Citing media “intolerance and bigotry”, anti-science Canadian MP James Lunney has quit the government caucus to sit as an independent. Among Lunney’s claim to the crown as Canada’s least scientifically literate MP are:
- He doesn’t believe in evolution
- He’s a chiropractor
- He’s claimed there’s a link between vaccines and autism
- He doesn’t believe the climate is changing
In his surreal press release (dated March 31, not April 1), he states that he will address his religious beliefs in Parliament at his next opportunity, which sounds like it will be a hoot. Lunney claims that Christians are being persecuted in Canada, a claim that is thoroughly debunked by the excellent Ottawa Citizen editorial:
Add MP James Lunney to the list of people who somehow have come to believe they’re being persecuted — that indeed, their fundamental human rights are under threat — when people disagree with them on Twitter.
Lunney is standing down before the election in October so we’ll only have a few more of his public gems of wisdom.
My second (and last) editorial in The Gateway while at the University of Alberta, salvaged via the Web Archive. The paper had a policy where writers were forbidden from submitting letters or opinion pieces if they were the subject of the news due to perceived conflicts of interest. I called them out at the time for the absurdity of such a policy.
Continue reading Republished: Religion poll is a waste of paper
Another old article, this one a review of Marci McDonald’s 2010 expose on the influence of the Christian Right in Canadian politics. Still relevant given that Harper has since gained his majority government and faces another election in October.
Continue reading Republished: The Christians are coming!
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?” Continue reading Religion as a dirty word
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 of Rights and Freedoms being widely interpreted as protecting the freedom from religion.
Nevertheless, parents in the ironically named Godson Elementary School in Abbotsford were shocked by the distribution of Bibles to their children during class time. This violates the District’s own policy, which permits the distribution of religious propaganda following a consent form.
Continue reading BC public schools continue to permit Christian Evangelism in classrooms
The famed warehouse superstore, also known for raising the ire of Fox News pundits for treating it’s employees decently and generally being on the right side of history, is now upsetting conservative pundits for the following price label:
It’s not the price that Pastor Caleb Kaltenbach is upset at but the “Fiction” label.
Naturally, this leads to Faux outrage over how this is intolerant and these “actions undermine Christianity” – the religion of nearly 3/4s of Americans.
I don’t really have anything else to add other than to encourage you to read the Fox News article for how to write a sensationalist piece over what amounts to little more than a labeling error (seriously, this wouldn’t be more than an amusing anecdote were Hunger Games labeled “History”).
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 from the charter, which would presumably make it against the law for Muslim, Sikh and Jewish politicians to sit in the legislature while sporting clothing and symbols important to their faith.”
One month ago, I wrote about the proposed charter, criticizing its hypocrisy for singling out some religious symbols while enshrining Catholic privilege. I also decried the antagonistic approach of the Quebec government, stating: “If you have to pass laws banning religious iconography, you’re doing secularism wrong.”
I stand by those words today.
Continue reading Revised Charter: Less Hypocrisy, More Intolerance
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 end the religious privilege. The idea gained quick traction and made it to the top four spot.
Unfortunately, this caught the attention of the Catholic school board administration, which circulated emails calling on their staff and trustees to crash the poll, down-voting the idea. At the time of writing it sits at –220 votes.
Go to the site, register, and vote up the idea and spread the word.
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 (which was passed). As head of the school, Chubb stated in an interview about his school:
It’s not that we are anti-gay in any way, shape or form. We just need to be able to articulate the moral element to all Christianity … and our Christian community is not able to accept that homosexual acts are not immoral. If you don’t feel comfortable with your children in that kind of milieu, don’t send your students here.
It’s worth noting that since 2004 Meadowlark Christian School has been operated as an Alternative Program within Edmonton Public School Board. This means that despite parent’s paying up to $1,600 in tuition for their child to attend, the school still receives public funding and can discriminate against staff and faculty who aren’t Christian enough. Furthermore, it means that Chubb’s 2011 comments represented a desire to violate a proposed policy of their own school board.
When asked by local blogger Daveberta about the comments, Chubb argued the views were those of the parents and that
My position now, as it was then, is that you cannot legislate belief. I am a firm advocate for freedom of speech and conscience. I staunchly defend those who are discriminated against in any way.
Perhaps Chubb was just doing his job but the argument that “some” students should not be sent to some schools offered by the Public School District only highlights the discriminatory nature of permitting faith-based schools within a public system.
Edmonton voters, it’s up to you to push for a secular school board. Get informed and vote wisely.
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 proposed ban on religious symbols worn by public employees.
On one side are those for whom the Muslim hijab (or any kind of religious headscarf) is anathema because it’s seen as a symbol of female submission. On the other side are those who believe that wearing a headscarf is a woman’s personal choice and that the law will victimize Muslim women in particular by excluding them from a large sector of the labour market.
It’s similar to the concept of defending even that freedom of speech which we disagree with. I don’t agree with the choice* to wear a hijab but it is not my place to tear it from a woman’s head.
*A tricky concept in this discussion but where free choice is restricted we should target those coercing, not the coerced (don’t blame the victim).