Canadians becoming increasingly secular.

If America does ever become the theocracy it appears to be headed toward then at least I know I won’t have to move far to get away from it. According to this article in the Toronto Star the number of people claiming “No Religion” on Census forms is increasing.

Statistics on faith contained in the 2001 census, to be released next month, will show that Christians still form the majority in Canada, with Catholics leading the way. Analysts, however, do expect a decline in the overall percentage of Christians in this country.

But those in the next category will outnumber all the Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists combined: Officials say Canadians who listed “No Religion” in the last headcount—atheists, agnostics, freethinkers and humanists—could reach 18 per cent of the population, placing Canada among the most secular societies in the industrialized world.

If true, or even in the ballpark, that’s a big jump. Canadians citing no religious affiliation comprised just 7 per cent of the population 20 years ago. By 1991, it was 13 per cent. The sharp rise expected shows that God may have a place in Canada’s Constitution, in the courts and in the national anthem, but also that secularism and skepticism are finding a warm home in the Great White North.

More so than in France, where the religiously unaffiliated amount to 6 per cent of the whole; Switzerland (11 per cent); Italy (13 per cent); and the United States (14 per cent). A 1999 poll found that only 65 per cent of Britons say they believe in God. (Levels of non-belief in formerly communist and officially atheist countries are still high. In eastern Germany, it’s said to be 63 per cent).

Combine that with the fact that they’re currently considering legalizing marijuana and have legalized, but heavily restricted and regulated, prostitution in some provinces and I’d argue that Canadians may be much smarter than many Americans give them credit for. They at least appear to have picked up on the lessons we should have learned from prohibition. Of course if Canada continues on this trend of increasing intelligence among it’s government officials then the U.S. will probably turn around and invade it at some point just for making us look bad in comparison. Still, it gives me a little bit more hope in humanity.

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