Weekly Update: to

by | December 12, 2020

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

  • [] Winnipeg’s Springs Church drive-in service not exempt from public health orders, court rules

    There’s been some confusion about the ruling, so let me first try to clear that up. No, the court did not actually rule that the church is not exempt from public health orders; the CBC’s headline is wrong (as are the headlines of pretty much every piece on the ruling; I wouldn’t have picked this one if there were another that was more accurate). The court did not rule that the church couldn’t hold drive-in services. What happened was more technical and subtle. Springs Church wants to hold drive-in services, and thinks that Manitoba’s lock-down rules are excessive—they argue that so long as congregants stay in their cars (they’re not even allowed to use the church’s washrooms), there’s no risk of transmission. The Church also argues that health authorities have already conceded their point, because the rules allow people to sit in parking lots while waiting for groceries and stuff to be brought out to them, and to use drive-thru services. So in order for the Church to challenge the law, they first had to be victimized by it—they needed standing—so they went ahead and held their drive-in church services, were duly fined, and are now challenging those fines and the laws behind them. However… while the challenge is underway and they’re waiting for a decision, they wanted to keep doing their drive-in services. That was what this ruling was about: whether they could get a stay on enforcement of the law while it was being challenged. The answer was no: the Court said the justification for the law was so strong, and the Church’s arguments for why they “needed” drive-in services rather than virtual services were so weak, that there just wasn’t a good enough case to suspend the law, even while it was being challenged. The actual decision about whether the law went too far won’t be made until a later hearing. I’m kinda interested in seeing how that will shake out, because I think the Church has a decent case, and because I think it applies to more than just religious ceremonies (why couldn’t we go to actual drive-ins and watch movies, for example?).

  • [] Surrey imam who misrepresented himself to immigration officials jailed for sexual assault

    Sigh, another week, another item about clerics abusing vulnerable people in their congregation. The fact that this time it’s a Sunni imam, and not the usual Catholic priest, makes this story slightly more interesting… but that’s far from the most interesting feature. The three things that really make this story interesting are: 1) the long con the abuser was pulling, including multiple aliases and marriages in various attempts to bamboozle immigration officials, spanning almost 30 years; 2) the craven and pathetic responses of all the religious officials involved, both at the mosque and in the BC Muslim Association; and 3) the really terrible behaviour of the BC Muslim community throughout the whole thing. Khan’s shenanigans with immigration officials are amazing, and not just quixotic, but also pyrrhic even when they were successful. His initial application worked (on appeal), and had he just been patient, he would have (legitimately) earned permanent residency, and perhaps, eventually, even citizenship. But he started playing games with the system, and, eventually, it all fell apart. I do believe that the mosque and the BCMA had no idea that he was a fraudster or abuser, so I won’t dump on them for the fact that Khan was an active imam right up until he was finally sentenced (not just convicted… but sentenced!). I will, however, heap scorn and disgust on them for the way they’ve behaved since finding out. Trying to wash their hands of the whole affair is fucking reprehensible. Even if you didn’t know a member was using your group to abuse people, you still have an obligation to step up and take responsibility for the fact that they were using the group’s power to get away with it. If nothing else, at the very least you should acknowledge that you weren’t careful enough about who you let use that power, or how… no, check that, at the very fucking least you should do something to help the victim find healing and peace, not just pretend they’re not your problem. But as disappointing as the Surrey Muslim leadership is in all this, I expect religious leaders to be human garbage, so they’re really just living up to my expectations… no, what’s really disappointing here is the behaviour of the Surrey Muslim community. I fight tooth-and-nail against islamophobic bigots because I believe that even though we disagree on philosophical and religious principles, deep down almost all Canadian Muslims—hell, almost all Muslims, period—are fundamentally decent people, and I’m proud to call them brothers, sisters, friends. Hearing shit like this—the way that victim has been treated—makes me furious; how dare you ask me to stand up for you and with you if this is the way you treat others who need you to stand for and with them? Oh, I’ll still fight the bigots regardless, of course. My principles won’t allow me to do otherwise. But those principles don’t require me to be proud to be your ally, nor do they prevent me from being disappointed or even disgusted with the Surrey, BC, or even Canadian Muslim community, if they won’t get your shit together.

  • [] Controversial bill allowing Ford supporter’s college to grant new degrees passes

    Gotta admit, I’m not sure if I’m surprised or not surprised by this. If you’d asked me when the Bill was first tabled, then I would have said, oh, yes, of course it’s going to pass, because there’s not a single Progressive Conservative with a shred of integrity, let alone enough of them to actually effectively do the right thing. But after all the ink that’s been spilled over the scandal, my thinking changed. Oh, I still totally think that even combined the entire PC caucus couldn’t muster even a single iota of integrity, obvs—and, predictably, this vote proved that point. But I was actually starting to wonder if supporting McVety was getting so politically toxic that Ford and his mindless minions might have decided to cut their losses. Turns out, nope, they know what side their bread is buttered on; they know that no matter how much light the other parties shine on what a chud McVety is, there’s no way the PCs can win an election without the demographic of deplorables that McVety speaks to.

  • [] Some Okanagan city councils unconstitutionally included prayer in meetings: report

    Hot damn, the BC Humanist Association has been doing an amazing job of keeping the pressure on the province’s municipalities to comply with the law. I haven’t seen anything even remotely similar being done in any other province or territory. I’m not thrilled with the way the article makes it sounds like some of the municipalities are fighting back; on the contrary, it looks like while some mayors may be complying grudgingly, there doesn’t seem to be any active opposition. The violations mentioned in the article are all explainable as ignorance of the law, which is perfectly reasonable; there’s no reason to assume that municipalities will necessarily be hip on the cutting-edge of secularism law. But once they’ve been told what the law is, it sounds like they’re all willing to comply… even if some of them are trying to pass the buck off to a bullshit council vote (what’s there to vote on? city council can’t simply vote to ignore the law). This is how you make secularism actually happen; by doing the legwork to make sure that everyone knows what the rules are—because the rules of secularism aren’t always clear, or obvious—and why they are so—because secularism is the most reasonable option, and just needs to be explained as such—and then watching to make sure they comply—because sometimes people screw up… and yes, sometimes religious agitators will consciously try to smuggle religion in.

  • [] Canada – Freedom of Thought Report

    Canada’s entry in the Freedom of Thought Report hasn’t been updated since last year, unfortunately. However… the fact that it really needs to be is actually really cool. In fact, the assisted dying section is not only already out of date, but if we were to update it today, it would probably be out of date again in a week or so! That shows just how much progress we’re making, and how quickly. I know sometimes fighting for secularism and progressive and humanist principles can seem like a slog, with few decisive victories, and only minor, incremental twitches in the right direction that are frequently negated by frustrating back-sliding. But we are making progress; and it’s cool that we can actually see it in ways like this.

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One thought on “Weekly Update: to

  1. shane newman

    The amazing thing I have encountered is that despite the priest/clerics that are convicted of crimes, the “faithful” rarely question the actual operation of their church system. And they rarely if ever question their faith, when their God representatives turn out to be evil. Makes me think about this: The Devil is a supreme liar, and manipulator, and presents themselves as such. These religions hate non believers considering us worse that scum, as followers of the devil…Yet for the most part most criminals in jail are religious, raised in a religious family or become religious. The crimes of the church are so well documented, it is sickening. So it begs to say this, who is the true follower of the devil.. Atheists , Humanist etc or the followers of the main religions. So who does the devil seem to be?

    Reply

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