For immediate release
LPA-AFT’s Court Intervention in Support of Bill 21
Montreal, 16th September 2020 — Atheist Freethinkers (LPA-AFT), an association which promotes secularism and supports the rights of atheists, will intervene in the case of I. N. HAK et al. against the Attorney-General of Quebec. The organization’s request to intervene as friend was recently approved by the Quebec Superior Court. The proceedings are scheduled for November 2nd through December 7th at the Montreal Palais de Justice.
The organization Atheist Freethinkers considers Bill 21 to be landmark legislation, an historic step forward for secularism. Although its provisions are modest, the law nevertheless places Quebec in the vanguard of the fight for secularism. In light of its affirmation of State secularism, its insertion of that principle in the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, as well as its concern for the freedom of conscience of school students and civil service users, Bill 21 is momentous legislation.
LPA-AFT’s argumentation will centre on the primacy of freedom of conscience, which includes both freedom of religion and freedom from religion. As atheists, we welcome the objective, expressed through Bill 21, to end certain religious privileges. Indeed, to allow civil servants and schoolteachers to indulge in ideological displays while on the job, simply because their ideology is religious, constitutes an unjustifiable privilege for religions. The consequences of this privilege are (1) infringement of the freedom of conscience of users of social services and of students in public schools, by exposing them to passive proselytism and indoctrination which these partisan religious manifestations represent; and (2) discrimination againsts atheists and other non-believers in their relations with the state. It is therefore imperative that State representatives refrain from wearing religious symbols in order to put an end to this discriminatory privilege.
The organization LPA-AFT is opposed to religious indoctrination, especially of children, and considers that the exclusion of religious symbols from areas under State authority (including public schools) constitutes the only socially viable approach. It holds that legislation should not protect religions in any way different from or superior to other systems of value.
The organization Atheist Freethinkers continues its fundraising campaign in order to raise the considerable funds necessary to carry out this intervention.
— 30 —
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Reach us by email
This press release is also available as a PDF document.