Weekly Update: to

by | May 8, 2021

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

  • [] More than 200 people attend Aylmer, Ont. church service days after charges laid

    Holy shit, some people will never learn. This is the same church where Derek Sloan and Randy Hillier got charged a week or so ago, along with the church and its leaders. It’s amusing to watch the evolution of the Aylmer police Chief, as his frustration with the assholes grows and grows. At first he was saying that he wasn’t going to actually bring the hammer down on anyone for flouting public health orders. Then he actually did take action, just against the leadership. Now he’s actually got drones out taking pictures of the people showing up, hinting that he’s actually building cases against them. I have no sympathy for him; if he’d actually done his job in the first place, things wouldn’t have gotten to this point.

  • [] Manitoba pastor who openly defies pandemic restrictions tells court he has no authority to enforce rules

    The defence this pastor offers up for why his church is flouting public health orders is actually pretty awesome in its audacity. What he’s saying is: “Look, you can’t blame me for not making the congregation wear masks or physically distance, because I have no authority to do that. God has given me authority to teach his word, but he hasn’t given me authority to block anyone who wants to hear it. Even if you tell me to tell the congregation to mask up or leave, I can’t do that without God’s permission. Thus, you can’t fine me for allowing mask-free, non-distanced services, because you can’t hold me responsible for doing something I have no power to do.” Nicely played; that deserves a slow clap of admiration. It’s actually a pretty brilliant defence. Will it work? Well, fuck no, but still. Clever play! It won’t work because even if in his role as a religious leader he has no power to enforce public health orders, he is also—simultaneously with his religious leader role—the organizer of a gathering of people. It doesn’t matter what that gathering is for—doesn’t really matter that it happens to be a religious gathering or that he intends to preach to them. It’s a gathering, he’s the organizer, thus he has an obligation to make sure everyone there is safe. He failed to do that, thus he’s liable… completely regardless of whatever authority he thinks his god has given to him.

  • [] “A postmodern villain” by Corey Mohler (Existential Comics)

    If you have paid any attention to atheist media the last few years, you cannot have avoided hearing some big-name atheists claiming that “postmodernism” is somehow bad, and how “the Left” is totally into it, and how it’s ruining everything. All bullshit of course, but explaining why is such a pain in the ass that most intelligent people simply can’t be bothered, under the reasoning that if you’re stupid enough to actually believe the bullshit those right-wingers (and yes, they are right-wingers, not matter how strenuously they deny it) are peddling, then you’re too stupid to understand why it’s nonsense. But, hey, maybe seeing it comic form will help clear it up for some people. (The giant space gay-laser is totally real, though.)

  • [] Trial of Alberta pastor accused of flouting COVID-19 health measures to resume June 7

    Well, the trial went pretty much as you would expect so far. Coates claimed the Alberta government is trying to “censor” him because something-something they hate God or something. The Crown pointed out that they have no objection to the content of what Coates is preaching (stupid and wrong though it may be), and they would have no problem whatsoever with him doing online services or even in-person services with basic safety restrictions (physical distancing, masks, etc.). Unfortunately, the trial has been put on hold until next month, so we’ll have to wait that much longer for the decision.

  • [] Can the notwithstanding clause be used to violate pre-existing rights?

    This is about Québec’s Bill 21, obviously. The point Kinsinger is making is that it is a travesty that we allowed a provision to be written into law that allows governments to arbitrarily take away rights we had before the Charter even existed. I mean, yeah, I don’t disagree, but I don’t think it’s even necessary to appeal to the fact that the rights predate the Charter. The thing that infuriates me most about supporters of Bill 21 is that even if you consider it necessary to ban religious symbols because something-something rights to a secular government/public service… if you were actually serious about fundamental rights you should be appalled and furious that there is a provision in law that lets the government simply take away fundamental rights without needing to provide any justification… and that the Québec government actually used it for this. Canadian courts routinely uphold the curtailing of religious rights (and other fundamental rights)… when provided with sound justifications for doing so. Happens all the time; hell, just look around at the situation of churches defying public health orders going on right now. So if banning religious symbols made sense in any way, all you’d need to do is make that argument, and boom, your religious-symbol-banning law would stand. This is why I say that if you support Bill 21, you support bigotry… which probably means you are a bigot yourself. I mean, the history of the notwithstanding clause is not good; the kinds of things it’s been used to support in the past include opposing gay marriage, union-busting, and fucking eugenics. If you support Bill 21, that’s the team you’re on. Even if you sincerely believe that there is a non-bigoted justification for banning religious symbols… you can’t complain at being called a bigot if that is the lengths you’ll go to to get your way.

  • [] Toronto Catholic schools will raise Pride flag for 1st time next month

    Judging by my informal statistics, out of all the public Catholic school boards in Ontario, the Toronto Catholic District School Board is the most bigoted and regressive. So after the Halton Catholic District School Board decided not to fly the Pride Flag for Pride Month, I fully expected the TCDSB to follow suit. But it seems like they learned a lesson from the fallout of the HCDSB decision. This a good sign that the pressure of progress is finally forcing the bigots on the Catholic boards to at least show minimal acknowledgement of the existence and rights of LGBTQ2S+ people.

  • [] Canada Revenue Agency profiling of Muslim charities may pose a national security threat

    Yikes. I think any remotely informed and intelligent Canadian would have presumed that the CRA discriminates against Muslim charities, just a matter of course. Nevertheless, having a report that actually proves it still kinda stings a little. The most interesting thing about this piece is that the author points out that the systemic islamophobic bias against Muslim charities that is supposed to be curtailing terrorist funding is actually, ironically, having the opposite effect. You see, if there were really no unnecessary scrutiny on Muslim charities, and Muslims weren’t (justifiably) nervous about getting watch lists for donating to them, then Muslim charities and charitable giving would operate as normally and openly as any other kind of charity in Canada… and in that environment, suspicious funnelling of money to potentially terrorist organizations would be easy to spot. Shady activities stand out when the default is openness and transparency. Instead, what’s happening is that Muslims—fearing being identified and targeted merely for donating to Muslim charities (and, again, the report proves they’re right)—are instead doing their religiously-mandated charity by giving to sketchy individuals and organizations that are operating under the radar. And that is how money is getting secretly funnelled to nasty groups without security agencies noticing.

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5 thoughts on “Weekly Update: to

  1. Teressa Trollope

    Regarding religious symbols – isn’t the Fleur de Lys used on Québec’s flag a religious symbol? It’s the flower used to baptize the first king of the Francs – Clovis. Someone who has done more than read about it a while ago in a museum exhibit could fact check that before taking any sort of action. So, I’ll be impressed if Québecers go all the way and redo their flag. (Still blue for the pastel/woad of Eurasia? White for what? Or perhaps the purple of local blueberries?) The cross in the Legislature was taken down “for safe-keeping”. I guess cross pendants will also be banned. I live in Ontario – the Trillium is important here, and I wonder if that has something to do with the Holy Trinity (did I get that religious terminology right?), apart from it being a beautiful flower all by itself.

    What sort of ethics training does the population get, and who delivers it if not the religious?

    What is the real goal of all of this? Won’t stop networks of people from gangstalking and engaging in extra-judicial activities – yes, even in Canada. I would like to see that stopped, whatever symbols they use. The formal evidence-based justice system needs to be better resourced so people will use it. Just like women need to be better valued by society to deflate the desire for gender-based abortion.

    1. Indi Post author

      If I recall, the fleur-de-lis is associated with Mary (mother of Jesus), and symbolizes the authority that God gave French royalty, among other things. So yes, it is definitely a religious symbol, at least in the context of Québec history (which would be relevant).

      Another interesting fact is that it was used a slave brand: the fleur-de-lis was burned into the flesh of slaves that tried to escape. Now, when Bill 21 supporters try to justify banning the hijab (in particular; they will often admit point-blank that they’re mostly focused on banning Muslim religious symbols, and other religions are just collateral damage), part of their justification is that the hijab is a “symbol of oppression”. Assuming that’s true… the fleur-de-lis was a literal slave brand, used to punish and… yes, oppress… slaves that tried to escape their bondage. But just watch how Bill 21 supporters hand-wave that away.

      Incidentally, I have to correct a common misconception: The cross in the National Assembly was not “taken down”. It was moved. The wording used by all the media is very specific, and almost seems intended to cause confusion: they don’t say the crucifix was “taken down” or “removed”… they say it was “removed from the Blue Room” (or something similar, like that it was “removed from the National Assembly”, which is not the same as “removed from the Parliament Building”). It was literally moved only a few dozen metres down from over the Speaker’s chair, out to just outside the door… notably, where it is no longer in view of the cameras. And I believe there’s a second crucifix, too, that used to hang in the Red Room, which was also moved but still around. And that’s not to mention all the other religious crap that’s still there: a bunch of statues, the names based on saints, etc. etc..

      But I mean, that’s just they operate, right? It’s not about real secularism, it’s just about hiding religious influence from view.

    2. Rj

      What are you trying to do ruin in for me? My garden is full of trilliums. Ah well I’ve still got my toad lilies and jack in the pulpit. Ha. I just figured the obvious that they were named because the leaves and flower petals are in sets of three. The Christians certainly don’t own the trillium mystique.

  2. Teressa Trollope

    Speaking of atheist media – this is the only source I regularly look at. I get some content on CBC.com, a couple of CBC radio shows like Tapestry and Ideas. Sometimes the mentions are disrespectful on those shows, and certainly on other CBC shows. Next to nothing in my local paper The Ottawa Citizen or community papers. The Ottawa Citizen will publish an article that might naturally include atheism or at least agnosticism, but will deliberately ignore us. Nothing on MSN.com. Maybe some on Radio-Canada online. So, how about some more inclusion in all those sources? By the way, did the Census Long Form cover religion? I got the short form.

    1. Indi Post author

      Regarding the census… it’s complicated. The long form does ask about religion, and it does include a “no religion” checkbox… buuuut… this is what that question looks like:

      What is this person’s religion?

      Indicate a specific denomination or religion even if this person is not currently a practising member of that group.

      For example, Roman Catholic, United Church, Anglican, Muslim, Baptist, Hindu, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Sikh, Buddhist, Jewish, Greek Orthodox, etc.

      For additional examples of denominations and religions, visit www12.statcan.gc.ca/religion-e

      • Specify one denomination or religion only.
      • or
        • No religion

      See the problem? You’re supposed to state a religion “even if this person is not currently a practising member of that group”.


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