Conflicts over Secularism in the Schools
Conservative Christians sometimes complain that Humanism is really the official religion of the public educational system. They feel that the traditional wall of separation between church and state has been breached, and that Humanism has taken over the public schools. This is not an accurate view. The percentage of adults in North America that consider themselves Christian is about 85%; this is probably reflected in the religious beliefs of the teachers and others in the school system.
The public school systems base their courses on a secular or non-religious foundation. In most subjects, like mathematics, reading, writing, physics, chemistry etc, this does not present a problem. In human sexuality education, geology, sociology, history, etc the secular approach conflicts greatly with conservative Christian theology. For example, a non-religious approach to human sexuality would make use of the latest findings in sexual orientation; they would teach that bisexuality, heterosexuality and homosexuality as natural human variations. Liberal religious groups, like Reform and Reconstructist Judaism, the United Church of Christ, United Church of Canada etc also take a secular approach to this subject. Conservative Christians interpret the Bible as condemning homosexual behaviour as a sin. They would thus regard it as a moral perversion and are eager that it be taught as such. Mainline Christian denominations hold views which are intermediate between conservative and liberal groups, and are drifting towards the "left".
US Public Schools are required to base their curriculum on secularism because of the rule of separation of church and state. Humanism is also based on a secular view of the universe for philosophical reasons. Many mainline and liberal religious groups take secular views in many areas, ranging from human sexuality to geology. Thus public schools are not Humanist any more than they follow the lead of the United Churches. The are simply secular.