Freedom of Expression

Freedom of speech is a pillar of an open and inclusive society. Criticism of religion and religious privilege requires the ability to speak freely without fear of government censorship.

We are a member of the International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws and call upon governments around the world to repeal blasphemy laws and other laws that prevent criticism of religion. Section 296 of the Criminal Code of Canada declares that "blasphemous libel" is an indictable offence. We call on the Canadian Government to repeal this outdated blasphemy law.


Latest news

International Blasphemy Rights Day 2016

Today is International Blasphemy Rights Day – a day to remember the publishing of the Danish Mohammed cartoons ten years ago that sparked several violent protests across the world. It’s still an important day for advocates for freedom of expression as people are still being imprisoned and murdered for criticizing beliefs and art critical of...

City of Victoria proclaims International Blasphemy Rights Day

At its council meeting yesterday, the City of Victoria agreed 3-2 to proclaim September 30, 2016 as International Blasphemy Rights Day. The BC Humanist Association requested the proclamation as part of its support for freedom of expression; however, the council did amend the proclamation to remove a section challenging the...

10 years of speaking out against Canada's blasphemy law

The petition, launched last week, is only the latest effort to repeal Canada's blasphemy law. Over the past few years, numerous columnists, civil liberties groups and legal experts have called for the law to be repealed. If you're not convinced that the law needs to go, read some of these links....

Secular organizations launch petition to repeal Canada's blasphemy law

Groups representing Humanists, atheists and secularists across Canada are calling on the Government to repeal an outdated section of the criminal code penalizing so-called “blasphemous libel.” The e-petition launched yesterday and was signed by over 1000 Canadians in the first day, more then double the minimum number required to be...

Fifty-four secular groups call for repeal of Greek blasphemy law

Update (June 14, 2016): The Greek Government has responded. See a translation of their letter at the bottom of this post. The BC Humanist Association has joined an international letter from secular, atheist and Humanist organizations calling on the Greek government to repeal its country's blasphemy law. Read the letter.

Speaking up for Dissent in Canada

As part of its commitment to freedom of expression and the importance of dissent, the BC Humanist Association has signed onto the new Voices-Voix Declaration. The 2016 Declaration succeeds the previous declaration which decried the muzzling of government scientists, political audits of charities and general advocacy chill. With the election...

Poet sentenced to death for apostasy in Saudi Arabia

The BC Humanist Association today wrote to Canada's ambassador to Saudi Arabia calling for him to join over 60 human rights and free speech organizations who are calling for Saudi authorities to release poet Ashraf Fayadh. Fayadh was sentenced to death for apostasy in a widely discredited trial.

BCHA joins statement calling on Canadian government to aid Bangladeshi secularists

The BC Humanist Association joins free speech organizations and writers in a joint letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling for urgent action to provide humanitarian assistance to secular and Humanist writers, bloggers, and academics in Bangladesh. The letter is the latest pressure put on the Government of Canada by...

Make Canada a safe haven for persecuted Bangladeshi Humanists

Update: Click here or keep reading for the latest. Following the latest attacks on Humanist and atheist writers, bloggers and intellectuals in Bangladesh, the BC Humanist Association is calling on Prime Minister designate Justin Trudeau to make Canada a "safe haven" for those facing persecution for their views. This weekend,...

Yes, we still need Blasphemy Day

By Matthew Bulger (originally posted on Today is International Blasphemy Day, a day when millions of atheists, humanists, agnostics, and nontheists are encouraged to openly criticize religious teachings that they disagree with and to protest the continued existence of blasphemy laws around the world.

See all free speech posts.

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