Weekly Update: to

by | August 4, 2018

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[Photo of the top three stairs of a rainbow-painted stairway, with the words chalked over it: “The Rainbow is a promise from GOD NOT an excuse to sin.” and “Genesis 9”.]

The rainbow isn’t an excuse to sin, it’s a reminder of how much fun it is!

  • [] The Supreme Court rules: Discrimination is not a protected religious right

    Very nice review of the TWU decisions, with particular focus on the arguments (such as they are) of the dissenters.

  • [] Why these Western University profs say it’s time to merge the Catholic and public school systems

    Last week’s Update included a piece by two Western University professors calling for the abolition of Ontario’s public funding of a separate Catholic school system. It was hardly an opinion we haven’t featured on this blog before, and other than being mildly noteworthy for coming from two university professors – and for being particularly blunt about Ontario politicians’ cowardice on the issue – I didn’t think much of it. To my surprise, it went somewhat viral. The authors sound hopeful that this might at last trigger if not the government, then at least the opposition, to step up on the issue. Having pushed this issue for so long, and seen no action from any political party on the file, despite polls showing upward of 70–80% of Ontarians in favour of a single, secular school system, I don’t share their optimism. Especially considering the current government in Ontario.

  • [] Canada is using ancestry DNA websites to help it deport people

    Well this is about as fucked up and Orwellian as it gets. People really need to be aware that when they send their DNA to these “ancestry” services – and several of my own family members have done it – not only are they throwing away their own right to privacy in the process, because many of these services openly admit to selling their data and freely offering it to authorities, they’re also just wasting their cash because a lot of those services are complete bullshit.

  • [] ‘I would kill your children’: Cops look at Walmart incident as possible hate crime

    It’s starting to get to the point where I can almost make a completely separate Weekly Update just with a list of the racist and islamophobic attacks over the past week. And to add irony to insult and injury (the man hit someone with his car as he tore out of there), this incident happened on Hamilton’s first “Newcomer Day”, an event intended to welcome immigrants.

  • [] Rainbow stairs in Richmond, B.C., defaced by chalk messages

    This is not even the only defacement of a rainbow installation this week. This one, however, will be pretty damn hard to hand-wave away as a “false flag”. The quotes and the Biblical reference are a bit too perfect for some rando-non-Christian to come up with on a lark. The CBC is very quick to dismiss the Biblical reference as not being the source of the quote, but Genesis 9 is not only where the rainbow is first mentioned, that chapter is also favoured by Christian homophobes due to the “curse of Canaan” allegedly imposed on the son of Ham because Ham raped and possibly castrated a drunken Noah. (I know: Why curse Ham’s son for what Ham did? Well, Ham had already been blessed, so Noah’s hands were tied with regards to punishing him. So he punished the innocent son instead. Bible logic!)

  • [] “Are racist attacks on the rise? Or are we just hearing more about them?”(Audio: 11:17)

    Very nice interview by Bernie Farber of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network: We’ve been seeing a lot of racist attacks in the news recently… but are they really on the rise? Or are they just being reported more, and this is just an availability heuristic issue? Turns out, the answer is complex. Nevertheless, we do have a serious problem.

  • [] ‘This is not okay’: Mississauga woman charged after allegedly trying to tear off hijab

    Yet another attack on a Muslim just minding her own business – this time a teenager attacked by a grown woman in Mississauga.

  • [] Hate and the ‘Toronto Sun’

    This week saw a bit of a reckoning for the Toronto Sun. What triggered it was the Danforth shooting – or more specifically, the Toronto Sun’s response to it. Humberto DaSilva very briefly (and colourfully) lays out the outline of the story leading up to the backlash. For the real dirt, check out the Canadaland piece.

  • [] Everett Klippert, Last Man Jailed In Canada For Being Gay, Changed LGBTQ History

    Another fascinating piece of Canadian LGBTQ history I knew nothing about!

  • [] Manitobans Charged After Proposing ‘Shoot A Indian Day’ On Facebook

    I’m sure someone will inevitably bemoan the martyrdom of these two women for nothing more than “jokes”… but what the fuck is funny about their “jokes”? Those were not “jokes”; they were just racists dropping their guard and letting their racism show, nothing more, nothing less. Of course no one believes they were actually planning a murder spree – I mean, duh – but the fact that they weren’t making serious plans does not make what they said “jokes”. What makes this even more disturbing is that one of the women – the one who proposed the purge (and suggested drinking Budweiser, which is almost as horrifying) – was actually an elementary school teacher.

  • [] Islamophobia in the US Is Fueled by Fake Facts and Paranoia

    This is an absolutely fascinating, and informative, piece. If you’ve heard any of the ranting of Canadian islamophobes over the years, you have probably heard them mention the Muslim Brotherhood; conspiracy theories about the Brotherhood pop up frequently in the deranged ranting of anti-Muslim bigots. But we can take it as a given that they didn’t come up with the idea of blaming the Brotherhood themselves – most of those people are just too fucking ignorant to know anything about something as foreign to their interests as the Brotherhood. Obviously they’re just parroting shit they heard from other far-right, bigot sources. So what was the genesis of the Muslim Brotherhood paranoia? Well, this article gives a very good answer to that question.

  • [] Five things to understand about Saskatchewan’s immune-resistant HIV crisis

    I’ve seen a lot of misinformation being spread about the immune-resistant HIV outbreak in Saskatchewan – a lot of based on racism. This overview gives a clear and easy-to-understand overview of the science behind the new strain – including why it’s happening among indigenous people in Saskatchewan specifically – debunks some of the more alarmist conspiracies, and outlines clear and simple strategies to deal with it.

  • [] An Introduction to Atheism, Agnosticism, and Nonreligious Worldviews

    I am really bummed that the articles in this journal special edition are behind a paywall, because even just the introduction is fascinating stuff. It makes a big noise about the fact that we need better ways to define atheists and the nonreligious, because the current negative definitions just aren’t working. (“Negative” here is not a value judgment; it means that we are being defined by what we are not, rather that what we are. Even the word “nonbeliever” itself says nothing about us really, other than that we are not them… which is only marginally helpful.) What little I do know about the research in the articles is also fascinating: one of the articles is about the stuff described in that Atlantic article with the shitty headline that was mentioned in last week’s Update; the one about developing models to understand what social factors are necessary for atheism to thrive.

  • [] Reality check: does social assistance disincentivize people from working?

    I’m fond of saying that whenever a headline asks a question, the answer is almost always “no”. That holds true in this case. The background here is that, despite a campaign promise (though now Ford’s ministers are trying to gaslight the entire fucking province and claimed they never promised not to cancel the program – and hey, here’s a buck-a-beer to distract ya!), the Doug Ford government has cancelled the Ontario Basic Income pilot project, over the objections of virtually every expert in the field in the world, and the Conservative senator who helped design it. This, despite all evidence available so far showing spectacular success, all evidence of past test programs in Canada showing similar success, and dozens of other pilot programs around the world suggesting that this is almost certainly the future. What I love most about this article is how the experts make it a point to show that objections to the program are purely ideological.

  • [] Member of a Neo-Nazi Terror Group Appears To Be Former Canadian Soldier

    Yet another victory by the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, this time unmasking a Nazi who had previously mocked people trying to unmask him, saying they’d never succeed. The dude named denies everything, of course, but his objections look pretty pathetic in the face of the evidence – I’m particularly amused by him claiming it was one of his unit mates using his identity and military record, when Lamoureux and Makuch had evidence from five years before he’d joined. But while everyone’s laughing at how cleanly Vice has his number, and at his rather unimposing appearance, there is actually quite a bit in the article that is quite sinister. Particularly the closing revelation.

  • [] Hamilton, Ont. Paramedics Charged In Death Of Good Samaritan

    I knew this story was covered in a previous Weekly Update item, but because there have been so many attacks on Muslims in Canada over the last year, it honestly took me a while to find it in the archives. How fucking horrible is that? Here’s the background: 19 year-old Yosif Al-Hasnawi – a first-year Brock student with aspirations to be a doctor – had just done a Quran recitation in a Hamilton mosque, then stepped outside with a couple friends during a break. He saw an elderly man being accosted and harassed by two men on the sidewalk not far away (I was never able to confirm whether the man was being harassed for racist or islamophobic reasons), so he stepped in to help. According to his friends, he was trying to deescalate the situation while protecting the elderly victim… and then he was shot. Two men have since been arrested and charged with his murder. However, the charges in this piece are not those charges. These charges have been brought against the paramedics who arrived on the scene after Al-Hasnawi was shot. That’s because, according to multiple witnesses, the paramedics simply refused to treat Al-Hasnawi. They claimed he was faking it, and that he’d just been shot by a pellet gun.

  • [] Ontario Filing Constitutional Challenge Against Trudeau’s Carbon Tax Plan

    I swear this fucking government has never met an ignorant or regressive idea it doesn’t love.

  • [] Here Are 8 Immoral Religious Teachings That Are Still Practiced Today

    I’m sure every reader of this blog could come up with far more than eight, but Tarico is more interested in using these eight particular examples as a springboard to an argument for secular ethics.

  • [] The Toronto Sun’s Islamophobia Problem Is Even Worse Than You Might Think

    In another item this week, Humberto DaSilva sets the scene for this past week’s review of what’s been going on at the Toronto Sun. That the Sun is less of a newspaper and more of a mouthpiece for the worst impulses of the Conservative Party and their fandom is no surprise to anyone who’s ever read the Sun; Canadaland themselves exposed the Sun’s editorial policy of literally inventing “news” for partisan purposes during the election campaign. But in this piece, Steven Zhou focuses specifically on the demagogic and quite often completely invented “stories” published by Sun personalities clearly intended to fan the flames of islamophobia, and on the connections between those personalities and some shady groups.

  • [] Swastika painted on rainbow crosswalk in Toronto’s gay village

    Okay, again, I’m sure some asswipe is going to come out of nowhere and insist that this is just a “joke” and everyone just needs to have a sense of humour… but what really is the “joke” here supposed to be? It seems to me there’s a certain section of the population – asswipes – that call anything that insults or terrorizes frequently-victimized minorities a “joke”, regardless of whether there’s anything of even remotely humorous quality there or not… as if hurting or terrorizing the minorities is, itself, funny.

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