As Humanists, we’re used to fighting the religious right. From the battles over creationism or Bible distribution in public schools to securing the right to a medically-assisted death, we know well how to respond to arguments based on dogma and religious authorities.
But as we continue to push toward a more peaceful, compassionate and secular world, we’re coming up a number of other challenges that threaten our progress.
First, there's been a renewed rise in reactionary politicians, who appeal to nationalism and traditionalist hierarchies. These values directly contradict Humanism’s long espoused internationalist and egalitarian values. These forces seek to build walls, dividing humanity based on where we were born, and they would rollback those hard won victories of the racial justice, feminist and LGBTQ2S+ rights movements. Traditionally, these types of reactionary policies were driven by religious fundamentalist communities; however, today we’re seeing more and more nonreligious voices sharing some of these commitments.
But perhaps the bigger challenge for the Humanist cause, particularly here in British Columbia, remains the apathy that comes with the alienation of contemporary society. We are being increasingly isolated from one another and in that solitude we seem to have lost much of our ability to dream of a different and better world. This doesn’t just threaten the BCHA’s short-term goals of challenging religious privilege but it impedes our collective ability to respond to the existential threats like climate change. At the local level, our communities are weaker and less resilient. While at the political level we see a lack of will to challenge the structures that continue to favour religious authorities.
Our goal over the coming year will be to continue to push back against these forces; to show that a more equal, just and secular world is achievable; and to generate the enthusiasm to make that world a reality. Over the coming weeks, as we close out 2019, I’ll outline how the BCHA is starting to think about tackling these issues and continuing our mission of a better world based on science and compassion.
If you haven't already, consider taking this opportunity to become a member of the BC Humanist Association.