Andrew Mulcahy, a secular humanist, founder of Centre for Inquiry Victoria (in 2017) and a past leader of the Victoria Secular Humanist Association (in 1998) passed away on January 31, 2019 in his home at age 96. Andy's death is a huge loss for our social movement of secular humanism.
Andy was born in Victoria, BC on August 3, 1922 in an Irish Catholic family. He was 17 when he joined the Canadian Scottish Regiment that was sent to Europe to fight Nazism. Andy participated in the Normandy beach landing on D-Day June 6, 1944. He recalled, “Of all the battles we were in, the one on June 8 was the worst... I used to pray to live one half-hour more. I don’t know why a half-hour, but maybe I felt that was the best deal any god could give me under the circumstances.” He ended up wounded and sent back to Canada.
It was in October 1944 after the hellish Leopold Crossing, when Andy awoke “to see dead Germans nearby... Out of the blue it occurred to me that there was no such thing as a god”.
Ever since, Andy had been a staunch atheist. He never had a chance to attend a university but he educated himself to become a leading secular humanist and an enlightening force in Canada. For a good three quarters of a century, Andy devoted his life to secular humanism. With his inherently unfailing moral sense, as inerrant as a compass needle, Andy had identified and fought against the major evils of our time: religious intolerance, violence and discrimination, misogyny, antisemitism and all kinds of racism. He stood for racial, gender and income equality and for evidence-based science as opposed to all sorts of pseudoscientific charlatans (like anti-vaccination).
Andy’s favourite quote was from Blaise Pascal: “Men never do evil so completely - and cheerfully – as when they do it from religious conviction”.
Thank you, Andy, for having been here with us for us.
A Memorial Service is planned for 2 PM Tuesday, February 26th, 2019, at First Memorial, 1155 Fort Street, Victoria, BC
Read Andy's obituary in the Victoria Times Colonist
For more about Andy Mulcahy, read Nancy Swartz's 2012 profile in Humanist Perspectives.
Banner credit: Richard Young, 2009, via Humanist Perspectives.