Weekly Update: to

by | June 26, 2021

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

  • [] Is it time to ditch the notwithstanding clause?

    Normally when a headline asks a question, the answer is “no”. This seems to be an exception. As the article notes, the notwithstanding clause has recently become a serious problem in Canada, as right-wing premiers invoke it without any justification in order to create laws that violate our fundamental freedoms without having to pass judicial review. Just take a look at the kinds of laws that the notwithstanding clause has been used to protect (successfully or unsuccessfully): public funding of religious schools, same-sex marriage bans, union-busting bills, denial of reparations for eugenics and forced sterilizations, and anti-democratic election laws. And, of course, Québec’s Bill 21.

  • [] Travis Patron argues his rights, religious freedom being infringed

    If you don’t recognize the name, Travis Patron is the (former?) leader of the modern Canadian Nazi party (if it still exists). His election campaign provided a great deal of amusement for anti-hate activists… most famously when he fucked up and promised his pro-Nazi donors that their donations would be anonymous, but they weren’t. Well, he’s currently facing charges—the charges are mostly unrelated to his Nazism; they’re things like assault and breaking & entering charges—and his defence is providing whole new amusements. He claims that the Crown has no jurisdiction over his actions, because they were commanded by God. He’s trying to make a religious freedom argument that since he believes that God granted him the right to do stuff, anything the (secular) law does to stop him from doing it is technically violating his religious freedom. Of course it’s not going to work, but hopefully he’ll run into a judge with a sense of humour, and we’ll get an awesome, hilarious ruling.

  • [] Quebec government, Catholic oblates still haven’t delivered key residential school records

    215 indigenous children found in graves at the Kamloops residential school. 104 at the Brandon residential school. And now 751 at the Marieval residential school. All run by religious groups—Kamloops and Marieval by Catholic orders, Brandon by Methodists, the United Church, and a Catholic order—with the support of Canadian governments. That these “schools” were part of a long-running genocide of indigenous peoples seems no longer a matter of debate. But you’d think that with all the apologies (the Catholic Church being the notable exception), we would now be in the process of truth and reconciliation. Think again. The religious orders have been resisting the investigations into the dead children by refusing to release necessary documentation. The excuse has been privacy concerns… but do understand they are not talking about the privacy of the victims; they’re talking about concern about the privacy of the abusers. The worst part is: governments, both federal and provincial, are doing the same thing. It doesn’t seem to have sunk in that we’re investigating a crime here… a literal genocide. You don’t destroy the evidence in the middle of a criminal investigation. As far as there really are privacy concerns, it is trivial to set up a third-party mechanism to vet which documents should be made public and which should not; simply refusing to release the documents is not acting in good faith. (Yes, I am aware the group that actually ran the three schools has now promised to cooperate and release the documents… but we’ll see how that goes.)

  • [] Personalized Brain Stimulation Could Restore Religious Faith

    This is a fascinating proposition: it may be possible, if someone feels that the loss of their religiosity has negatively impacted their life, to artificially restore their faith. Note that this has nothing to do with their intellect, but is rather about activating that fuzzy sense of “spirituality”, “transcendent ‘understanding’” or “interconnectedness” that people feel when indulging in religious thinking or rituals; it’s activating an emotion that makes religion “work”. The article actually refers to it as a “prosthetic” for people who have become unable to “feel” religion. I’m not sure how I feel about this; there are very complicated issues here. On the one hand, if a consenting adult really feels that their quality of life is suffering because they can no longer get “caught up in the spirit” of religion… well, then, yeah, I don’t see how anyone can deny them a way to recover that happiness in their lives. On the other… there are many ways that religion—even mild religious faith—has parallels to abusive relationships. Let me be clear: I am not saying that all religion is abusive. I am merely saying there are parallels, which may just be superficial, between religious devotion and the devotion that abused people develop for their abusers. It may not be true for all people that religion is like an abusive relationship… but it is undeniably true for some people. So imagine we had a technology that we could offer to victims of domestic abuse, that would allay their concerns and fears about their abuser, and make them feel more comfortable about continuing to live with them. Wouldn’t that technology be manifestly unethical?

  • [] Man with knife attacks sisters wearing hijabs outside Edmonton, RCMP say

    Every time one of these incidents happen—and they happen depressingly often—I wonder whether the anti-Muslim sentiment that exists in Canadian atheist communities had any hand in motivating the attacker. And anti-Muslim bigotry absolutely does exist in Canadian atheist communities; just look at the Facebook comments on any Canadian Atheist post that deals with Islam or Muslims. I keep beating this drum, and I’m not going to stop until I see substantive action within our communities: we need to do more about the anti-Muslim bigotry in our own spaces.

  • [] LGBTQ members outraged after Conservative MPs vote against bill outlawing conversion therapy

    The conversion therapy ban has passed the Lower House, and is on its way to the Senate (though, there are concerns it may get stalled at that point). Every political party unanimous supported the ban… except for one. Guess which one. The excuses of the MPs who voted against the Bill are laughable. They claim to be concerned that the ban would somehow criminalize any discussions of sexuality… which is absurd, and literally contradicted by the Bill’s text.

  • [] Priest resigns as pastor of Mississauga church following comments about residential schools

    Ugh. I mean, seriously, how far up your ass does your head have to be to not realize how pants-crappingly stupid it is to argue for the good side of a fucking genocide.

  • [] U.S. senator wants Canada on religious freedom watch list over pastor COVID-19 arrests

    Ha, ha, ha, ha!

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One thought on “Weekly Update: to

  1. rj

    its either a country or its not. there should be minimum civil rights and environmental laws ect. or get tfo. states rights..errr.. i mean provincial… Using the hyperbole the cons are used to… take them to Ancaster and hang the traitors.
    i got my comment removed from patreon for stating the obvious fact that the nazis other symbol was the crucifix.
    And yet the vatican readily handed over their genealogical records to the nazis from their INQUISITIONS
    internal void of the spotless social conservative mind. consenting adults? sounds more like a torture mechanism for their kids who refuse to go to church.
    the conservatives passed their anti semiteism bill but voted against a similar liberal islamaphobia one. But wtf canada what about our original peoples?
    and that conservative who was singing the praises of christian residential schools. or the other one who said she appreciated the discipline…. But did your children or grandchildren get taken away? Or did the priest have his hairy arms under their bed sheets?
    I think I’ve covered this weeks topics. even over exposed myself. But But boy do I anticipate and appreciate your updates.
    one of my pet peeves is how CBC doesn’t allow commenting on native issues. Absurd. if they cant moderate it? give the contract over to APTN


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