A secular heroes program?

I am always tossing a lot of ideas for projects around in my head. I get some down in writing and solicit opinions on others. Most don’t make it very far but others are actually implemented and affect change.

Almost every idea is sparked by an initial outrage to a story in the media. So before I get to my idea-of-the-day, let’s discuss the spark.

Xtra! is reporting that REAL Women of Canada, a notorious anti-feminist group, is involved in deciding who will be awarded some of the 60,000 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medals to “outstanding” Canadians. Xtra! notes that pro-LGBT groups like Egale Canada were not asked for their input.

Couple this affront to secularism – REAL exists primarily to promote bigoted extremist Christian values – with my general distaste with spending several million dollars to celebrate the head of the Church of England, and I begin to hope that more people when offered these medals will turn them down as six Quebec MPs did.

But where adversity lies, opportunity flourishes. So we reach my idea for a counter-protest with room to evolve into something much greater: A Canadian Secular Heroes award.

While Humanist Canada has recognized Canadian Humanists of the Year for quite some time, I am not aware of any awards that reach beyond our typical membership or appeal to a broader audience. This is not to disparage the work of pioneering past award recipients, but to identify a chance to recognize others who have contributed to the advancement of secularism and humanist values in our society.

I am thinking of people like former MP Svend Robinson who tried (unsuccessfully) to remove God from the Charter of Rights and Freedoms or Gibson’s mayor Barry Janyk who forced local churches to justify their property tax exemptions. There are undoubtedly many other heroes who deserve our recognition and respect, and such an award offers a chance for the BCHA to offer some appreciation for their work.

So what are your thoughts? Is this a long-overdue project or something  that is not worth the effort? Would people accept our award? If we do this should we have the Secular Villain award to recognize those who would force religion back into our government (much the same way that New Humanist offers a Bad Faith award)?

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