BC Humanists to Christy Clark: The Bible is not a source of Wisdom
Posted by Ethan Clow on August 2, 2012
Earlier today the BC Humanist Association issued the following press release in response to BC Premiere and leader of the BC Liberals, Christy Clark who said that she finds the courage and inspiration to make tough decisions from the Bible.
BIBLE NO BASIS FOR PUBLIC POLICY, DECLARE BC HUMANISTS
Premier Clark’s Recent Comments Alarm Secularists
1 August 2012
Comments by BC Premier Christy Clark have members of the BC Humanist Association concerned that the separation of church and state may be eroded in Canada’s least religious province.
On a recent episode of 100 Huntley Street, an evangelical Christian talk show, Clark – a “devout Anglican” – stated that she bases some of her decisions on what she learns in the Bible.
The BC Humanists, a non-partisan charity, fear that by basing policy decisions on the Bible, the premier may exclude the views of roughly half of the province that does not identify as Christian, and may follow policies based on faith rather than pragmatic reality.
“Policies should be formed in the best interests of all the people of the province and based on the best available evidence,” says Ian Bushfield, Executive Director of the BC Humanists. “The Bible is of great literary value, but lacks the critical analysis necessary to deal with today’s exceptional challenges.”
Since 1984, the BC Humanist Association has represented atheists, agnostics, and secular humanists across the province. Its vision is a secular society based on the universal values of reason and compassion.
The number of people who identify as Christian in British Columbia was estimated from the 2001 Census.
If you would like more information about this topic or to schedule an interview with Ian Bushfield, please call 778-848-0656 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The statements made by Clark, including:
“So I think that’s the hard part, because many times as with many decisions that we face, and we learn this in the Bible, it’s much easier to make a short-term decision that will make everybody happy or that will make your life a little bit easier, than it is to make a long-term decision that’s good for the future but may be tough in the short run…”
and she was also quoted as saying how she was a “devote Anglican” and that it was important to raise children to be “moral.” Clark made these statements on the Christian right-wing TV show 100 Huntley Street.
So what? It’s not like Clark stated that she makes all her decisions based on Biblical scripture. And it’s not like drawing inspiration and faith from the bible is out of the ordinary or in of itself a threat to secularism, right? Ian Bushfield, Executive Director of the BC Humanists published this letter in response to such thoughts.
” …Among [the] other goals [of the BCHA] is to advocate for secular values in the public sphere. One of these values is a commitment to secularism. [...] Ms. Clark may have intended her statement to be more about the generic courage to take controversial decisions, it can also be seen as using the Bible to defend traditional morality. For example, for the second year as premier, Ms. Clark will not be attending the Vancouver Pride Parade (while it will be the third year that the BCHA will be in attendance). Similarly, while she has pledged to work to fight bullying in schools, her plan is noticeably silent on LGBTQ-bullying – a leading cause of suicides among LGBTQ teenagers. Finally, her commitment to the Bible as a tool for decision making and her emphasis on raising “moral” children will undoubtedly leave her supporting BC’s discriminatory independent school system, where Catholic schools that have fired lesbian teachers receive 50% per-student funding from the government.
The fear that I, and many of our members, have is that if Ms. Clark bases some of her decisions on the Bible (the ability to undertake long term policy despite short term controversy), she may base other decisions on the Bible too. My point with the statement is that there are much better principles to derive public policy from than a book that many consider to be inerrant.
Regardless of the above arguments, it is further questionable for the premier of a province as diverse as BC to appear on a Christian talk show in the first place, unless she makes a habit of appearing on all faith and cultural talk shows.
My goal with the release was not to demonize Christianity or her right to read the Bible, but to draw attention to the dangers of an elected official basing their decisions on religion and ideology.
Finally, the BCHA is a democratically governed organization, and all members are entitled to their opinions, including dissenting ones. I believe that this statement falls within the majority view within our organization (as I have received a number of supportive emails since the release) but I am open to changes in the group. You are welcome to make your case among our members – either through the email list-serv (email@example.com), a post on our blog (http://blog.bchumanist.ca/ …”
Well said, Ian.