Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .
This week’s items
This is an opinion piece by a Catholic about the relationship between religion and government. No, wait! Don’t roll your eyes and skip over it! It’s not what you probably think!
The author of the piece, Richard Shields, is addressing the religions… not finger-wagging at the non-religious as most of these opinion pieces tend to, or simply bemoaning the increasing secularity of modern society. His thesis is that religions and government must coexist, and, of course, government has a responsibility to listen to the concerns of the religious, and to include them as part of the package of the citizenry. All that seems obvious and undeniable; despite the fantasies of anti-theists, religion isn’t going anywhere any time soon, and a government that simply ignores or denies the existence of the religious is not a government that is properly listening to the people.
Shields’s head isn’t up his ass; he realizes that no sensible person could ask a government to consider religious concerns unconditionally. Lots of stupid and evil stuff is packaged under the banner of religion, and if a government were obligated to take it all seriously, it would be a complete disaster.
So Shields suggests that the onus is on the religious to make sure their positions are worth consideration by a government. He offers three simple rules—“commandments”, of course, because he’s religious, after all—that a religion should follow to be taken seriously.
What do you think about his “commandments”? Are they necessary? Sufficient? Is he on to something, or not?
So there’s been a new development in the Bruxy Cavey thing.
The backstory: If you don’t know the name, Cavey is about as close as you can get to a Canadian evangelical megastar. He was the charismatic face of The Meeting Place, a Toronto megachurch that boasts roughly 8,000 members. As the article title suggests, he was probably the most influential pastor in Ontario… probably even all of Canada. He’s one of those “cool” pastors that are so much fun to parody, but it really seemed to work for him.
Back in December, the first rumblings of the scandal burst into the public consciousness. Everyone was very cagey about the details—even now, I still don’t know exactly what happened—but the gist of it was that there was some kind of sexual misconduct involving Cavey. The language used was infuriatingly vague; from the Church’s wording of what happened, the allegation could have been for anything from a simple affair, to outright rape. After all, even the most basic affair between two consenting adults would count as a “moral failing”, by the Church’s standards.
At any rate, Cavey was put on some kind of suspension while the Church conducted an investigation. That investigation has now concluded, and the Church basically forced Cavey to resign.
It’s still hard to parse exactly what happened, due to all the sanctimonious language used by everyone involved, but it sounds like what happened was that Cavey had an affair with someone in his congregation… someone who probably came to him for pastoral advice. Pastors are counsellors—I mean, not real, professional counsellors, but so long as their congregants take them seriously, they’re close enough—so this affair would have involved a power imbalance. Cavey would have been taking advantage of his authority to exploit the woman under his care.
For that reason, the victim and her advocates are saying this isn’t just an affair… it isn’t just “sexual misconduct”… it was abuse.
Again, it’s really hard to suss out the details here, but it sounds like there may have also been an element of harassment, and/or possibly some form of explicit coercion based on Cavey’s position of authority. Or maybe not.
This may not be entirely over; it sounds like there are some people pushing for more accountability from the Church. Whatever happened, The Meeting Place will have to deal with the loss of their cash cow.
Raif Badawi is out of prison!
Last week I reported that although Badawi’s sentence was complete, he hadn’t been released. Seems he was finally released on Friday, only two weeks late.
Because this just happened, we probably won’t get a lot of details until next week’s Update. Saudi Arabia has imposed a lot of restrictions on Badawi that will make it hard for him to communicate with the world. And he’s still banned from leaving the country. At least for now.
Nevertheless, this is great news!
Canadian Atheist’s Weekly Update depends on the submissions of readers like you. If you see anything on the Internet that you think might be of interest to CA readers, please take a minute to make a submission.