Yesterday, Doug Thomas, president of Secular Connexion Séculaire, sent SCS members a copy of the text of an email he sent to John Baird:
Dear Minister Baird:
Given the report from the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) noting the increase in discrimination against non-believers around the world cited by Doug Saunders in the Globe and Mail today* are you prepared to publicly include discrimination against and persecution of atheists and other non-believers in the mandate for the Office of Religious Freedom?
More and more atheists are being targetted for violent persecution in the very countries where you seem to deem it necessary to defend religious freedom.
Included in the email is a link to Doug Saunders article “As the non-religious grow in number, they become targets of hate and discrimination.” However, Saunders’ description of atheists is problematic:
They [atheists] may be the fastest-growing faith group in the world.
Of course, atheists are not a “faith group,” and Saunders is correct when he says,
And yet people who place their faith in the human rather than the spiritual may be growing faster in number than any other belief community.
but it would be better if Saunders had not used the words faith and belief that carry a distinctly religious connotation.
Saunders mentions Freedom of Thought 2012: A Global Report on Discrimination Against Humanists, Atheists and the Nonreligious, which is available on the International Humanist and Ethical Union website and notes,
Canada earns censure in the report for its practice of providing public funding to religious schools, even where such schools discriminate against the non-religious. . . . Ontario is singled out for providing 100 per cent state funding for Roman Catholic separate schools, which, the report notes, “discriminate against non-Catholics in hiring staff” and “can also exclude non-Catholic children.”
It is important that the IHEU mentions Ontario and Canada, because the ruling federal party in Canada, committed to promoting freedom of religion abroad, is not committed to promoting freedom from religion for its non-religious citizens.
In the video below, 600tongues examines Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom and how the office will protect the rights and freedoms of non-believers:
h/t for video: Godless Poutine