Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[Cover of the print edition of The Globe and Mail from 30 January 2017. The headline story which takes up 80% of the page with a giant headline and large colour picture is: “Top tech leaders press Ottawa to issue visas after Trump order”. On the right is a single column story with a small headline: “Several dead after mosque shooting in Quebec City”. The story itself has almost no details of the event; a quarter of it is politician responses.]

The theme of this week’s update is becoming aware of media bias. This is the front page of The Globe and Mail from . Notice anything? What does this say about what The Globe and Mail thinks is more important?

  • [] For atheists, #MeToo might be too little, too late

    This is a pretty damning criticism of the atheist movement with respect to its handling of misogyny and sexual harassment. But there’s a much more damning criticism buried in there. Marcotte implies, perhaps unintentionally, that the atheist movement served as an incubator for the alt-right, for Trumpism, and for all the horrible shit we are dealing with now. And it’s hard to argue against that. We should have fought the rot in our movement when it was young, but we dropped the ball. The situation we’re dealing with now is the result of that.

  • [] The persistent gaslighting of Muslims about Islamophobia

    You, dear reader, like most Canadian atheists – like most Canadians, period – probably believe that Islam is a uniquely violent religion, that the Quran is more violent than other religious texts, that Islam-inspired attacks are disproportionately common compared to other sources of inspiration, and so on. Put aside for a moment whether those things are true or not, and instead ask yourself why you believe them. The obvious answer (assuming it’s not just “because someone told me those things are true”) is because you’ve seen evidence of those things. Okay, but… where did you see the evidence of those things? Why, in the media. Okay, but… are you sure that what you’re seeing in the media is actually an accurate depiction of reality? There is increasing evidence that – particularly when Muslims and Islamic violence are concerned – it’s not. This article’s content gives just a hint of that, but you should really follow the links for a deeper picture of the problem. If we are as committed to being reality-based as we usually claim to be, it is important that we make sure our picture of reality is not skewed by biased information.

  • [] Notice of appeal filed in case of funding for Sask. Catholic students

    This appeal isn’t the appeal of the actual decision in the Theodore case, but rather only an appeal to try to avoid paying the costs of Brad Wall’s long-running, expensive boondoggle. Although this article includes a brief summary of the case, with lings, the novel information in it is the numbers. Saskatchewanians are on the hook for $5 million thanks to the quixotic battle Wall and the Catholic school district fought to maintain unjust religious privilege.

  • [] Halton Catholic school board votes to stop raising funds for charities that violate ‘sanctity of life’

    Kudos to the Halton Catholic District School Board for their assistance in our campaign to show why Ontario shouldn’t be funding a Catholic school system. This move is so spectacularly stupid, it even serves as evidence for why “institutional religious beliefs” are bullshit… but I’ll leave the details about that for the other in this week’s Update about this story.

  • [] Quebec’s Islamophobia Has Gone Down An Eerily Familiar Path

    This article’s focus is Québec, but it serves just as well as a criticism of Canada as a whole. The central thesis is that today’s islamophobia is just yesterday’s antisemitism in new livery, and that everything is playing out essentially as it did in the past. Just as in the past, Québec prefers to clothe its bigotry in an intellectual framework (faux “secularism”), while the rest of Canada prefers the more provincial flavour of simply ranting about vague “Canadian values”.

  • [] Judge who ordered woman to remove hijab loses bid to quash investigation

    This story has been going on so long, I would forgive you if you’ve forgotten about it. To recap: , Rania El-Alloul went to Court of Québec to get her car back, which had been impounded when her son drove it with a suspended licence. The Judge, Eliana Marengo, before the case even began, told El-Alloul to remove her hijab, and when El-Alloul refused, Marengo adjourned the case and walked out. Although Marengo had her defenders, her actions are not only not “secularism”, they actually violated multiple previous court rulings about accommodating religious dress in court. Dozens of complaints were filed against Marengo… and then, nothing, for almost three years. Turns out Marengo has been blocking the complaints with challenges that claim that the Council of the Magistrature has no jurisdiction over her – she claimed her decision against the hijab was a proper legal decision, and should be assessed by an appellate court… not the disciplinary council. Her claim was dismissed, and an appeal just failed, so maybe now finally this idiot judge will face disciplinary action for her ignorant behaviour.

  • [] We Need To Talk About Reddit

    This piece is related to the previous item about becoming aware of biases in the media we consume.

  • [] Andrew Scheer: Jerusalem Will Be Recognized As Israel’s Capital If Tories Win In 2019

    Among the many, many stupid moves made by the Trump administration that have triggered international condemnation, moving their embassy to Jerusalem earns special attention for being especially unnecessarily provocative, and especially pointless. I think any politician who looks at Trump’s actions – especially those universally condemned at stupid – and says “hey, good idea!” has pretty much proven to the electorate that they’re exactly the wrong choice for the job.

  • [] Students challenge Halton Catholic board for cutting off charities over religious values

    Once again, the youth are showing the rest of us the way. So the trustees of the Halton Catholic District School Board pass a gobsmackingly stupid resolution to deny funding to charities that don’t pass a Catholic purity test – it’s so dumb, even the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association’s president for Halton spoke out against it (see the article in the previous item on the story in this Update). This resolution would not only deny funding to charities specifically focused on things like promoting abortion rights, but also any charity even remotely supportive of anything even remotely “un-Catholic” (things like abortion, contraception, assisted dying, and embryonic stem cell research). That means that even things like Canadian Cancer Society, SickKids, and the Terry Fox Foundation could be banned from receiving any charity money. Over 10,000 students, parents, and community members from Halton have objected, and a group of students is planning to get right up in the trustees’ grills with their objections. This whole situation is a glaring example of why institutional religious beliefs are complete horseshit: you have a group of 8 trustees dictating the standards for tens of thousands… and even though those tens of thousands think those standards are bullshit, their opinions are ignored in favour of the group of 8’s.

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One thought on “Weekly Update: to

  1. The persistent gaslighting of Muslims about Islamophobia

    I’m not sure about Canadians in general, and atheists in particular, attitudes about how violent Islam is as a religion. I think most Canadians, like myself, have a very superficial understanding of the Muslim religion at best.

    However, having grown up in Canada attending ‘Sunday School’ and being expected to enthusiastically sing along with “Onward Christian Soldiers” I can certainly attest to the violent nature of the Christian religion. Be one of us or else be prepared to die.

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