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Religious conservatives vs SOGI education in Langley

The BC Humanist Association today wrote in support of the SOGI 123 resources being adopted by the Langley School Board.

SOGI stands for sexual orientation and gender identity and was created for BC teachers in partnership with the Ministry of Education, the BC Teachers Federation, nine school districts and Out in Schools. It aims to promote LGBTQ-inclusive education.

Religious conservatives and activists who view the curriculum materials as part of a "political cult" have been holding rallies and targeting Langley School District specifically, despite the program being in place in districts across the province and having received support from all levels of government and across the political spectrum.

A rally in support of SOGI 123 is being organized for September 26 by Langley Parents for Inclusivity.

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Over 500 for Humanist Marriage

Four weeks ago we launched our petition calling for the Government of BC to give Humanists equal standing with the many religious groups that are able to perform marriages in the province.

Since then, over 500 people joined our call!

On Thursday, we put those first 500 names in the mail to the Health Minister. We reiterated our simple call: Give Vital Statistics a definition of religion that includes Humanists.

Read our letter.

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Organizations don't have a religion

BCHA submits arguments to the Supreme Court of Canada in TWU law school case

The BC Humanist Association filed our arguments at the Supreme Court of Canada today in two cases over the proposed law school at Trinity Western University.

In our factum, we argue that only individuals, and not organizations, should be able to claim to have religious rights. Canadian courts have repeatedly refused to recognize an organization's religious rights and to do so could open a Pandora's Box of unintended consequences. In the USA, rulings such as Citizen's United and Hobby Lobby have resulted in a dramatic expansion of the power of corporations over individual citizens.

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Post Secular

Research from across North America and all over Western Europe show us declining church attendance among almost all sects of Christianity. Census data from a variety of countries also shows that self-described believers themselves are declining. As well, results from polling organizations demonstrate that the actual content of beliefs from remaining believers has also changed.

All of this data indicates both that active believers are declining and that the belief-content has been trending, over time, away from the literal, away from the conservative and from the supernatural. But why now, at this point in history? And why are believers still generally increasing in other faiths, as in Muslim-majority countries?

My new book, Post Secular, tries to answer these questions. It's a nonfiction work about the growth of secularism and non-religion around the world.

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Humanist Marriage petition FAQ

Last week we launched a petition calling on BC’s new Minister of Health to allow Humanists to perform marriages. Since then we’ve spoken with SpiceFM, CBCEarly Edition and CKNW and had nearly 500 people sign the petition.

In those conversations, and over social media, we’ve fielded a number of questions about our petition. While our report The Case for Humanist Marriage in BC answers many of those concerns, it’s worth doing a quick response to the most frequently asked questions.

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BCHA petitions Minister of Health: Legalize Humanist Marriage

The BC Humanist Association launched a petition today calling on the Minister of Health to legalize Humanist marriage in British Columbia.

The Vital Statistics Agency, which is responsible for registering organizations that can solemnize marriages in the province, rejected the Association's request in 2013. However, a freedom of information request showed that Wiccans, Zen Buddhists and even Scientologists have been registered by the Agency.

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Is Canada less racist than the USA?

By Melissa J. Gismondi, University of Virginia

In the aftermath of Charlottesville, it’s worth asking: Are Canadians really less racist than Americans?

A recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine — with a photo of a smiling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the cover - asks: “Why can’t he be our president?” It’s just the latest example of the global media’s current fascination with Trudeau and Canada and their supposed stark contrast to Donald Trump and the United States.

As a Canadian scholar at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, I’ve watched with fascination for months as media pundits both abroad and back home have promoted the idea of “Canadian exceptionalism.”

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Sex matters: Male bias in the lab is bad science

When I first started doing experimental biology, I noticed that we only looked at males.

I was in a fly lab — a very good one — and we could have looked at males or females, or both, but we didn’t. We collected female flies to mate, of course (flies need males and females to reproduce, just like humans), but we ran all of the experiments on males. We weren’t alone.

Many labs I interacted with did the same thing. In fact, most of the labs I talked to only worked with males. Some couldn’t remember when they had last tested a female subject. Maybe coincidentally, maybe not, all of the labs I can remember talking with were run by men.

If pressed for a reason why they only tested males, the usual answer was that biology was biology and what we find in males, we find in females, but females were more variable. I’ve even written a sentence stating this in a paper.

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Rebuilding science capacity in Canada after a decade of destruction

Canada is emerging from a decade in which our government systematically dismantled the research capacity of our nation.

The Liberal government has touted their support for science and evidence-based policies. One of their first actions was to put together an expert panel to review how fundamental research is funded in Canada to take stock of the current ecosystem and see where improvements are needed.

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July 31, 2017 Newsletter

We will not be going to the Supreme Court of Canada this fall.

Last year, we joined an intervention with the Canadian Secular Alliance at the BC Court of Appeal over the proposed law school at evangelical Trinity Western University. The court ultimately ruled with TWU and didn't address the arguments we made.

We had hoped to expand upon those arguments - that there are strict limits to what religious rights an organization can claim - at Canada's highest court but ultimately only a small number of the dozens of groups that had asked to intervene were allowed through.

We'll continue to look to promote secular values in Canadian law and will watch this potentially landmark case when it's heard in November but unfortunately we have to do so from the sidelines this time.

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