Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .
If you need to a little background to what’s going on here, Ontario’s Premier is one of those idiot premiers who piss-assed around trying to avoid any real sign of leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, and thus did only the bare minimum… if even that… that health experts recommended to slow down the pandemic. (And sometimes, rather than actually following the advice of health experts, they literally just made shit up to look like they were doing something, but really only made things worse.) And of course that means that he really did nothing when it came to religious gatherings… because they’re his base. The result of that is that religious leaders got bolder and bolder when it came to defying public health orders, most famously in Aylmer. And this… this is the result of all that. Now that things have finally gotten this far, authorities are belatedly trying to get some sort of handle on the situation. The Church and Pastor have been found in contempt (for defying an injunction on holding in-person gatherings from back in February). The cops who snubbed their civic duty and joined the fray are facing charges. The politicians who showed up to support them are also looking at charges. Note that even now, the Aylmer police are still trying to treat the Church with kid gloves… that shows how far the Church has pushed things to get to the point that there have actually been charges laid.
It’s nigh impossible to say which of Ontario’s Catholic school boards is the most bigoted, but there’s no doubt that the Halton Catholic District School Board is one of the prime contenders. It was such a simple request by a student, to fly the Pride flag during Pride month… but nope, that was a step too far for the bigots on the board. They tried all kinds of shenanigans to make the motion—put forward by Grade 12 student Nicole Hotchkiss—go away; they tried to argue the whole motion was out of order, and when that failed, the tried to amend it out of existence. They tried to use COVID-19 to deflect: “How can we possibly talk about the human rights of LGBTQ2S+ people when we’re all dealing with a pandemic?!?! That’s two whole things at once!!!” They even tried arguing that flying any other flags besides the Canadian flag would undermine its “dignity”. In the end the bigots won. But their time is not long. The students are pissed. The teachers are pissed. The general population is pissed. The small enclave of regressive bigots cannot hold out forever. It looks like they’ll win this year… but they don’t have many years of winning left to look forward to.
This is glorious. This is one of those stories that, the deeper you dive into it, the more ridiculous it gets. So, apparently, there is basically a single provider of holy shit—vestments, those awesome pointy hats, “both traditional and gluten-free altar breads”, and… holy wine. However… turns out that that holy wine they’ve been selling for decades… is illegal holy wine! That’s because any alcoholic beverages imported into Québec must also be available for sale at the province’s liquor authority, the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ). In other words, the cops rolled into this holy shit store like Eliot Ness and the fucking Untouchables raiding a speakeasy, because the sacramental wine they were shipping isn’t available at the corner liquor store. And it just gets better from there. Because, you see, it turns out that this has been an ongoing problem for almost 40 years. The Church has very specific requirements for its Jesus Blood Booze: it has to come straight from grapes and nothing else—no additives other than water—and it can’t be allowed to sour. Currently the only wines the Church’s winos (I assume that’s what they call ’em) approve of come from California… and are not approved by the SAQ. So they’ve just been importing them illegally… and they supply the holy wine to the churches all across Canada. So now that Québec cops have shut down the suppliers, the dealers’ supply is drying up. Apparently this is going to be a huge problem, which is a little weird for an organization whose figurehead is famous for turning water into wine, but whatever. The silliest thing may be that there are approved wines, some even made locally, that would meet the religious requirements… but they haven’t been approved by the church despite being submitted, because, yanno, religious authorities aren’t exactly known for reacting efficiently to new information. Presumably now that the supply is drying up, they’ll get off their asses and approve some legal varieties, because I can’t imagine how church services could be tolerable without booze.
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