Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

  • [] Clergy residence deduction cost $1 billion over last decade

    Yikes. I have to agree with Thom, Phelps Bondaroff, and Bushfield here: this exemption is far past due for a reconsideration. I mean, I already can’t see any strong, secular arguments in favour of tax exemptions for religious organizations in any case… but housing exemptions for the ministers seems particularly gauche.

  • [] ‘Second-class citizenship’: Advocates renew calls for federal review of Quebec’s Bill 21 in wake of London, Ont. attack

    There are a lot of articles and opinion pieces connecting the dots between the London massacre, and Québec’s Bill 21, because, I mean, the connection is absurdly obvious to anyone not engaged in wilful denial. This piece stood for quoting Canadian Atheist person of the year nominee Amira Elghawaby at length, and as always, pretty much everything she says is spot on.

  • [] Harm done through religion must be addressed

    This piece was written by a (retired) United Church minister, and there’s quite a bit in it that I could quibble with. (In particular, I grate at the sentence: When religion works as it was originally intended, it is a wonderful thing. Originally intended? What is that original intention, where is it spelled out, and how does she know it’s the same for all religion?) Overall, though, her point is sound, and it’s one that atheists have been demanding of the religious for a long time: religious people need to acknowledge the fact that great evils have always been done in the name of religion… and no, no weaseling out of it with no-true-Scotsman hedges like “but they weren’t really religious” or “but they weren’t following the true religion”. It is not true that all religion is evil, or that religion will always inevitably lead to evil. But it is true that religion can very easily lead to pretty horrific evil… and if a religious person cannot understand or acknowledge that, or flat-out refuses to… well, they’re probably going to be the next font of religious evil. And, worryingly, straight-up denial of the fact that religion can be evil is still distressingly common.

  • [] ‘How many deaths need to happen?’: Canada has a troubling anti-Muslim hate problem

    I think the key takeaway from this piece is that the massacre of the innocent family taking a walk in London, Ontario was not an isolated incident, but rather part of a pattern. The article almost casually lists almost a dozen hate crimes, any one of which should have been an alarm signal. But then it shows just how casually the underlying problem was ignored and dismissed: When the mosque in Toronto was vandalized six times within three months, Toronto police first said none of the incidents were to be considered hate-motivated. Of course, Katawazi’s concern is on whether federal and provincial governments will take any substantive action to deal with the problem, but my concern is more about our own house. As of publish time for this Update, the evidence seems to be that the London murderer was not an atheist, but was instead a devout Christian. So we dodged a bullet this time, but unless we take real, substantive steps to deal with the virulent anti-Muslim hate in our own atheist communities… the next mass murderer may come from our own circles.

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