Secularism

The British Columbia Humanist Association supports a secular society that affirms:

  • the right of every individual to practice any religion or none, free from coercion by the government, private institutions or their community and
  • that the state has a duty of religious neutrality, meaning it must neither endorse nor prohibit any belief or non-belief.

Open secularism is the best way to fully guarantee the freedom of religion and conscience of all citizens in a plural society. Secularism is the principle that the government should not privilege or disadvantage any religious or non-religious belief over any other.

We oppose government funding being given preferentially to religious organizations and tax exemptions that only benefit the religious (for example, permissive exemptions for houses of worship or the Clergy Residence Deduction). We call on the federal government to remove "the supremacy of God" from the preamble of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and to create a secular national anthem.

Latest news


Legislative Prayer Across Canada

Canada is often viewed as a diverse and multicultural country. Multiculturalism and ‘freedom of conscience and religion’ are enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. From this, the Supreme Court of Canada has established that Canada is a secular country through what has been called the state’s duty of...

Decolonizing Legislative Prayers

Building off the comprehensive House of Prayers report, the BC Humanist Association is releasing Decolonizing Legislative Prayers. This new supplementary report investigates the use of Indigenous content - words, phrases and concepts - in the prayers said by BC MLAs during the daily prayers in the Legislature between 2003 and 2019.

Sample Prayers make Clerk "the arbiter of religious dogma"

The BC Humanist Association is calling on the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia to scrap a planned update to the so-called "sample prayers." Each day of sitting in the Legislature begins with prayers said by a different MLA. Following pressure from the BCHA, the practice that was...

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....

Prayers replaced by 'prayers and reflections' in BC Legislature

Starting in 2020, the British Columbia Legislature will begin each day with "prayers and reflections" instead of "prayers." The change comes after Members of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia unanimously supported a motion from Government House Leader Mike Farnworth to make the change in the Standing Orders.

The Cost of Religion in Canada Part 1: Canadian Taxpayers Funding the Advancement of Religion

Governments in Canada provided subsidies of up to $2.6 billion for the advancement of religion in 2017, according to a new analysis by the Centre for Inquiry Canada. The Government of British Columbia alone provides as much as $156 million. The numbers come from the first part of The Cost...

Report shows prayers in BC Legislature overwhelmingly religious, Christian

A new study of prayers said by MLAs in the Legislative Assembly of BC found that the prayers were overwhelmingly religious in nature and nearly all of the sectarian prayers were identified as Christian. The report, from the BC Humanist Association, follows its call last week for MLAs to abandon...

House of Prayers Report


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...

Reiterating our opposition to Quebec's Bill 21

Building on the BCHA's previous positions, and our Executive Director's statement on Quebec's Bill 21, the Board of Directors of the BC Humanist Association last week reiterated our opposition to the Quebec government's ban on religious symbols.

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