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


Clergy residence deduction cost $1 billion over last decade

In its latest report, the BC Humanist Association (BCHA) has estimated that the clergy residence deduction has cost the Canadian government over $1 billion over the past decade as individual religious officials are able to reduce their taxes by one-third.


Have an omelet and pray, with the Prime Minister

This morning, the Prime Minister, leader of opposition and an untold number of Members of Parliament gathered, over Zoom, to join in the annual National Prayer Breakfast. While the American version of the event is probably more familiar to most people, Canada has in fact had its own Prayer Breakfast...

Religion doesn't protect contracts from judicial scrutiny

The BC Humanist Association is welcoming a unanimous decision by Canada's highest court that affirms that religious organizations can be subject to judicial scrutiny. The case stems from five individuals who sued their former church following their expulsion from the congregation. The members alleged church leadership failed to follow their...

The "support group" loophole?

Religious services remain banned in BC during the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, yet at least one Vancouver church has continued meeting under the guise of a support group. Love Quest International Church says on its website that it launched "The Good Life Support Group" in late February 2021...


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....

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