Two groups representing atheists and Humanists are asking for God to be taken out of O Canada in a letter to Liberal MP Mauril Belangér.
In late January, Belangér tabled Bill C-210, which would make the national anthem gender neutral. The BC Humanist Association and Centre for Inquiry Canada praised this symbolic move toward gender equality and asked the MP to amend the bill to also replace the line “God keep our land” with a secular alternative.
The organizations argue that the number of non-religious Canadians is rising and they should see their views reflected in our national symbols. The 2011 National Household Survey found that 24% of Canadians are not religious and a 2013 Justason Market Intelligence poll found that 64% of British Columbians do not practice a religion or faith.
Ian Bushfield, Executive Director of the BC Humanists said, “Progress comes in small and large steps. Symbols like the national anthem may not have a great effect on the day to day lives of most atheists but they matter nonetheless. This bill is an opportunity for MPs to recognize and celebrate the growing diversity of worldviews in the country.”
Eric Adriaans, National Executive Director of CFI Canada said, “Too often Canada has delayed important symbolic change with the result that we’ve repeated and entrenched divisive errors of the past. It’s time for our national anthem to embrace Canada’s culturally diverse future rather than the narrow perspectives of the past.”