment in the US at the state level and it furthermore tends to be the case that tolerance or acceptance of gay rights correlates with lowered rates of social pathology ( divorce, murder and violent crime,  teen pregnancy, even rates of some STD's ).  Why ? - Well, that's a complex question, and I doubt there are any direct causal mechanisms. But, the correlation exists.

No doubt that would come as quite a surprise to Mr. LaHaye.

by Bruce Wilson on Mon Aug 07, 2006 at 12:29:25 PM EST

Facts are alarmingly absent from much of LaHaye's work. And when they appear, they seldom seem to be used in the normal way.
_ _ _

Chip Berlet: Research for Progress - Building Human Rights
by Chip Berlet on Mon Aug 07, 2006 at 10:47:29 PM EST

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