This has been an incredible week for the BC Humanist Association.
On Monday, we announced the results of our latest poll with Insights West. We found that:
- 70% of British Columbians are non-religious - up from 64% from 2013,
- 26% do not believe in a higher power - up from 20%,
- 70% oppose public funding for private religious schools and
- majorities oppose property tax exemptions for religious groups.
On each of the issues we surveyed, the public is increasingly on our side.
Then we learned that Abbotsford school district "will no longer distribute the Gideon Bible or other religious materials to students."
This victory only happened because of the pressure that we put on the district to end the practice.
We are making incredible gains and winning important battles but there is a lot of work still ahead of us.
Today the Senate passed Bill C-14, the medical assistance in dying law. This unconstitutional law excludes those whose natural death is not "reasonably foreseeable" and there remains no option to make an advanced request. Religious hospitals across BC, who receive $1 billion in public funding, are also refusing to provide patients with this legal choice. This position is out of step with 71% of BC.
Our poll results have also reignited a debate over funding for independent schools in BC. Over $340 million is being given away to these private and mostly religious schools at a time when our public education system is facing drastic cuts and crumbling buildings.
We must be ready to research the arguments, build coalitions and engage the public on these issues.
Until now we've operated on a shoestring budget of less than $30,000 per year. But, armed with our new data and recent victory, we have the opportunity to establish ourselves as one of the leading voices for secular and progressive values, not just in BC but in all of Canada.
So if you haven't already, please set up a monthly donation of $100, $50, $5 or whatever you can afford. Even a one-time gift can help.
Together we can continue to stand up against religious privilege and build a more just and equal society.