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HAT Forum - Secular Humanism

  • The 519 519 Church Street Toronto, ON, M4Y 2C9 Canada (map)

Proposer: Moses Klein

Secular humanists tend to be strong supporters of public secularism -- loosely, the commitment to a non-religious character of state and government functions -- but do we agree on what that entails?

(1) Consider the following issues. Does your understanding of secularism allow them?

(a) Displays of religious symbolism in governmnent buildings

(b) Religious art in public parks

(c) Public servants wearing religious clothing

(d) Political leaders who wear religious clothing in public

(e) Prayers as part of public meetings

(2) Does freedom of religion strengthen or weaken freedom from religion?

(3) In the United States, the separation of church and state is generally linked to freedom of religion; in France laicite is more restrictive of religious privileges. (See for a fuller explanation, including the contrast.) Which of those models -- or a hybrid, or a substantially different model -- would be more appropriate for Canada?