Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .
You can take the person out of the religion, but you can’t quite as easily get the religion out of the person. We get a lot of comments and questions from atheists that are former believers that reveal conceptual “locks” in their thinking that are holdovers from their religious days. And there are also a lot of prominent atheists who came from very fundamentalist backgrounds who… to put it mildly… quite obviously brought a lot of conceptual baggage with them. Valerie Tarico points out things that can still keep one’s thinking “trapped” by religious belief, even though you may have discarded the actual tenets of the faith. The focus is on Christianity, but it’s a pretty generic list that might be applicable to other religious traditions.
The article is oddly coy about burying the name of “the group” in question until the fourth paragraph… but it’s the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which is John Carpay’s outfit. The JCCF is not just a “group” fighting COVID-19 restrictions; the JCCF is the group in Canada fighting for just about any regressive, pro-evangelical Christian cause. This was not just a case of tailing a single judge; Carpay has basically admitted to having multiple public officials investigated and surveilled. And they didn’t just tail and surveil the judge… they also went after the judge’s teenage daughter. (The article doesn’t mention this explicitly, but it does mention the
young boysent to the Judge’s home… that young boy ended up chatting with the Judge’s daughter.) Now, it’s one thing to surveil public officials… which is still not great, but technically just holding elected officials to account. It’s quite another to try digging up dirt on judges… and especially judges in a case you’re currently involved in litigating. And it’s a whole other game completely to be going after their family members… especially possibly underaged children. Note that everything we know so far is all stuff that has happened in Manitoba, but there are good reasons to ask if the JCCF is doing the same shit in other provinces where it is litigating cases. The fallout for this has yet to fully unfold, but so far Carpay has stepped down from the JCCF (for whatever difference that will make).
I am under no illusions that this article will reach anyone not already interested in actively fighting the islamophobia in our community, but for those who recognize that it is a serious problem, and are serious about doing something about it, this may be a sobering reminder that doing the right thing rarely means doing the easy thing. Our problem as atheists is that we have legitimate concerns, and grievances, about Islam and Muslims (no, you can’t sensibly separate the two; people who claim that are usually just trying to disguise their bigotry). We have to remember that the “phobia” in “islamophobia” is about irrational fear or hatred, and we can disagree with Muslims or find aspects of Islam deplorable without being irrational or hateful. And even when they’re wrong, or when their beliefs are reprehensible, they’re still people, and still deserving of all the respect and tolerance that all people deserve. That goes even for the “bad” Muslims, to use Ali-Mohammed’s term. This is a very hard balancing act we have to maintain; if we lived in a cultural context where Muslims were the dominant power in society, things would be very different… but we don’t, we live in a context where Muslims are a minority facing widespread intolerance, hatred, and, yes, even violence. So we have to be very cautious with our criticism to avoid giving fuel to the bigots, and endangering innocent Muslims—we can’t be as cavalier with our criticisms of Muslims as we can be with, say, Christians. That’s hard, but it’s a difficulty we have to accept. We cannot be irresponsible when lives are at stake.
I’d been wondering what Artur Pawlowski has been up to since his conviction for flouting Alberta Heath Services public safety orders. For those who don’t recognize him, Pawlowski is a hate preacher—homophobic, transphobic, all the usual stuff for a far-right Christian church. His most recent claim to fame is a viral video where he goes apoplectic on a couple of AHS people who showed up to his church to help… help… them better follow public health guidelines, calling them Nazis (Artur’s favourite go-to insult), and screaming at them to “get out” (the AHS officers, meanwhile, never even raise their voices, and act patiently professional in the face of Pawlowski’s hysterical bombast, making him look even more ridiculous). Well, it turns out Pawlowski has found comradeship in batshittery in that place that is the home of the stupid, the ignorant, and the entitled and incomprehensibly angry: the US. He’s found his peeps there, among white supremacists, Trumpists, QAnon kooks, and violent Christian nationalists (but I repeat myself). In fact, Pawlowski’s been such a huge hit there, that it turns out that he may have been the impetus for another recent, bonkers story. Apparently Pawlowski appeared on Fox “News”, peddling his bizarro-world tale of Christian persecution… and it was that appearance that inspired the wanker US Senator Josh Hawley to call for Canada to be put on a list of countries that persecute religious people. It’s like an idiot ouroboros.
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