2020’s awards were the third annual (here’s hoping!) Canadian Atheist awards, and every previous year the awards turned out to be a resounding success. Surely it couldn’t happen again! Oh, it could happen again.
For those not in the know, the Canadian Atheist awards are not real awards. There is no formal process, no elected judging committee, no cash prizes – even the statuette is just a 3D render; there are no real statuettes awarded. It’s really all just me – Indi, the managing editor of CA – unilaterally giving recognition to the people I think really deserve to be recognized in our community.
As I’ve said more than once, the awards are worthless, but the nominees are priceless. Everyone nominated, whether directly or as part of the team that produces a show or whatever else, is an example of the best in our community: people who, driven by their own passion for secularism, progressive values, or social justice, have stepped up above and beyond what they were expected to, and done something tht has helped our entire community, and maybe even beyond. The awards are fake, and there are no prizes… but I wish I could give these people something to show my thanks for all they’ve done for us all. At the very least, I hope being recognized will bring a smile to their faces.
This year the Canadian Atheist awards had three categories. Two were the same as last year, but this year I dropped the art, culture, and entertainment category due to a lack of nominees, and instead created a new podcast or show category.
The categories were:
This year, unlike the previous years, there was no controversy leading up to the awards. The nominations seemed to be widely agreed upon, even for person of the year (which was, in the previous two years, a very controversial category). I kinda like it without the controversy! (But I’m not going to shy away from nominating/awarding worthy people in future just because they’re “controversial”.)
So let’s get to the summary of the 2020 Canadian Atheist awards.
Podcast or show of the year
The 2020 Podcast or show of the year was the (more-or-less) regularly scheduled audio or visual production that stood out the most to Canadian atheists in 2019.
- * WINNER: Left at the Valley [podcast]
- The Brainstorm Podcast [podcast]
- Life, the Universe & Everything Else Podcast [podcast]
- Logicked [YouTube channel]
- The Reality Check [podcast]
- Viced Rhino [YouTube channel]
Story of the year
The 2020 Story of the year was awarded to the news or cultural story that captured the most interest or had the most impact among Canadian atheists in 2019.
Because this award was for a story in itself, and not any telling of that story – so not a particular piece written by particular journalists – there is no actual recipient of the award.
The winner and nominees were:
- * WINNER: Québec Bill 21
- Alberta Catholic schools employment agreements
- The Cayton Report
- Patrik Mathews, Nazi soldier
- Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun’s escape
- Servatius v. Alberni School District No. 70
Honourable mentions were:
- BC legislature replaces prayers with “prayers and reflections”
Person of the year
The 2020 Person of the year was awarded to the person who had greatest positive impact in Canadian secularism, humanism, atheism and freethought in 2019. The winner did not necessarily need to be Canadian, but it helped.
The winner and nominees were:
- * WINNER: Ian Bushfield
- Olivier Bernard
- David Eggen
- Amira Elghawaby
- Bethany Lindsay
- Byron Wood
2020… and beyond!
They say once is an anomaly, twice is a coincidence, but three times is a trend. I guess that means the Canadian Atheist awards are now a “thing”!
Right from the start, the Canadian Atheist awards have been a burst of positive energy, often in the face of some really rough times. The 2010s was a rough decade for atheist activism, and for progressivism in general. We’ve seen some spectacular backsliding on human rights across the globe, and the rise of a new, energized far-right, often buttressed by old-school Christian conservatives. And, let’s be honest, it looks like the 2020s will be just as challenging. I’ve found that it’s more important than ever, when the times are challenging, to remember the best of our community – the people who are pushing our cause forward in the face of great opposition, and sometimes with great personal sacrifices.
When I started the awards, the truth is I was just doing it for myself. I am atheist, a humanist, a secularist, and I’ve been an activist on all those fronts for over a decade, and man… it’s hard. It’s wearing. It really does beat you down. The awards were my way of living up to my own personal credo: don’t curse the darkness, light a candle instead. They were my way of reminding myself, and anyone else who might listen, that despite all the backsliding – despite the furious death throes of religious privilege – we really are winning the long game, and it’s thanks to the incredible people in our community who never give up, and never back down.
It was just for me, at first… but once I shared it with the community, I was stunned by the response. Turns out I wasn’t the only one who realized that there was a need to recognize those of us who go above and beyond in our struggle for justice and equality. And I wasn’t the only one who believed that celebrating the best of us is the best way to rise above the darkness that otherwise threatens to swamp us.
Oh, yes, there will be a 2021 Canadian Atheist awards. Of that I have no doubt. There will certainly be another group of people who deserve recognition.
Besides, it seems like the Canadian Atheist awards have become a trend. This is the kind of trend I can get behind.
Congratulations to all our nominees and winners. Heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all our readers, and those who supported the awards and nominees.
Here’s to next year!