Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .
 “Ep. 245 – Andrew Copson, Author of Secularism by Friendly Atheist Podcast”(Audio: 33:05)
Very nice discussion of secularism by one of the experts in the field.
 Far-right group spoke of staging ‘fake’ terrorist attack in Quebec
To anyone who has been monitoring the far-right in Canada, nothing in this story is surprising. There are far-right extremists who hate immigrants, Muslims, and Jews? Yeah, no shit. They are intimately connected with groups like La Meute, Atalante Québec, and Storm Alliance, and even though those groups publicly deny they are hate groups, their private pages are flooded with hate and bigotry? We know, we know. They are actively promoting, calling for, and preparing for violent acts? Not news to us. The cops are completely ignoring the threat, leaving it to journalists and activists to expose these things? Yes, we know; who the fuck do you think is monitoring these people?
 Canadian woman continues to fight to obtain a passport
It would be an understatement to say that CSIS has repeatedly bungled its efforts to combat Canadian terrorism. That goes both for the fact that they routinely ignore far right extremism in favour of Islamic extremism, and even then they often fail to disrupt that: a depressingly large number of Canadians have successfully travelled to join Daesh, even when authorities knew full well they were sympathizers. What Canadian authorities do seem very good at, as this story shows, is harassing anyone who criticizes them. It’s hard to find another interpretation for what’s happening to Boudreau.
 Nearly two-thirds of Quebecers support public-sector ban on religious symbols, poll finds
A one-line summary of the findings here would be: Most Québécois like the sound of a religious accessories ban, but few have actually thought it through. A majority wants to ban public service workers wearing religious symbols, but they don’t seem to know what to do if someone defies the ban. They don’t even seem to have a consensus on what to ban, or who the ban should apply to. And for all the pretense of this being about “secularism”, they can’t even agree on whether to take down the giant crucifix in the Assemblée nationale. There’s a good reason the CAQ is dragging their feet on actually doing anything on this front: they know full well that there’s no way they can win this – it’s going to be a spectacular shit show.
 Catholic school boards, churches fund organization to promote separate schools
I mean, the obvious question here is that if they’re willing and able to get the funds together to lobby for religious schools, why don’t they just pay for the fucking schools themselves?
 “Should people in positions of authority be allowed to wear religious symbols – the sequel”(Audio: 46:08)
This is a nice, wide-ranging discussion of the proposed religious accessories ban in Québec. A number of different viewpoints get aired and discussed. One of the arguments that gets repeated over and over is that Québécois aren’t really racist or xenophobic… just really, really dumb. The argument goes that the only reason they support the CAQ’s proposed religious accessories ban is because the CAQ keeps telling them it will work without any problems. Yes, seriously. That’s the argument. Once the ban gets tangled in court challenges and constitutional violations (the ban hasn’t even been described yet, but already there’s chaos in preparation to fight over it), and skilled, trained, and experienced workers that the province really needs start losing their jobs for their silly hats (or leaving the province in droves) – the argument goes – Québécois will realize that it really was a bad idea all along, and support will plummet. Because who would expect any of that to happen, right? It’s not like any of that has been predicted! [/sarcasm]
 Labelle: Parents’ bill of rights is the wrong choice for Ontario
“Parents’ bill of rights” is classic double-speak to cover up what’s really going on here: denying children the right to a proper education in favour of parents’ bullshit beliefs. Even if you believe that a parent has the right to teach their children any bullshit they please – regardless of how patently wrong or even offensive it may be – there is no sensible argument for why children should not be even exposed to modern, evidence-based education. Even if you’re a parent intent on teaching kids that God hates queers, pulling them out of class because they’re talking about LGBTQ stuff makes no goddamn sense – the kids will encounter that stuff in the real world eventually. The “right” thing to do would be to let them learn about the existence of this stuff and the common public perceptions of it, and then talk to them about how your beliefs are different and why… and if you can’t do that without your beliefs being obviously ridiculous, unethical, or offensive when measured up against reality, then your beliefs are just plain bullshit, and the public school system has no obligation to make any considerations for them.
 It’s time Canada outlaws physical violence against children
I am absolutely baffled about why this isn’t a slam dunk issue. I don’t really see Canada as a country where people generally like beating children. And I have a hard time believing that Canadians generally believe that beating a child is an effective way to teach them stuff. So… what’s the problem here? Why can we get our shit together enough to legalize pot, but not to stop beating kids?
 Mom battles school board, saying yoga is against her family’s religion
It’s really hard to take this parent seriously. This blog has seen plenty of ridiculously out-of-proportion Christian freak-outs, but this may be among the most over-the-top. The poor kid was apparently in tears because she thought she’d done something wrong by unknowingly participating in “yoga”, and the mother is talking about yanking the kid out of the school completely! The school seems to have done everything required of it, despite the parent’s dishonest framing of what happened: the mother had asked that the kids not participate in yoga because of spiritual differences, but the school assumed that if there was no spiritual component – just the stretches – there wouldn’t be a problem… which is, incidentally, the official Roman Catholic position. Clearly the real issue here is that the school underestimated how bonkers this parent is.
 Two Thirds of Canadians Side with Evolution, Not Creationism
There’s a lot of good news in the results here. Fully 44% of Canadians say humans definitely evolved; another 24% say probably (that’s where the 2⁄3 comes from: 44% + 24% = 68%). The problem areas are about where you’d expect: mostly older Canadians and the prairies, but other areas with a fair amount (over 1⁄3) of denial or doubt include women, BC, and Atlantic Canada. Things are less uplifting in the “should creationism be taught” results. Only two groups have less than 50% saying it definitely or probably should, or not sure about the question: young Canadians and BC (though Québec and males are close, within the error margin).
 London’s Catholic school board waives education requirement for French teachers
So Catholic schools that are desperate for teachers are willing to hire teachers that are not qualified to teach… but not willing to hire qualified teachers who are not Catholic … even though one’s religious beliefs have no bearing on the subject being taught (but teaching qualifications obviously do). Well, alright; if you’re sending your kid to a Catholic school, at least know what you’re getting out of it. And don’t give me that bullshit line about how educational standards are better in the Catholic system: this is clear and objective evidence that that’s just not true.
 Police reported hate crimes increase nearly 50 per cent in 2017 – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg
Even without the iceberg, these numbers would be terrifying.
 Hate crimes surge in southwestern Ontario, Statistics Canada says
The numbers are horrifying, and the fact that religion is the most common target is especially concerning to me as an atheist activist – we really need to do more to make it clear that while we do believe religion should be criticized, it should not be the target of hate – but I find it uplifting that experts in the field are not pulling their punches, and are actively calling out the source of the problem: politicians who are stoking hate for political gain.
 BC Liberal MLA: LGBTQ Anti-Bullying Program Could Cause ‘Mental Health Issues’ for School Children
I just love the subtle snark in this piece:
Although gardeners frequently transplant plants and trees into different soils without incident, Throness warned that separating a plant from its “biological soil generates inner conflicts that can result in mental health issues.”Even the faux-scientific analogy he gives as justification is unscientific bullshit! One has to wonder at how far Throness’s head has to be up his ass for this “logic” to make any sense. Even if his speculation were true and merely being taught about the existence of other gender options is enough to mentally traumatize kids… would that really be a more common occurrence than the currently widespread cases of trauma experienced by kids who are confused about their gender or sexuality, and the frequent bullying they face about it because other kids don’t understand it?
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