Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[A photo of a statuette of a bizarre creature that looks like a white narwhal with a fairly anthropomorphic, flesh-coloured face. It is sucking on a lollipop, wearing a black beret, and it has the words “Autumn/Hiver” in decorative text along its side. Its tail fin is shaped like an infinity symbol.]

What you’re looking at here is the first religious artifact of the blockchain-based religion 0xΩ (“zero-ex-omega”). It is called “Dogewhal”. We await the Second Coming of Satoshi! Put thine trust in SHA-256.

  • [] Human rights application launched against Windsor body waxing business by transgender woman

    Oy, this is a messy case. And most of the mess is entirely unnecessary. The gist of it is that a trans woman asked this place if she could get a bikini wax, and the manager’s response was something to the tune of: “Sorry, we don’t wax penises here, oh and also one of our waxers is Muslim and she can’t touch men.” Like… seriously, what the actual fuck. Why even say that last part?! It’s totally unnecessary! (Not to mention ignorant, due to calling the woman a “man”.) This doesn’t need to be a religious accommodation case; the CEOmade it one by being an idiot. It’s perfectly reasonable to say you have a staff that’s only experienced and comfortable with waxing all non-genital areas and vulvas, and you don’t have anyone on staff who can do scrotums – because waxing male genitalia is actually hard (no pun intended); a lot harder than waxing female genitalia or pretty much any other part of the human body. Instead that idiot CEO threw his Muslim employee under the bus – and then doubled down on his assholery by doxxing the trans woman to the media. This isn’t really a religious accommodation case.

  • [] B.C. Civil Liberties Association aims to speed up legal challenge to federal assisted dying law

    The Liberal’s assisted dying bill was one of the more disappointing failures of the Trudeau government, and one of the most unnecessary. The Supreme Court handed them a perfect legal framework on a silver platter, perfectly designed to answer all the concerns raised in Carter v Canada – all the Liberals had to do was codify the recommendations, and that would have been a spectacular law. Instead they wrote their own bill, ultimately creating a mess that’s so poorly conceived and so restrictive that even Carter – who won the Supreme Court case – probably wouldn’t be allowed an assisted death under it. Numerous groups and individuals have filed challenges across the country aimed at overturning it and essentially forcing the government to do what the Supreme Court recommended in the first place. Now the BCCLA is turning the screws even further.

  • [] New research predicts likelihood that one will believe conspiracy theories

    It shouldn’t come as any great surprise that living in a bubble where you believe society’s values are under siege is fertile soil for growing conspiracy theorists.

  • [] Routine Vitamin Supplementation Mostly Useless

    This study is amusing – the headline doesn’t even come close to doing it justice. I think if you really want a good overview of the study, the best way to get it is to listen to episode #673 of the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe, where it is discussed in depth by people who know their shit. (Actually, the item linked to here was written by Dr. Steven Novella, who hosts the show.)

  • [] Montreal naturopath found guilty of manslaughter as Quebec Court of Appeal overturns acquittal

    We’ve had some disappointing court decisions recently… maybe this is a sign of things turning around! Naturopath Mitra Javanmardi not only had her acquittal of involuntary manslaughter overturned – so she is now guilty – she is going back to court on an additional criminal negligence charge.

  • [] U.S. State Dept: Canadian laws are threatening religious freedom

    Trigger warning before you read the article: It’s on LifeSiteNews. Okay, now that you’ve been warned, go ahead and read… because it’s unintentionally hilarious. I’m a firm believer that everyone should from time-to-time read what one’s ideological opponents are reading. This is important to keep one grounded, to challenge one’s beliefs, and, when you’re an atheist, often because your ideological opponents are fucking hilarious. This piece basically uses the Canada section of the US Department of State’s 2017 International Religious Freedom Report as a springboard to rattle off a variety of complaints. Complaints about what, you ask? Why complaints about – and I quote – Ontario’s Christian doctors’ fight for conscience rights and the government’s inclusion of gender expression and identity in child welfare law. It’s clear why Christian bigots would be bothered by the government taking gender identity and expression seriously, but what does the fight for conscience rights refer to? Literally nothing more than requiring a doctor who does not want to do a legal medical procedure – for whatever reason – to provide an effective referral to one who will. That’s it; that’s literally it – the bare minimum that you’d expect a doctor who actually gives a fuck about their patients to do. But back to the article, which is a masterpiece of innuendo and dishonest framing. My favourite part? There’s a section titled Ontario government trying to force Christian doctors to refer for abortions that artfully lumps requiring doctors to refer for abortions together in the same breath with the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar and crimes against humanity in North Korea. Sublime.

  • [] There’s Now A Religion Based On the Blockchain. Yes, Really.

    You might think this wouldn’t take off because nobody really understand how blockchain works… but not understanding the fundamental concepts hasn’t stopped any religion before.

  • [] Stepping up for Edmonton Pride, Wiccans say they’ve long been the most LGBTQ-friendly religion

    Even if it’s true that Wicca is the most LGBT-tolerant religion – which, doubtful – it turns out there’s an asterisk to that claim. That’s because the founder of modern-day Wicca, Gerald Gardner, was a homophobe! And, in fact, he claimed that homosexuality would bring down the curse of the Goddess. Granted, Wiccans don’t actually see Gardner as a spiritual leader in the vein of Jesus, Muhammad, or L. Ron Hubbard. However, Gardner’s beliefs illustrate that 1) being LGBT-tolerant is not a fundamental part of Wicca, and 2) if Wicca really is LGBT-tolerant today, that’s a lucky fluke due to the modern day practitioners being tolerant… not the religion.

  • [] Trying to suppress sexual thoughts could actually increase them, new study says

    I think we can all just file this one in the “no shit, Sherlock” file.

  • [] Is the Catholic school system outdated?

    Nice, brief summary of some of the history and discussion regarding publicly-funded Catholic schools in Alberta.

  • [] Injuries and loss of life boost religious faith after disasters

    This is a really interesting finding about Canadian religiosity. Even the future direction questions are fascinating.

  • [] Cape Breton pharmacy pulls homeopathic products from shelves

    Very cool to see a pharmacist have the integrity to challenge this shameless practice in his industry.

  • [] Quebec begins training ‘accommodation officers’ to assess religious sincerity for holidays, meals

    And this is where idiotic laws like Québec’s Bill 62 end up taking us: government-trained religious police, whose job it is to decide whether you’re sincere enough in your beliefs.

  • [] The battle within the Catholic Church will have profound consequences for LGBT people

    This is an excellent piece exploring the potential long-term consequences for LGBT tolerance in the Catholic Church. Arshy Mann paints a worrying picture of the future; even though things look like they’re improving (slowly), there is a very powerful backlash brewing.

  • [] Religiously extreme couple loses child custody after stuffed lion purportedly transmitting the word of God acted as its lawyer

    This isn’t really a story about religiosity so much as it is about mental illness. There was evidence of domestic violence, issues about getting basic medical care for the child, and even (disputed) allegations that they believed children should be involved in sex. The parents tried to appeal based on religious discrimination, but that was clearly not the case.

  • [] Catholic church abuse survivors launch effort to end impunity of bishops

    At this point, a headline like this probably made you roll your eyes and say, “yeah, right… good luck with that.” But don’t be too cynical! The pressure has had an impact. Just check out the final sentence in the article, and marvel.

  • [] Social conservatives have taken over the Ontario government. Now it’s time to fight

    “Social conservative” is a polite euphemism for religious bigot. (If that seems unfairly reductive, you’re right. “Social conservatives” also include a fair number of non-religious bigots, too.) This piece is a pretty dire look at what to expect, given Doug Ford’s track record, and given the interests that shepherded him into power. It’s also a call to action.

  • [] Osborne Village church opposes heritage status on basis of religious freedom

    Much like the Mad Wax case, this is another “religious freedom” case that isn’t really. What’s really happening is that this congregation group is balking at government stepping in to oversee the conservation of the building. It’s the same objection you hear from property owners any time a site is being considered for heritage status; religion isn’t a factor. What’s happening here – and this is the same thing that happened in the Mad Wax case, and it’s a disturbing trend – is that the group is merely using religion as an excuse for what’s really a secular goal.

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