Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[Graphic showing a map of the countries of the world that have official state religions.]

Graphic from the Pew Research Center report on state religions.

  • [] Reddit Limits Noxious Content by Giving Trolls Fewer Places to Gather

    While I’m fairly sure (but can’t be bothered to check) that this study has been mentioned in a previous Weekly Update, this is a very nice, succinct summary of the findings: If you allow a place to exist where foul ideas and disgusting attitudes run unchecked, they will grow and become more powerful… but if you disinfect the area, the hate withers away.

  • [] Lawyer says Vatican diplomat wanted for child porn offences should be sent back to Canada

    “Don’t shield sex offenders from justice” should be the absolute minimum expectation from a body that claims to be the source of moral guidance on Earth. But no. Carlo Capella allegedly uploads child porn from a church computer in Windsor, and he’s whisked away to Vatican City before a warrant gets issued.

  • [] ‘A church-shaped hole’: Winnipeg filmmaker takes viewers on journey into life after faith

    The CBC write-up is characteristically terrible, but the documentary itself may be worth watching.

  • [] ‘We couldn’t afford it’: Brian Tobin on ending denominational education, 20 years later

    Brian Tobin was a bit before my time, but I just love the frankness with which he describes the decision to end separate schools in Newfoundland and Labrador.

  • [] Edmonton attack suspect had ‘genocidal beliefs,’ says former co-worker who reported him to police

    Information about the suspect in the Edmonton terror attacks has been coming out at a slow trickle, much to everyone’s frustration, but that’s how investigations work. This is one of the few pieces to give more than superficial background about Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, though it’s too early to say how much of this information is reliable. Apparently he is strange, and prone to rants that were incoherent, and had particular antipathy toward polytheists and Shia Muslims.

  • [] “Saudi Arabia Is Using Canadian Weapons Against Its Own Citizens And Nobody Seems To Care”(Audio: 30:58)

    There are days when I think that Canadaland should be required reading for Canadians, and stories like this are the reason why. there was a Weekly Update item about Ottawa reacting to evidence that Saudi Arabia was using Canadian weapons against its own people, calling for an investigation. But since then… silence. Nothing from our government – understandable, since they’re the ones who sold the weapons. Nothing from the opposition – understandable, since they’re the ones who made the weapons deal in the first place. Nothing from the media – which was decidedly less understandable. But not Canadaland, who give us this detailed piece discussing what evidence we have that Canadian weapons were used, why it may not just be an embarrassment but may actually be an international crime (not to mention a crime within Canada), and asking why no one’s talking about it.

  • [] Toronto District School Board revises Islamic guide

    This isn’t really much of a story: The TDSB were a little clumsy and ham-handed in their guidebook for Islamic Heritage Month, and B’nai B’rith called them out on it, so the TDSB issued a mea culpa and fixed it… end of story. But to hear some right-wing sources spin it, the affair is the harbinger of some sort of sharia apocalypse.

  • [] Cloverdale pastor and wife are facing multiple sexual assault charges

    Not a lot of information about this case, unfortunately, due to a publication ban (the victims were minors).

  • [] Many Countries Favor Specific Religions, Officially or Unofficially

    Talk about burying the lede; the Pew report focuses on the countries that have a state religion … but look closely and you’ll notice that 53% – more than half – of the countries in the world have no state or preferred religion.

  • [] Parishioner suing former Manitoba Anglican priest for alleged sexual exploitation

    Yet another rapey clergy. This one is particularly nasty though. According to the allegations, he didn’t just rape the woman repeatedly, he used the parish’s confidential records to get more information about her so he could arrange visits to her home when he knew she’d be alone, and generally used the full gamut of rapist psych games to keep her quiet and under his control.

  • [] Vatican urges online protections for kids amid porn scandal linked to Windsor, Ont.

    In light of the charges against Monsignor Carlo Capella (who uploaded child porn from a church computer while in Windsor), the Vatican has taken responsibility for its role in child abuse and sent Capella back to Canada to face charges Nah, I’m just fucking with you! Of course that’s not what the Vatican did! Nah, they made a sanctimonious statement urging everyone else to take responsibility for protecting minors. As of this writing, Capella is still safe and snug in Rome.

  • [] IS latches on to global attacks as it fights for survival

    It’s almost a week later, and we still don’t know the motives or rationale of the Las Vegas shooter. But in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Daesh claimed responsibility – a claim that now seems laughable. It turns out that Daesh’s desperation to claim a successful terror attack may be simply be its death throes.

  • [] Barbara Kay: Liberals left reeling by clear, rational criticisms of M-103

    From the headline alone, you might think this came from a far right “alternative facts” news site. Ah, but then you see it’s from the National Post. And it’s by Barbara Kay. Then you understand that what you’re about to read will be the functional equivalent of letting your racist, ultra-religious Aunt Carol blow her nose using your brain for a tissue. And sure enough, the dribble begins – first with outright falsehoods, claiming that Iqra Khalid is unwilling or unable to define “islamophobia” (which she defines here, for example), then with misleading information, misrepresenting what really happened with the TDSB Islamic heritage month guide book incident (mentioned in a previous item), before finally trotting out her heroes of the day. They are, I shit you not: Tarek Fatah, Dinesh de Souza, the head of International Christian Voice, a dude from the right-wing Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, and “Muslim reformist” Raheel “let’s shut down all the mosques in Canada” Raza. Kay writes that [t]he Liberals were back-footed by these forcefully argued dissents. I suspect what really happened is they were knocked into a temporary coma by the stupidity they heard. Honestly, I think Barbara Kay really missed her calling as a contributor to The Beaverton.

  • [] Dying With Dignity Canada to intervene in Quebec constitutional challenge to federal assisted dying legislation

    This is a case brought by two Québécois who are suffering enormously from degenerative conditions, but because they are not in imminent danger of dying they are blocked from medical assistance in dying under the Liberals’ new law.

  • [] Quebec Politics: Major support for Bill 62, far less approval for government’s handling of border issues

    This is a depressing survey, showing that intolerance is rampant in Québec. 87% support Bill 62, which would ban wearing of religious symbols by anyone giving or receiving public services – a bill so goddamn terrible that the government won’t even say if it will ban hijabis from riding the bus. Support is particularly high among francophones (92%!) and older Québécois (93%).

  • [] Almost 800 people who survived ISIL now in Canada as refugees: Hussen

    While the numbers are hardly something to crow about when compared to, for example, the Vietnamese boat people crisis, if these numbers are true they are something to be proud of, and celebrate. But there are questions about whether they’re true.

  • [] Prayer and loading in Las Vegas: Salutin

    There was a time – not too long ago – where politicians responding to a tragedy with pious offerings of “thoughts and prayers” would pass without comment. But that seems to be changing, as more and more people are calling out the emptiness of “thoughts and prayers” offered by people who could offer real help, or make substantive changes.

  • [] Here’s How Breitbart And Milo Smuggled Nazi and White Nationalist Ideas Into The Mainstream

    This is a fucking fantastic article that has to be read to be believed. While it’s focus is on the American alt-right, the insights it gives should be mandatory study for understanding what’s going on in our culture right now. It not only details how the alt-right was manufactured – yes, manufactured – to be a respectable face for racism, it shows how seemingly unrelated things like GamerGate were part of the mural of hate. The story in Canada is certainly different, and may never be told quite as well as this one. But one wonders just how different.

  • [] Religion played no major role in life of man charged in Edmonton attacks, says human rights activist

    This headline has anti-Muslim bigots freaking out, but there’s really nothing surprising about it. By now we have dozens Daesh-inspired murderers to study, and it’s a well-established trend that few of them show any interest in the theology of Islam. Daesh is just the current, trendy way to for young men (yes, almost always men, almost always young) to focus their inchoate rage, and a convenient excuse to justify the violence they really want. No, Islam is not “innocent”… but neither is it the primary motivator; it’s really just a catalyst (at least for the people who carry out these attacks – for the leaders of Daesh, Islam is almost certainly a primary factor in their thinking, if not the primary factor).

  • [] Why we need a parliamentary motion to fight Islamophobia: Opinion

    Wow. This piece is written by the former CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress. He talks about why Canada once needed a specific motion to fight anti-Jewish bigotry… and why it now needs a specific motion to fight anti-Muslim bigotry.

  • [] Catholic bishops issue new letter calling HPV vaccine ‘a matter of public health’

    we had a WU item about the bishops of Saskatchewan expressing Concern™ about a new program to give boys the HPV vaccine… because (they implied) it would lead to them having more sex. That led to a massive outcry at the bishops’ ignorance on the topic – who’d’a thunk it?d – with experts stepping up to denounce their position, saying it’s not about sex, it’s about cancer. Well, to their credit, the Saskatchewan bishops walked back their position… sorta. It’s actually a pretty standard notpology: basically “we’re sorry for your confusion”. Maybe bishops should really just keep their damn mouths shut about health care issues in the future, hm?

  • [] Canadian man pleads guilty to terrorism in plot targeting NYC landmarks, subway: unsealed records

    This is wild news coming up from the south. The teenager from Mississauga is the only one they’ve actually caught right now – the other two are out of the country. All this apparently went down almost a year and a half ago, but we’re only hearing about it now.

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