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


Ktunaxa ruling poses challenges for secularists

This morning, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed a freedom of religion case launched by the Ktunaxa Nation that sought to block development of a year-round ski resort in the East Kootenays. The Ktunaxa believe that Grizzly Bear Spirit inhabits Qat’muk, the Jumbo Mountain region where Glacier Resorts sought to...

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...

Chief Justice reverses decision, BCHA to intervene at Supreme Court of Canada

UPDATE (July 31, 2017):  Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin has just released an order reversing Justice Wagner's initial decision and approved all group's applications to intervene at the Supreme Court of Canada in the Trinity Western University cases. She also extended the hearing to two days to accommodate the numerous groups. This...

Fundamentalist Mormons found guilty of polygamy

Winston Blackmore and James Oler were found guilty yesterday of polygamy. The two are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Bountiful BC and have over thirty wives between them. Blackmore has welcomed the verdict, arguing it opens the opportunity for him to challenge the constitutionality...

Repealing Canada's other blasphemy law

For over a decade, supporters of free expression have been calling for the repeal of section 296 of Canada’s Criminal Code. This section is colloquially called Canada’s blasphemy law as it prohibits “blasphemous libel”. While no one has been charged under the section in eighty years, it remains a symbol that theocratic...

Disgraced Senator used office for religious purposes, reports HuffPost

Ex-staffers have told HuffPost Canada that Senator Don Meredith forced them to pray with him and draft sermons while on the Parliamentary clock. Meredith is a Pentecostal pastor at the GTA Faith Alliance church in Richmond Hill, Ontario and is facing expulsion from the Senate following a separate investigation into a...

Delta Police Interfaith Symposium is "endorsement by exclusion"

Update (May 1, 2017): The Chief's response and our take can be found below. The BC Humanist Association has accused the Delta Police Department of religious "endorsement by exclusion" over a recent Interfaith Symposium on drug addiction. The event, held on March 30 at Baitur Rahman Mosque in Delta, was the second...

BC Health Committee recommends funding evidence-based addictions recovery

BC's Select Standing Committee on Health released a report last week calling for the province to fund evidence-based addiction recovery programs and expand harm reduction services. The recommendations were part of the report, Looking Forward: Improving Rural Health Care, Primary Care, and Addictions Recovery Programs, which follows consultations that the BC...

Supreme Court of Canada to hear evangelical law school case

Canada's highest court announced last week that it will hear appeals on the proposed law school at Evangelical Christian Trinity Western University. Law societies in BC, Ontario and Nova Scotia had denied accreditation to the school on the basis that the Community Covenant it forces students to sign excludes same-sex...

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....

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