Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[Two panels of a comic. In the first panel, a woman is praying, with clasped hands forming the devil sign: “Dear Satan--” God replies: “Hi, this is God, I… Oh.” In the second panel, God continues: “Oh you weren’t calling for me.” The woman says: “Wow, this is awkward.”]
Love the little devil-horn prayer hands. That’s a nice touch.
  • [] “Blueprint” by Doug Bayne & Trudy Cooper (Oglaf)

    The old gotcha question for atheists is: “What would you say if you died and found yourself before God’s judgement?” I’ve always figured my answer would be the same as Bertrand Russell’s “not enough evidence”… but now, yeah, I’m thinking that “nice job on the titties” would be a close second.

  • [] “Banning Masks in a Pandemic (But Only for Muslim Women)” (Video: 12:58)

    The context is that Switzerland recently voted to ban the burqa; Swiss referendums take years to happen, so this all actually started before COVID-19, not that that excuses the rank stupidity of voting against face coverings in 2021. But of course, the religious-face-covering debate is still raging in some of the more racist corners of Canada, so everything Watson has to say applies here, too. And she makes some good points that I have never heard a sensible rebuttal to… not that it matters, because ban proponents aren’t really interested in making sensible arguments; their stock-in-trade is emotive dog-whistles. (Don’t believe me? Just look at some of the posters used in the Swiss vote.)

  • [] Ontario PC MPP Sam Oosterhoff Defends Headlining Anti-Abortion Event For University Students

    Honestly, I thought this scandal was a bit of an adorable flashback to a simpler time, one where our concerns weren’t so much of the existential, life-or-death variety—such as deadly pandemics and violent insurgencies fuelled by conspiracy theories about Satantic pedophiles. Ah, a good old-fashioned anti-abortion nutter. It’s almost quaint. Like Oosterhoff himself says, no one should be surprised he’s opposed to women’s rights. He’s never been secretive about being a homophobic bigot either, even since before Doug Ford came on the scene. I actually don’t blame this one on Doug Ford; this is a problem he inherited, rather than created (which a rare thing, for him). I blame Oosteroff on the people who voted for him; I blame the people who voted PC in Ontario, not caring that they were electing a bigot.

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

    I mean… if Satan actually provides those kinds of things, then yeah, sign me up, Lucien Greaves.

  • [] Group representing Alberta pastor jailed for breaking COVID-19 rules says he’s being released

    What… the… fuck, Alberta? Come on, seriously? Okay, first, I suppose some clarity is necessary, because the headline is only technically correct: the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms did say Coates was being released. They lied; they’ve actually lied repeatedly over the last week about what’s been going on, to the point that the courts actually had to release a statement debunking some of the more egregious claims. Given the misinformation spread by the JCCF, and the prosecutor’s usual reticence to give details until things are settled, it’s not clear exactly what the situation is right now. But it is apparently true that the province has dropped all but one of the charges against Coates (the one criminal charge is apparently being settled with a fine, the remaining charges are violations of provincial health laws, one of which was just dropped, leaving just one), and will probably be releasing him without restrictions soon (just not as soon as the JCCF claimed). Bear in mind that even if Coates stays in jail this weekend—as the courts say he will—his church will still be holding services… just as they have been all along, with no physical distancing, no masks, and so on. That fucker Coates will probably just attend virtually again, as he did last week. I keep accusing the provinces of piss-assing around with applying public health orders to religious groups, but Alberta is by far the most egregious offender, and this Coates case is the headline example illustrating that. I mean, from the start, Coates was openly flouting lockdown bylaws, but provincial authorities played dumb and pretended, gee, maybe he just didn’t “understand”, so rather than, yanno, actually doing anything about this guy flagrantly defying public health orders and risking people’s lives, they were instead just going to… “help” him make his gatherings safer. Didn’t work, of course; Coates had no interest in “understanding” anything, he just wanted to flip off the government and make himself into a martyr in the eyes of his followers. So finally the government had to charge him, but they released him on bail with the restriction that he couldn’t break any more laws. Guess what he did. No, go on, guess. Of course he went and held more super-spreader services! That’s when they arrested him a second time and, this time, said they were going to hold him until his trial. And now? Nope, Alberta’s government doesn’t even have the bare minimal backbone to do even that. This is just pathetic.

  • [] COVID-19: B.C. Supreme Court upholds provincial ban on in-person religious services

    Not a surprising ruling, but a bit of a relief. There was some concern that the province’s piss-assing around with restrictions on religious services might induce the Court to decide that the restrictions weren’t really all that necessary after all. (And BC is hardly the only province guilty of such piss-assing around, or even close to being the worst offender. Just look at what’s going on in Alberta in this very Update.) But the decision went pretty much as we hoped: yes, of course lockdown by-laws are interfering with religious freedom… but also, yes, of course, that infringement is more than justified; it’s literally to save people’s lives. This is a good sign, because it suggests that other provincial courts will follow the same formula.

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

    Turns out that if you really want to understand religion, you should be praying to evolution!

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