Weekly Update: to

by | April 10, 2021

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

  • [] Cost of Religion in Canada – 2021 updates

    This report by the Centre for Inquiry Canada isn’t really about the “cost of religion” in Canada; it’s specifically about religious charities… that is, charities that exist for the purpose of “advancement of religion” and nothing else. There’s not really much content in it—and nothing that hasn’t been mentioned on Canadian Atheist many times before—but it is only an introductory report, and promises more detailed follow-ups. If you haven’t read much about Canadian charity law, or the “advancement of religion” charitable “head”, this report will serve as a decent introduction. If you are familiar with the topic, though, there are still two pages that are noteworthy, and I recommend giving them a scan. Page 11 breaks down the location and religion of the ~32,000 Canadian religious charities. Page 12 quantifies (an extremely conservative estimate of) their wealth.

  • [] Some B.C. churches planning in-person services for Easter Sunday, despite COVID-19 restrictions

    All the provinces (and the feds) have been manifestly terrible at handling the COVID crisis… but of all them, BCmay… be the “least worst”. But “least terrible” is far from good. Case in point, Provincial Medical Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a couple weeks back that the rules against in-person services would be temporarily lifted for Easter (interesting that such an exemption was never seriously considered for any other religions)… and then had to turn around and renege on that due to rising infection rates. I haven’t heard any details yet on whether and how many churches actually did go ahead and flout public health orders, or whether or how authorities responded (mostly because what’s been going on in Alberta has sucked up most of the news oxygen this past week; see, like, every other item but one in this week’s Update). There is one amusing aside to mention here: the article names Liberty Coalition Canada as the primary mover behind the tantrum, and lists some of the politicians backing them—they’re the usual suspects whenever Christian privilege intersects with douchebaggery, but the funny part is the parenthetical mentions of the various ways these particular chuds have managed to get themselves censured even by the right, such as Derek Sloan’s expulsion from the Conservative caucus, and Hillier’s playing the Nazi card.

  • [] Churches across Canada defy public health orders to observe Easter

    Nobody ever expects a headline like “Churches across Canada do the intelligent and reasonable thing”. And it never happens; instead we get this shit. Do you remember around this time last year, when mosques across Canada politely asked if municipal noise by-laws could maybe please temporarily be slightly loosened so they could play the traditional call-to-prayer just once a day for a few weeks during Ramadan—because they were complying with public health orders and not holding in-person services—and right-wingers completely lost their fucking marbles? See any of that happening now? No? Surprised? I’m not. Can you imagine what would happen if a Muslim group organized a Canada-wide defiance of public health orders? Can you imagine what would happen if a video of an imam (especially one well known for being a hate preacher) screaming at health authorities to fuck off went viral? I’m not going to belabour that point further. I am very skeptical that Liberty Coalition Canada, any of the churches involved, or any of the politicians that egged them on will see any consequences from any of this.

  • [] ‘Physically closed’: Alberta health officials shut down GraceLife Church west of Edmonton

    I mean, there was no other way for this to end. It’s not like Coates or anyone else at GraceLife Church was going to suddenly start being intelligent and reasonable. Nor was the pandemic going to stop being deadly in the next couple of weeks. Things only got to this point because Alberta authorities were piss-assing around for so long; if they’d done their fucking jobs on day 1, we never would have had to hear of James Coates, or GraceLife, and people’s lives wouldn’t have been endangered. I mean, for fuck’s sake, the article lists the many, many delay tactics the province took before actually taking any real action. The law professor quoted even points to the fact that authorities apparently deliberately waited until after Easter—allowing the Church to go ahead and do the services it loudly declared in advance it was going to—before taking any action. And of course, nobody’s learned any lessons from this; hack lawyer John Carpay straight-up said that, yeah, they’re probably still going to continue violating public health orders, just not in that particular building anymore.

  • [] Revolt! Alberta’s Christian right takes on Jason Kenney

    How is this not the obviously inevitable result of playing to a bloc that has no real integrity, and no interest in any political goals other than “me, ME, ME!”? It’s not possible to be accidentally aligned with the Christian right by virtue of some principled stand… at least not for long. If the Christian base considers you an ally, that can only be because you are a craven, unprincipled toady who is pandering to them specifically, only because their numbers and uniformity provide you with a path to power. Which, granted, if your goal is only to have power, then, sure, that’s a really easy way to get it: just don’t have any coherent principles, and give up any interest in governing based on evidence or reason, or caring at all about the actual well-being of the people in your jurisdiction. But the cost of that is that the moment you stop pandering to them… even just for an instant, and even in the most extreme of circumstances (like a fucking global pandemic!)… then you will immediately lose their support, and face exactly the same kind of batshit demonization and hatred your opponents faced while you sat back and played innocent and benefited from it. What I’m saying, in brief, is: fuck Jason Kenny; he earned this vitriol, and while I don’t agree with the religious right on… well, pretty much anything… I’m still going to enjoy watching this comeuppance. But it won’t really make me happy, because to get to this point, things had to get so, so very bad. Playing footsie with the religious right for so long had emboldened and empowered them, and they are not using their power for good (which is hardly surprising). The schadenfreude of watching Kenny’s venality come back to bite him in the ass is source by the fact that he’s granted the religious right such powerful fangs.

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