Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .
 Religious leaders worry as cuts to spiritual care in Sask. take effect Friday
On the one hand, this story and the “concerns” of the preachers who are getting kicked off the government payroll read like it could have been sourced from The Onion. On the other, there’s some really insidious shit in there. Check out this comment:
In the past, hospital workers would go door-to-door and ask those who didn’t appear on a faith list if they wanted a spiritual visit and about two-thirds would say ‘yes,’ Jesson said.Holy fucking coercive! If I were in a hospital, sick and scared, and a hospital worker came to me and asked me if I would like X for any value of X, I’d probably say “yes!… anything to take my mind off where I am and why I’m there”.
 Alleged victims claim sexual abuse in lawsuit against province, church, priest
No, this isn’t the class action lawsuit about the cover-up of systemic rape in a religion we talked about in the last WU. No… no, it isn’t the earlier one either. This is yet another class action lawsuit about the cover-up of systemic rape in a religion. And this time it’s… (drumroll)… the Anglicans!
 Plaintiff in assisted dying court challenge finally gets medical help to die
If you believe the Liberal’s assisted dying bill makes any kind of sense, you have to read all the shit Dr. Wiebe had to go through to determine whether Robyn Moro was eligible.
 Why women, the city and London’s churches have had enough of the city’s street preachers
Missed this one last week! This street preacher is such an asshole that he was actually kicked out of churches, which is a pretty high bar for assholery.
 Fort St. John man acquitted on four terrorism charges
Yet another case refuting the myth that Canada’s speech laws are draconian and repressive. Hamdan openly praised terrorists, which the judge called
repugnantand added that
the reasons he gives for saluting these actions defy logic. But he never actually
contain statements that could be considered active inducements and encouragement for readers to go and commit similar offences… so as repugnant as his opinions are, they are protected. All the criticism in this case really goes to the RCMP, who have bungled yet another “terrorism” case… this time by poorly cropping screenshots and mistranslating Arabic.
 How smearing a woman’s reputation was irresistible for the media
This is a terrible but enlightening story that reveals how skewed notions of the failings of “the left” or “liberals” or “out-of-control political correctness” or “feminism” can have very real and very serious consequences. And it’s a pretty common story: someone with left-leaning views says something that is perhaps a little impolite – or even just strongly-worded – then someone takes the comments out of context – or sometimes just straight-up invents lies to make the story more “scandalous” – and pushes the story to right-wing media outlets and social media loudmouths, then the outrage party begins and by this point, even when other left-leaning people see the story, it’s so corrupted and ridiculous that rather than assuming the original person’s innocence – really, the default position reading any right-wing “news” sources should be to assume it’s all complete bullshit – they commit the fallacy of the middle and assume the original person is at least somewhat wrong. All this is fuelled by bullshit beliefs about “the left”; someone can say something completely ridiculous like that “the left” is okay with extremist Islam oppressing women and people actually believe it. We really need to clear our mental models of all the stereotypes of “the left” and “the right”, and reassess what’s really going on. Because right now we’re letting tropes and stereotypes do our thinking for us, and that is not the freethinker way.
 ‘Your name is no longer valid’: B.C. residents with hyphenated names blocked from renewing ID
The BC Marriage Act is a goddamn mess. We’ve already written about the BCHA’s efforts to get humanists recognized as marriage officiants. The BCHA was willing to accept the province’s pleas that actually opening up the Marriage Act for updates was too big a hurdle, so they opted to push for a more moderate change. But clearly the Marriage Act does need to be overhauled.
 How a dead U.S. evangelist inspires London’s reviled street preachers
Well, here’s a connection we probably wouldn’t see being made by the CBC before the outing of the alt-right as white nationalists. Those asshole street preachers mentioned in the previous item? Turns out they’re not just part of a homophobic, misogynistic Christian cult… they’re part of a homophobic, misogynistic, racist Christian cult. Which, really, you could just shorten to “Christian cult” and not lose any information.
 Humanists, secularists and faith groups join together to remind the UN of importance of freedom of religion or belief for all
“Interfaith” is usually synonymous with religious groups getting together in a circle jerk where they flip the bird at the nonreligious. But this time they did it right, and they did it right where it could really have an impact.
 Grumblings become cheers as Trudeau names Mona Nemer as chief scientist
Good news! Canada now has a Chief Science Officer! Or… advisor. Or… you know what? Read the article. But yay anyway!
 Change to Regina bylaw allows construction of mosque, other religious venues in industrial area
Ordinarily a zoning change to allow more religious buildings shouldn’t be all that interesting. What makes this notable is that the argument against allowing them… actually makes a lot of sense. The argument was that since religious buildings are usually tax-exempt, allowing them would result in a drop in tax revenue for the city. Councillors actually agreed with that argument… but shrugged it off by saying that the losses wouldn’t be all that great. Residents of Regina, do remember that attitude next time you’re voting for city council.
 Stop Worshipping Muslim Scholars Who Lie, Judge And Abuse
It really doesn’t surprise me that Muslim clerics are just as rapey as clerics of any other religion. What surprises me is that – unlike the Catholic abuse situation, for example, where most Catholics were shocked to learn of all the abuse going on – Muslims appear to be very much aware of the rapeyness of clerics, and just accept it as a fact of life. Check this quote:
Our grandmothers warned us about the misconduct of some maulvis (clerics). Many mothers are careful to monitor the Qur’an study of their children with private tutors.
 Liberal MPs Walk Out Of Status Of Women Committee To Protest Tories’ Pick For Chair
When Andrew Scheer first won the Conservative leadership, there was quite a bit of writing predicated on the idea that he was some kind of shrewd, Machiavellian player with Stephen Harper’s political acumen except actually in a human being. But if recent evidence is any indication, the man is a complete dud. He has fumbled every political crisis/opportunity he has faced in the last few weeks … including this instance, where he nominated an anti-abortion MP as status of women minister. Granted, Harper did the same… but he did it while holding absolute power in government, so he could do whatever the fuck he wanted (and he did). Scheer, meanwhile, tried this ploy while facing off against the most loudly and proudly feminist government in Canadian history. I’d be tempted to say that with that level of buffoonery, we won’t have to worry about a religious-right-backed Conservative government in the next election… but then I look southward….
 Audit of B.C. mosque charity alleges personal spending, ‘relationship’ with Qatar group accused of supporting terror
Holy shit, this Vancouver mosque seems to have pulled the hat trick of religious organization corruption. The (former) leader is in jail for sexual assault at the mosque, there was financial misconduct with donations… and ties to terrorism! While all of that should outrage you, what should really piss you off is how the CRA handled the case: they didn’t revoke the mosque’s charitable status!
 Sask. bishops express concern about HPV vaccine program in Catholic schools
Ah, those poor, put-upon religious people in Saskatchewan who want to insert their religion into health care. They just can’t seem to get a break.
 Court authorizes new class action against Catholic congregation in Quebec
If you’re keeping track, that’s: a class action lawsuit for covering up sexual assault against Anglicans in Alberta… a class action lawsuit for covering up sexual assault against Jehovah’s Witnesses in Québec… and now a class action lawsuit for covering up sexual assault against Catholics in Québec. Who are you betting on next in the pool? My money’s on… a class-action lawsuit for covering up sexual assault against Mormons in Alberta.
 Calgary abortion clinic wants provincial protection from harassment
What?! Religious groups protesting women’s rights aren’t following the rules and respecting the clients or clinic’s property?! I’m shocked! </sarcasm>
 Trudeau Government Will Apologize For Canada Turning Away Jewish Refugees In 1939
I know the right likes to mock the Trudeau government for its many apologies, but it really is a good thing to acknowledge the mistakes we’ve made, and take steps to make amends. We can’t move forward until we heal these old wounds. We have a humanist responsibility. The next big apology will probably be to LGBT people “purged” from government service.
 Alberta to outlaw outing of GSA students, education minister says
I have to give props to Alberta’s Minister of Education David Eggen (who I actually didn’t realize was NDP; I still haven’t fully processed that Alberta now has a NDP government). The man has been a goddamn hero in his efforts to clean up Alberta’s horrifically fucked-up education system. Sure, there’s plenty of room to criticize him for not going far enough, fast enough… but the shit he’s already done deserves kudos. If you haven’t been following the story, this move is about protecting possibly LGBT students who join GSAs in response to an jaw-droppingly idiot suggestion by Jason Kenney.
 Deus ex machina: former Google engineer is developing an AI god
I’m pretty sure I read a Frank Herbert series about an attempt just like this. It didn’t end well. (Edit: It was the “WorShip” series, starting with Destination: Void.)
 “Miraculous” by Andrés Diplotti (Flea Snobbery)
Okay, I have to admit that this is actually a religious miracle I do believe in.
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•[28-Sep-2017] Deus ex machina: former Google engineer is developing an AI god
I hope the only thing to worry about concerning AI and the ‘singularity’ is that no super smart computer gets smart enough to bribe it’s keeper not to pull it’s plug.