Weekly Update: to

by | April 22, 2017

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[A photo of an outhouse, with the word "MOSQUE" spray-painted on the side.]

While not illegal, this is hardly intelligent or even clever criticism of Islam.

  • [] Red Deer public school trustee calls for unified Alberta school system

    Separate schools in Alberta is going to be a theme in this update. The move to end the parallel school boards seems to be gaining more momentum than it’s seen in some time.

  • [] B.C. voters open to meditation, Christian prayer — but not indigenous ceremonies in public schools: poll

    This is a generally poorly-designed poll, but there are some interesting tidbits revealed.

  • [] Canada’s polygamy law will be tested in court for the first time in 127 years on an indictment with 24 women

    This will take some ’splainin’. Winston Blackmore is one of Canada’s biggest assholes, and has been for some time. He has not only married dozens of girls, he’s openly bragged about the fact that many of them were minors; indeed, he’s been charged with crossing the border to procure child brides. But he got away with it in Canada for years, because prosecutors were too afraid to try to charge him, fearing that the anti-polygamy laws wouldn’t pass a Charter test. Eventually, they were forced to ask the BC Supreme Court whether the laws would stand… and surprisingly the Court ruled they would. Immediately, prosecutors went after Blackmore and other polygamists. But here’s the tricky part. While the anti-polygamy laws themselves may not violate the Charter, the question remains whether religion is a sufficiently-good excuse for why they won’t apply to certain people. (By analogy: a law making it illegal for people to carry knives into schools or federal buildings may not violate the Charter… but Sikhs may be allowed some kind of exemption for their kirpans.) From what I’ve heard, Blackmore’s lawyers aren’t actually making a religious exemption argument… and frankly I can’t see how that could even be done without sparking laughter from the judge… but that’s what most news reports seem to think is going to happen.

  • [] Ontario school board’s Muslim support fuels hate, threats

    The bigotry in Peel is getting even worse: someone actually sent the imam who made recommendations to the Peel District School Board an image of a bunch of hanged men captioned “Islamic wind chimes”. Seriously, what the fuck. It’s getting so bad, the cops are starting to get involved.

  • [] Edmonton Catholic trustee calls for updated safe sex education for students

    Yes, you read that right: in the aftermath of the abortion/Holocaust video debacle, a Catholic school board trustee argued for an updated sex ed curriculum. She has since lost.

  • [] Sask. Roman Catholic priest sexual assault charge stayed

    This is a fucking legal mess. The person who filed the complaint against the priest was asked in court to reveal what they had discussed in confession. He refused, and despite the fact that whatever they may have talked about is rather irrelevant to the fact that he was allegedly raped, that was enough for the judge to stop the proceedings… allowing the priest to walk away a free man.

  • [] Bible classes in schools can lead to strife among neighbours

    Bible classes (that proselytize the Bible, rather than teach about it objectively as literature) are clearly a violation of secularism. But it turns out they may not only be unfair to minority religious groups, they may be bad for the majority, too.

  • [] Why calls for secularism in education is a facade: Opinion

    While I don’t particularly agree with the recommendation, this piece does a good job of putting the current battles in Peel into perspective.

  • [] Judge rules Sask. government cannot fund non-Catholic students in Catholic schools

    This ruling is a pleasant surprise! Saskatchewan has a system whereby a large enough group in a community can force the addition of a publicly-funded religious school district. This has resulted in Catholic schools – with big Catholic money supporting them – crowding out secular schools, forcing closures. That can still happen… but what’s changed is that now the Catholic schools can’t get public funding for the non-Catholic students they leach away from the secular system. While this still technically allows for the existence of Catholic schools in communities, it effectively removes most of the financial incentive for Catholic groups to create them.

  • [] Edmonton Catholic school board wants mandatory vaccinations for all Alberta students

    This is the same Catholic school board as in the item about updating their sex ed curriculum. The Board voted against that, but amazingly, they voted to pressure the Alberta government to make vaccinations mandatory… which the Alberta government is fighting against.

  • [] ‘It was just hate’: Edmonton man tapes up anti-Muslim graffiti on Parks Canada outhouse

    Kudos to Johnstone for doing something about it, but this kind of casual nastiness is symptomatic of Canada’s islamophobia problem.

  • [] The important questions: Why do people love to insist that ‘everything happens for a reason’?

    Sarah Sahagian never mentions religion, aside from a single slip in the phrase divine universal plan. But any atheist knows just how irritating and hurtful this insensitive phrase can be, implying that there’s a god up there who deliberately chose to make them suffer for some mysterious purpose.

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One thought on “Weekly Update: to

  1. Tim Underwood

    “Bible classes (that proselytize the Bible, rather than teach about it objectively as literature) are clearly a violation of secularism”
    True. But, teaching about the Bible as literature is absolutely a necessary part of required learning for our modern liberal democracy.

    Before the Koran there was the New Testament. Before the New Testament there was this Old Testament. Before the Old Testament there were many older religious literatures. The Old Testament doesn’t even extend back into the Bronze Age! Probably the most common use for religious literature was for the legitimization of some existing hierarchical ruling system.

    People always created poetry, songs and plays once they had access to any form of language. All this language art was available to all dominating leaders everywhere that language existed. When ruling classes used literature to domesticate and control a region of economic success, we usually categorize this type of literature as religious or as sacred.

    To be a responsible Canadian voting citizen it is important to know how literary arts were used to create all the various cultures on the planet. Most of the Canadian electorate falls beneath this moderate qualifying expectation. Graduating out of our High School system should absolutely meet this minimal expectation. Parents who object to this minimal standard should be taken off the voters’ list.


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