A group in BC is calling for an end to religious prayers at the provincial legislature to start each day.
The British Columbia Humanist Association, a group representative of atheists, agnostics, and non-religious individuals across the province, has launched a campaign to promote religious neutrality at the BC Legislature.
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According to the group’s Executive Director Ian Bushfield, the BCHA has conducted a study which found that the majority of the prayers said by MLAs have been religious and nearly every prayer was Christian (where the religion could be identified).
The BCHA is now asking individuals to send an email to their MLA representatives which points out that in 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that municipal councils that began with a prayer violated their “duty of religious neutrality” by favouring religious residents and excluding non-believers.
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Nevertheless, legislative assemblies are protected by parliamentary privilege and are outside the courts’ jurisdiction.
In the stock email composed by the Association, they also argue that these daily prayers exclude religious people who do not believe that prayer should be a public act.
The goal is to get 500 people to sign the email and send it to their local MLA. As of the time of publication, 315 people have risen to the call.
Those who believe that daily prayers at legislative assemblies contrast the secularity of the province can participate in the letter writing campaign at www.bchumanist.ca/endprayers.