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

(Martin MacMahon, NEWS 1130)
Summary

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

The BCHA cites numbers from a 2016 study that says 69 per cent of British Columbians do not practice a religion or faith

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – A British Columbia atheist group says the daily prayer should be ousted from the 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.

The Acting Clerk of the House asked for input as part of a review of the prayer practice, and in response the group says it doesn’t reflect the diversity of the province and gives MLAs a platform to voice private beliefs.

The BCHA cites numbers from a 2016 study that says 69 per cent of British Columbians do not practice a religion or faith.

“The Supreme Court of Canada was clear that our government’s have a ‘duty of religious neutrality,’” executive director Ian Bushfield said in a release. “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 BCHA is conducting a study on the prayers used that will later be submitted to the Acting Clerk to support their position.