WASHINGTON, D.C. (FR) – The Supreme Court recently rejected a university professor’s appeal to offer a “non-theistic” invocation during the opening sessions of Congress. Paul Kurtz, professor of philosophy at New York State University in Buffalo and drafter of A Secular Humanist Declaration (1980), filed an appeal in the Federal District Court.
The lower Court of Appeals ruled that Kurtz lacked standing to challenge Congress for not inviting him as a guest “chaplain.” He claimed that Congress violated the First Amendment guarantee of free speech and the principle of church-state separation, and that it was discriminatory to deny him the opportunity to share his humanistic beliefs.
The Secular Humanist Declaration is a sequel to the Humanist Manifesto I (1933) and Humanist Manifesto II (1973). According to the document, “Secular humanists … reject the idea that God intervened miraculously in history or revealed himself to a chosen few, or that he can save or redeem sinners … We reject the divinity of Jesus.”