ADVOCATES

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Are you interested in helping Secular Connexion Séculière (SCS) defend your right to freedom from religion?

SCS is looking for local advocates to keep us informed about discrimination against non-believers across Canada, and to help us lobby to change laws that discriminate against non-believers.

Here’s what an SCS advocate does:

  • monitors an anonymous email mailbox that non-believers who feel they are discrimination victims can contact,*
  • replies to non-believers who contact the advocate through the anonymous email contact,*
    * SCS advocates can remain anonymous.
  • informs SCS about any discrimination against non-believers, systemic or social in the advocate’s area,
  • provides SCS with appropriate information so that SCS can contact people involved (municipal officials, school board officials, non-believers who feel discriminated against, etc.)
  • assists SCS with gathering information for SCS projects; e.g., SCS is working on a pilot project to end the practice of playing theist versions of O Canada during school daily opening ceremonies. At some point SCS will be looking for contact information for school board officials throughout Canada.
  • Participate in Zoom (or other online) meetings to co-ordinate SCS activities including SCS’ function as a nexus for Secular Humanists across Canada.

How to become an SCS advocate:

E-mail president@secularconnexion.ca, tell us your location (City and Province or Territory) and ask any questions you might have,

We will respond with answers and information about the next steps, (e.g., a Zoom meeting with new advocates).

Provincial and Territorial Advocates

SCS has provincial advocates who support and advocate for humanist rights at the provincial, territorial and local levels. To contact the advocate for your province email that person at the email address given below.

Alberta (AB) & Northwest Territories (NT) —– Gordon Wolters ———————————– scsAB@secularconnexion.ca
British Columbia (BC) & Yukon (YT) ————–Alan Danesh ————————————— scsBC@secularconnexion.ca
Manitoba (MB) & Nunavut (NU) ———————- Rick Dondo —————————————–scsMB@secularconnexion.ca
Maritimes (NB,NL,NS, PE) ——————————- Age Smies ——————————————- scsNL@secularconnexion.ca
Ontario (ON) & Québec (QC)————————— Doug Thomas ————————————– scsON@secularconnexion.ca
Saskatchewan (SK) —————————————— Kayla Horan-Dmytruk ————————– scsSK@secularconnexion.ca

Why are There Provincial and Territorial Advocates?

From time to time, SCS receives requests for help with local and provincial issues involving discrimination against atheists. SCS is now setting up provincial contact people to monitor local and provincial issues. For the most part, these contact people will be asked to forward the information to the SCS office in Elmira. Then we can determine the action to take and from whom the response should come. SCS has set up a contact email for each province and territory – see Provincial contacts

For example, Karis Burkowski, co-author of Why Men Made God asked both the Kitchener and Waterloo branches of Chapters for the opportunity to display and sign the book in those two stores. She was told by both managers that they would not extend this normal courtesy to her because the book was too controversial and that they felt that members of the religious community would demonstrate against its display in the stores.

SCS wrote a letter to both the managers noting that this seemed discriminatory and that, while secular humanists do not generally engage in disruptive tactics like demonstrations, there was plenty of reason for us to be concerned considering the number of religious books that Chapters regularly displays.

The store managers consulted with the district manager who reversed their decisions and welcomed Karis and her books into the stores. That district manager noted that the meeting with the managers was a “teaching moment.”

More recently, SCS received an email from a person regarding what that person regards as inappropriate participation by a religious group in public elementary school activities. The religion in question was posting and distributing advertisements for a religious camp using pictures of space vehicle and other images that led many students to think it was a space or science camp. The religion was also providing a  ginger bread house building opportunity in the same school

SCS emailed  the principal of the school requesting further clarification and was referred to the Community Information and Engagement Officer for the local school board. SCS emailed that person on December 19, just before winter break, and awaits a reply from that person.