© 2020. Authorized by Teale Phelps Bondaroff, 778-678-8325

Research with the BC Humanists

BCHA, February 7, 2020

BC Humanist Association Special Lecture: Inspecting the House of Prayers

Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff was the lead author on the BCHA House of Prayers Report, and will be visiting Vancouver from his home in Saanich to speak about the report, changes since the report and some of BCHA's ongoing work on these issues.

The Atheist Nomads, January 2, 2020

Episode 336 – Prayer in Victoria with Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff

I chatted down with the folks at The Atheist Nomads Podcast and talked about my ongoing work with the BC Humanist Association studying prayer in the BC Legislature, and the findings of our recent House of Prayers Report.

The Globe and Mail, December 22, 2019

Ontario legislature unlikely to stop saying Lord’s Prayer at the start of each day

Teale Phelps Bondaroff, the association’s research co-ordinator, says the country’s legislatures should eliminate daily prayers and replace them with either nothing, a moment of silence or an Indigenous land acknowledgement. He says starting with prayer wrongly privileges religion, and Christianity in particular, over other belief systems.

“The fact that you are starting a political meeting with a prayer might actually disrespect the prayer itself,” Dr. Phelps Bondaroff said. “It trivializes a sacred thing.”

RadioCanada, December 11, 2019

L’athéisme est-il une religion ?

La Cour d'appel du gouvernement fédéral a statué que l'Église d'athéisme du centre du Canada n'est pas une église.

Elle donne ainsi raison au ministère du Revenu national qui lui refusait le statut d'organisme de bienfaisance.

Selon Teale Phelps Bondaroff, coordonnateur de recherche pour British Columbia Humanist Association, c'est le système de taxation qui doit être modifié. Julie Landry lui a parlé.

News 1130, December 1, 2019

Group applauds shift to daily 'prayers and reflections' in B.C. Legislature

The BC Humanist Association has been campaigning for years to have "prayer" removed from the parliamentary procedures.

MLA's voted unanimously to change the Standing Orders to replace the opening "prayer" with "prayers and reflections."

Times Colonist, Nov. 30, 2019

Prayer routine adds non-religious reflection at legislature sittings

The B.C. government will continue to pray before the start of each sitting of the legislature, but it has changed the name of the practice to include non-religious reflections.

A group representing humanists, atheists, agnostics and non-religious people in B.C. called the updated terminology “a step forward,” but says it doesn’t go far enough.

The Friendly Atheist, Nov. 30, 2019

B. C. Legislature Replaces Daily Prayers with “Prayers and Reflections”

In recognition of the many British Columbians who do not pray or practice a religion — a group which includes some legislators — the B.C. Legislature has decided to amend their standing orders, replacing daily prayer with “prayers and reflections.” That will allow members to offer a more inclusive moment of silence rather than a religious ritual designed to exclude those who don’t practice.

Globe and Mail, Nov. 29, 2019

B.C. Legislature changes rules to allow secular ‘reflections’ to open proceedings

British Columbia’s Legislature has changed its rules to formally allow “reflections” to open proceedings each day, in addition to prayer, amid a debate about the place of religion in Canadian assemblies....

The formal change follows criticism from organizations such as the B.C. Humanist Association, that the practice of legislative prayer “discriminates against non-believers and violates the state’s duty of religious neutrality.”

Global News, Nov. 29, 2019

Thoughts and prayers: Religion stays in B.C. legislature, now joined by ‘reflections’

Members unanimously supported a motion by NDP House Leader Mike Farnworth on Thursday to change pre-siting “prayers” to “prayers and reflections.”

The change follows a drive by the BC Humanist Association, which wants to see the separation of church and state ratcheted up a notch.

CBC News, Nov. 29, 2019

Separating church and state: B.C. Legislative Assembly daily prayers receive minor tweak

Starting next year, members of the B.C. Legislative Assembly will begin each day with "prayers and reflections," rather than just "prayers."

The change to the long held custom was spearheaded by the B.C. Humanist Association, which launched a letter writing campaign arguing that setting aside time every day for a prayer was antiquated, discriminatory and should be eliminated altogether.

Vancouver Sun, Nov. 29, 2019

Prayers to continue at B.C. legislature, but now there will also be 'reflections'

The B.C. government will continue to pray before the start of each sitting of the legislature, but it has changed the name of the practice to include non-religious reflections.

A group representing humanists, atheists, agnostics and non-religious people in B.C. called the updated terminology “a step forward,” but says it doesn’t go far enough.

BC Humanist Association, Nov. 28, 2019

Prayers and reflections to begin every sitting of 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 Runner, September 30, 2019

It’s Time to End the Practice of Reciting Christian Prayers in Government

And even though some provinces do have non-denominational prayers, B.C. usually does not, and allowing prayer of a single religious practice to dominate that space does not provide an inclusive environment for Canadians in government.

Canada presents itself as the land of multiculturalism and equity. For government to overrepresent one religion, a dominantly Eurocentric one at that, we are automatically shunning the practices we are so quick to preach.

Canadian Atheist, September 18, 2019

Interview with Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff on BC Legislature Prayers

Here we talk about the new research by the British Columbia Humanist Association on prayer in the BC Legislature, where Dr. Phelps Bondaroff was the lead author.

Friendly Atheist, September 15, 2019

After Analyzing 16 Years of Government Prayers, BC Humanists Want Them to End

The British Columbia legislature begins all Question Period sessions with their version of a religious invocation. In theory, it’s not promoting one religion because the speaker is always a different Member of the Legislative Assembly. As we mentioned earlier this month, the BC Humanist Association (BCHA) was calling for an end to this practice saying it discriminated against the 69% of citizens who don’t belong to any organized religion.

Victoria News, September 12, 2019

Does prayer have a place in the B.C. Legislature?

“Prayer in the B.C. Legislature favours Christianity over other faith traditions, favours religious belief over irreligious belief, and violates the state’s duty of religious neutrality,” Phelps Bondaroff noted.

Vancouver Sun, September 10, 2019

Atheists, humanists want an end to prayers in B.C. legislature

An extensive analysis of prayers in the Legislative Assembly has found that the longstanding tradition tends to favour Christianity over other faiths and recommends the practice be abolished, replaced or reformed “to render (it) less discriminatory.”

CHEK News, September 4, 2019

Group lobbies to drop daily prayer at BC legislature

But the B.C. Humanist Association wants this tradition to end.  Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff said the practice continues only because of parliamentary privilege.

“There shouldn’t be prayer in the legislature. It’s a discriminatory, antiquated practice that takes up valuable MLA time. And excludes a lot of people,” Phelps Bondaroff said.

CFAX 1070, September 2019

Should the BC legislature Drop morning prayers?

 Ian Bushfield, executive director, BC Humanist Association - The BC Humanist Association has launched a campaign to abolish the opening prayer in the B.C. legislative assembly.

CTV News, September 3, 2019

B.C. group calls for end to prayers in legislative assembly

"Giving prayers a prominent space at the start of every day in the legislature marginalizes British Columbians who don’t believe in a god and those who don’t think it’s appropriate for MLAs to use their platform to proselytize their private beliefs. It’s time we end this antiquated and discriminatory practice."

The Georgia Straight, September 3, 2019

Humanists launch campaign to end “discriminatory” practice of praying in B.C. legislative assembly

“The daily prayer in the BC Legislature is an antiquated and discriminatory practice that has no place in an institution that represents all British Columbians,” the letter states.

The letter notes that prayers “exclude individuals from those faith traditions who don't believe prayer should be a public act”.

News 1130, September 3, 2019

Should daily prayer be ousted from the B.C. Legislature?

The BC Humanist Association says while it’s been asked for input to ensure the prayers used represent a broad spectrum of religious and non-religious beliefs, the best course of action is to scrap it altogether.

Currently, a different MLA stands to give a prayer of any religion they choose ahead of Question Period each day.

CBC News, September 3, 2019

Group lobbies to scrap Legislative Assembly daily prayer

The B.C. Humanist Association says the daily prayer in the B.C. Legislature is antiquated and discriminatory and should be eliminated altogether.

To that end, the group is launching a letter writing campaign asking supporters to call upon their MLA to end the practice.

Global News, September 3, 2019

Should prayer be scrapped in B.C. legislature? Humanist group says yes

The BC Humanist Society says that’s a problem, citing a 2015 Supreme Court of Canada ruling which found that city councils that start with a prayer violated their “duty of religious neutrality” by favouring religious constituents over non-believers