While I’m still new to BC (and especially it’s weird dichotomous politics), I think this recently published letter to the editor is worth highlighting
When Barack Obama gave his inaugural address he inclusively mentioned "those with no belief." This from a man in a position he could not hold were he a member of that group.
And here we are in B.C., at the swearing in of our 35th premier and not only do we have to sit though a religious invocation, but the good reverend forgets to mention the 30 per cent of British Columbians who check "none" under religion on their census forms.
Ms. Clark’s animosity toward the secular is well documented in her time as radio host.
The secular/atheist community of B.C. puts Ms. Clark on notice: keep your beliefs to yourself and we’ll get along fine.
Pat O’Brien, Vancouver
Pat is the past president of Humanist Canada, so his opinion carriers some weight with me.
I therefore took the trouble of transcribing the invocation ceremony that preceded premier Christy Clark’s invocation, given by Peter Elliot of Vancouver’s Christ Church:
From time immemorial, spiritual traditions have been part of this land we call British Columbia. The First Peoples in their ceremonies acknowledged the great spirit and the great creator.
Christians: Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Protestants, were amongst the first European settlers here, and today in this region of cultural diversity live peacefully side-by-side Jews and Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs, and many others from spiritual traditions. We have all found a home here in this place of peace and freedom. All religions share the hope that the Earth will be respected and that people will live together in peace and justice. The hope within spiritual traditions imagines a world where families of many varieties can create a culture of harmony and compassion.
So today we take a moment of silence as we ask the Great Spirit, the Creator, the one true and living God, known by many names, to bless the work of this new government.
I’m going to invite us to take a moment of silence, first as we remember the people of Japan, remember all who’s lives have been lost, and for the rebuilding of that country, and that I will offer a prayer from the Christian tradition, attributed to some Francis of Assisi. [emphasis added]
Pat rightly recognizes that with a non-religious population of nearly 1.4 million (36% of BC’s 3.87 million in 2001) that Premier Clark missed a huge opportunity to reach out to what has reasonably called the most un-representable constituency.
Of course we’ll only be heard if we stand up every time we get ignored. That’s why we should all applaud Pat for writing to his local paper (as opposed to simply reposting on a blog) and strive to do the same ourselves in the future.