Latest Updates

Human Rights Tribunal to hear AA case

A BC Human Rights Tribunal adjudicator has rejected an attempt to dismiss a complaint against Vancouver Coastal Health Authority for forcing a nurse to attending a 12-step program.

The BC Humanist Association (BCHA) has been following Byron Wood's case for several years now. This is the final step before Wood's case goes before a hearing at the Human Rights Tribunal. That Tribunal will ultimately rule whether Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) should be considered a religious program and therefore whether forcing patients to adhere to AA as part of their treatment violates their right to freedom from religion.

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Poll finds majority strongly oppose funding private faith schools

More than half of British Columbians (51%) strongly oppose "providing taxpayer funds to faith-based private schools that include religious teachings in their curriculum" according to a new poll from Insights West. A total of 69% were opposed with 18% somewhat opposed.

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BCHA is hiring: Campaigns Assistant and Programs Assistant

The BC Humanist Association has received funding through Canada Summer Jobs to hire three interns to join our team this summer.

The BCHA promotes education about secular humanism and researches issues relating to human rights and secularism.

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Bill proposes banning conversion therapy in BC

BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver introduced Bill M218 this afternoon, which would ban conversion therapy in the province.

Conversion therapy is the discredited notion that one's sexual orientation or gender identity can be changed.

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Doctors' duty is to their patients, not their own interests: Ontario Court of Appeal

The Ontario Court of Appeal has unanimously upheld a policy that requires doctors provide an effective referral if they refuse to provide a medically assisted death. The decision builds upon a lower court ruling.

The ruling clearly sets out that religious beliefs cannot be used to deny patients healthcare.

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Saanich looks at public benefits tests for churches

Following a letter from the BC Humanist Association, councillors in the District of Saanich voted unanimously Monday night to move toward applying a public benefits test before granting property tax exemptions to religious groups in the municipality.

The vote followed a staff report reviewing options for the District. It notes that 46 churches receive permissive tax exemptions, meaning the city did not collect $561,186 in revenue is 2018.

District staff have now been directed to report back on the implications of adopting a public benefits test for non-profit organizations and church exemptions.

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Government questioned about secular recovery options

An opposition MLA questioned BC's Minister of Mental Health and Addictions last week about whether the province will require some recovery centres to offer secular options.

The question came from North Vancouver-Seymour BC Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite during debate over the estimates for the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions on Wednesday.

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Our role in ending Bible readings in BC schools

76 (1) All schools and Provincial schools must be conducted on strictly secular and non-sectarian principles.

(2) The highest morality must be inculcated, but no religious dogma or creed is to be taught in a school or Provincial school.

Since 1876, BC has required schools "be conducted upon strictly secular and non-sectarian principles." Section 76 of today's School Act reflects that language.

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Atheism has been part of many Asian traditions for millennia

By Signe Cohen, University of Missouri-Columbia

A group of atheists and secularists recently gathered in Southern California to talk about social and political issues. This was the first of three summits planned by the Secular Coalition for America, an advocacy group based in Washington D.C.

To many, atheism – the lack of belief in a personal god or gods - may appear an entirely modern concept. After all, it would seem that it is religious traditions that have dominated the world since the beginning of recorded history.

As a scholar of Asian religions, however, I’m often struck by the prevalence of atheism and agnosticism - the view that it is impossible to know whether a god exists - in ancient Asian texts. Atheistic traditions have played a significant part in Asian cultures for millennia.

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Almost no one in BC goes to church

A new poll from ResearchCo has found that only 3% of British Columbians say they attend religious services "at least once a week." Only 2% said they had "confessed or sought advice from a religious figure" in the past 12 months.

The poll also found that 29% of people in the province are either "convinced" or "tend to believe" that God does not exist.

ResearchCo was formed by Mario Canseco, who the BC Humanist Association worked with on the 2016 Religious and Secular Attitudes Survey when he was with Insights West. In that survey, 11% of British Columbians said they attended religious services weekly, while 15% said they attended at least weekly in the BCHA's 2013 poll.

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