Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

  • [] Names and Locations of the Top 100 People Killing the Planet

    Here’s an interesting infographic/map that shows the locations, names, and CEOs of the top 100 carbon-emitting companies in the world, collectively responsible for more than 70% of emissions. 5 are in Canada; 4 in Calgary. The fifth is in… Vancouver… which earlier this year passed a resolution to do something about the worst polluters, and just passed a new resolution targeting fossil fuel companies.

  • [] Petition the BC Legislature for Humanist Marriage

    BC’s marriage law currently blocks humanist officiants. The British Columbia Humanist Association has been working toward fixing that shortcoming, which largely boils down to replacing “religious representative” with “religious or belief representative” so that it can include non-religious philosophical groups like humanist groups. There’s a good chance they can get this done, so they really need your help to make a hard push to get this on the legislature’s table. On a side note, I found it fascinating that in Canada humanist marriages are more popular that religious marriages. I can totally see the same coming true for BC.

  • [] Parts Of Canada’s Criminal Code Criminalize Homosexuality To This Day: Activists

    I admit I haven’t been following these stories as closely as I probably should have, and relying too much on the government’s spin on what it’s been doing. That ends here. While Trudeau has done some remarkable things to atone for the terrible treatment of LGBTQ people by the government in the past, it hasn’t gone nearly as far as it should. For example, it made a big deal about expunging the criminal convictions of gay men in 2017… but it turns out that only applied to a tiny number of very specific criminal charges – so narrow that most gay men who were legally persecuted were left in the lurch. This past week, another big step was taken, with more discriminatory laws being struck from the Criminal Code. That’s good; it means more people who were persecuted can get their records cleared. But it’s not even close to being good enough. It looks like the Trudeau government is only repealing laws that the Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional already; they’re not actually sticking their neck out and doing something right, they’re just getting off their lazy asses and doing what should have been done years ago immediately after those court rulings. There are still several more laws on the books that were used to persecute the LGBTQ community, and because they’re unlikely to be used again anytime soon (what’s the likelihood of someone being charged with an “immoral, indecent, or obscene [theatrical] performance” (§167) in 2019+?), they’re likely to stay live indefinitely… which means little hope of expungement for the people charged under those laws. If we want to get really serious about atoning for our homophobic past, we need to go through the Criminal Code with a razor blade and repeal all of the laws that are/were generally used to target alternative sexuality and related lifestyles – that is all laws against vague things like “obscenity” and “indecent acts” – and, only if necessary, replace them with new laws worded carefully to prevent abuse. And then we need to set up procedures to make it trivially easy to get all records of charges under those offences – except in cases were there were other factors (like the involvement of a minor)d – permanently removed. These are achievable goals, for any government serious about achieving them… and in 2019, we should have a government serious about achieving them.

  • [] ‘They’re never going to stop us’: Trans March kicks off Pride weekend amid concerns about safety

    This requires a bit of context, and an apology on my part. I’ve been following the Pride drama all month; this being 2019, in the era of rising right-wing extremism, everyone expected them to interfere with Pride events… and of course, they did. There have been protests at virtually every Pride parade, many of which have turned violent as the protesters attacked anti-protesters who’d arrived to block the right-wingers from getting direct access to the Pride events. Now, here’s where I have to make my mea culpa: while I’ve been monitoring these stories, I haven’t been writing about them for Canadian Atheist under the mistaken notion that these violent events were more of a general right-wing thing, and not specifically related to religiously-motivated bigotry. (And yes, I know that the Venn diagram of right-wing bigotry and religious bigotry is more or less a circle, but I already have to deal with assholes complaining about CA leaning too hard on right-wingers, and if I covered every instance of right-wing bigotry, there wouldn’t be any room left at all for those very rare left-wing bigot stories.) As it turns out, religious bigots were very much present and accounted for. In fact, the Pride organizers had them pegged the whole time. It may be the case – I’m still trying to confirm this – that the religious bigots were the primary planners of the protests, and the general right-wing hate groups were merely acting as muscle in support. What is certainly confirmed at this point is that religious bigots from across Canada and even the US planned to disrupt Pride events, and actively attempted to do so at several locations.

  • [] Did Quebec take a populist turn with its new religious symbols law?

    This is a very thoughtful and insightful analysis of the Québec government’s behaviour, particularly regarding the way they pushed their religious accessories ban bill through, avoiding most of the constitutional and democratic protections against authoritarianism along the way.

  • [] New guidelines forbid Montreal Catholic priests, lay workers to be alone with children

    This sure seems like a “no, duh” item. I mean, what other “profession” allows untrained people with no background check to be in one-on-one situations alone with children for long periods of time in a context where the child is terrorized with dire consequences for not doing what that adult tells them to do… and parents are cool with all this? But buried in this piece are some interesting throwaway comments. A victim advocate, for example, notes that the Church taking action now is increasingly pointless, because priests are going the way of the dodo in any case.

  • [] Free speech isn’t under threat. It just suits bigots and boors to suggest so

    Many people much smarter than I have written about the “free speech grift”. It’s a con run primarily by bigots, hate-mongers, and buffoons. What they do is scream and whine about how “free speech” is under threat – usually particularly at academic institutions, their preferred targets – and drag up cases where someone “appears” to have been unjustly censored. I put “appears” in scare quotes deliberately, but set that aside for a second. What the grifters do next is declare themselves heroes – champions of free speech – telling you truths that the politically-correct, left-wing snowflakes, or “the establishment”, are afraid to have you hear. Then they spew their bigotry or ignorance, and insulate themselves from any criticism by claiming that anyone who challenges them is one of the enemies of free speech, who just wants to censor things they find uncomfortable. It’s an obvious and easy grift… and too many atheists fall for it, hook, like, and sinker. There are many big names popular among atheists who have nothing intelligent or new to say – they just rehash old, (small-c) conservative talking points, ranting about immigrants, Muslims, or students like an old, racist uncle. And here’s where we get back to those scare quotes, because the reality – backed up by numerous studies and other evidence – is that there really is no assault on free speech, and students at academic institutions are actually more open to new and challenging ideas than the general public… they’re just not interested in hearing long-debunked racist theories and other tired, old shit, which is what the grifters are usually peddling. In fact, virtually every incident that becomes a rallying cry for the free speech grifters has another, more insidious story to it. Most often the grifters are just straight-up lying about the incident, and what the claim happened really didn’t. Folks, don’t fall for the grift. If you see someone saying something – usually something obviously stupid or wrong, but not always; sometimes it’s more subtly stupid or wrong – and when people criticize their claims, they respond by claiming their opponents are simply afraid of what they’re saying… you’ve found a grifter. Look at your favourite personalities, and look at them closely – do they talk about how people are “afraid” of what they say? Look for the grift. Stop being suckers.

  • [] Videos Show Far-Right Hate Groups Launching Violent Attacks Inside Toronto’s Eaton Centre

    A previous item mentioned that religious bigots from across the continent planned and carried out protests of Pride events across Canada, and that they may have brought along other right-wing hate groups like PEGIDA (islamophobes), the Canadian Nationalist Party (white nationalists), the Northern Guard (anti-immigrant), and Yellow Vests Canada (just about anything far right). Who could have imagined that would go badly? Well, yeah, anyone whose head isn’t up their ass. And sure as a shit strike in sphincter spelunking session, violence ensued. But here’s the crazy part: the idiots actually filmed themselves planning assaults… that they later lied to police about and said they were attacked… but also boasting about how they brought along equipment specifically to be used as weapons and used them to hospitalize people. We’ll be seeing fallout from all this for months as charges are laid, and details about investigations come out.

  • [] Quebec’s Ban on Religious Clothing is Chilling: To Be Like Us, You Must Dress Like Us

    Virtually all Canadian organizations dedicated to secularism, atheism, humanist, and human rights have spoken out against Québec’s religious accessories ban. Now, international organizations are starting to respond as well. This piece is neat because it focuses particularly on the problem of which symbols are “religious”, and how the government has already been weirdly selective about what counts and what doesn’t – even in the bill itself. (Side note: I couldn’t help but notice that Bill 21 supporters generally tend to also be vocal opponents of M-103, the federal governments motion against islamophobia, and their favourite reason for denouncing M-103 is that it didn’t define “islamophobia” in the text (though Iqra Khalid did define it on the record in Parliament). But it appeared to be no problem at all that “religious symbols” wasn’t defined in the Bill… though to be fair, a definition was finally added, but still isn’t particularly clear.)

  • [] New generation of Quebecers resists Legault’s discriminatory law

    I’ve said this many times: the kids are alright. They are far head of the olds on issues of secularism, humanism, atheism, and freethought. If we just do nothing at all, and wait, so many of the concerns we have today will just resolve themselves. The more an organization’s positions are based on the democratic voice of the youth, the more they oppose Bill 21… and that’s growing more and more true. Another interesting thing to note about this piece is how it shines a light on Legault’s posturing about Bill 21 being a “compromise”… by pretending it’s the middle ground between centrist apathy and the extreme right-wing positions of places like France.

  • [] Quebec law requires all circumcised government workers to wear secular foreskin covers

    The Beaverton has had the Québec government’s number for a while now over their ridiculous Bill 21, but this piece may be the best so far. The Minister explained that wearing secular covers at all times can prevent unfairly influencing the public.

  • [] ‘Unplanned’ Anti-Abortion Movie Will Come To Canada, But Only Briefly

    If you haven’t been following this story, it’s been comedy gold. Okay, so what happened was the filmmakers of the anti-abortion agitprop film Unplanned went out and bragged about how they were going to get their film in hundreds of theatres across Canada. The problem? They hadn’t actually checked with the theatres first. The theatre companies initially looked at the film, and passed on it, because basically no one in Canada had heard of it, so they couldn’t justify a major release. The filmmakers went to the media and screamed censorship. They lied. (Surprise, surprise.) The theatres had actually told the filmmakers that if anyone wanted to pay for a screening, that would be fine, but they (the theatres) weren’t going to risk their money on a gamble with the likelihood that no one would show up to watch the film. Plus, there was the potential headache of dealing with protesters, and negative publicity. It then came out that literally just 2 or 3 places across Canada had managed to drum up enough interest to run the film. Kiiiiiiinda embarrassing for the filmmakers with their original bravado. But now, all the publicity seems to have paid of. The film will now be shown in dozens of theatres across Canada. Literally two dozens: 24. Plus a handful of independent theatres in major markets like… Cornwall, Ontario. Furthermore, the film’s run is only going to be a single week. So… victory? 🤷🏼 The filmmakers have asked supporters to buy out theatres, which is the likely reason the theatre companies changed their mind; they’re probably wondering if there’s enough support to actually pull it off. But they’re not stupid; they know full well that once the hard core anti-abortion crowd has all seen it – which is not that big a group in Canada – there won’t even be crickets in theatres showing it. Hey, I’m with the theatres here: anti-abortion nuts, by all means, dump your cash into buying out theatres showing this film – it’ll do a lot less harm there than most other places you could put it, and it will subsidize better films.

Canadian Atheist’s Weekly Update depends on the submissions of readers like you. If you see anything on the Internet that you think might be of interest to CA readers, please take a minute to make a submission.

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