Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[Photo of a parade float consisting of a golf-cart pulling a train of large posters displaying anti-abortion messages.]

You have to wonder what genius thought that a Canada Day parade was a good place to push the anti-abortion agenda.

  • [] Faith and Immigration: New Canadians rely on religious communities for material, spiritual support

    This survey and report was a joint project of Angus Reid and Cardus… so you know already what the conclusions are going to be. But put their pandering to their religious base aside, and look what’s being said between the lines and in the raw data, and there’s actually a point being raised that nonbelievers should take very seriously. New immigrants are very dependent on faith groups for material support – never mind social and community support (and completely ignore spiritual support) – and faith groups are actively helping them. Why can’t we do that? If people are so concerned that immigrants are so religious and that will somehow skew the Canadian political landscape – and I have heard people raising that concern – being right there on the front lines and providing real material support for new immigrants – thus helping them identify secular people with Canadian values – seems like a pretty obvious way to deal with that. (But for the record, it’s a non-issue: New immigrants may be more religious, but they’re a tiny group with no real political clout. And after they’ve been around long enough, particularly when you get to second- and third-generation immigrants, they’re basically indistinguishable from “old stock” Canadians, politically.)

  • [] The humbling of the atheists: How religion survived the progress of science

    Don’t let yourself be baited by the trollish tone of the article. (I’m depressed at how many self-proclaimed “rational people” can’t get past the tone.) Beneath the smugness, a very legitimate point is being made; one that we should get serious about addressing. In the earliest days of the contemporary atheist movement, we got a lot of mileage out of easy targets. And we had some spectacular successes: one could mention the uncovering of the rampant child abuse, or how the entire social dialogue has changed on issues the churches once controlled, like homosexuality. But the times moved on, and, unfortunately, a lot of the big names in atheism didn’t. And atheist activism as a whole never quite “grew up” to take on the more nuanced and sophisticated manifestations of religion (other than continuing to childishly deny they exist), or to seriously take on the responsibility of replacing religion or the services that religion provides to individuals, communities, and societies. (See also the item about the ARI/Cardus survey of immigrants, and how faith groups are providing them material support.) Winning the “war” against religion doesn’t end with us patting each other on the shoulders then going back to doing the same shit we were always doing. If we do “destroy” religion or its influence in society, we have to step up and replace the many, many things that religion provided.

  • [] Toronto joins Vancouver in recommending Canada decriminalize all drugs

    This is an interesting idea, made all the more compelling by who is promoting it. Criminalizing drug use has never made sense scientifically or rationally, and is arguably just a by-product of North America’s Puritan heritage. Reconsidering it as a health issue could do a lot more to alleviate suffering than continuing to consider it a “crime” issue.

  • [] Violent Neo-Nazi Group Has Disturbing Plans For Canada

    This is some crazy shit, but if you’ve been following the news in recent months, it isn’t exactly unprecedented crazy shit. In fact, as insane as the Nazi group’s plans to set up a Nazi “ethnostate” in BC are… it was already attempted (in North Dakota, in 2012).

  • [] Christian bigot threatens legal action over ferries’ rainbow flag

    I dislike giving Kari Simpson more oxygen, but you just have to read her demented “logic” for why the rainbow flag is such a problem.

  • [] Ontario students will be taught the 1998 sex-ed curriculum, education minister says

    There have been numerous groups and people who have spoken out very eloquently about how stupid scrapping this curriculum is, so there’s no point repeating it here.

  • [] Controversial float in Cold Lake’s Canada Day parade sparks debate

    Cold Lake is learning the same lesson Canadian Atheist so recently and painfully learned: if you don’t set out guidelines for what is acceptable, assholes are gonna abuse your trust.

  • [] “Facing Race (Montréal) – The Current”(Audio: 1:14:25)

    Earlier this year, the CBC did a series of town hall events across Canada titled Facing Race. This is an edited down version of the Montréal event (if you like, the full, unedited (complete with lots of milling around during commercial breaks) two-and-a-half hour video is available). Although the purported topic is racism, it should come as no surprise that Islam comes up, along with secularism and laïcité, and fears of creeping sharia. There’s quite a lot of interest in there, though. I thought one of the things Haroun Bouazzi mentioned in his definition of secularism was quite clever: Your beliefs are not taken into account in your right to actually have something. That’s a bit simplistic, but it’s a good start.

  • [] “Osteensibly” by Zach Weinersmith (Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal)

    This comic is amusing, but the real kick is the title, which is not readily visible on the comic page.

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