While our Officiant Program has mostly been on hold due to our inability to perform legal marriages, we are still able to perform other ceremonies for the non-religious.

As an example, last weekend I gave the following memorial for a woman who recently died a thorough atheist at 93. A spiritual celebrant had been recommended, but prayers to the spirit of life would not have been in keeping with the deceased’s worldview. I’ve changed the names and anonymized a few details. Much of it was borrowed from other resources, particularly Funerals Without God from the British Humanist Association (I can’t recommend this resource enough for aspiring Humanist Officiants).

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BC Humanist Association honorary member Gary Bauslaugh provides the following excerpt from his upcoming book “The Secret Power of Juries.” Bauslaugh will be speaking in the fall on “Humanism, social justice and the power of juries.”

Here he quotes part of his book relating to Henry Morgentaler who passed away yesterday. Read the rest of this entry »

It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that Dr. Henry Morgentaler has died.

Dr. Morgentaler was arguably Canada’s most famous and influential Humanist. His secular values emboldened him to fight for reproductive freedoms.

He rose to prominence well before my time as he fought to legalize abortion in Canada in the 1960s and 1970s, culminating in the 1988 Supreme Court of Canada decision which struck down Canada’s abortion law. You can read a full biography of Dr. Morgentaler’s life in the Globe and Mail.

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Update: The protests have been delayed until May 2 as a day of mourning has been declared in Bangladesh after the factory collapse.

Tomorrow (April 25) May 2 has been declared a day for human rights supporters around the world to stand in solidarity with atheist bloggers and activists who are facing increasing persecution in Bangladesh.

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The Kwantlen Multifaith Centre is looking for feedback from various traditions to help students survive their upcoming exams. I thought I’d provide my own thoughts from a Humanist perspective on how to manage what can be a very stressful time.

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School God

The following article was submitted by Robert Randolf Lyons as a response to a letter in the Chilliwack Times. Feel free to send in your own articles for publication to info@bchumanist.ca

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Darwin submitted the following article. Send your own updates to exdir@bchumanist.ca

The Hellenic Museum of History in Chicago hosted a gala fundraiser on Thursday February first at a local Hilton hotel and Socrates was the guest of honour in a way. In a mock trial of the ancient Athenian philosopher for corrupting the youth of Athens as well as being impious towards the gods, a jury of 1000 local people using clay disks placed on the scale of justice held by the blind goddess Themis narrowly convicted the old wordsmith and blasphemer (a victimless crime). Tickets were priced in a three tier fashion starting at $1500 USD and then $100 USD and finally for students only $50 USD. Read the rest of this entry »

I was invited on the Philip Till show on CKNW this morning to discuss faith and politics from a humanist/atheist perspective.

I recorded the audio for it, although it came out somewhat poorly (it was too early for me to get a good setup). The official podcast should be available on CKNW’s website in the next day or two, but for now you can listen to the interview below.

BCHA member Darwin submitted the following article. Submit your own to exdir@bchumanist.ca

A father`s courage has won out over an ancient tribal marriage custom in the Peshawar region of North Western Pakistan.  With the resolve of, “No, not my daughters.” on his lips, Muhammad Nawaz challenged his two nephews who had declared their intention to marry his two girls, Shaista and Razia.

The custom which is named Ghag, only required a silent claim of marriage by anyone from a tribal elder to a family enemy.  It is held together by strong tribal social pressure, centuries of habit and in the case of Mr. Nawaz a heavy fine from the local assembly of elders called a jirga in this Pashtun region.  Anyone refusing to abide by this custom had to agree to never marry as long as they lived.

He decided to bypass them and lobby the provincial parliament to have a law in place that would stop this practice.

In a surprisingly short period of time in 2012, a law was passed in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provincial parliament that includes a fine or a prison term of between 5-7 years or both.  Hopefully, this custom can be made to peacefully die out with the help of enforcement by local police.  Mr. Nawaz`s young daughters are safe and continuing their studies at school.

Darwin submitted the following story to bring attention to increasing attacks on evolution in Turkey. Submit your own articles by emailing exdir@bchumanist.ca

The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (Tubitak) has banned the sale and publication of all books in its archives that support the theory of evolution.  This includes books by Charles Darwin, Dr. Richard Dawkins, Alan Moorehead, Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Levontin and James Watson.

TÜBİTAK oversees the development and coordination of scientific research in line with the national targets and priorities, set by the Turkish Academy of Sciences (TÜBA). With more than 2,500 researchers work at the 15 different research institutes and research centers attached to TÜBİTAK, it is the premier country-wide scientific research organization in Turkey.

The source for this news is the English language edition of Hurriyet Daily News, an online Turkish newspaper.

As Darwin Day approaches this tragic story is tailor-made for public support against this decision by a governmental body.  What are your opinions?

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