Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[Logo of the International Humanist and Ethical Union.]

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  • [] The Birth of Canada’s Armed, Anti-Islamic ‘Patriot’ Group

    This is fucking terrifying, but, depressingly, not surprising.

  • [] Paula Simons: He may be Canada’s ‘ultimate troll,’ but is an Edmonton blogger also a criminal?

    Yes. Yes, he is.

  • [] A Reminder: Internet Atheists Fucking Suck

    It’s no secret that atheism has a problem: our online presence is by and large a cesspool of hate, bigotry, ignorance, and general assholery.

  • [] Was Tim Farron a secularist?

    So, the background here is that the UK just had a rather disastrous (for the ruling party) election that ended up with the Conservative Party losing its majority and being forced to form a deal with the very socially conservative Democratic Unionist Party; as of this writing, the mess still hasn’t been resolved. Tim Farron was leader of the Liberal Democrats, which gained four seats (despite getting less popular support). During the campaign, he was dogged by questions about his views on homosexuality and abortion, because he’s a bigot… oh, I’m sorry, I meant to write “social conservative”. He tried to dodge the issue, but it apparently bothered a lot of his colleagues, and while they kept quiet during the election, after it was over, there was at least one high-profile resignation… notably by the UK’s most senior gay police officer. After that, Farron threw up his hands, saying he couldn’t reconcile his evangelical Christian beliefs with the role he has to play as leader of a political party, and resigned as party leader. As the UK’s National Secular Society notes in this piece, that decision showed integrity and a commitment to secularism that few Christian politicians observe.

  • [] ‘You can’t just pick and choose’: Alberta Christian school fights board request to remove ‘offensive’ scripture

    This story was mentioned last week, but the summary is that a Christian school in a public school division printed a handbook with some bizarrely malapropos anti-gay Bible verses, and the school board told them that teaching verses like that would get them in trouble with the human rights code. The school freaked out, cried censorship, called in the media, and started up a massive Christian martyr wankfest. They’re still working things out, and this article sums up the situation pretty well. But the best part of the article has to be this: [School board chair Laurie Skori] also asked that they remove the word “quality” from the phrase “CCA offers quality educational programming.” Ha!

  • [] ‘Not a good sight’: mother, daughter describe Islamophobic protest at Mississauga high school

    CA writers had advance notice of this protest and observed quietly without getting involved… and it was a train wreck. This is the fringe of the anti-Islam movement – the ones not clever enough to conceal their bigotry under a veneer of faux concern for secularism.

  • [] Google steps up fight against online extremism

    I’m not a fan of for-profit corporations – such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter – making themselves the arbiters of free expression. While I understand and even applaud efforts to take some action about all the hate online, I’m wary of social engineering efforts being planned and undertaken by groups that have no accountability to the public at all, and instead are accountable to shareholders’ thirst for profits.

  • [] Catholic Health Corp. stacks St. Boniface Hospital board to stop assisted dying

    This has to be the height of Catholic hubris. At the St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg, the policy was – as is unsurprising for a Catholic-run hospital – no medical assistance in dying (MAID) services were to be provided in the hospital itself, only referrals and transfers. This led to confusion, and patients suffering, and the majority of the hospital’s staff called for MAID services to be allowed in the hospital – 52% said full MAID services should be available, 40% said at least counselling and advice should be available before a transfer or referral to another facility, and only 8% said “just no”. So the hospital board, armed with this information and several stories of patients suffering terribly because of their backward stance, voted narrowly to change the policy to allow MAID services at the hospital. But the Catholic-run corporation that owns the hospital then appointed 10 more people to the board and demanded a re-vote… and, lo, now the vote changed to refuse MAID services at the hospital.

  • [] Quebec man found guilty of attempting to leave Canada to join ISIS

    This is the first conviction on this charge, though other cases are in progress.

  • [] Bill C-16: An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code

    C-16 has received royal assent, so gender expression and identity are now both protected grounds under Canadian federal law (and, as of last week in Yukon, under local law in all provinces and territories).

  • [] Repealing Canada’s other blasphemy law

    A really interesting piece by Ian Bushfield of the BCHA: Our focus has been on Criminal Code §296 “Blasphemous Libel”aka “the blasphemy law” – which is now up for repeal. But also up for repeal is §176, which falls under “Disorderly Conduct”, and deals with disturbing or interrupting religious worship. And, for whatever reason, this is the item that the Conservative opposition seems to want to make their stand on.

  • [] Rise of the radical nuns

    As the piece reports, most religious orders in Canada are on the wane… with the notable exception of the most extreme. The group profiled – Sisters of Life – is ultra-conservative, demanding not only celibacy but the wearing of the habit. My opinion is that this trend does not represent any kind of resurgence of religion, but contrarily is actually one of its death throes. When religion dies, the casual sects will die first, and the last bastions will be the most extreme.

  • [] Simcoe Muskoka Catholic principal demoted after EQAO test tampering

    So how often have we heard the claim that Catholic schools provide better academics than the secular school system?

  • [] IHEU launches World Humanist Day crowdfunding campaign

    If you’re looking for an organization to support, the International Humanist and Ethical Union is a damn good one.

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