Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[Infographic of survey results.]

Infographic showing some parts of the first round of data released from the Angus Reid Institute surveys.

  • [] Toronto police charge man for pretending to practice witchcraft after victim pays $101K to remove evil spirit

    A question we here at CA get asked so often it should probably be in a FAQ is: “Why doesn’t Canada use its ‘pretending to practice witchcraft law (§365) more often?” Well, here you go!

  • [] Conrad Black: I put this as simply as possible: Many atheists are excellent, but atheism itself is hurting the West

    Oh, Conrad, is their any level of asshattery you won’t stoop to?

  • [] More victims of sexual abuse go after Moncton church for money

    So far, 109 victims have received compensation totalling $10.5 million… but it ain’t close to over yet.

  • [] “The Bones Speak” by Zach Weinersmith (Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal)

    I would actually pay money to go see a fortune-teller, if they were this intellectually rigorous.

  • [] Petition opposes request to fly anti-abortion flag at Prince Albert City Hall

    The excuse given by Mayor Greg Dionne is that this is an issue of rights, and that he lets everyone who asks fly their flag at city hall – the only group he’s ever denied has been a criminal motorcycle gang. Challenge accepted. Any atheists living in Prince Albert in Saskatchewan, please get in touch. Let’s see if we can’t get some atheist flags a-flyin’ there, eh?

  • [] Liberal MP hosted event for Christian group whose president says Muslims want to ‘convert all Canadians’

    Two weeks ago, it was Kellie Leitch getting in trouble for rubbing shoulders with major islamophobic groups. Now it’s Liberal MP Ruby Sahota. There’s a slight difference, in that Leitch was basically at a rally for islamophobia – she was at an activist event for anti-Muslims – so her excuses that she really didn’t know how islamophobic they were really ring rather hollow. Sahota’s blunder is more indirect, and more interesting: She technically wasn’t courting an anti-Islam group… she was courting a Christian group. Ah, but there’s the rub; pretty much all of the most virulent islamophobic groups are religious groups, mostly Christian. This is a good wake-up call for politicians: If you think that jumping in with a religious group is a quick and easy way to show you’re cool with the community… think again. Hopefully after this slap in the face, politicians will be more wary of jumping into bed with religious groups.

  • [] Delta Police Interfaith Symposium is “endorsement by exclusion”

    I always cringe at the word “interfaith”, because it invariably turns out to mean “everyone but the nonreligious”… and this case is a textbook example.

  • [] Alberta Catholic high school under fire for pro-life presentation comparing abortion to Holocaust

    I can’t decide whether I’m less surprised that this is a Catholic school, or an Alberta school. Of course, the Catholic school board’s response is not “this won’t happen again”, but rather “we’ll try to make our anti-choice propaganda a little less screamingly offensive next time”.

  • [] Watch: In Bill 84 hearing, Ontario doctor powerfully defends assisted dying referral policy

    The Ontario government is shaping it’s medical assistance in dying laws, and there are organized forces pushing for really backward, regressive statutes. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario made a rule that if a doctor refuses to assist someone to die, they must provide an effective referral… but naturally that rule is triggering the anti-choice groups to fight tooth and nail to prevent it from being included in the provincial law. This article describes an impassioned plea for making effective referrals law.

  • [] Wildrose constituency president criticized for comparing GSAs to residential schools

    What, you saw the item above about the Liberal MP doing something stupid, and thought this would finally be the week where we only have liberals doing outrageously offensive things and no conservatives? Ha, ha, no. Not content to compare abortion to the Holocaust, now we get a Canadian spin: comparing gay-straight alliances to residential schools. By what warped right-wing logic can you possibly compare GSAs with residential schools? Well, dig this: The school (as part of the government) not notifying parents when their kid voluntarily joins a GSA is just like when the government didn’t notify parents when their kid was involuntarily snatched from their family and had another culture forced on them. Yeah, I dunno, it’s too stupid for me to wrap my head around too.

  • [] Global Restrictions on Religion Rise Modestly in 2015, Reversing Downward Trend

    This new data from Pew confirms what I’ve observed anecdotally for the last few years. Right after 9/11 there was a sudden rush of really repressive laws against religions… mostly targeting Islam, of course. But then it died down and there was a general trend toward more freedom worldwide for a few years. But in the last couple of years it’s started to pick back up again. Now I know many readers here don’t give a fuck about when religion is being unjustly repressed – and some even revel in it – but the reality is that when one religious group is being denied equality and freedom, it won’t be long before others will get the same treatment… and the nonreligious will never be far from the top of the list of groups to oppress. And more freedom is good in general – the more free a country is, the harder it is for religion to thrive. So this trend of reversing human rights progress should be worrying.

  • [] Cell phone video of Nazi comparison in Red Deer Catholic high school class on abortion should raise political questions

    This incident is mentioned in an item above, but what this adds is asking the questions that should be asked: how often do incidents like this actually happen in Alberta, and is anyone going to be doing anything about it… and if so, what?

  • [] Battle over the bunny — Foster parents fired after refusing to lie about Easter myth

    We have to be very careful drawing conclusions, because we only have one side of the story here. But apparently, what happened is the real parents of some kids in foster care asked the foster parents to tell the kids about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. The foster parents (claim they) agreed to tell the kids about the myths and partake in the traditions (like going on an Easter egg hunt), but refused to tell the kids that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are real, citing their Christian faith as the reason they cannot lie. (I know, irony overload, but bear with me.) Because of this, they say they lost their ability to be foster parents. If the Christians are telling the truth, then it sounds like we’d have to take their side here. But we’ve only heard their side of the story so far so… let’s reserve judgment until we hear more facts.

  • [] Ontario Pioneer Camp alumni fight to end anti-gay staff policy

    I find this headline somewhat misleading, or at least it’s asking me to sympathize with the staff, rather than the kids who attend the camp. While there’s certainly room for discussion on whether religious organizations have a right to discriminate in hiring and staff code of conduct requirements, what’s hidden deeper in this story is that the counsellors are being forced to push the intolerantly anti-gay policy on the kids. I sympathize with the counsellors who suffered because of the Christian organization’s repressive policies… but the real victims here have to be the kids.

  • [] Marvel pulls X-Men comic that had a hidden Koranic message. Says the artist: ‘My career is over.’

    Okay, the Washington Post headline is terrible. The real story here is not that some artist snuck in some Quran references in an X-Men comic. What really happened is this: Basuki Tjahaja Purnama is the Governor of Jakarta in Indonesia. Purnama is a Christian, and for years he’s been facing bigotry and racism – he’s a double-minority, Chinese (not Javanese or Sundanese) and Christian (not Muslim). His re-election to Governor (he wasn’t elected the first time, he inherited the job when the previous Governor became President) has gone into a second round, and it looks close. But Muslim leaders have been telling Muslims that they cannot vote for a non-Muslim, based on certain Quranic verses. Purnama called that bullshit aaaaaand… they charged him with blasphemy. But back to the comic thing, what the artist snuck into the comic was not just Quran references… but rather references against Purnama. That included the Quran verse that supposedly claims Muslims cannot vote for non-Muslims. But it also included other shit, like references to an anti-Purnama protest, and anti-Semitic references toward character Kitty Pryde (who is Jewish). So no, this wasn’t just about putting a Quran reference in the comic. This fucker totally deserves to be fired.

  • [] VIDEO: Chaos Erupts Over Islam at Building Bridges Event in Mississauga

    The spike in islamophobic activity in Mississauga has spilled beyond the confines of the Peel District School Board. Now the bigots are disrupting anything to do with Islam… such as this event featuring Iqra Khalid (the Liberal MP who introduced anti-islamophobia motion M-103). Does anyone still believe this is about secularism in schools?

  • [] A spectrum of spirituality: Canadians keep the faith to varying degrees, but few reject it entirely

    Angus Reid Institute has a nasty habit of collecting excellent data, then writing mind-bogglingly stupid reports about that data. This is yet another case of that, and they’re not alone – you’ll find much of the reporting about this latest survey to be pretty abhorrent. I’ll probably be writing about the survey in a dedicated post at some point, but the data is going to be released in a steady trickle as part of some Canada 150 thing, so I’ll wait for more data to come out.

  • [] Case of Calgary Jehovah’s Witness expelled from congregation will go before Supreme Court

    This is an interesting case, having to do with how much freedom religious organizations have to discriminate. The story behind the case is pretty tragic. It has to do with a real estate agent who got “disfellowshipped” from the Jehovah’s Witnesses for getting drunk twice and verbally abusing his wife during one of those times. However, most of his clients were Witnesses, so when he got disfellowshipped and they started “shunning” him… that pretty much ruined his business. The really tragic part is that the reason he got drunk and yelled at his wife (not to excuse it)… was because his daughter had just been disfellowshipped… and he was upset and under a lot of stress because of the fact that he had to shun her. Anyway, the court case hinges on whether the courts have jurisdiction to review the decisions of a private religious group. I am not a lawyer, but by my own reading of the appeal (which agreed that they do), I think they do… but the appeal court didn’t really make a good argument for it (and there was a remarkably well-written dissent), which is why the Supreme Court accepted it, I assume. If that’s the case, then the courts may in future have the power to help people who are victims of unfairness, inequity, or straight-up abuse by religious leadership… and the religious leadership won’t be able to tell the courts to mind their own business because it’s a private matter.

  • [] Who are the new jihadis?

    This is an excerpt from a book that describes where radicalized Islamic fighters are really coming from, and, spoiler alert, it ain’t Islam. None of this is really new information, but it’s put remarkably well. The idea is that it is a mistake to blame Islam for the modern breed of radicals – such as those pulling off terrorist attacks in the name of Daesh or going off to fight for Daesh. Islam doesn’t make them terrorists… something else makes them violent and iconoclastic… and then Islam provides the justification for the killing and violence that they want to do, but only in the most superficial way; most of them don’t really follow the tenets of Islam (they drink and fuck around), don’t really understand the religion, and don’t really care about it… but the Daesh version of Islam sure provides a great excuse for murder and mayhem. The money quote for me is: We must understand that terrorism does not arise from the radicalisation of Islam, but from the Islamisation of radicalism. In other words, yes, Islam is not innocent… but neither is it actually the root cause (which, really, makes obvious sense, because there are like 2 billion Muslims; if Islam really did cause suicide terrorism, we’d be seeing a lot more of it, especially among the most devout, rather than just the handful of fringe kooks we do see doing it).

  • [] Anxiety intensifies in Toronto’s suburbs as anti-Muslim rhetoric escalates

    The Globe and Mail has picked up on the uptick of islamophobia in the Peel region, and the impact it’s having on Muslims.

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12 thoughts on “Weekly Update: to

  1. In regards to ‘•[7-Apr-2017] More victims of sexual abuse go after Moncton church for money’

    The problem with the Christian church in the west is that it has always been a criminal organization from the start based strictly on threat and intimidation, not on any kind of unique valuable set of beliefs. It has turned western society upside down putting the bottom on the top and the top on the bottom.
    Criminology is a recognized field of study at Canadian Universities (I wonder how that ever got past the Christian censors, repent ye your sins oh sinner and all will be well?). I would love to see a study of the Christian religion from a criminology point of view. Also, I have to wonder how many words for human deviance psychologist and psychiatrists have that would be a perfect fit for anyone who could accept Christian so called beliefs in any way let alone enthusiastically?

    Finally I hold the leadership of any criminal organization most accountable for it’s crimes, much more so than the lower members who are just following order. So lets not forget who some of those leaders of the Christian crime gang really are, how about current and past Canadian Prime Minister. I don’t suppose it has ever helped criminals very much to have gang members in high places.

    • In the Federal Regional Psychiatric Hospital, a big cast aluminum sign proudly boasts that FAITH is fifty percent of the cure. It may be gone now because of nasty comments being sent to the Minister of Public Safety’s office.

      I was a regular visitor there during one winter. There is a lot of religiosity within the correctional service. There is also a reasonable amount of pushback from individual staff within the union. The religious are definitely in charge though.

      If you consider religiosity as a common form of mental illness, as I always thought of it, we have the mentally infirm being treated by an alternate for of mental instability.

    • revised

      In the Federal Regional Psychiatric Hospital, a big cast aluminum sign proudly boasts that FAITH is fifty percent of the cure. It may be gone now because of nasty comments being sent to the Minister of Public Safety’s office.

      I was a regular visitor there during one winter. There is a lot of religiosity within the correctional service. There is also a reasonable amount of pushback from individual staff within the union. The religious are definitely in charge though.

      If you consider religiosity as a common form of mental illness, as I always thought of it, we have the mentally infirm being treated by an alternate form of mental instability.

  2. In regards to ‘•[30-Mar-2017] Toronto police charge man for pretending to practice witchcraft after victim pays $101K to remove evil spirit’

    After reading this very informative article I couldn’t help noticing the first few comments at the bottom of it. I was deeply offended, any normal commonsensical person know that he should have been charging at the very least a hundred hundred thousand million million dollars to be able to do something like that.

  3. In regards to ‘•[7-Apr-2017] Conrad Black: I put this as simply as possible: Many atheists are excellent, but atheism itself is hurting the West’

    I have no idea who wrote this nonsensical tirade of stupidity, was it Conrad Black? Anyway the sooner the stupid thing is captured and locked up the better. If it could come from anyone other than a Christian I would be greatly surprised.

    Incidentally what gas exactly was it that Hitler, that member in good standing in the Christian criminal gang, used for their pest control back then. What is this disgusting deviant monstrosoty suggesting they use now?

    I’ll be a never ending pest after the Christian gang of dirty little crooks until they are brought to justice and humanity is reimbursed for all they have stolen from us.

    Their stupid little story that their God puts them above men’s laws has never washed with me and never will. I have looked forward to the day all my life these criminal high flyers are brought violently back down to earth, preferably in a court of real law, men’s law, instead of the Christian criminal gang’s fictitious phoney God’s (dog’s) law.

  4. “Oh, Conrad, is their any level of asshattery you won’t stoop to?”
    Conrad’s lament!

    It is hard to understand this brilliant shareholder defrauder.

    Let me try. He is simply a religionist. He believes that the community will be safer and more honest, himself not necessarily included. Does he believe that Moses parted the Red Sea and that Jesus ascended up into the stratosphere? Of course not.

    He does believe that riff raff like us would be more accepting of disproportionate taxation and more accepting of currency devaluation if only we would accept that God has chosen our leaders for us and He expects us to happily obey them. Conrad was always a leader and expects to always to be a leader.

    Of course he could just be another delusional.

  5. “compensation totalling $10.5 million”

    It would sure be nice if the skepticism aspect of the non-religious population were true to its name. There’s scientific work done in this subject area, and it’s even been put into book form for the dozy general public. These outrageous sums of money are not justified.

    We aren’t told in the article anything about what happened, and a guilty plea (which I argue should never be allowed in any case) deprived the public of a fair trial of the facts.

  6. “the more free a country is, the harder it is for religion to thrive”
    The USA, just south of us, is the obvious counter-example.

  7. “This f—– totally deserves to be fired.”

    Wow. Even you are an Islamophobe.

  8. “Does anyone still believe this is about secularism in schools?”

    I’m starting to think atheists simply don’t care about secularism in schools. These groups, whoever they may be, clearly want something done.

    Maybe if we hadn’t been so polite and obedient all these years, something might have been done.

  9. “Islam provides the justification for the killing and violence”

    That’s all you needed to say. Good job.

    This is what makes Islam different from other religions.

  10. “if Islam really did cause suicide terrorism, we’d be seeing a lot more of it”

    You make two errors. First, these are not radicals. They are fundamentalists. They know that their martyrdom will render irrelevant the misdeeds they have done in the past, and anything they might do in the lead-up to their martyrdom… Martyrs may also secure a place in heaven for their family. Second, all you have to do is go to Wikipedia’s list of terror attacks in recent years, and see who is doing them, and in whose name they are doing it. Commonly, it is Muslims blowing up other Muslims for not doing Islam right. In other words, we ARE seeing a lot more of it. We see so much of it that it’s not really considered news any more.

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