Opinions expressed on the BC Humanist Association's blog do not necessarily reflect those of the BCHA or the Board of Directors.

A year after Charlie Hebdo, France is still searching for answers

By Emile ChabalUniversity of Edinburgh

France has had a tumultuous time in the year since two brothers opened fire in the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 11, before going on to murder another five people in Paris. Just ten months later, the November 13 attacks showed that the threat of terrorism had not receded.

And just weeks after the second major attack, the far-right’s onward march in regional elections suggested that a significant proportion of the electorate had sought refuge in a language of fear and revenge after everything they had seen in 2015.

These growing anxieties were reflected at the highest level of the political system.

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January 4, 2016 Weekly Newsletter Roundup

This past Sunday, January 3, 2016, a group of 25 Humanists watched Guy Standing's video about the Precariat Charter. The Charter is a manifesto for a new social contract to address the growing inequality of wealth and lack of stable employment. As little as 20% of the world's working age population can find gainful employment as jobs and commodities markets are increasingly globalized.

Starting in 2016, the BC Humanist Association is now a Partner for Life with Canadian Blood Services. This means that we'll be sponsoring a number of Adopt-a-Clinic days when we encourage our members to donate blood. The first date is coming up on Saturday, February 13. I hope to see you there!

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December 28th, 2015 Weekly Newsletter Roundup

So many of you have thrown your support behind our goal of sponsoring a refugee family in 2016. In fact, you've donated and pledged over $3000 in one week.

This is in addition to the generosity you've also shown in support of our other projects and campaigns.

But we still need another $10 000 to close the gap and give us the confidence to make this project a reality.

If you haven't yet, there are still a few days left to donate and take full advantage of the available tax credits for 2015.

Read more about our plans to sponsor a family and donate today.

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Should I lie to my child about Santa?

By Rachael SharmanUniversity of the Sunshine Coast

It’s that time of the year again when parents deliberate over whether to lie – or continue the lie – to their kids about Santa Claus.

Many parents don’t feel comfortable “lying” to their child just to prop up a popular myth.

But does lying about whether Santa exists really do children any psychological harm? And if you do choose to lie to them, when’s the best age to break the news?

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Weekly Roundup

Since the democratic uprising of the Arab Spring in 2011 Syria has been ravaged by civil war. The unrest has allowed fundamentalist groups like the Islamic State rise and spread terror across the region. Millions of families have been displaced to refugee camps across the region.

Many of you have asked me what we can do as the BC Humanist Association.

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Help us sponsor a refugee family

Click here to donate or here to make a pledge.

Since the democratic uprising of the Arab Spring in 2011 Syria has been ravaged by civil war. The unrest has allowed fundamentalist groups like the Islamic State rise and spread terror across the region. Millions of families have been displaced to refugee camps across the region.

Earlier this year the photo of young Alan Kurdi's death rocked the world. That led to an outpouring of compassion and within our own community more and more members started asking me if the BC Humanist Association could help sponsor a refugee family to come to Vancouver.

While I can't promise anything yet, we've had a number of significant pledges and we have a chance to bring a family to Canada.

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Schools need to do more to improve children’s religious literacy

Editor's note: This article is specific to religion in the British education system. For information about the state of religion in British Columbia's education system, see our Secular Schools campaign.

By Tariq ModoodUniversity of Bristol

British society is in serious need of higher levels of religious literacy. The potential for misunderstanding, stereotyping and oversimplification based on ignorance is huge – and schools have a big part to play in putting this right.

Religion has dramatically changed in Britain. Fewer people profess Christianity, more profess a post-Christian spirituality, humanism or atheism, while Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and Jewish communities assert themselves in public and seek to play a role in shaping policies.

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Should voters care about candidates' religious views?

By Nancy T AmmermanBoston University

Religion is grabbing some of the biggest headlines in the current US presidential campaign.

We’ve heard a lot about what candidates like Donald Trump think about other people’s religious beliefs.

But what about the candidates' own beliefs and religious affiliations – and how those will affect their policy positions?

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Weekly Roundup

Unfortunately circumstances prevented our scheduled speaker from the Metro Vancouver Alliance from speaking with us on Sunday. It did however give me the opportunity to provide a more comprehensive update on what we've been up to as an organization over the past few months.

The most newsworthy update was the BC Supreme Court ruling in favour of the proposed law school at Trinity Western University. There's more information in this post and I'll update you as we learn more.

Finally, just today the Ontario-led provincial consultation on assisted dying released its final report. The expert group's recommendations echo much of what we said in our submission. Read more.

PS Today is the last day to buy tickets for the Winter Solstice Dinner. Reserve yours now.

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Help us stand up for secular values

For the past two years I lived in the UK. I met some amazing people there and saw firsthand what a professional Humanist organization, like the British Humanist Association with its 40 000 supporters, can accomplish. But I am glad to be back home in Vancouver and I have been heartened by the warm welcome BCHA members have given me since I returned as your executive director in August. Thank you so much for your support.

Those experiences and your backing have redoubled my determination to make the British Columbia Humanist Association the leading voice for secular and progressive values in Canada. That’s why I’ve been working hard with the board and our volunteers to make that vision a reality.

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