Weekly Update is back!
First off, apologies for the unannounced hiatus. I changed jobs somewhat suddenly, and for a period I was working two full-time jobs at the same time. As you can imagine, it was not only exhausting, it meant I had no time for any contributing to Canadian Atheist. It only lasted a couple weeks, but then I took a couple to recover, and now it’s time to back into the swing of things.
So without further ado, here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .
This was the news that generated the biggest buzz among Canadian atheists this past week, but… eeeeh. I mean… good? I’m not upset that a potential major party leader is floating the idea. But there are a number of factors that dampen my enthusiasm. First, we’re talking about the Ontario Liberals here; they’re not even an official party anymore – they’d need twice as many seats to be considered for that – and I see no reason to take them seriously for the next election (though, of course, Liberal die-hards will probably force me to eventually). Second, we’re talking about a dude who is – currently – around 4th place out of the 5 announced candidates (and there are some potential major contenders who still haven’t confirmed whether they’ll run, like Jane Philpott). Third, it’s not like he’s the first person in Ontario politics to float the idea; hell, it’s been part of the Ontario Green platform since forever (it was also raised in the last Ontario NDP leadership election back in 2009). And fourth, and perhaps most importantly, he’s a fucking Liberal! They don’t exactly have a great track record for following through on major progressive promises. Frankly, I don’t see this going anywhere. It’s just a publicity stunt for a long-shot candidate to get some notice.
The comic doesn’t mention God, but this is an “argument” for believing that God is “real” that I’ve heard many, many times, and it always threatened to cause a detached retina for all the eye-rolling it made me do. I’d never thought of this particular response strategy before, but it’s both brilliant and hilarious.
I’m neither surprised nor impressed by the widespread condemnation of Bill 21. It’s a terrible, transparently evil law, so of course it invites condemnation, and for politicians that don’t rely on bigotry, there’s virtually no political downside, cost, or risk to speaking out against it. There’s also no tangible benefit – no one believes the CAQ or any of its racist supporters will be fazed by having their bigotry called out: they know full well what they’re doing and why, and they don’t give a fuck. But what does impress me about the latest wave of condemnation is that people seem to be smartening up with regards to the language they use. In the past, supporters of bigoted laws like Bill 21 and the “Charter of Values” before it have played a clever bait-and-switch where the rank-and-file supporters go out and loudly proselytize the myth that this is all about “secularism”… while the actual laws never actually claim to be, so you can’t actually call them out for being dishonest. (For example, back in 2014, everyone who spoke out in support of the “Charter of Values” infuriatingly insisted on calling it the “charter of secularism” or “secularism charter”, despite the fact that the proposed law explicitly identified its purpose as being about “Québec values”, not “secularism”, which of course served as a dogwhistle to its true purpose. The same thing is happening again today with Bill 21, which is often described as Québec’s “secularism bill”, despite not having the word “secularism” or any of its cognates appearing in its text even once.) The effect of this game was that people wanting to criticize the naked intolerance of Bill 21 were tricked into writing denunciations of “secularism” (or, sometimes, “extreme secularism”)… which were then justifiably jumped on for being misguided in their target. But as I said, people are wising up to the game. The Toronto motion, for example, reads:
Bill 21 is a strategic attempt to stifle and limit the civic participation of individuals who choose to wear religious symbols under the guise of secularism.Hopefully this trend will catch on and become the norm.
Looks like the TCDSB is jealous of the Halton Catholic District School Board’s rep for being the most bigoted school district in Ontario! It’s hard to imagine what’s going through the heads of the bozos who insist on refusing to promise basic human rights protections in their code of conduct. It’s not like neglecting to include those protections magically makes the district immune to the Human Rights Act. And of course, whether schools teach modern scientific ideas about gender identity or not is determined by what’s in the provincial sex ed curriculum; what’s in the school’s code of conduct matters not a squat. What it might do, though, is drive away corporate sponsorship, because many major companies can’t or won’t support groups that refuse – even if only symbolically – to comply with provincial human rights legislation. And, of course, it only helps further highlight the point that public funding of Catholic schools is incompatible with the idea of modern secular governance.
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