Updates from the President
February 22, 2021
We contributed (mainly financially) to the BC Humanist Association’s report entitled "A Public Good? Property tax exemptions for places of worship in British Columbia". They mentioned us in the footnotes for helping them with the acquisition of some of the data that went into the compilation of the report. The report can be found on their website here.
February 15, 2021
We have written a follow-up letter to Prime Minister Trudeau regarding the Supreme Court of Canada ruling that non-belief must be treated with the same favour as religious belief by all levels of government within Canada. The letter titled 'The “advancement of non-belief” as a category of charitable purposes' is posted at a member's website, DefundReligion.org. There has been no response from the Prime Minister’s office to date—not even an acknowledgement of receipt of the letter.
January 4, 2021
We have embarked on a new project – the Nonbelief Coalition, a coalition of non-believers to lobby governments for equally of privileges as for faith groups. An initial website for the Nonbelief Coalition has been set up at www.nonbeliefcoalition.org.
The Nonbelief Coalition was conceived after I wrote a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau reminding him that the Supreme Court of Canada has already ruled that non-belief must be treated with the same favour as religious belief by all levels of government within Canada. The letter titled “The state cannot favour religious belief over non-belief” is posted at a member's website, DefundReligion.org. The response from the Prime Minister’s office is posted here.
Societal laws are currently supporting and favouring the religion industry over other charitable organizations—especially when it comes to taxes. The church has had special status within the law regarding taxes since Christianity was declared the official religion of the state of the Roman Empire in 380 AD. Since then, many acts of law have provided churches (defined as “places of worship”) exemption from property taxes as well as giving them other monetary advantages. One such act is the “Charitable Uses Act of 1601” in England—which forms the bases of church privileges within the law of many countries of today. The status quo should no longer remain this way.
Any organization that is involved in the “advancement of religion” has special tax exemptions within the law. This may have been appropriate at the time, but now with all the scientific advancements over the many years, it certainly is not. We would prefer to see this misguided funding go towards a myriad of social causes including family planning and climate change control. The “advancement of education”, without the requirement of worshipping a deity, should be treated equally within the tax laws of a country—including property taxes.
Imagine if the countless organizations that are accomplishing meaningful good in the world were to be supported by the same tax advantages that churches are receiving. Belief in a god and wanting to do good for the world are mutually exclusive concepts, yet currently, to be defined as a registered charity with the sole purpose of “advancement of education”, an organization must be associated with worshipping a deity.
Historically, each country identified with only one religion and the schooling of children involved the exposure to only that one religion. Then as the ethnicity of countries blended, schools became increasingly secular. Also, the scientific method was taught in public schools. As the years went by, fewer and fewer children were indoctrinated into their parent’s religion. As a result of these changes, most people today do not identify with a specific religion.
One specific area of change that we would like to see is concerning property taxes. You may not view property tax exemptions as significant in your life, but they are. Every taxpayer is affected by them, whether you own property or not. Basically, everything you buy is affected by property taxes. Property taxes pay for the roads leading to the property, the sidewalks, the streetlamps, etc. The more a business pays in property taxes, the more that money must be considered in the cost of the goods or services provided by the business.
So, if churches don’t have to pay for their share of property taxes, that means that everyone else must make up for it. That means that even though you may not subscribe to any specific religious theology, you are paying extra for them to “advance their religion”.
|Copyright 2019 Voters Without Religion Association. All rights reserved. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.|