Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[Photo of Hamilton paramedics amusedly pretending to examining a statue of a sleeping, homeless Jesus on a park bench in winter.]

The dude got crucified and was walking around three days later. I’m sure he’s fine.

  • [] Right-wing charities report zero political activity…again

    Canada’s charity laws are a fucking mess. This is one of two items this week about the situation. I wrote articles in the past about using the CRA for political targeting of charities involved in progressive and environmental causes by the Harper administration (including the infamous “preventing poverty is not a acceptable charitable goal” decision; unfortunately my articles are no longer available online). Several charities found themselves bogged down in endless audits ostensibly aimed at confirming they weren’t spending more than 10% of their resources on “political activities”… and very suspiciously, mostly charities opposed to the policies of the Harper government. Meanwhile, on the other side of the political spectrum, we have groups like Focus on the Family Canada, Cardus, and the fucking Fraser Institute claiming zero political activity… and the CRA just shrugs and mumbles “seems legit”.

  • [] No, I Will Not Stop Talking About Queer Pride

    June is Pride Month, so this story is doubly relevant. It’s a stark reminder that for all the victories being won at the highest levels – that is, getting provincial governments to create LGBTQ education and awareness programs implemented in schools – that all means jack level if the teachers at the classroom level are either ignorant or actively sabotaging things.

  • [] Motion to ban conversion therapy in Vancouver to be presented at City Hall, while petition for province-wide ban takes off

    Well, well, well. It looks like that bastion of regressiveness, British Columbia – the Saudi Arabia of Canada – is finally catching up with the modern world! (I kid, of course. BC is arguably the most progressive province in Canada by far, which makes it surprising that they’re actually a step behind Ontario and… Manitoba (!)… on this issue.)

  • [] Doug Ford ally Charles McVety: Teaching creationism in schools “sounds like a good idea”

    I’ve never seen anything more than 6,000 years old, said McVety, moments before looking up and noticing the sun, and crying out: Holy fuck, where did that come from?!

  • [] The public funding of Catholic schools in Ontario is unstable and unprincipled

    This editorial will probably feel like something CA readers have seen a million times, but it’s quite rare to see such a blunt and intelligent assessment of the situation on the CBC.

  • [] Homeless Jesus statue stops runaway truck in Hamilton: police

    I just found this story hilarious. The driver of a junk removal truck realized he couldn’t stop in time for a red light, and was about to roll right into the intersection – and into traffic and crossing pedestrians. Thinking quickly, he made the laudable decision that if he was going smash his truck full of garbage into something, the most appropriate venue would be a Catholic Church. So he jumped the curb… and crashed into a park bench in front of the church that had a statue of a sleeping homeless Jesus on it. While Jesus apparently neglected to take the wheel in this case, he at least provided a solid mass to bring the truck to a stop, and no-one was injured. In the picture in the CTV story, the paramedics appear to be jokingly examining the statue, as if to confirm Jesus was unharmed by the incident. However, what a Hamilton paramedic friend of mine pointed out to me was that the picture is actually from two-and-a-half years ago… and in it the paramedics really are checking to make sure homeless sleeping Jesus is okay (or at least, reenacting the scene of themselves doing it)… because someone had phoned in to 911 concerned at what they thought was someone sleeping rough on the bench in a nasty winter storm.

  • [] Jehovah’s Witness cannot appeal expulsion to a judge, Supreme Court rules

    A disappointing ruling from the Supreme Court, but not an entirely unexpected one. The background is that Randy Wall was a JW who was a bit of a drunken asshole and ended up getting “disfellowshipped” because he wasn’t repentant enough. (A heartbreaking aside to this story is that the reason Wall was a drunken asshole was because he was upset that his 15 year-old daughter had already been “disfellowshipped”, and he and his wife were forced to kick her out of the house. That was why he was drinking and surly, and he tried to plead for leniency based on that, but the JW Judicial Committee didn’t give a fuck. None of that that was relevant to the court case, but still.) The problem was that Wall was a realtor, and many of his clients were also JWs. So when he got “disfellowshipped”, they all started shunning him… and thus he lost most of his business. Wall tried to make a case that even though the JWs are a private organization, their organizational decision (to “disfellowship” him) caused him real economic harm – it had impact on him outside of the organization’s boundaries – and thus, should be open to judicial review (which would then determine if the decision was fair or not according to secular judicial standards of reasonableness). He was doing well in the courts right up until the SCC, which, unfortunately, ruled that, as a private club, the JWs can choose to include, exclude, or “shun” whoever the hell they damn well please.

  • [] Tell Canada to keep its promise and fix our broken charity laws

    Are charity laws are relics from a previous era, where the role of charities was limited to apolitical social services like soup kitchens and of course religious proselytizing. Today, charities are vanguard of action on critically important, politically explosive issues like climate change and income inequality, but Canada’s antiquated charity laws severely hamstring their efforts. Even worse, it’s only secular charities dealing with these restrictions: religious charities can more or less do as they please, and of course private sector corporations have no limits on how much they can spend on lobbying for their particular goals. Add to that politically-motivated abuse of our broken laws to stifle charities that object to government policies (yes, that really happened in Canada), and we clearly have a problem. Let’s put foot to Liberal ass, and get the Trudeau government to fix it as they promised they would.

  • [] NDP ‘Bubble Zone Bill’ to protect abortion clinic patients and staff passes as UCP Caucus heads for hallway hideouts again

    Alberta has become the third province (I think?) after BC and Ontario to introduce a “bubble zone” law, to protect women accessing abortion services by keeping anti-abortion protesters outside of a certain radius from providers. Congratulations to Alberta! However…. While I was searching for a decent article to use for this item, I stumbled across this absolutely glorious piece by David Climenhaga. I almost had to physically fan myself due to proximity to the burn aimed at the UCP. And they fucking well deserve it too: their behaviour has been cowardly, shameful, dishonest, and utterly lacking in any sign of leadership or integrity.

  • [] Webber Academy to get new human rights hearing in dispute over Muslim prayer

    This was an ugly case, one that was hard to pin down to whether it was caused by islamophobia or just an absurdly overzealous interpretation of “secularism”, so it’s not a good thing that it’s going to have to start all over again.

  • [] First responder at Quebec mosque shooting dies by suicide

    I’ve written several times about the six victims of the Québec mosque shooting, but of course they weren’t the only victims. I’ve also written about Aymen Derbali, who was paralyzed after taking seven bullets while trying to draw Bissonnette’s fire away from others. But the tragedy doesn’t even end there. Andreanne Leblanc left a note that said: “At least I saved some lives.”

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