I don’t think it’s necessary for me to explain the background that prompted this post. All of Canada is reeling from the news that two (possibly 3) kids from London, Ontario somehow became extremist murderers in Algeria. So, what, if anything, do we do about it? Continue reading
Ya win some, ya lose some.
Good news in the US:
In October 2011, CFI-Michigan booked a room at a local golf&country club for a talk by Richard Dawkins. The Wyndgate Country Club management canceled the event shortly before the scheduled date, stating that “the owner does not wish to associate with certain individuals and philosophies.” CFI filed suite, in April of 2012, and the club has agreed to a settlement. According to CFI, this marks “perhaps the first time federal and state civil rights statutes have been successfully invoked by nonbelievers in a public accommodations lawsuit.”
Not so good news in Canada, on the CBC’s Cross-Country Checkup yesterday:
Retired Senator Pat Carney asserted that it was pretty much impossible for her to work with people who did not have faith, since there was no basis of shared values, and further expressed her astonishment that she had come across someone who had no idea what “the Lord’s Prayer” was. The way she said it, it was almost as if she thought this ought to be obvious to everyone, leaving me utterly astonished at her unselfconscious narrow-minded bigotry.
Professor of Philosophy and Theology John Stackhouse thinks that Richard Dawkins is a fundamentalist atheist, and needs more Christian friends, but allows that there are some atheists that he might be able to work with, as long as everyone is respectful.
One has to wonder why Rex Murphy did not see fit to have a representative of the “Nones” on the panel, though Mavaddat Javid from CFI Vancouver and Ian Bushfield from BC Humanists did their best from the audience.
I hear people talking about ‘my rights’, and it seems endless… and a bit annoying. Everyone seems to think that what they want, what they think they deserve, is a ‘right’, as if it was handed down from the mountain, set in stone, and completely obvious to any being of any intelligence.
Of course, even when people talk of things like ‘human rights’, what they are really talking about are rights that most humans do not have. So what they are really talking about, is what I like to call the ‘world of should’. I should be able to X, I shouldn’t have to do Y.
It is a fantasy world, that doesn’t exist.
Now, that isn’t to say that I don’t think we should strive to improve the real world we live in, but it also makes it clear that my fantasy ‘world of should’ is likely very different from yours. And because it is a fantasy, it probably isn’t very logically consistent.
But… I’m a science-minded atheist, so I should… be able to evidence the shit out of any fantasy world, and boil it down to some logical consistency. I should be able to….
Unfortunately, when I do I end with a scarey notion, that is, the rights I have are just privileges I enjoy, and the rights I want, may not work, in this world, largely because, other people are going to want their rights too.
A proposed Christian law school would be fundamentally inconsistent with Canadian law and should be denied accreditation, prominent lawyer Clayton Ruby says.
Surely, he means, denied public funds. Because that would be using my tax dollars.
Nope. He means regardless of whether they meet the standards for a law school, they should be denied, because their world of should doesn’t agree with his world of should.
I call bullshit.
Some time ago I wrote about Faith McGregor, the woman who went to the Ontario Human Rights Commission because a Muslim-owned barbershop in Toronto refused to give her a haircut. I’m happy, I guess, to be able to report that the matter has now been resolved:
During a closed-door mediation session Friday, Faith McGregor and barbershop owner Omar Mahrouk came to an “arrangement” that satisfied them both, thus putting the controversial complaint to rest.
Ms. McGregor filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal last June after she entered Terminal Barbershop on a whim and was denied a haircut because it is against the barbers’ religion to touch a woman.
Both Ms. McGregor and Mr. Mahrouk signed a confidentiality agreement that bars them from sharing any details — common practice when a conflict ends in mediation instead of moving on to an actual tribunal. But both expressed relief in the process.
Traditionally, English criminals could seek refuge from the law in churches. I suppose the underlying idea had something to do with Christian concepts of mercy and redemption. Nevertheless, English law ceased to recognize church sanctuary in the 17th century, before there was even much British settlement in Canada. This makes it rather surprising that a deserter from the US army is claiming sanctuary in a United Church in Vancouver right now, and is apparently being allowed to get away with it:
For more than three years, U.S. Army deserter Rodney Watson has staved off deportation using nothing more than the brick walls of Downtown Vancouver’s First United Church — and the unwritten biblical code of “sanctuary.”
Thus, when border officials spotted Mr. Watson “off property” during a routine check of the building Tuesday, they saw fit to make their move.
Seeing the officers approach, an elderly friend of Mr. Watson rushed in to fight them off, allowing the 35-year-old to foil their pursuit and slip back over the church’s threshold.
The universe doesn’t care about you. Nothing is sacred. There is no divine justice, no eternal protector of the faithful. And you don’t get a spiritual pat on the head for defending your imaginary friends. The world is not a safe space. All we have, is each other, and that means making accommodations for our differences. Accommodations mean compromise. One of the most important, is that we let others speak their minds. This is basic. It is often uncomfortable, sometimes even threatening to our identity, to our beliefs.
Laws criminalising blasphemy are set to be struck down soon in the Netherlands and may disappear in Ireland, but rising tensions in economically battered Greece seem to be reviving pressure to prosecute offences against God.
Blasphemy appears more frequently in headlines from the Muslim world, where countries such as Pakistan or Saudi Arabia readily punish perceived critics of Islam, but a lesser known trend is a general movement in Europe away from such laws.
We need to stand up against those who would criminalize offence. Having compassion for hurt feelings is not the same as outlawing them.
I’m a pretty big fan of freedom of speech, even when it offends, and although I do understand the intention behind ‘hate speech’ laws, they still bother me.
However, this, blatant disregard for freedom of expression, amused me more than anything.
Want god on your license plate in Nova Scotia? No soup for you!
There are almost 3,000 words and combinations of letters describing race, sexual orientation, profanity, body parts, religious and political affiliations that are banned from appearing on personalized license plates in the province
I know, for consistency I should probably say that people should be able to say what they want on their license plates even if it offends. But given how angry my own family gets while driving, and the numerous instances of road rage out there, this seems like a small conceit, and a reasonable precaution. Now if only they would ban stupid bumper stickers. (not offensive ones, I like those, but the inane moronic ones, which I personally don’t like)
Taking pictures in public should not be a crime, luckily, in Canada… it is not.
Burnaby RCMP say Markiewicz was arrested for causing a disturbance, but was not charged. He has, however, been banned from Metrotown mall for six months.
The teen’s father, Zbigniew Markiewicz, said mall security and police completely over-reacted.
“There’s no real threat to anyone by having a camera and snapping a picture,” he said.
Lawyer Douglas King, of Pivot Legal in Vancouver, agrees, saying that private mall security guards and police have no right to try to seize someone’s camera or demand that photos be deleted — even on private property.
The only thing I find ‘disturbing’ here is that these security guards don’t know the law, and the police don’t seem to care.
How many times must something be proven ineffective before people stop using it?
Winnpeg’s newest police chief, Devon Clunis, in an interview with CBC, has said that crime could go down in his city if people prayed for each other more.
“I think if we have a community that’s consistently praying for one another, hopefully we’ll now see the physical reduction of crime and violence in our city,”
“If you’re praying for your neighbour, I don’t think you’ll be out there hating your neighbour or fighting with your neighbour.”
“If you are praying for your neighbour, you’ll say, ‘OK, I’m praying, but how can I practically do something to impact my neighbour’s well-being?’”
In a separate interview with Christian Week he also said:
“What would happen if we all just truly – I’m talking about all religious stripes here – started praying for the peace of this city and then actually started putting some action behind that?”
So, if I may, I’m going to put his stance into my own words:
If we all treat each other with increased kindness and love then we will see a significant decrease in crime and violence.
Wait, Jason, you said nothing about prayer. That’s right, because Mr. Clunis talked about two different things in these interviews – prayer, and action. Guess which one has been proven to work and which one has been proven useless? That’s right my friends, actions work, not prayers.
So, I agree completely with Mr. Clunis that we need to treat each other better and from that we will see crime and violence go down across our country.
No matter your faith, or lack thereof, we all need to focus on action. Prayer, by itself, does nothing. Thought, on its own, does nothing. It’s not until we act that change and progress come.
I was glad to see that Mr. Clunis came out and clarified his statements a bit:
“I’m not saying I’m asking police officers to sit down and pray and that’s going to be our initiative,”
He added that he spoke about prayer because he was speaking to a specific community, one which believes in the power of prayer, and thus of course he was going to use it. I understand his thinking but at the same time, in this day and age of instant news and twitter, he should perhaps be a little more wary of how quickly things get out there and get misconstrued. A little PR training is no doubt to come for Winnipegs newest police chief and let’s hope that more action than prayer comes as well.
So apparently, this guy got drunk, posted something offensive on facebook, then some people called the police.
A Lancashire man who posted offensive comments on Facebook about missing five-year-old April Jones has been jailed for 12 weeks.
For context, it was a rape-joke about the missing girl, and he apparently did it as a prank, to convince his friends that his account had been hacked. People do that now, apparently.
Here is the relevant legal stuff for the case. I certainly agree it was a stupid… and well… a horribly callous and mean thing to do, but serious jail time seems too far. If this had happened in the real world, he likely would have ended up with a night in jail for drunken mischief, or more likely a bloody nose and a visit to the hospital. 12 weeks? How much is free speech really worth to us?