Opinions expressed on the BC Humanist Association's blog do not necessarily reflect those of the BCHA or the Board of Directors.
Humanists support international COVID-19 relief
Humanists believe that the solutions to the world’s problems lie in human thought and action rather than divine intervention.
As a global pandemic, Humanists recognize that COVID-19 affects around the world. As part of our commitment to supporting one another, regardless of nationality, the BC Humanist Association is eager to support secular international relief efforts.Read more
Combating coronavirus misinformation
One of the most common questions we've heard during the pandemic has been how to navigate the good science from the junk.
This is a big concern for Humanists, who value science and evidence, so I'll do my best to provide some pointers that I use when browsing the news.Read more
Humanism in action during COVID-19
Humanists have a duty of care to all of humanity including future generations.
Humanism commits us to an ethical way of life that looks after each other. For many of us, this has been never been more apparent than in the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the coming days and weeks, we'll be sharing some ways that you can put those Humanist values in action both locally and globally.Read more
Taking precautions and protecting our community
The evidence and warnings from our public health officials are clear: To prevent the novel coronavirus COVID-19 from overwhelming our healthcare system and leading to a lot of unnecessary suffering and death, immediate action is required from every one of us.
Yesterday, BC's Chief Public Health Officer banned all gatherings of over 50 people and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau restricted travel to Canada to Canadian residents and Americans. Municipalities are also starting to close non-essential public facilities. More measures are expected today and throughout the week.
For our own part, the BCHA's Board of Directors is taking steps to protect our members and the broader community. Specifically, we are suspending all in person meetings and encouraging online connections until public health officials deem the risk to be over.Read more
Teaching about religion and culture still legal
Over three years ago, I wrote about an allegation that a student in Port Alberni was forced to participate in an Indigenous smudging ceremony in a BC public school.
So as Humanists and secularists, we stand with the parent in speaking out against the forced participation of students in such a ceremony.
Today, Justice Thompson of the Supreme Court of British Columbia dismissed that case, finding that the school district did not infringe the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including the state’s duty of religious neutrality. The entire ruling is worth reading as this was possibly the first case to examine the place of Indigenous spiritual practice in a secular school classroom in the era of reconciliation.Read more
Winning the fight against religious privilege
After discussing what we're up against last week, we saw a major change on Thursday when the Legislature agreed to amend its practice of starting each day's session with "prayers" to "prayers and reflections."Read more
What we're up against
As Humanists, we’re used to fighting the religious right. From the battles over creationism or Bible distribution in public schools to securing the right to a medically-assisted death, we know well how to respond to arguments based on dogma and religious authorities.
But as we continue to push toward a more peaceful, compassionate and secular world, we’re coming up a number of other challenges that threaten our progress.Read more
Seven prayers from MLAs that left us scratching our heads
Going through over 850 prayers this summer, we came across a few gems I wanted to share with you prior to the release of our study on Monday.
Unfortunately, we can't embed the videos here but the prayers are the first item of business if you want to watch them (you might need to skip ahead past the procession).
If you think prayers like these have no place in the legislature, make sure to send you MLA an email.Read more
The first step to decolonizing Humanism
We acknowledge that this event takes place on the traditional and unceded shared territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skxwú7mesh (Squamish) & səlil̓wətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
Attend nearly any event in Vancouver in the past few years, particularly ones held by progressive organizations, and you are likely to hear some variation on those words. The practice of territorial acknowledgements has spread farther, with variations in communities across Canada and the USA recognizing the local indigenous peoples.
For many Humanists, these statements can be reminiscent of ritualistic Christian prayers that have often been said before formal events (and in some places still are). This is further complicated when a local indigenous elder is invited to give the acknowledgement and they invoke a deity — either from their own spiritual traditions or in some cases the Christian God.Read more
Will charities be free to speak during the election?
Canadian Twitter was ablaze today over a story that seemed to allege that any charity that talks about climate change during the election will be censored by Elections Canada.
The story comes from Mia Rabson’s scoop for The Canadian Press. She reported that Elections Canada may consider charities that run campaigns about climate change during the election to be captured under the Canada Elections Act.Read more