Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[A photo of the crucifix hanging the Québec National Assembly.]

François Legault: “This is perfectly cool in a secular state, because the INRI stands for ‘is not religious image’.”

  • [] Federal Parliament petition e-1833: Conversion Therapy

    A petition needs 500 verified signatures to get a response from Parliament, and right now this one is at just shy of 7,000. I’m not 100% clear on whether the federal government can ban conversion therapy; I would have thought it was only a provincial jurisdiction, but I’m happy to be proved wrong. Certainly getting a ban on transporting minors for the purpose – or criminalizing the practice – would have to be done at the federal level, and it would be awesome if we could get that. So let’s push the numbers on this petition up as high as we can.

  • [] How to Change Minds | A Street Epistemology-Inspired Comic

    Very interesting metaphor for belief and how to go about getting people to reevaluate and perhaps change their beliefs.

  • [] Patti Bacchus: “SOGI” foes trying to influence school board elections

    Bacchus has a point. Where you’ll find the most wingnuttery isn’t in national or provincial elections, it’s in the lower-level elections like municipal or school board elections. That is where the fundamentalists sneak into power, and while the damage they can do at these lower levels of government is limited, it’s damage nonetheless. And on top of that, building a portfolio of winning elections at the lower level could make them more attractive for higher-level candidacies. The real battleground against religious nuttery is in these lower-level elections, so get off your ass and vote.

  • [] “Documenting Hate” (Video: 44:42)

    I haven’t had time to watch the video yet, but I have read the accompanying article, “Right-wing extremist groups and hate crimes are growing in Canada”. My response on reading the title was… “duh”… because CA has been covering this problem for well over a year now. If even the CBC has finally clued in – and they’re not the most “woke” news agency in Canada by a long shot – then I’d say this fact is now beyond any reasonable doubt.

  • [] The Conservative Resistance Inside the Vatican

    Pope Francis is terrible. Readers of this site all know this well; mainstream media profiles of the man usually fawn over him (but read down a few paragraphs and you’ll always find some nastiness carefully buried), but he’s not even close to the progressive they want to believe he is. But it’s important to remember that as bad as Francis is… there are much worse. Indeed, from our perspective he’s hopelessly regressive, but he’s still about the most progressive Pope we could have reasonably hoped for. That’s why it bears remembering that a lot of the criticism of Francis – particularly from within the Church – is coming from even more regressive and intolerant voices.

  • [] Thread by @BashirMohamed

    I don’t usually link to Twitter threads, but this one was just so packed with data it was impossible to find a better source. (Also, I haven’t seen any “real” journalism outlets reporting on this.) This is, of course, related to the UCP/SoO shit show referenced in other items this week (which will be covered more in-depth in those items), but it goes way beyond.

  • [] Chrétien predicts common sense will prevail in Quebec debate over religious symbols

    It may sound like Chrétien has his head up his ass, but I think his assessment is spot-on, if premature. The whole religious symbols ban thing in Québec is almost entirely a bugbear of the political leadership; when you poll the people, they really don’t give a fuck. In fact, that’s probably why the issue has dragged on for so long: because most people don’t give a fuck, nobody’s really given the issue a lot of thought, so it hasn’t really entered the public consciousness how astoundingly stupid it is. Now that the CAQ is trying out their flavour, every major political party in Québec has taken a swing at it (except Québec solidaire, but one assumes they’re not stupid enough to try). And once the CAQ fails – and they will fail, as other items this week suggest – that will be 0 for 3. Maybe at that point, the parties will realize there’s no way to do it, and finally give up pushing it… at which point it will probably finally drop off the political map.

  • [] Canada’s carbon-tax plan is collapsing just as the planet runs out of time

    Moscrop may be right that it’s time to give up hope that the provinces will show any leadership on this file. We may have to rely on the federal government. In other words, we’re probably doomed.

  • [] Ontario Human Rights Commission joining legal challenge over sex ed

    The team opposed to the interim curriculum is just getting bigger and bigger. This is going to be a hell a court case.

  • [] Quebec’s CAQ weighs limiting religious-symbols ban to new hires

    So this week has been a very busy week for François Legault and the CAQ. There are at least a dozen items focusing on them and the slow collapse of their quixotic efforts to implement a public dress code in Québec, but I’m going to try to lump them all into one. Let’s start with the one the item title, in which Legault belatedly realizes that firing hundreds or thousands of civil servants who wear religious accessories will cause a fucking catastrophe – both because provincial services will fall apart, and because of the inevitable barrage of lawsuits they’ll face – and decides to float a “compromise” where they’ll only force a dress code on new hires… with no explanation of what will happen when those new hires, after a few years on the job, decide to wear a religious accessories. That’s a problem for the next administration, amirite? But even while that was going on, those pesky legal experts – who have already gone on at length on why any such ban would be unconstitutional – pointed out… another little flaw in Legault’s “logic”. You see, proponents of a religious symbols ban usually insist on applying it specifically to those in the highest positions of power – judges, for example – before applying it to people on the lower rungs of the ladder – like teachers. However… it turns out Legault probably can’t force a dress code on judges. Womp-womp. Oh, but it gets even better! Because then came the completely-expected non-bombshell that, while he was happy to inflict his religious symbols ban on those at the lowest levels of the power hierarchy, Legault is not going to be taking down the crucifix at the Assemblée nationale! I shit you not, readers. What’s Legault’s legacy for stripping religious symbols from teachers and bus drivers, while keeping a giant fucking crucifix in the seat of the province’s power? Wait for it…. Wait for it…. “The crucifix is not a religious symbol”! At this point, The Globe and Mail editors lost their shit, saying [i]t would be difficult to hold a more hypocritical position than that, and basically calling the CAQ racist. Day-um! One can only wonder what this circus has in store for next week!

  • [] How Gay Conversion Therapy Got A Foothold In Canada

    One other items this week is a petition to the federal government to get them to ban conversion therapy, and perhaps criminalize it. This piece, however, is a fascinating walk through history to explain where it came from in the first place. To my surprise, conversion therapy wasn’t really a major thing until after homosexuality was no longer classified as an illness. It’s also apparent that most conversion therapy advocates and organizations are abandoning it, so banning it at this point should be pretty uncontroversial. It may even be past due.

  • [] ‘A serious overreaction’: Ex-Canadian ambassador to Saudi Arabia breaks silence on tweet-fuelled clash

    Fuck. This. Guy. I get that he’s pissed that he lost his job because of the dispute, but even he can’t explain exactly what Canada did wrong. I wonder if his tune’s changed in light of the evidence that Saudi Arabia almost certainly literally put together a murder team to torture, kill, and dismember a journalist critical of the regime, who was hiding in Turkey and forced to enter a Saudi consulate there to get married… while his fiancée waited outside.

  • [] Pope compares having an abortion to ‘hiring a hit man’ to solve problems

    Oh, and speaking of the Pope being a piece of shit…. I can’t even fathom his logic here. I mean, if the abortion doctor is comparable to a “hitman”, why isn’t God comparable to a rapist who forced the woman to become pregnant with a child she didn’t want?

  • [] Priest faces sexual misconduct allegations from his time in Vancouver

    This is a tragic story, made all the more tragic when you read the details. It is a rare case of the church acting properly in response to an allegation. But there almost wasn’t an allegation at all. One of the women didn’t come forward – she was “outed” by the other victim – and both victims aren’t going to pursue formal charges. Both of them also don’t want the priest punished. If that first woman hadn’t come forward, we never would have known about this at all. One has to wonder how many other abusers are out there, shielded by the reluctance of their community to stir things up.

  • [] UCP Candidate Supported White Nationalist Group’s Push for Muslim Ban in Public Schools

    Okay, so the biggest story this past week was probably the continuing retreat of the CAQ from their religious symbols ban… but another strong contender was the fallout from a United Conservative Party of Alberta event where candidates schmoozed with the far-right, racist, islamophobic, anti-immigrant, and white supremacist Soldiers of Odin. Most of the candidates caught smiling in photos with gang members in full regalia pleaded ignorance after the fact, saying they didn’t know who the SoO were. And the UCP fell over themselves trying to deflect blame, first accusing the Alberta Independence Party of setting them up, then saying it was a public event and the SoO just showed up of their own accord. But one UCP candidate… took another position. Lance Coulter said he knew full well the SoO was a white supremacist group, and defended taking smiling photos with them. He claims he looked them up on his phone when he saw their patches… but it turns out he’s a member of some pretty scuzzy groups that rant about things like multiculturalism, the “Muslim threat”, and “white genocide”. Somehow this didn’t raise any red flags when the UCP did their background check of him. He’s been kicked out now, but as the other item on the UCP this week notes, Coulter isn’t really an anomaly among UCP candidates. I mean, this is a party that says it’s worried about a bozo eruption while it’s building its base over a magma chamber.

  • [] What it’s like to be LGBTQ at a Canadian Christian university

    This is a good article for getting some very good insight into the life of LGBTQ students at TWU. But the point of the article – if it even strives to have one – is very, very confused. And I take issue with some the statements or implications made in it. For example, there’s the suggestion that we’re not aware that the TWU community isn’t an ultra-conservative evangelical monolith. I mean, no shit; that was kinda the point in opposing the Covenant in the first place. And there are other issues, like the claim that [n]obody attends Trinity by default or to save money—it’s a clear choice. Yes… but… it’s not always a clear choice made by the student – we have tons of stories of people going to TWU under various forms of parental pressure – and even when it is, it’s a choice they make and then are forced to live with for years – very important and formative years; the story even quotes someone who didn’t realize they were bisexual until their third year, for fuck’s sake. What is the article’s point, ultimately? Is it that we’re wrong to consider the Covenant to be a sign of institutionalized bigotry? Is it that we shouldn’t stop at making it optional, we should also push for eliminating it completely?

  • [] Halton Catholic school board pulls back controversial fundraising rules

    The credit for this victory goes entirely to the students.

  • [] Being Mr. Reasonable

    Yowza, this is a comprehensive deconstruction of Sam Harris and his faux “rationality”.

  • [] Climate denial, delay and defeatism

    As Simon Enoch explains, we seem to have leapt directly from denialism to defeatism – from “climate change isn’t happening” to “okay, it is, but it’s too late to fix, so fuck it”. The tragedy is that this may be the most crucial time in all of human history for us to be taking action, and yet this is when we’re being boondoggled by populism and reactionary politics into ignoring the problem, and handing power over to right-wing bozos who have no intention of taking action.

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2 thoughts on “Weekly Update: to

  1. RE: How to change minds..
    Jeez…could you warn about a possible auto-start utoob vid.

    • Ah, sorry about that. I normally tag all audio/video links – and you should assume they all autoplay, because pretty much all do. You can see how the “Documenting Hate” link is tagged. But I bungled it this time; I spelled the tag “vidoe”, and missed the red squiggly. My bad.

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