Secularism

The British Columbia Humanist Association supports a secular society that affirms:

  • the right of every individual to practice any religion or none, free from coercion by the government, private institutions or their community and
  • that the state has a duty of religious neutrality, meaning it must neither endorse nor prohibit any belief or non-belief.

Open secularism is the best way to fully guarantee the freedom of religion and conscience of all citizens in a plural society. Secularism is the principle that the government should not privilege or disadvantage any religious or non-religious belief over any other.

We oppose government funding being given preferentially to religious organizations and tax exemptions that only benefit the religious (for example, permissive exemptions for houses of worship or the Clergy Residence Deduction). We call on the federal government to remove "the supremacy of God" from the preamble of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and to create a secular national anthem.

Our Secular Schools campaign calls for ending religious privilege in the BC education system.

Latest news


BC Court of Appeal ruling a setback for equality

In a unanimous decision released today, the BC Court of Appeal sided with Trinity Western University over the Law Society of BC. The Court of Appeal agreed with the BC Supreme Court that the steps taken by the Law Society of BC’s to reject TWU’s proposed law school were flawed....

The Province covers AA human rights complaint

Update (Oct 7, 2016): See below for our letter in today's edition of The Province. The front page story of The Province today covered Byron Wood's human rights complaint over being forced to attend Alcoholics Anonymous over secular alternatives. Wood told The Province: If I questioned the 12-step philosophy or tried to discuss scientific explanations...

CBC investigation finds majority of BC rehab clinics use 12 step model

In a report for CBC News, journalists Yvette Brend and Manjula Dufresne document their findings from calling every drug rehabilitation facility in British Columbia. They found: Many more — in fact the majority that we spoke to — adhere to AA or 12-step regimes, and resist harm reduction as a waste of time. They...

Human rights complaint over religion in AA to proceed

In a ruling released today, the BC Human Rights Tribunal has agreed to consider a complaint alleging that mandating attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) violates an individual's religious freedom. The complainant, Byron Wood, lost his job with Vancouver Coastal Health after refusing to attend AA as part of a treatment...

BCHA asks Health Committee to end religious coercion in addictions recovery

At a public hearing for the BC Legislature's Standing Committee on Health today, the BC Humanist Association called for an end to the government's tacit endorsement of religious based addictions recovery programs. Many of the treatment centres in the province still rely on the 12-step recovery model of Alcoholics Anonymous...

Religious and Secular Attitudes 2016

Update (Aug 22, 2016): You can download the full results here. Seven in ten British Columbians are non-religious and over a quarter don’t believe in a higher power according to a new poll by Insights West commissioned by the BC Humanist Association. This is an increase from the 64% of people...

Our arguments in TWU vs LSBC

From Wednesday until Friday, the BC Court of Appeal will hear arguments in the case of Trinity Western University vs the Law Society of British Columbia. The BC Humanist Association was granted leave to intervene in the appeal with the Canadian Secular Alliance. The private evangelical university is attempting to...

Secular voices to intervene against proposed evangelical law school

The BC Humanist Association, along with the Canadian Secular Alliance, have been granted Leave to Intervene at the BC Court of Appeal in a case over a proposed law school at the Christian Evangelical Trinity Western University. Working together with leading lawyer Tim Dickson, the organizations will bring the voice...

It's time to phase out Catholic hospitals

Editor's note: This post is by Luis Granados and originally appeared on TheHumanist.com. It discusses US hospitals but our recent analysis showed the Government of BC provides nearly $1 billion to religious healthcare institutions. Common decency took another sucker punch from the God industry last month in a case decided in California. Late...

BC taxpayers gave $1 billion to religious hospitals in 2015

Hospital and health care institutions run by religious organizations in BC received nearly $1 billion from the provincial government in 2015.

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