Weekly Update: to

by | August 15, 2020

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[A cartoon that in the first panel, depicts Moses on Mount Sinai with the tablets of the Ten Commandments, saying: “Behold! God has sent ten commandments!” The next panel shows the bemused Israelites, with one asking: “Nothing about consent?” Another asks: “No rules against slavery?” In the third panel, one asks: “You got anything in there about genocide?” Moses answers: “Kinda!”]
“Kinda” is a bit of an understatement about how much genocide is in there. Also, it’s less “thou shalt not” stuff, and more “here’s how”.
  • [] Commission rules in favour of 2 Muslim students who wanted prayer at private school

    Ugh, fuck this school. This case has dragged on forever, and the school apparently wants to drag it on even further. The two kids are going to be grandparents by the time this thing is resolved. Okay, the backstory: Webber Academy is a nominally secular private school in Calgary. I highlight the word “nominally” for reasons that will become clear shortly. In 2011, two Muslim students at the school just wanted to pray the way their faith required them to… but the school wouldn’t let them. It told them their praying was just unpleasant to look at in a “secular” school, and when they asked for a space where they could pray out of sight, they were told no. Now, here’s where the standard bigot who thinks their islamophobia is secularism will jump in and say: “Good. A secular school should crush any visible signs of religion because mumble mumble reasons.” Except as is often the case― no, fuck it, let’s be honest… as is always the case in these situations, what is called “secularism” sure looks suspiciously like dog-ass standard Christianity. Case in point: Webber couldn’t stand the sight of Muslims praying… yet held events for Christmas and Easter, and in some of its in-class lessons even affirmed Christian beliefs over those of other faiths. So the two kids took the school to court, and predictably – at least to anyone who doesn’t have a hate-boner on for Islam – won the case at every level. But then…. In 2018, the Court of Appeal of Alberta threw out the entire case, on some legal technicalities. So… here we go ’round again. The kids have won at the Tribunal level again; the school is appealing again; and on and on it goes. The school’s argument is basically, “well, there are religious schools where the religion permeates every aspect of the school, so why can’t there be a ‘secular’ school where ‘secularism’ permeates every aspect”. Sorry to say, but if you found that argument convincing, you’re a dribbling idiot. Because, you see, even a religious school cannot force kids to pray or otherwise practice the religion. The school can put on whatever religious trappings it likes; the students are still Canadian citizens, with their §2 fundamental freedoms, including freedom of belief. So a “secular” school can be as “secular” as it wants (not that Webber was doing a particularly good job of that)… but it can’t force the students to not practice their faiths.

  • [] “Commandments” by Zach Weinersmith (Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal)

    I mean, if you think about it, why would an entire nation randomly decide to start worshipping a statue they made, instead of the supernatural being whose powers they have literally seen destroy an entire army while helping them escape slavery? Either the story is complete bullshit, with no basis in actual events, or that calf be makin’ some damn fine points.

  • [] Mississauga votes to allow Hindu temples to temporarily broadcast hymns

    Eh, I’m not thrilled about this decision, but on the other hand, I’m not going to get all wound up about it. First of all, we need to understand that this wasn’t done with any intention – hidden or otherwise – of undermining secularism and instilling some kind of theocratic Hindu governance… in the municipal council of Mississauga. This was all just a political flex by a Hindu advocacy group, to teach the Mississauga city council a “lesson” for showing empathy to Muslims earlier in the year. I mean, hey, if that’s what they want to waste their political capital on, that’s their choice. Second, even if it wasn’t intended to violate secularism… does it? Well, no, not really. For the basically same reasons that it made sense to grant an accommodation to Muslims during Ramadan, this is a pretty reasonable accommodation to grant Hindus. So why am I not thrilled about it? Well, because the underlying intention was really just to stick it to Muslims (or rather, to stick it to Mississauga city council for showing empathy to Muslims), I don’t believe this was the best accommodation for Hindus. I think there are plenty of better accommodations we could have granted to Hindus – things they would have appreciated far more, and would have been far more helpful in allowing them to celebrate their holidays in the current situation, than simply playing a single hymn once a day for three weeks over some loudspeakers that I doubt the vast majority of Hindus in ’sauga will even ever hear. In other words, I don’t have a problem with granting a reasonable accommodation to help Hindus celebrate their holidays during the pandemic… I just don’t think copying what the Muslims got was the best choice for them. But that’s what they asked for, so…. 🤷🏼

  • [] New report finding racism at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights was shocking — but predictable

    The more that comes out about this debacle, the more astoundingly ironic the Museum’s name becomes. First, I have to make a correction: last week, I suggested that the interim report insinuated that the board of trustees were a bunch of fucking racists, sexists, and homophobes. That’s not untrue… but it’s not exactly true. The report did make that insinuation… but only peripherally… because it’s real focus was not the board, it was the management. In other words, the first interim report really called the management – not the board – a bunch of fucking racists, sexists, and homophobes. The upcoming second report is what’s going to call the board a bunch of fucking racists, sexists, and homophobes. So… yeah, there you go; gotta be technically correct in these matters! Anywho, it seems the problems all started when the former Conservative government stacked the upper deck with cronies, and then ordered them to whitewash (that was a deliberately chosen word) the content with more positive stories. Because, yeah, the history of human rights is a chipper tale of smiles and happiness all the way through [/sarcasm]. While the people who actually cared about human rights slaved (another deliberately chosen word) as the underclass (see what I’m doin’ here?), the management and board were more concerned with revenue… and censoring stuff that makes conservatives and centrists uncomfortable. As the headline indicates, that kinda makes the current implosion pretty predictable, doesn’t it?

  • [] Humanists petition for conversion therapy ban

    I’ll be honest, I’d completely forgotten about this bill. Amazing how much effort it takes to keep our government honest; if we take our eyes off them even for a moment, shit just slides. Kudos to the BCHA for not letting this just fall off the radar completely and be forgotten. They were already more than half-way there when I signed; let’s push it way past their goal.

  • [] Anti-LGBTQ2S+ Christian camp received over $600,000 from government

    I saw this story pop up in my feeds, and honestly just brushed it off as an American thing. Turns out I was wrong! BC Humanists did some digging, and it turns out that not only does Young Life have a Canadian branch, they’ve already got over $600k from the federal government (over four years) They even got almost $130k from the Canada Summer Jobs program in 2019… despite the new requirement that recipients couldn’t be running discriminatory programs. I strongly encourage you to read both the Religion News Service piece the BCHA links to, as well as the write-up on Friendly Atheist, to get the full picture of how deceptive and nasty this operation is.

  • [] BC Liberal Riding President Resigns After Anti-LGBTQ Facebook Rants Come to Light

    Wow, the horses are really coming home to roost for the BC Liberals lately. Can’t say I have a problem with that. The party has a long and storied history of playing footsie with homophobic bigots; seems only fair that they should finally face consequences for that. Amazingly, they’re still standing behind Throness, though it seems the heat has gotten to the point where even Throness has to tuck tail and toot the party line about not actually hating gay people. I can’t believe anyone will buy it, other than those motivated to turn a blind eye to the party’s hate for political reasons… and even they, I have no doubt, will only pretend to believe it, publicly.

  • [] Hagia Sophia controversy goes beyond Muslim-Christian tensions to treatment of ‘paganism’

    I thought this was an interesting take. We atheists are sometimes called “pagan”, and sometimes we even use the term ourselves, jokingly. (Or more often “heathen”, which means the same thing.) But real pagans – the people whom the term was originally invented for – were basically any religion that Judaism, Christianity, and later Islam was trying to supplant… which includes previous viral religions like Roman polytheism, but it also includes a whole lot of indigenous religious practices. The piece points out that forgotten in the spat between Muslims and Christians over the Hagia Sophia is the fact that the place was probably originally stolen from pagans. As are many, if not most Jewish, Christian, and Muslim sites. In fact, quite a bit of what makes up the modern versions of those religions was stolen from pagans. This is most noticeable at Christmas – where in the Bible will you find evergreen conifers, reindeer, and fucking elves? (Heck, my favourite Christmas carol was ripped off from a pre-Christian Ukrainian magic chant about a bird telling a guy he was going to get laid in the coming year.) The piece makes the argument that maybe it’s time to highlight all this theft, decolonize Christianity, and get a better understanding of where our modern beliefs and traditions actually came from… and at what cost. Hard to argue with that.

  • [] My Church Fired Me After I Came Out As Trans. It Taught Me The Limits Of Its Love.

    This story breaks my heart. It’s not just what happened… it’s how it happened. When Junia Joplin first came out to her congregation, she had every reason to believe they were actually tolerant and accepting people, and so were the church leaders. Read the article to see what I mean; the church even updated her bio and changed her email address to reflect her real name. And then, as she says, they fired her. It could have been a watershed moment for religious tolerance in Canada. Instead, Lorne Park Baptist Church revealed the ugly underbelly of hate and intolerance that has always lurked there. Only 52% of them voted to boot Joplin out… but that was all the excuse they needed. Because Christian love is, as Joplin has discovered herself, conditional. And apparently, who counts as worthy of that love can be put up to a vote.

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2 thoughts on “Weekly Update: to

  1. Teressa Trollope

    Baby goats pray and go to school?

    Someone needs to explain to children what their rights are at a very young age. The right to be treated with respect.

    1. Teressa Trollope

      Calling children “kids” seems to be an invention of the 1900s or thereabouts. The word kid is supposed to mean baby goat. Could someone explain to me why there are people who insist on calling children a word meant for baby goats? What does it mean to them? Have they read 1984? An example of Orwellian DoubleSpeak. Is someone denying goats are a regular part of the farmyard in North America and the Isles (Ireland, Scotland, England), as well as other parts of the world? Too bad children generally cannot speak up for themselves because the people calling them names are the same ones that take care of them – that is assuming they are even aware of the problem.


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