Humanists call on Minister to defend secularism in BC schools

The BC Humanist Association is calling on the BC Minister of Education to investigate the state of secularism in the province's public schools.

A week after it was revealed that the Chilliwack School Board upheld a policy supporting the distribution of Gideon Bibles, the BC Humanist Association is calling on Minister of Education Don McRae to investigate the status of secularism in BC schools.

In a letter released today, the group cites a number of district policies that are of concern. A similar policy to the one in Chilliwack allows for the distribution of “Gideon Testaments” in the Powell River School District and the Abbotsford School District maintains a policy promoting abstinence-based sex education, a view the group says is based on religious ideology, not evidence.

“The policy in Chilliwack prompted us to look at what’s going on across the province and we were surprised by what we found,” says BC Humanist executive director Ian Bushfield. “While many boards respect the School Act, some are less clear.” Section 76 of the School Act states that “All schools and Provincial schools must be conducted on strictly secular and non-sectarian principles.”

The group notes that many school boards have vague policies around who may distribute material to students. Bushfield fears that these vague policies leave the door open to groups wanting to proselytize and promote religious dogma.

Online petitions calling for the end of distribution of religious materials have been started on the websites and

Since 1984, the BC Humanist Association has represented atheists, agnostics, and secular humanists across the province. Its vision is a secular society based on the universal values of reason and compassion.

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