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


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.

Budget 2020: A chance to advance a Secular BC

The BC Humanist Association has today asked the BC Legislature's Finance Committee to use Budget 2020 to advance secular values in British Columbia. In its brief, the organization identifies four ways the budget can be used to end the privileging of religious views in the province. Phase out public funding...

Senate committee recommends review of legal definition of charity

Recognizing that the laws governing Canadian charities are “outdated, convoluted”, a Senate committee is recommending a full review of whether Canada should define what a charity is in law. Whether an organization can be registered as a charity is currently determined based on a list of "good, godly and charitable"...

Quebec's "state laicity" law undermines secularism

The passage of Quebec’s Bill 21 is bad news for the state of freedom of expression, religious freedom and secularism itself in Canada. Humanists should stand united against the clear infringement on our fundamental freedoms by the Government of Quebec.

See more secularism posts.



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