Secularism Betrayed: 2020 Version

English-Canadian pseudo-secularists sink even lower.


Several ostensibly “secularist” organizations in Canada outside Quebec either oppose Bill 21 or maintain a cowardly silence or neutrality on the subject. The situation has degenerated since the PQ’s Charter of Secularism in 2013-2014.

Sommaire en français Plusieurs organismes prétendument « secularist » au Canada hors Québec s’opposent à la Loi 21, ou gardent un silence ou une neutralité pusillanimes à ce sujet. La situation actuelle est encore pire que celle à l’époque de la Charte de la laïcité du PQ en 2013-2014.

We Canadians have the good fortune to live in a country where one of the founding peoples (if I may use that quaint expression), concentrated mainly in one province, has articulated a very well developed modern tradition of secularism. I say “tradition” because it is well over a century old, yet “modern” because it is very much a product of Enlightenment values, values to which all of us who are concerned with human welfare are greatly attached.

Quebec secularists have worked very hard, for many decades, towards their goal of secularism in that province. The most recent product of their efforts is Bill 21. That legislation is faced with great resistance and hostility. Dishonest journalists and politicians constantly denigrate Quebec, Quebeckers and secularism and misrepresent what Bill 21 does.

Secularists throughout Canada should be enthused by the adoption of Bill 21 and offer their whole-hearted support and solidarity to their Quebecois colleagues.

Secularists throughout Canada should be enthused by the adoption of Bill 21 and offer their whole-hearted support and solidarity to their Quebecois colleagues. And it should not require the intervention of outsiders to teach them to recognize the value of that legislation. But no, they have not done so. Blinded by various dubious ideologies, they have thrown Quebec secularists under the bus, either by keeping a cowardly silence or, worse, by siding with the Islamists and their allies who are determined to kill secularism.

A Deafening Silence

Where are the articles in support of Bill 21 on the websites of the Centre for Inquiry Canada (CFIC), or Humanist Canada (HC), or the Canadian Secular Alliance (CSA) or any other ostenibly secular organization in English Canada? Where are the press releases expressing solidarity with Quebec secularists and their resistance against the tsunami of hostility from the English-language media and from federal, provincial and municipal politicians? The articles analyzing how Canadian multiculturalism is incompatible with secularism and thus should be revised or abandoned? The articles denouncing the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) for its attempt to kill secularism in Quebec? The articles denouncing the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) for its complicity?

Where are the texts explaining how schoolchildren are vulnerable to the influence of teachers who wear religious symbols? The articles explaining that allowing a State employee to wear a religious symbol while on duty is an obvious example of religious privilege?

Where are the texts written by English Canadian humanists and secularists analyzing the antisecularism of Charles Taylor and the clientelism of Justin Trudeau who panders so much to religious minorities? Where are the articles denouncing the American media’s knee-jerk hostility to French secularism? We saw an example of that very recently, with the dishonest article in the Washington Post by James McAuley who deliberately conflates masks worn for health reasons with the full Islamic veil.

If lack of member support prevents the Directors of an organization from making official declarations, that does not prevent them from publishing opinion pieces in support of Bill 21.

Perhaps there are such articles or press releases and I have missed them. If you know of any, please send me the links using the contact form on this site.

Secularism: A Foundational Principle? Or Merely an Option?

Any Canadian organization which claims to be secularist must, to be consistent, support Bill 21. If an organization cannot endorse Bill 21 because of insufficient support by its members, then the Directors should at least have the honesty to admit that secularism is not part of that organization’s foundational principles, but merely an option which it may abandon, depending on where the wind is blowing at the current moment.

…secularism is not part of that organization’s foundational principles, but merely an option which it may abandon, depending on where the wind is blowing…

The fact that an incomplete model of secularism—i.e. the Lockean—is the norm in the RoC is no excuse. The major difference between the Lockean model and full secularism is the absence of the separation principle in the former. And yet, the principle of separation between State and religions is well known in the English language and frequently invoked. All that secularists need to do is to take that principle seriously, to apply it where appropriate, to be consistent with their own declared values. If a State employee, while on duty, wears a visible crucifix, or a hijab, or a kippa, or a Sikh turban, or any other obvious religious symbol, then the separation principle is clearly violated. To deny this is disingenuous and dishonest.

From Cowardice to Hypocrisy

The neutrality with respect to Bill 21 adopted by some organizations is an act of cowardice. But the behaviour of CFIC is far worse. An article included in CFIC’s May 2020 newsletter not only opposes Bill 21 to the point of throwing support behind the antisecularists of the NCCM, but it even shows willingness to lie as a strategy in the court case—by using the falsehood that Bill 21 discriminates against women. It is not clear whether this article represents the organization’s formal position, but if CFIC does not, in the very near future, distance itself from that position by making a public declaration renouncing those who seek the repeal of Bill 21, then we can conclude that CFIC is guilty of abysmal hypocrisy by opposing the very principle, secularism, which it claims to support.

…opposing the very principle, secularism, which it claims to support.

(I do not have time to discuss the BCHA here, but its position is even worse, because it has explicitly rejected secularism by using the word “laïcité” as an excuse to dismiss it.)

We who support Bill 21 are either abandoned or stabbed in the back by our so-called “sister organisations” outside Quebec. The behaviour of Canadian pseudo-secularists has been cowardly, irrational, and extremely hypocritical.

It was not always so: back in 2013-2014, several English-Canadian organizations, including Humanist Canada, supported the PQ’s Charter of Secularism of the time. And, to the best of my knowledge, they did so on their own initiative. But today, things have degenerated. That same HC has adopted a neutral position. See the analysis and discussion in AFT Blog #118.

Apparently no Canadian group outside Quebec will support Bill 21, even though it is weaker than the PQ Charter was with respect to religious symbols. But some tell us to be patient, that we should be diplomatic. No Way. English-Canadian pseudo-secularists have no excuse. They deserve the full brunt of our criticism.

Next blog: How the Woke Broke Secularism

6 thoughts on “Secularism Betrayed: 2020 Version”

  1. Here what could be some reasons why those pseudo-secularists do not support the Secular of Québec (Bill-21):
    1)Coalition Avenir Québec is a center right party. In the so-called Canadian Left they even qualified CAQ a “racist” party, therefore the secularism of the CAQ is based on racism. Of course nobody are able to answer the following question: since when religion is a race?
    3)Confusion between freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. Freedom of conscience protects believers and non believers, freedom of religion protects only the believers.
    4)Anti-french chauvinism

        1. I have read your response and I thank you for your support. I also thank you for the link to the BBC report from 1965 where the journalist denigrates Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his secularism programme. I am not surprised, but it is depressing that Westerners are so ignorant of the importance of secularism.

          The attitude of CFI-Canada is particularly irrational and hypocritical. Quebec Bill 21 does not discriminate against any religion. In fact Bill 21 reduces discrimination by removing religious privilege: the privilege of indulging in ideological propaganda ON THE JOB in the civil service of one’s ideology is a religion. Allowing the wearing of religious symbols by civil servants is an unacceptable religious accommodation.

          By failing to support Bill 21, CFI-C and similar organizations are objectively throwing their support behind political Islam, behind dictators like Erdogan.

          1. Thank you, Mr. Rand. Unfortunately, this BBC report is not an isolated incident. Propping up political Islam has been a strategy US and UK governments used for many years. Feto movement which is the Islamic cult attempted the coup in 2015, have used a sex tape against Main Opposition party leader D. Baykal around 2000s, which benefited Erdogan and now there is considerable evidence that this was done in conjunction with Western intelligence agencies. Leader of Feto today resides in US. Despite fallout of Erdogan with West, this program of educating Islamists is still underway, with many ‘scholars’ who can’t even speak proper English are admitted to unis like Georgetown. I ran across this guy who worked in Erdogan linked propaganda magazine last year, now a PhD student at Georgetown e.g. . Here you can see his low English and comprehension skills The inadvertent effect will be when things are back, us Kemalists will work against US/UK interests and turn our face to anti-West coalitions.

  2. Dear Mr. Rand,
    this Ismet a Turkish Canadian.
    Over the last twenty years we saw the dark side of “democracy” in Turkey where so called liberals and socialists have believed inclusion of far right Islamists into the political system and consequently total erosion of democracy and human rights leading finally to a full blown authoritarianism. We all knew this was coming all along.
    I’m disappointed at CFI Canada considering Dawkins is part of CFI now and I found his opinions on almost every issue to be correct – albeit he was too humanist for my taste.
    Mr. Rand, CFI says they oppose ‘different treatment’. Do they oppose different treatment of cultish behaviour of the religious that is choosing people of their own, destroying meritocracy in favour of tribalism, discrimination of the ‘different’ within the work place?
    In Turkey, we used to have a hijab ban in public schools, government buildings and in parliament which was lifted away by Erdogan regime. While most women are forced to cover, politicians have used this as a tool for manipulation and victimhood. This was also supported by US and UK as state policy to send politically Islamist into mainstream Turkish politics. Founder of Erdogan’s Party A. Gul is a graduate of both Exeter of UK and was a scholar at Georgetown for years. Another gov mouthpiece Fehmi Koru was the same. Here you can find a BBC propaganda early 1960s claiming Turkey is too secular. . Consequently Islamist women who wear hijab formed a cult, and eventually have evolved to multiple cults. You must remember that hijab was never used in Turkey prior to political Islam. During Ottoman times it was full veil, burqa. Between 1923 until 1960s there was no hijab or burqa but only traditional headscarf an example of which can be found in many European village dwellers. In any case, one of these cults attempted a violent albeit unsuccesful coup in 2015 meanwhile other cults are still supported by government.
    The point here is those who say there is no difference between state enforced religion vs state enforced religiousness are clueless marxists who believe there can be synthesis from two opposing in statements where as in science and logic, we know that only one can be true and consequently should be materialized. We know religions are wrong, therefore state enforced religiousness is not only better than state enforced religion but also better than staying neutral, since wrong ideologies would be benefited. Bill 21 is not only essential for QC but it should be a model for entire Canada and Western World. I would also point out there are some bot accounts like this one: , that are targeting you, I predict these are either church or mosque linked accounts. As a Turk who believes there is one civilization, I call on entire humanity to join in it and quote our founder Ataturk “To be civilized is adequate to be human.” In other words, those who are uncivilized, cannot benefit from human rights which was developed by civilization. Thank you.

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