Message from our Founder
The Nonbelief Coalition is a concept whose time has come. The non-belief community is comprised of many diverse groups and individuals. People may call themselves atheists, anti-theists, agnostics, humanists, secularists, rationalists, skeptics, naturalists, or freethinkers, but they are largely non-religious individuals, and their numbers are increasing upon every census. Also increasing in numbers are the people leaving mainstream religions and reportedly believing in their own version of a god or explanation of the world. Non-believers, for the most part, are a ragtag mess. Meanwhile, organized religion continues to infiltrate all levels of government to favor themselves at every opportunity.
The concept of this coalition is to have the non-belief community speak in unison in achieving their aims. The religious community has been united for years. That is why they have the hegemony within society. If non-believers want to diminish the social, cultural, ideological, and economic influence exerted by the religious community then they too must unite and speak with one voice.
There are many associations claiming to represent the non-religious community, yet they remain unorganized and splintered. There are organizations whose name may indicate intent and desire for umbrella inclusiveness of the non-religious, but none have gelled into a recognizable effort yet. For example, the International Association of Atheists, Humanists International, Atheist Alliance International, Rationalists International, International League of Humanists, and so on. Then within countries there many groups with the word National in their name. A far more inclusive non-belief organization, or a powerful lobby, needs to develop into fruition.
There is evidence that some of the non-religious groups are joining forces to achieve specific change. For example, the BC Humanist Association, Canadian Secular Alliance, Centre For Inquiry Canada, Voters Without Religion Association, and Canadian atheists, are all focusing efforts on the agenda to have the Canada Revenue Agency modify their “advancement of religion” category regarding tax exemptions (see "References" below). The “advancement of religion” was once viewed as charitable activity but now it is seen as feeding racism and social tensions, hindering social change with respect to women’s rights, contradicting science recommendations, interfering with family harmony, and the list goes on.
These same non-religious groups also have their sights on amending other provincial and municipal tax regulations that favor belief over non-belief. They are making the public aware about the financial cost of religion and the fact that temples, churches, mosques, synagogues, and pagodas are not paying their own way which means the non-believers are having to pay it for them—that is simply not fair. Non-believers are seeking equality with the religious sector at every level of government—something that has already been mandated by the Supreme Court of Canada.
All gods become myths when people stop believing in them, but we should not have to wait until then. The Nonbelief Coalition hopes to play a role in having the non-belief community act on specific doable milestones in dismantling the dominance of religion.
Our first objective is to encourage non-belief individuals and organizations to specifically lobby for the removal property tax exemptions for religious buildings. This may seem like a small goal, but it could have a monumental effect of the status of religion in society. Due to their dwindling attendance, many religious organizations are hanging by a thread to keep themselves going. Having to pay property taxes may weed out the weak from the strong. Some churches would be sold and turned into real estate for housing or other civic needs. It would have the effect of exposing the true size of interest in religion. Perhaps tax privileges for the religious could be phased out over three or four years. Let’s go for it.
Stay tuned for a list of specific doable milestones of change in the fight for equality.
BC Humanist Association has published …
Canadian Secular Alliance has published …
Centre For Inquiry Canada has published …
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