Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .
Felicity Carter is a former astrologist and “psychic”, and in this piece she offers a frank assessment of her former career – how she got into it, what it was like, and why she finally quit. It’s short, but remarkably well-written and insightful.
 “The list: Unravelling church secrets” (Video: 29:16)
The Catholic sex abuse scandal has been one of the biggest and most horrific scandals, not just of the modern era, but of all time. But perhaps the most horrific thing about it is how much more of it we know there is evidence of, but that the Catholic Church is being allowed to keep secret. Is there any other case of widespread crime where we know the criminals have piles of evidence of the crimes we know about and more, and they’re just allowed to sit on it? I hold no illusions that this CBC investigation will change anything, because as astonishing as the many revelations they uncover are… we’ve seen far more and worse uncovered before, and nothing’s been done.
Okay, ignore the item title for a moment – we’ll get back to it, but the backstory actually has a happy ending. So a while back, the Ontario government told all public schools that they had to update their codes of conduct to be in line with the Human Rights Code. Now, you can quibble about why the Ontario government decided to make this an issue (especially considering everything else going on between the Ontario government and school boards across the province), but the request itself isn’t exactly absurd or controversial (which, admittedly, is kinda out of character for the current Ontario government); school are required to follow the Human Rights Code in any case, even if their code of conduct doesn’t explicitly say so. There is some rationale in the request in that the Human Rights Code has been updated somewhat recently (I think gender identity and expression were added in 2012 or 2013), so some schools probably do need to update their codes. And there’s no reason any school should have a problem with the request: as I said, they’re already required to follow the Code, so there’s no reason not to acknowledge that in their codes of conduct. Indeed, it would be dumb not to. Enter the Toronto Catholic District School Board. The TCDSB held a vote, and wouldn’t you know, they voted not to include requirements to respect gender identity and expression, because, yanno, that kind of tolerance is “un-Catholic”. Never mind that they’re already legally required to respect gender identity and expression… even the rote acknowledgement of that requirement to be tolerant was too much for the Catholics to bear. Well, everyone knew they would eventually cave – there was money on the line, after all. And of course, they did. So, that’s the happy ending: the new TCDSB code of conduct will include wording condemning discrimination based on gender identity and expression that was entirely unnecessary because it was legally implied in any case, but is still nice to see. But on the road to that happy ending… this happened. Basically, Michael Del Grande said “hey, if we’re adding protections for gender identity and expression, why not also add protections for bestiality, paedophilia, cannibalism, auto-erotic asphyxiation, and ‘auto-vampirism’, because respecting gender identity is just a slippery slope toward all those other things.” Now, he was “joking” – aren’t you all just rolling on the floor laughing? isn’t just hilarious how he conflated protecting a vulnerable, widely-discriminated-against minority group with choking yourself to orgasm and fucking dogs and horses? – and the Catholic school board just shrugged and moved on, because this kind of thing is normal at Catholic school board meetings I guess.
The Beaverton strikes again. This parody is damning. It’s perfectly spot-on, capturing the amazing hypocrisy of the Catholic Church’s position on abortion. But it even works for anti-abortion advocacy in general, beyond the Catholic Church itself. And it’s even entirely believable as the kind of thing an anti-abortion group might actually do!
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