Humanists and secularists are raising concerns about two projects announced as part of a slew of new affordable housing initiatives by the Government of BC.
The BC Humanist Association is concerned that the projects, run by the Pentecostal Christian Life Assembly in Langley and Salvation Army in Vancouver, may exclude LGBTQ+ individuals and use the facilities to proselytize to vulnerable populations. The projects account for 143 of the 4900 new homes and will receive $14.3 million from the province.
Ian Bushfield, Executive Director, BC Humanist Association:
BC is in a housing crisis and these new homes are welcome relief for people who can't afford to live in this province. However, the government has a duty to ensure it is not supporting discrimination or favouring a religious worldview.
This is particularly an issue for people living in precarious social housing where they may feel obliged to attend religious services or hide aspects of their identity to continue to have a home.
The fact that 97% of these new homes are going to secular organizations suggests it wasn't difficult to find projects that are inclusive of the entire community.
The BCHA is asking the government to show how it will ensure these two projects will be inclusive and refrain from proselytizing residents.
Christian Life Assembly
Christian Life Assembly is part of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC). The PAOC defines marriage as "a provision of God wherein one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others enter into a lifelong relationship through a marriage ceremony." They also state that "Christians should marry only those who are believers" and a couple may only divorce "by porneia, which is understood as marital unfaithfulness involving adultery, homosexuality, or incest" and where "reconciliation" has ultimately failed.
In other words, the Christian Life Assembly sees same sex relationships as sinful and does not support divorce for reasons of spousal abuse.
The Salvation Army's anti-LGBTQ positions are well documented.
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