Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how Jagmeet Singh looks to be a strong favourite as the NDP’s leadership campaign reaches its first voting window – and how concerns about Quebec secularism may have been laid to rest by the challenger who previously gained the most by emphasizing them. For further reading…– I’ve previously written about Singh’s prospects in ...

Terahertz: A full response to Humanist Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation statement

Two weeks ago I began Tweeting my reactions to Humanist Canada’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report. I heavily criticized the organization for it’s response, which in my view used the opportunity to make an easy attack on religion while doing nothing on promoting reconciliation with Canada’s aboriginal peoples. I expanded upon my ...

Terahertz: Multiculturalism, interculturalism and secularism

I want to promise this won’t become a habit but sometimes it seems easier to just Tweet a bunch of random thoughts about an issue that I can collate and publish as a Storify. So here’s my latest. [View the story "Multiculturalism, interculturalism and Secularism" on Storify]

Terahertz: “I’m glad it’s over”

Canadian Atheist blogger Veronica Abbass emailed me a couple days ago to say: More than three years ago, I wrote a post on Canadian Atheist about prayer in Peterborough municipal council meetings.  In the comments you suggested I contact CFI Canada. I did and CFI connected me with Dan Mayo and Secular Ontario. Thank you ...

Terahertz: 10 reasons the Saguenay ruling establishes Canada as a secular country

It’s been only 5 days since the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously that the prayers said by the City of Saguenay discriminated against atheists, and already cities across Canada are reviewing their own practices. But I suspect (although caveated with the standard, I am not a lawyer) this ruling will have wide reaching consequences ...

Terahertz: Republished: There’s no ‘God’ in graduation

This was the first article I wrote for a student newspaper and in a way it’s somewhat historic. In 2008, the University of Alberta Atheists & Agnostics started campaigning for a secular convocation charge. When our initial request was ignored, I raised the issue with the student newspaper, The Gateway, and they recommend I write ...

Dead Wild Roses: The DWR Sunday Religious Disservice Extra Edition – The Freedom to Believe in Stupid Ideas (Religion)

   Dear Religious people, Have you thanked your local atheist today?  If not, you should because atheism and by extension secular society, is saving you from the immoral loopy shit your bronze age beliefs demand.   The latest demonstration of how immoral and barbaric religion is comes to us from the Sudan. (read more about Mariam ...

Terahertz: Humanist Hustings–Europe Votes 2014

Moving to London (details eventually coming) has allowed me to attend more great events. Last night, I attended the British Humanist Association’s Humanist Hustings all-candidates forum for the upcoming European Parliamentary Elections. The event was held in Conway Hall, London’s freethought home. To my mind, no humanist group in Canada has ever hosted a similar ...

Terahertz: Religion as a dirty word

Any headline in the form of a question can be dismissed with the simplest answer (which is also typically no). Case in point, a Victoria Times-Columnist blog asks “Has religion become a dirty word?“ It argues that Victoria, BC, with a non-religious population of 51% according to Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey and potentially ...

Terahertz: UK has “Systemic Discrimination” against freethinkers

Indi at Canadian Atheist brought the IHEU’s 2013 Freedom of Thought Report to my attention and has already done a brilliant summary of the issues facing Canada. Very shortly he’ll also be posting a commentary on the broader report. I encourage you to download and read the entire 244 page report online and support your ...

Terahertz: BC public schools continue to permit Christian Evangelism in classrooms

During my work with the BC Humanist Association last year, we managed to help raise awareness of how the longstanding tradition of Gideon’s distributing Bibles to grade 5 students continued unabated in the Chilliwack and Abbotsford School Districts. This process continued despite the BC School Act requiring all schools be “strictly secular” and the Charter ...

Terahertz: Revised Charter: Less Hypocrisy, More Intolerance

A new report suggests the separatist Government of Quebec is listening to some of the criticisms of its proposed Charter of Values. Supposedly the Parti Quebecois will now include a provision to remove the crucifix that has been hanging in the National Assembly since 1936 and “a previous exemption for lawmakers will also be struck ...

Terahertz: Catholics crash poll to protect privilege

Ontario’s Liberal government has done something really cool in setting up an online database for policy ideas that can be submitted and voted up or down to prioritize what the province should be doing. One ambitious member of a local Young Liberal riding suggested merging the Catholic and Public school boards to save money and ...

Terahertz: “If you don’t feel comfortable with your children in that kind of milieu, don’t send your students here.”

Following up on the religious proselytization and abstinence-only sex education occurring in Edmonton Public Schools comes a quote from Orville Chubb, candidate for the Edmonton Public School Board, from his time as executive director of Meadowlark Christian School Foundation. Chubb was asked in 2011 about a proposed anti-homophobia policy at the Edmonton Public School Board ...

Terahertz: Anti-choice Christian front promotes abstinence-only sex ed in Edmonton Schools

Anti-abortion Christian groups are notorious in Canada for setting up “Crisis Pregnancy Centres” as fronts to proselytize to women facing a pregnancy scare and are unsure whether to exercise their legal right to terminate it or not. The Centres are often filled with deceptive anti-choice propaganda and mislead women. One such front group in Edmonton, ...

Terahertz: Two sides of a coin

There is no inherent contradiction in viewing fundamentalist religious headgear as misogynistic while still supporting an individual’s religious freedom, so why does the media keep painting it as such? The Charter of Quebec Values is creating a huge, perhaps irreparable rift in the province’s women’s movement. For feminists, there is no halfway position over the ...

Terahertz: Restore the whole anthem

RestoreOurAnthem.ca launched recently to quite a bit of media exposure, particularly because several notable Canadians including author Margaret Atwood and former Prime Minister Kim Campbell are behind the push to de-gender Canada’s anthem. I fully support their effort, even if the political will might be missing (Harper introduced the idea from nowhere in a 2010 ...

Terahertz: Closure of Muslim Free School highlights folly of government policy

A bit of welcome news came today that British government inspectors have forced the temporary closure of an Islamic free school over “health and safety issues.” The school promises to re-open soon. Over the past few years, the British government has been increasingly trying to solve its broken education system through a combination of market-based ...

Terahertz: The end of Catholic Schools: Not with a bang but with “creeping incrementalism”

The Windsor Star has a story about how declining enrollment a in local secular and Catholic school boards (both publicly funded) are forcing creative solutions as funding declines. It sharply highlights the growing need to consider amalgamating the competing systems into a single non-discriminatory body. Unsurprisingly the local Catholics remain quite comfortable with their privilege, ...

Terahertz: Quebec Charter hurting secular efforts

Efforts to defend the separation of church and state in English Canada are already suffering as Quebec’s Charter of Secularism Values is used to argue that secularism is “exclusionary” or intolerant. The latest example comes from the City of Saskatoon, where the city is considering options for a prayer policy for before city council meetings. ...

Terahertz: Atheist Freethinkers: Stop embarrassing yourselves

David Rand’s Quebec-based “Atheist Freethinkers” is positioning itself as an embarrassment to the Canadian freethought movement. Rand stands nearly alone in the debate in English Canada by supporting Quebec’s proposed Charter of Values. The Charter ostensibly proposes to officially declare Quebec a secular province but only does so by demanding that some provincial employees remove ...

Terahertz: Not my secularism

Critics of religion (such as myself) are sometimes not precise enough in our criticisms. We will sometimes lash out that the “moderate Muslims” don’t condemn fundamentalists enough or complain that liberal Christians only make space for creationists and anti-choicers (in both cases the truth is not difficult to find, for those who look). So it ...

Terahertz: City of Windsor to raise the Christian flag… again.

I got a phone call this morning from Susan in Windsor, Ontario. Susan’s rightly infuriated that her city council is violating it’s own policy by raising the Christian Flag as part of the annual “March for Jesus” campaign, hosted by a local Christianist organization. The council’s policy on flag raising (PDF) states: At no time ...

Terahertz: Atheist and Republicans

I haven’t had time yet to deal with a piece of nonsense from last week on Canadian Atheist. The arguments put forward by the Monarchist League of Canada are entirely secular. You might or might not find them more persuasive than the arguments put forward by republicans, but this is in no small part a ...

Musings on Canadian Politics: Soccer, Sikhs and multiculturalism in Quebec

Quebec’s Soccer Federation is going into hiding. The names and contact information of its board of directors have been pulled from the federation’s website. They’re refusing to talk to the media. Are they being accused of embezzlement? Did they steal children’s money? No, they’re refusing to allow Sikh kids to wear “turbans” during competitive matches. ...