Dr. Henry Morgentaler, Canada’s infamous illegal abortionist, has accused the Roman Catholic Church of harming society by speaking out against abortion, premarital sex, and homosexuality through its outdated notions of chastity and fidelity. The statements were made June 26 in Montreal at a joint conference of the American and Canadian Humanist Associations.
In his talk on the “Principles of Humanist Philosophy,” he asserted that science was the measure of all life, of nature, of the existence of an after-life and the eternal life of the soul. He told the audience that religious tenets cannot withstand the rigorous examination of science and that humanists are not bound to believe in them nor in their morality.
Morgentaler’s dogmatic secularism echoes the tenth principle of the Humanist Declaration which states that “Humanists consider invalid beliefs based on dogma, revelation, mysticism or appeals to the supernatural.”
He argued that the Church despised pleasure, especially pleasure of the body and that only the Church proposed belief in a saving Christ who could wash away the tare of original sin. He added that Humanists, on the other hand, promote a life of pleasure and self-fulfillment, believing neither in God nor the devil, neither heaven or hell.
To achieve their goals, Morgentaler called for the establishment of a Humanist Association of freethinkers in Quebec to promote a just society based on liberty and tolerance. The Association would be politically active and would lobby for free abortion, contraception and the protection of all wanted children’s rights.
In response to a questioner who wanted to eliminate any reference to religion and belief in the proposed Association, Morgentaler responded that in Quebec, it was especially necessary to establish atheistic humanism because of the oppression of Catholicism.
(Mr. Joseph Blain lectures at Ottawa University and is assistant to the rector at St. Paul’s University. This article is reprinted from HLI Reports, August 1987.)