Weekly Update: to

by | March 31, 2018

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[Photos of the six victims of the Québec City mosque shooting: Mamadou Tanou Barry, Azzeddine Soufiane, Abdelkrim Hassane, Ibrahima Barry, Aboubaker Thabti and Khaled Belkacemi.]

The six victims of the Québec City mosque shooting. Clockwise from left: Mamadou Tanou Barry, Azzeddine Soufiane, Abdelkrim Hassane, Ibrahima Barry, Aboubaker Thabti and Khaled Belkacemi.

  • [] In bid to keep funding, charities sign Ontario school board’s pledge to follow Catholic doctrine

    We’ve been following this story for a couple of weeks and it’s already been pretty disgusting, but prepare yourself for a vile new low. It started when the Halton Catholic District School Board announced its schools would no longer be giving to charities that didn’t align with certain hard-line Catholic principles – in particular, they would be withdrawing support for charities that supported abortion, contraception, assisted dying, and stem cell research. Students protested loudly, as well as parents – they did not support this ridiculous idea, it was entirely done by the 8-member Board. Well now we’re learning that the Board actually managed to blackmail 30 charities into signing a document pledging they wouldn’t do any non-Catholic stuff (by the Board’s reckoning). The district had originally supported 100 charities, but 70 refused to cave to them and sign (and at no small cost, either – for example, last year students raised $280,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society (while the 8 Board members were sitting on their fucking asses, no doubt), which refused to sign). Some of the charities that signed have since recanted, claiming they didn’t realize what they were signing.

  • [] Quebec religious order apologizes, opens hotline for Innu victims of sexual abuse

    Credit where it’s due, this is one of the very rare cases I have heard of a Catholic organization not admitting to the crimes it sanctioned, not only apologizing for them, but taking active steps to repair the harm.

  • [] Peel police investigating alleged hate crimes at three Mississauga mosques

    Sandra Solomon must have felt left out when she saw her pal Kevin Johnston was facing hate crime charges. At least in Solomon’s defence, she didn’t target kids.

  • [] Sweet Jesus is not going to change its name, co-founder says

    This story is hilarious, not least because of the silliness of the Christians who freaked out about the name. Of course, the ice cream chain isn’t doing anything that could sensibly be construed as mocking or insulting, and they certainly aren’t “belittling” Jesus. The change.org petition is a glorious study in the inability of religious people to see irony, even asking what next?, as if allowing an ice cream chain to use the word “Jesus” in the name is just a preamble to complete moral collapse and descent into Mad Max anarchy. Even better are the batshit crazy blog posts claiming the ice cream chain is secretly a Satanic front. Kudos to Sweet Jesus for sticking by their name!

  • [] How White American Terrorists Are Radicalized

    David Perry makes a very good point in this piece: While it’s true that most far-right terrorists are “lone wolves” in that they act alone, they are actually being inspired and radicalized together. They are not really lone wolves; they are part of a pack.

  • [] Is Sikh extremism really active in Canada?

    The general rule is that when a headline asks a question, the answer is “no”, and that’s true in this case. However, it’s true in a very interesting way. Jasjit Singh breaks Sikh “extremism” into five types, which include Sikh nationalism and Sikh religious extremism among them. The type of Sikh “extremism” that’s most prominent in Canada might surprise you!

  • [] Stories From Solitude

    This is not the core Canadaland podcast, but rather one of their sub-podcasts – this one called Commons. This show is part 2 of a 2-part series on solitary confinement (see also part 1). Even without the parts of it of particular interest to Canadian Atheist’s forté, this is – as Canadaland in general and Commons in particular are – exquisitely-produced, well-thought-out, must-hear journalism. But this piece gets a special mention because of what it reveals about the way religion is used abusively as part of solitary confinement.

  • [] Trudeau disappointed by Pope’s decision not to apologize for residential schools

    We’re all disappointed, but not a one of us is surprised.

  • [] Publicly funded Christian private schools using discredited teaching method

    There was a stellar piece by Patti Bacchus featured in last week’s Update calling for an end to public funding of private schools. Not that there’s ever really been any doubt that it’s a bad idea, but here we – yet again – have – even more – evidence of why publicly funding private schools should be abolished Canada-wide.

  • [] Quebec City mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette says he’s ashamed of his ‘senseless act’

    After over a year of waiting, we were finally set to begin the trial of Alexandre Bissonnette, the murderer who killed six people and wounded nineteen more in the Québec City mosque shooting. And then, two days later, it was over. You see, Bissonnette pleaded “not guilty”. Everyone braced for what was sure to be a major trial, with lots of media scrutiny. But apparently five hours later, Bissonnette asked to change his plea to “guilty”. , the new plea was formally recorded. That means no more trial – all that’s left is Bissonnette’s sentencing hearing, and it seems he’s going to get five consecutive 25-to-life sentences. I’m torn on whether I’m happy about this or not. On the one hand, I am happy the families and friends of the victims will be spared the stress of a trial. On the other, there’s so much we don’t understand about Bissonnette and why he did what he did, and a trial was the best chance to get it all out. I am not a legal expert, and I have no inside track on Bissonnette’s case, but I suspect Bissonnette realized he was going to be convicted either way, and that if the Crown were allowed to go all out in a trial and dig into his actions and beliefs leading up to the massacre they would have clearly exposed him for the vile, hateful, little shit that he is. This way he can semi-plausibly maintain the act of being a “troubled young man who just needed help”.

  • [] Less than half the vote could give radical rightists all the power

    I’ve written before about why electoral reform is a dire need for Canadian secularists, humanists, atheists, and freethinkers… and here we are again, teetering on the brink of being subjects of a government that don’t give a fuck about science or evidence, and openly and shamelessly pander to religious fundamentalists, racists, and other bigots.

  • [] “God is Crying” by Zach Weinersmith (Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal)

    When I was a kid, my father’s version of this was not that rain is God crying, but rather that rain was God peeing on you. That should be obvious, because if it was just water, why would we need umbrellas, right? Nothing wrong with water falling on you in a shower, or getting wet at the beach, right? So clearly the fact that we use umbrellas in the rain means something. Yes, my father was clearly a horrific parent, but his take on things makes this comic’s punchline even more urgent.

  • [] Aymen Derbali, Quebecer Paralyzed In Mosque Shooting, To Get $400K For Accessible Home

    4,800 people in 40 countries chipped in to help the guy out. Not bad!

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