Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[Photo of Gretta Vosper.]

Gretta Vosper

  • [] Why science can’t replace religion

    John Gray can be infuriating at times; his criticisms of the “New Atheists” are usually spot-on, but he goes so far the other way, it’s cringe worthy. Both characteristics are on show in this interview. He’s quite right that atheists who try to reduce religion to an epistemological choice are doing it wrong, but he is also clearly out of touch with reality if he thinks religious people take creation myths as nothing more than parables.

  • [] Trump’s presidency, ‘Christian supremacism’ criticized at Parliament of World Religions

    The Parliament of World Religions was held in Toronto a week or two ago, and I didn’t think it was worth mentioning because there didn’t seem much chance that anything worthwhile would come of it. Turns out they were willing to point out problems and name names, aiming the finger squarely at Christian supremacy.

  • [] Atheist United Church minister to keep her job after reaching agreement ahead of ‘heresy trial’

    Gretta Vosper is the United Church of Canada minister who openly declares her atheism, and was threatened with being fired because of it. She was even scheduled for a “heresy trial” later this month. Well, happily for Vosper, the United Church has relented, and will now allow her to continue as a minister.

  • [] Vatican instructs U.S. bishops to halt voting on sex abuse measures

    So the background of this is that following the horrific revelations of the Pennsylvania probe into priestly abuse (and the rumours that a few other states and provinces might be considering the same), Catholic priests in the US put together some proposals for how they might do a little better than allowing rampant child rape in their midst. Most of the recommendations were the usual symbolic crap – “care more”, “pray harder”, “actually discuss the issue rather than ignoring it” – but there were a handful of practical ideas, like creating a system of open disclosure about rapist priests. US priests were poised to have discussion and possibly even a vote on these recommendations… but now the Vatican has stepped in and told them to stop.

  • [] Arrest warrant issued for Montreal neo-Nazi

    So it’s looooong overdue, but after being shamed and having their hand forced by the excellent work of a number of journalists, authorities are finally getting serious about going after Canadian neo-Nazis and other hatemongers. Canada’s number one Nazi is now on the run.

  • [] Rebel Media reporter worked for white supremacist web store

    You might want to buckle up for this, it’s going to be a hell of a ride. It started with John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms – a group that has been involved in defending a number of right-wing causes (they were on the side of Trinity Western University in their recent law school case loss, and they have been fighting to force the outing of students who join gay-straight alliances in Alberta). Carpay has dabbled in politics for a long time, having been a candidate for both Preston Manning’s Reform Party and the Wildrose Party, and now he’s with the United Conservative Party of Alberta, who have spectacularly bad judgment in who they associate with. What’s that? You think that’s unfair to the UCP? Oh, I do hope you took my advice to strap in, because we’re just getting started. It probably won’t surprise anyone that Carpay – as UCP people are wont to do – has said some particularly horrific things in the past. What lit up the Internet this week is that time he compared the LGBTQ rainbow flag to the Nazi flag. Yup. Oh, no, that’s not all; we’re still just getting started. UCP leader Jason Kenny, having already suffered a barrage of negative press for the… numerous… other recent cases of UCP members doing or saying horrific things publicly, or being associated with Nazi or other white supremacist groups, decided to get somewhat ahead of this, and made a statement that basically said: “Look, if I could kick him out, I would, but my hands are tied! I’m just the party leader, folks! Don’t hold me responsible for anything!” A perfectly reasonable effort, you might say, to protect his own political career and not be dragged down with Carpay. Except… then it turned out that Jason Kenny is not only on record defending Carpay’s anti-LGBTQ activism… he even compared Carpay to – I fucking shit you not – Rosa Parks. Whoa, that’s pretty crazy right? But no, hold on, we’re still only halfway done here! Because when Kenney made the statement that he would kick Carpay out of the UCP club if he could – spoiler alert: the UCP has not kicked Carpay out – some of the UCP fuh-reaked. One of their members, a The Rebel Media reporter named Keean Bexte, wrote a threatening tweet saying 600 rebels – members of the UCP – would withdraw their support if the party kicked Carpay out. It’s your move, brave hero Bexte wrote in the tweet he would later delete. And we’re not done yet! Because at the same time, numerous reporters have been doing research on the white supremacist swag company Fireforce Ventures (mentioned in last week’s Update), trying to uncover the identities of those involved … and wouldn’t you fucking believe it, Keean Bexte has been identified as the employee known as “Anton”. Ho. Lee. Shit. (And there’s still even more! But I’ll deal with Brad Trost in a separate item.) How to even summarize this mess? “Anti-LGBTQ lawyer threatened with expulsion from UCP for comparing LGBTQ activists to Nazis was defended by actual Nazis in the UCP.” I mean… fuck… I can’t even. Cannabis was legalized just in time, man, because I don’t know how else I could fucking process this.

  • [] “Indigenous women kept from seeing their newborn babies until agreeing to sterilization, says lawyer”(Audio: 20:24)

    For those who don’t bother to read the article or transcript or listen to the audio before commenting (you know who you are), I have to stress: this is not about historical cases of forced sterilization. This is still happening; the most recent case mentioned is last year. And to be clear, we know this has been happening, not just because it’s kinda hard to doubt when we’ve got at least 60 cases (that’s just in the class action lawsuit), but also because some of the hospitals involved have admitted this has been happening.

  • [] Why conversion therapy and ex-gay ministries should be outlawed

    As has been mentioned before on CA, conversion therapy is still legal across most of Canada, though there are a few places where it’s partially banned (for example, for minors), or de facto banned (for example, by refusing public funding). There is a push right now to get a nation-wide ban, and there are good reasons to believe we might be able to pull it off. Even if you’re already in favour of a ban, I encourage you to read the article, because Professor Watson covers quite a bit of interesting ground.

  • [] Humanists raise concern about Christian housing funding

    To be clear, there has been no discrimination yet. However, this is a dangerous situation that we have to keep an eye on. Sure, it is theoretically possible that these anti-LGBTQ religious groups will run these housing projects in a purely secular way. But we have to keep a close eye on them to ensure that.

  • [] Conservative MP Accepts Endorsement From Far-Right Anti-Gay Preacher at Rebel Media Event

    Brad Trost. That’s about all I need to say for you to know that this is going to be about something gross. And it is. Trost has accepted an endorsement from the leader of the notoriously hateful and violent anti-LGBTQ group: street preacher Artur Pawlowski. Note that this happened at the same event where John Carpay made his comments comparing LGBTQ activism with Nazism. The article is worth a scan, because it’s packed with evidence of just what a garbage human being Pawlowski is, not to mention Trost.

  • [] Alberta threatens to defund schools over GSA rules as controversy swirls around ‘vile’ comments

    Kudos to Eggen for actually putting his foot down and demanding that schools that take public money comply with the law. Of course, one needs to ask why these private schools receive so much public funding in the first place. And as always, the UCP and Kenney continue to disappoint.

  • [] St. Michael’s private school alerts police to 3rd incident amid ongoing sexual assault investigation

    This is a still very-much-developing story, so apologies if new information has come to light after publishing. St. Michael’s College School is a private all-boys Catholic school in Toronto famous for its sports programs: Tim Horton was one of its alumni. A couple days ago, news broke about some horrifying incidents of bullying by both the basketball team and the football team. In the latter case, one boy was apparently held down and anally violated with a broomstick. Both incidents were filmed, and the videos have been passed around. When the school heard about this, they acted immediately to protect the students and― ha, ha, fuck no – had you going there for a second, right? Nope, they did what Catholic institutions always do when dealing with child rape in their midst. Actually, it’s currently not clear whether they didn’t report the incidents to police at all, or whether they just delayed for around 24 hours. Either way, apparently the media found out first, and the police found out through the media (possibly – as I said, this is all still in the process of breaking). You’d think parents would be outraged about this, and they are… but apparently what they’re really outraged about is that it wasn’t all covered up. Again, this is all very preliminary information that I haven’t seen reported in the mainstream news yet, but parents have apparently been attacking the media for reporting on the incidents. Apparently, one parent even tried to wreck a CP24 van. And now it seems like there may be a third incident… and possibly many more to come as more victims come forward.

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One thought on “Weekly Update: to

  1. Oh good, I’m not the only one who found the John Gray piece irritating.

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