Update to O Canada Story

Just over a week ago, I posted a story about how 9 year old Selaena had sung her version of O Canada that replaced “God” with “please”, on Canada Day and in so doing experienced an unexpected backlash from believers. There were a lot of passionate responses to the article both on this site, on the Canadian Atheist Facebook page and on the Cactus, Cattle and Cowboys Festival Facebook page. Clearly, this is an issue that is important to atheists and it was great to see many reasoned and well articulated arguments from the atheist side. I hope our words helped Christians see things from a different perspective.

Selaena’s dad, Austin participated in many of those discussions and this is what he has to say about the whole thing, as posted on his own Facebook page:

Some clarity:

The folks at the Cactus, Cattle and Cowboys Festival to be held on July 12th at the Rodney Fairgrounds are not to blame for the recent events involving my daughter. I used some choice words when her opportunity to sing the National Anthem was taken away, and I shouldn’t have. I realize that many people are offended by the removal of the word ‘god’ from the anthem, but they too must realize that in our multicultural society, the millions of Canadians that do not recognize any god or gods are equally offended by its inclusion. It was for this reason alone that my children have always sung the anthem this way – my daughter didn’t think she was doing anything that would be considered wrong. This will be my fight to have with the government, and has nothing to do with my daughter nor the CCC Festival.

While I may not agree with the decisions that were made (including some of my own) I would like my friends to know that the CCC is not to blame. It is a wonderful event that provides many benefits to our small community. As such I don’t want any negativity held against them as a result of what transpired against my daughter.

I have hopes that in the future we will have people strong enough to stand with me in ensuring our country remains multicultural and diverse, exhibiting no bias toward any majority, minority or otherwise.


Please keep our land glorious and free. Thank you.

I hope those in the area enjoy the festival! I thought the level of discourse was fairly polite as I’ve seen much worse when atheists and Christians come together. Stay classy, fellow atheists and keep engaging those with opposing viewpoints.

Joggins Fossil Cliffs and Camping Trip

An invitation from


Join the Centre for Inquiry Halifax as we take a two-hour guided tour of the Joggins Fossil Cliffs, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, followed by an overnight group camp at the Five Islands Provincial Park campground. The Joggins cliffs contain a rich fossil bed, where the tide from the Bay of Fundy exposes more fossils than can be collected. It was recently featured in the new Cosmos series, and has been mentioned in Origin of Species and the Great Oxford Debate.




After the tour, we will travel to Five Islands Provincial Park for a BBQ supper and breakfast the next morning.

Purchase your tickets through Eventbrite. The Joggins tour fee, camping fee, food and drink are covered under the cost of the ticket.



The Tribes of Atheism

Some of you are probably familiar with this already, but I finally had some time to watch the whole thing, the main lecture lasts about 50 mins, the interesting stuff starting at about 28 minutes in…

It is not the be all and end all, of course, but I found it interesting mostly because it seems to shine a light on a lot of the drama that happens within our little movement.

The tl:dr is that there are 6 (observed) types of atheists(yes, american results, standard grain of salt)

Ritual Atheist/Agnostic
– Those who participate in religion but don’t really believe

– Those who don’t give religion much thought at all

– Those who claim not to know, but think about not knowing alot

Intellectual Atheist/Agnostic
– ‘Academic’ types who like to argue about religion

Activist Atheist/Agnostic
– Social justice minded people

– Those who want religion destroyed… everywhere… in all its forms… forever and ever. Amen.

I should note, I ordered these… from the most connected with religion to the… not so much.
The data seems to show that anti-theism is very different from the others.

As for me, I seem to have made a transition:

Believer – in my early teens
RA – dabbler, also in my teens
SA – late teens
Anti – Early 20s
IAA – Ever since… with some dabbling in Activism

Having moved around a bit, I can see where a lot of the friction comes from. And… well that is also stating my biases.

The Activists are the ‘Social Justice Warriors’ who want change now, and often have a problem with ‘Do nothing’ Academics. When I first got involved in atheism as a movement, I would have lumped the Activists together with the Anti-theists…

But… boy… or golly gee, was that wrong.
I think the feminist flamewar shows they are very different types, even though I think they share what I would call ‘extreme’ disdain for organized religion.

Anti-theists, I think… the often self-described ‘Firebrand’ atheists, tend to be more self-centred than the Activists apparently, which fits in with the ‘free speech’ trollishness that often characterizes their approach to… just about everything they disagree with.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say Activists/Anti-theists probably map to left and right politically, but in more liberal/libertarian ways… as opposed to social conservative.

Anti-theists are also going to be annoyed with pretty much everyone else, especially the ritual and SA types, who they see betraying the cause or being wishywashy accommodationalists. (A view shared by a lot of Activist types too, I think)

The intellectual types are going to want civil argument, ‘don’t be a dick’ above all else, and the Non-theist are probably watching futbol.

I’m not advocating anyone change their position or saying that these groups are definitive. Just found this interesting.

It seems likely to me that people settle into their particular flavour for what they believe are good reasons, but maybe keeping in mind that not everyone thinks the way you do, and that doesn’t mean they are insane, or hateful, means we might be able to get a long a bit better.

My big take away is that where people fit is largely ‘personality’ dependent, as opposed to arrived at by rational/logical/evidence, so MY common sense atheism may clash with yours, as I’m sure it does with most of you.

Help Ensure Access to Safe Abortion in New Brunswick


Reproductive Justice New Brunswick (RJNB) is a collective of individuals from across New Brunswick dedicated to ensuring publicly funded and self-referred abortion is available in the province.

Due to lack of government funding, the Morgentaler clinic is forced to close on July 18th, 2014  Please sign the petition to the Government of New Brunswick and support and share RJNB’s crowd funding, so the collective can ensure access to safe abortions in New Brunswick:

Every donation, however large or small, is one step closer to ensuring reproductive choice in New Brunswick. Unless this oppressive regulation is overturned, New Brunswickers will not have equal access to abortion services. If Reproductive Justice NB is unable to raise the full $100,000, all money raised will go towards renewed efforts to overturn the Medical Services Payment Act.

Please sign and contribute:

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