Secularists are cheering a move by staff at the City of Terrace to reject the planned erection of a nativity scene over city hall.
Each year, the local Catholic Knights of Columbus would construct a plywood scene in advance of Christmas. This year, staff proactively reached out to the Knights to state that they would no longer be permitted to install the scene.
The City cited the 2015 Saguenay ruling that found that municipalities have a duty of religious neutrality as its reasoning for rejecting the nativity scene.
“The decision was made by the Supreme Court of Canada, it wasn’t made by any single individual with the city," City of Terrace spokesperson Tyler Clarke told The Terrace Standard. "We’re simply following what the laws tell us.”
The BC Humanist Association had identified Terrace as one of 23 municipalities to include a prayer in its 2018 inaugural council meeting. Following our correspondence, Terrace confirmed that they would not include a prayer in this year's inaugural meeting.
"Through proactive moves like this, we're starting to see the deeper impact of our advocacy," said BCHA Executive Director Ian Bushfield. "Municipal staff recognize the duty of neutrality and are beginning to apply it to all aspects of governance."
Read more in The Terrace Standard.