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Humanist works to take God out of public life

By Justin Lajoie


BELLEVILLE, Ont. (31/03/11) -- Bill Broderick, 80, is vice president of the Quinte Secular Humanist Association. As a part of his role with the QSHA, Broderick checks for advertisements that display a bias of religion, which he must try and arrange to be more general for the public. Photo by Justin Lajoie.

Just over 20 years into his retirement, 80-year-old Bill Broderick continues to be an active community member, holding the role as vice-president of the Quinte Secular Humanist Association.

After a 30-year stretch working for Human Resources Canada, Broderick retired in the late 1990s, taking a much-deserved break that eventually led him to becoming a humanist in 2002.  The next year, as a part of the Humanist Association of Canada, the Quinte Secular Humanist Association was created. Broderick stepped in as the VP.

According to its website, the humanist association’s purpose is to promote and promulgate humanism and secularism within the community, to work with other organizations of a similar nature and to provide a venue for members to meet in harmony and fellowship.

“Humanism is essentially the belief or philosophical position that the universe is natural, that there are no gods or supernatural entities looking after us, and that this life is all we will ever have,” explains Broderick.

As a part of his duty at the humanist association, Broderick regularly looks at advertisements that sway towards the beliefs of a God, or the idea of a creator, and works towards having them changed to a more general message.  This is important to Humanists, as they believe there is no higher power and that the general public shouldn’t be subject to biased advertising.

Broderick, and the local association, are also working on the removal of prayers prior to public city council meetings on the likelihood that not everyone in attendance is religious, and therefore, shouldn’t have to participate in religious acts.

“Humanists believe that the Golden Rule pretty well defines all the morality we need:  Do unto others that which you would they should do unto you,” Broderick said.

Broderick believes practitioners of religion have failed every test of morality because they have always tried to force their ideas onto others, even to the point of violence.

Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once said, “The fruits of Christianity were religious wars, butcheries, crusades, inquisitions, extermination of the natives in America, and the introduction of African slaves in their place.”

As a growing demographic in Canada, humanists now make up 25 per cent of the population. It increased from 1 per cent in 1971 during the first year the Canadian Census began asking questions about religious beliefs.

The Quinte Secular Humanist Association meets on the fourth Sunday of every month at the Loyalist College training and development centre.