Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[Screen capture of Faith Goldy from a video, showing her holding up a copy of “For My Legionaries” that she is endorsing.]

True story: I was looking for a picture of Faith Goldy to use for this week’s Update, given her mayoral campaign announcement, and the only picture of her we have in the CA image database is this one of her promoting a book that calls for the elimination of the Jews.

  • [] Litigious And Religious

    Very nice article summarizing a number of recent religious freedom cases in Canada, but I disagree with the subtitle: “Faith groups take on secular society in court, with mixed results”. I think there hasn’t been a single result that faith groups have much to celebrate. The “best” result has been Highwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Judicial Committee) v. Wall, where the Supreme Court ruled that a Jehovah’s Witness who was shunned has no rights to compensation from the Congregation. Sure, that’s good for religious groups – they don’t have to answer to the courts when deciding who to kick out of their clubs and when – but… I mean… that’s a win for all private groups and organizations. There’s nothing particularly religious for faith-y about it other than the that the organization the case just happened to be about was JWs. But it could have just as easily been a local sewing club.

  • [] ‘Why did you do this?’: Muslim man reels after being attacked while walking home from Saskatoon mosque

    Unbelievable. This story got buried last week by the story of the brutal beating of a man in front of his wife and infant daughters, but it was one of three stories of out-of-control islamophobia in Canada last week. In addition to the beating of Abu Marzouk, there was that incident in London, Ontario where man accosted what he claimed was an illegal alien, and then this incident.

  • [] The unmuzzling of Canadian charities

    In last week’s Update I declared that the court ruling against the CRA’s “political activity” restrictions on charities was the biggest story of the week, and wonderful news for activism in Canada generally. That’s still true, and this article goes into a lot more detail than was available last week on what happened, and why it’s so cool.

  • [] It’s time to merge Ontario’s two school systems

    This is hardly a novel sentiment, especially to readers of Canadian Atheist. Here it comes from two Western University professors. Of course, there’s zero chance of it having any impact on the Ford government, and as the authors themselves note, no other politicians seem to have the spine to tackle the issue either.

  • [] Artificial Intelligence Shows Why Atheism Is Unpopular

    Ignore the really stupid headline – this is The Atlantic, so it’s a given. What the article describes is fascinating. Obviously we can’t run experiments on societies – it’s impractical to begin with, and unethical in any case. The best we can do is try to glean patterns from the messy data we get by what societies tried on their own. It’s a natural evolution to try to create computer models of societies that can not only reliably reproduce observed patterns, but also allow us to run hypothetical scenarios and get a sense of how things might unfold. The models described in the article poke at a number of different factors related to religiosity and secularism: What factors allow societies to become more secular? What factors trigger inter-religious violence? What happens when you take in a flood of refugees from an area that’s very high in religiosity? How do you integrate them into your secular society? What they’ve discovered so far shouldn’t be of any surprise to anyone who reads CA: want more secularism? you need more social security, personal freedom, education, and tolerance for diversity. But what’s really exciting is other patterns the models might be able to uncover in the future as they get better.

  • [] Religion does not determine your morality

    I mean, no duh, right? Well, yes, but we should always be eager to have our beliefs tested. Cognitive scientist Jim Davies describes some cool research data that validates our atheist presupposition that morality doesn’t come from religion. My favourite result is the one where believers say that God says X is moral… then read a piece that shows that X isn’t really as moral they thought… and they promptly turn around and say that God doesn’t say X is moral.

  • [] Conservative MP brings ‘Faith and Politics’ talks to Newfoundland

    While a lot of people were justifiably irritated that Brad Trost is using public money to pay for his Bible-thumping tour, we need to maintain our calm and look what the actual message he’s spreading is. Yes, it’s Trost, so yes, of course it’s going to be the usual anti-abortion, anti-medical assistance in dying, regressive, “political correctness on campuses” dog-whistling bullshit. But Trost is smarter than most, and his real message is… “hide your power level”. He knows that the religious far right’s beliefs and desires are so odious they can’t win if they’re upfront about them. He’s teaching younger fundamentalists to put on a pretty face to weasel their way into debates. We need to be aware of the prospect of this kind of crypto-fundamentalism, and nip it in the bud.

  • [] Faith Goldy running for Mayor of Toronto

    Okay, Ontario. Doug Ford was an horrendous mistake, but one that is at least partially understandable. Ford leapt onto a train that had been started rolling by Patrick Brown – it was, under Brown’s leadership, the most progressive and sensible conservative party in all of Canada. Brown got booted out (for good reason, if the allegations are true, and even if not, the guy has been a total asshat since it all came to light, so, fuck him), and Ford was able to take advantage of the chaos and slip into the driver’s seat of the already-certain-to-win steam behemoth. He managed to whittle down the lead and the goodwill Brown bequeathed to him almost enough to lose the election, but was luckily saved by Ontario’s broken and archaic electoral system and vote-splitting between the NDP and Liberals. Okay, I get it – you were blindsided by Ford. But Toronto, if you fucking elect a well-known god-damned white supremacist as mayor… you fucking deserve every nasty thing that’s ever been said about you, and I’ll no longer lift a finger to defend you. On the contrary, I’ll be joining the chorus.

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