Research with the BC Humanists

Humanist Canada, March 21, 2021

Whatever Happened to Saguenay? Municipal Prayer in Canada

We launched an investigation to determine the number of Canadian municipalities operating in violation of Saguenay. We began by surveying the top 50 municipalities by population in each province, inspecting agendas and minutes of regular and inaugural sessions. For provinces where prayer was identified in three or more municipalities (Ontario, BC, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta), we expanded our investigation to examine every municipality with a population of over 1,000.

Friendly Atheist, Feb. 24, 2021

Canadian Atheist Group: Churches Breaking COVID Rules Must Lose Tax-Exempt Status

If tax exemptions for non-profits are aimed at rewarding and assisting organizations that support the public good, it seems pretty logical to remove those exemptions from anyone who’s breaking the law or undermining the community.

BCHA, Feb. 22, 2021

A public good? Property tax exemptions for places of worship in British Columbia

The BC Humanist Association released a report today calling on municipalities to adopt regular benefits tests for tax exemptions granted to places of worship. These tests, the report states, are necessary to ensure potential recipients of tax exemptions — which total millions each year — provide services that benefit the community as a whole.

Canadian Atheist, Feb. 16, 2021

2021 Canadian Atheist Awards – Person of the year – Teale Phelps Bondaroff

For his continued and wide-ranging work making Canada—and the world—a better, more humanist place, for his research combating Christian hegemony and furthering secularism, and for his success in making real change happen even in the usually unyielding halls of power… Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff, you are Canadian Atheist’s 2021 person of the year.

CFAX 1070, Dec. 21, 2020

Should churches that break COVID rules lose tax exemptions? 

Churches and religious buildings receive statutory property tax exemptions, and some also get additional property tax relief. Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff - BC Humanist Association, joined Adam to talk about if they should be eligible for tax breaks when they are breaking COVID rules?

Times Colonist, Dec. 21, 2020

Churches breaking COVID-19 rules still get government tax breaks

PTEs “exist specifically to support work that benefits the community,” said BCHA researcher Taele Phelps Bondaroff. “So, I would argue that a place of worship that is holding meetings in open defiance of COVID-19 regulations that are in place to keep people safe and prevent the spread of the pandemic is not providing a service that benefits the community – quite the opposite.

Global TV, Dec. 7, 2020

Some Okanagan city councils unconstitutionally included prayer in meetings: report

Teale Phelps Bondaroff, a research coordinator for the association, said the problem with those prayers is that they exclude people.

“Including prayer in a council meeting necessarily promotes one set of beliefs over others. It tells people that the state endorses this set of beliefs and not others,” Phelps Bondaroff said.

Chilliwack Progress, Nov.27, 2020

Most municipalities no longer begin council sessions with prayer: BC Humanist report

Starting a municipal council meeting with prayer was ruled unconstitutional in a 2015 Supreme Court decision.

Municipalities across the country have had a few years to stop the inclusion of prayer in their meetings and change procedures, according to a new report from the BC Humanist Association, ‘Duty of Neutrality Beyond Saguenay.’

Chilliwack, Langley, and White Rock were among the 23 municipalities found by researchers to have violated the “duty of religious neutrality” in 2018 by beginning their inaugural council meetings with prayers.

InfoNews.ca, November 27, 2020

No prayer? Some Okanagan councils chastised for violating 'duty of religious neutrality'

Several municipalities in the Okanagan have broken religious neutrality laws by holding prayers during their inaugural council meetings. The City of Armstrong, the District of Peachland and the Township of Spallumcheen were all found to have violated the Canadian constitution by beginning with a prayer at their inaugural council meetings in 2018.
 

Of the 162 municipalities in the province, 23 were found to have delivered prayers during inaugural council meetings, according to a recent report by the B.C. Humanist Association.

Saanich News, Nov. 26, 2020

Christian-based prayer at inaugural Vancouver Island council meetings violates court ruling

The BC Humanist Association, a self-defined voice for atheists, agnostics and the non-religious of B.C., released a report Tuesday that found 23 out of 162 B.C. municipalities had included prayer during their 2018 inaugural meetings. That prayer is in violation of the 2015 Supreme Court of Canada’s Saguenay ruling and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees “freedom of conscience and religion.”

Salmon Arm Observer, Nov. 24, 2020

Prayer at North Okanagan council meetings a violation of religious neutrality: study

Armstrong and Spallumcheen are among a number of B.C. municipalities found by an atheist organization to be in violation of religious neutrality laws because they held prayer sessions at past inaugural council meetings.

According to a report by the BC Humanist Association (BCHA) released Tuesday, Nov. 24, 23 municipalities in the province began their 2018 inaugural council meetings with prayers, all of which were delivered by members of the Christian clergy.

The Friendly Atheist, May 25, 2020

BC Humanists Call for Land Acknowledgment to “Decolonize Legislative Prayers”

In an effort to make the standing orders still more inclusive and reflective of the reality of Canadian society, the BCHA has released a new report analyzing representation of British Columbia’s Indigenous people in the Legislature’s traditional prayers.

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."

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.”

2020

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