Canadian Secular Alliance

Canadian Secular Alliance

February 23, 2009 13:36 ET

Canadian Secular Alliance: Time to Change the National Anthem

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 23, 2009) - "We need to change Canada's national anthem to reflect the rapidly changing demographics," said Greg Oliver, Vice-President of the Canadian Secular Alliance (CSA). "We are announcing our campaign to the Parliament of Canada to alter the lyrics to remove the reference to a deity, starting with a letter to each and every MP."

CSA points to the most recent poll, conducted by Harris-Decima in May, 2008, which reported that 23% of Canadians say that they do not believe in any god. For young Canadians under age 25, the figure was 36%. It is the largest religious minority demographic in size and the fastest growing in terms of percentage of the population.

Oliver contends, "A nation cannot be pluralistic if a large number of citizens is subject through national institutions to a single version of religion, one with which they disagree."

"Canada is a secular nation, yet every day, when people across this land sing the national anthem, they are required to ask God to keep the country glorious and free," said Oliver.

Oliver said, "God in the anthem reflects Canada's Christian heritage, but few realize that the English lyrics to O Canada, written by Robert Stanley Weir in 1908, originally contained no mention of God. Weir's original verse, "O Canada, glorious and free", was later altered in 1980 to "God keep our land glorious and free."

"By returning to Weir's original words, we can update the anthem to reflect modern Canada's diversity of beliefs, and honour an older, secular Canadian heritage," Oliver maintains.

The Canadian Secular Alliance is a national not-for-profit volunteer organization of people dedicated to preserving the separation of church and state and advancing secular interests, headquartered in Toronto.

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