Wednesday, September 15, 2010

One law for all

The Toronto Star published an opinion by York University Professor, Harvey Simmons, a political scientist specializing in fascist movements in France. His piece was what could fairly be described as “Sharia-friendly”. The irony of a non-Muslim male making a career of decrying fascism and seeing no particular danger with legalizing Sharia in Ontario is just too rich to not write about.

Simmons was marking the 5th anniversary of the successful battle by Muslim women in Canada to defeat the proposal by Muslim male political activists to establish Islamic family arbitration councils whose decisions would be enforced through the mechanism of the Ontario Arbitrations Act – a statute that was really intended to deal with commercial matters. However, the Act was broad enough to permit religious arbitrations in the Christian and Jewish communities.

The Ontario Muslim males, who have much to gain by legalizing their doctrinaire power over Muslim females, thought, “Hey, why not us?” Why not indeed? They even got the foolish socialist politician, Marion Boyd, a former Attorney-General, to write a favourable report to the Ontario government. Funny how socialism can turn your thinking ability to mush. Shame on any woman supporting implementation of Sharia to the detriment of her sister citizens.

Professor Simmons seems to have been cooed by the blandishments of the late Syed Mumtaz Ali, the former President of the Islamic Society of Canada and the creator of the proposed “Islamic Institute of Civil Justice” that there would be nothing going on in these arbitrations that violated Ontario law. How can anybody familiar with women’s rights under Sharia accept such nonsense? There is no way the equal rights that all women enjoy in Ontario do not conflict with the Sharia.

Simmons claims:

Ironically, because religious arbitration now takes place mainly outside the scrutiny of the Ontario courts, there is no way to tell whether women are being treated well or badly in informal religious arbitrations conducted by imams, rabbis or, indeed, any other arbitrator chosen by the parties involved.

What rubbish! Women in Ontario have the right to have their family matters decided in accordance with the Family Law Act. That is where they may apply for justice and that is where they can expose any unfairness in any ad hoc religious arbitrations.

For a very good examination of the problems of reconciling the Sharia with the laws of a secular liberal democracy go to this site.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine years and still lying -- what a sad tribute to the victims of 9/11

This was in today's Toronto Star:

Obama described with admiration how former President George W. Bush drew a “crystal-clear” line between the attackers of Al Qaeda and the immense religion they purported to represent.

Bush helped Americans understand “we were at war with terrorists and murderers who had perverted Islam, had stolen its banner to carry out their outrageous acts,” said Obama.

“And I was so proud of the country rallying around that idea, that notion that we are not going to be divided by religion; we're not going to be divided by ethnicity ... It is absolutely important now for the overwhelming majority of the American people to hang on to that thing which is best in us, a belief in religious tolerance ... we have to make sure we don't start turning on each other.”

Nine years and counting and they still do not get it:

1) The Islamists who brought down the World Trade Centre did not "steal" Islam and did not "pervert" it. The religious prescription for waging jihad against the enemies of Allah (i.e. non-believers) is as authentic in the Islamic holy lexicon as "turning the other cheek" is in Christianity. And it is not a few of these; the estimated number of Islamists worldwide is nearly 5 times the entire population of Canada.

2) Belief in religious tolerance does not provide a moral obligation to allow religious intolerance to be suborned. Islam is not a tolerant religion. When the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defence of the United States have to appeal to an obscure nutbar in Florida to desist from his announced intention to burn Korans lest dire consequences flow around the world in Muslim countries why would the same people be castigating Americans to be tolerant.

3) Just because you may not consider yourself at war with Islam does not mean that Islam may not be at war with you.

As long as the political leaders in the western world continue to lie and obfuscate the real problem that has become more and more evident to the ordinary people that these leaders are duty bound to protect, they will continue to slide down the slope of untrustworthiness. One would think they would start changing their tunes if for no other reason than to retain political position.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Go ahead, make my day

If Islamism weren’t such a serious issue you would have to laugh out loud at Islamist’ spokespeople, like Sheik Feiz Muhammad, pictured above.

The Dutch politician, Geert Wilders, is facing criminal charges under restrictive Dutch speech laws. He said rude things about Islam and produced a short video which shows Islamic texts, Imams preaching jihad and the results of terrorist activities carried out in the name of Islam. Gilders maintains that Islam is antithetical to the tradition of liberal democracy and justice in the Netherlands and he equates some of the most egregious examples drawn from the Koran, the Hadith and the Sharia as being equivalent to the kinds of statements and arguments one would find in Hitler’s famous book, Mein Kampf. Hitler’s book is banned in the Netherlands.

As if on cue, a notorious Australian imam, Muhammad, has called for Wilders to be beheaded. This is a serious thing to say – just ask author Salman Rushdie who still has a death sentence hanging over him from the utterings of the late Ayatollah Khomeini.

Do you think Muhammad is making Gilders’ point about the nature of Islam?

Contrast this with the reaction of Christians to the news that well-known anti-Christian author, Christopher Hitchens, is dying of cancer. Many have offered prayers for his recovery.

Friday, August 27, 2010

New York City mosque and frank discussion

It seems the controversy over the New York City mosque has boiled down to those who oppose it claiming it sullies the memory of those who died because those who did the killing did it in the name of Islam and those who support it claiming that the opponents are bigots or are prejudiced. The pro forces claim that to oppose it means that you blame all Muslims for the actions of a few or you are being Islamophobic.

Apologists for Islam are constantly pointing out that Islam is not monolithic – there are different schools of thought and there are Sunnis and Shias as the two main, but quarreling, streams of Islam. The fight between Sunni and Shia, however, has to do with theological history within the faith. As far as Muslim relations with the non-Islamic world, all 4 recognized schools of Islamic doctrine do not differentiate in any meaningful way, whether you are Sunni or Shia. Jihad against the non-Islamic world is a fundamental religious obligation in either stream.

Many commentators and editorial writers have decried the politicization of the issue. I think, to the contrary, it is a good thing this matter has blown up into a national debate. It is less than 2 weeks away from the 9th anniversary of 9/11. It is about time the people of the United States had a frank and open examination of America’s relationship with the Islamic world. One wonders why it took so long.

In the 18 months since Barack Hussein Obama has been the President of the United States he has ventured into this relationship like a defeated Muslim-whipped dhimmi, constantly praising Islam for things it doesn’t deserve and trying to re-write American history in the same way the European have revised their history to make it sound like it has always been about Islam. Since about 70% of Americans in national polls indicate they oppose the building of this Islamic structure in the place proposed, it is clear that he is out of step with his citizens in a very big way. If this issue were the only thing on which he were being judged, then his approval rating would be no more than 30%.

While I am sure that there are bigots involved in opposition, to brand all opposition as simply being bigoted is itself a form of bigotry. There are many thoughtful people who have spoken out and said that for a religion that demands the utmost deference from non-Muslims (sometimes with the implied threat of violence otherwise) it has shown itself to be singularly resistant to the sensitivities of the general American public.

Secondly, there are an increasing number of people who are throwing off the shackles of political correctness and moral relativism and reminding themselves that America is not “one of the world’s largest Muslim countries” as Obama said in his Cairo speech, but is, in fact, a fundamentally Christian country, with a secular constitution. To stand in support of the beliefs of the vast majority of the citizens of the U.S. to counter the belief system of another religion and culture is not bigotry. To take a position that your cultural norms are better than their cultural norms may be prejudice, but that does not mean it is not warranted.

The fundamental concept underlying the pejorative notion of bigotry and prejudice are that they are without thought or reason. If the opponents have said that they have examined their own belief systems and that of Islam and prefer their own beliefs, how is that bigotry?

That is why I like the current debate. It forces the nation to re-examine its roots and its principles free from the thought-control of the political elites and media establishment.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread

Well, it is now official. The British electorate has thrown one fool out of public office, Gordon Brown, only to replace him with another, David Cameron.

This morning Cameron is quoted as saying that he will fight to get Turkey admitted to the EU. He conflates the EU with NATO, saying that it is not right to call upon Turkey to help defend the members of that treaty organization while keeping it out of the EU.

Does he believe NATO is a European construct? To the contrary, it was an American initiative that was shunned by the anti-American French President, Charles de Gaulle, who ordered the Americans to vacate their French airbases.

NATO membership is a non-sequitur to consideration for membership in the EU. NATO membership implies only military responsibilities and rights. EU membership permits free travel and easy immigration throughout the member countries, a not insignificant benefit to Turkey when one looks at its demographics (huge numbers of young people) and its distribution of the economic pie (low GDP per person compared to European countries).

He thinks that Turkey will be a moderating influence in bringing peace to the Middle East, but the price that must be paid for Turkey doing the right thing is to make it a member of the EU. Otherwise it will do the wrong thing and embrace the dark side, meaning -- Islam?


You want to make it a member of the EU because it is Islamic, but you are afraid if you reject it then it will be, uh, Islamic, and therefore not a useful influence in making the Middle East peaceful.

The lights are on but nobody is at home.

What is most infuriating with this silly man is his elitist lecturing about the “real Islam” to the British public (including his own party) and other members of the EU, like France, which has now woken from its long self-induced Islamic hypnosis, and Germany.

This is what the Mail On-Line quotes him as saying during his trip to Turkey commenting on those who oppose Turkey’s entrance because it is an Islamic nation:

‘They see no difference between real Islam and the distorted version of the extremists.
‘They think the values of Islam can never be compatible with the values of other religions, societies or cultures.
‘All these arguments are just plain wrong. I want us to be at the forefront of an international effort to defeat them.’

And he criticized those who see the world as a ‘clash of civilizations’ in which Turkey must choose sides.

Europe has been fed a restricted diet of this crap for 40 years by the David Camerons of this world, and will, in 40 years, cease to exist as Europe because of it.

Was this man sleeping during the recent dust-up over the Turkish flotilla trying to crash the Israeli arms blockade that had the approval of the Turkish government, and resulted in threats by Turkey to Israel? How does that demonstrate Turkey’s neutrality and usefulness in bringing peace to the Middle East?

The man he is seen shaking hands with in the picture above is Turkey’s Prime Minister Ergodan who is on the public record as making the following statement:

"The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers..."

Yep. That would be the “real Islam” Cameron wants to bring to the U.K. and the EU.

Time for another British election before it is too late.

UPDATE: When I wrote this post I debated with myself whether to call the British Prime Minister an idiot or a moron, but I thought these were too harsh, so I opted for the more neutral "fool". Such restraint however does not enter into Melanie Phillips incisive deconstruction of Cameron's Ankara speech. See this.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cluttering up the legal landscape with God

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms begins by affirming that “Canada is founded upon the principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.” This week’s minor controversy about God’s presence in the preamble–set off, indirectly, by a Quebec ruling upholding a Catholic high school’s right to set its own curriculum — is no threat to our Constitution, but it is instructive. To a certain secularist mindset, any mention of God is a danger to public life, and any legal recognition of religion is but a short step away from theocracy. That’s not the case in Canada, and the “supremacy of God” preamble is something worth understanding– and defending.

The words were written in 1982 — less than 30 years ago. Constitutions, especially in their fundamental aspects, are supposed to endure more than a few decades without revision. By 1982, Canada already enjoyed a long tradition of religious liberty and democratic freedom, so the idea that putting God in the Constitution is a threat to anything, or a limitation on liberty, or an occasion of division among Canadians, is simply false. Indeed, given that several highly contentious decisions by our courts have expanded the language in the Charter beyond its original text, it is odd to argue that language actually in the Charter should be disregarded.

So say the editorial writers in the National Post.

Having dismissed secularists as wingnuts, which they are not, NP goes on to contradict itself. The first Constitution of Canada was proclaimed in 1867 and between then and 1982 contained no reference to the “supremacy of God” -- one hundred and fifteen years in which God was absent from the land, and the country prospered and grew. As Post put it, “Canada enjoyed a long tradition of religious liberty and democratic freedom”, without enshrining the supremacy of God in the Constitution. So, why bother pissing people off by throwing God into the mix?

The national makeup of Canada was very different in 1867 from what one finds today. Religion is less important to a rapidly growing number of people and among those are many people who think the concept of God is simply anachronistic. Moreover, the dominant religion, Christianity, is in a long decline in Canada

The Post tries to finesse this issue by claiming that it’s OK to put God in because it reminds of us our historical roots. I remember my historical roots: we used to sing "God Save the Queen" as our national anthem and Canada’s flag was a Red Ensign with a small Union Jack in the corner. We used to regularly refer to our country as the Dominion of Canada, and Statistics Canada used be called The Dominion Bureau of Statistics. Funny how selective we are about what historical roots are important and which ones are not.

The Post continues:

The Constitution describes not only who we are–matters of history — but also who we ought to be–matters of aspiration. This is likely what those who object to the “supremacy of God” find difficult. They think that such language excludes from the Canadian project those who do not believe in God. Yet even those Canadians should welcome God in the preamble. Something, after all, has to be supreme. And if it is not God, even understood in the broadest possible sense, then what is it?

Fearsome it would be to live in the land where the works of man alone are supreme. The “supremacy of God” is shorthand reminding us that our laws, even if duly passed, must conform to principles of justice, the service of the common good and the truth about the human person. That is an essential principle, otherwise the rule of law can be put in the service of tyranny. Laws which do not correspond to the truth cannot serve justice or advance the common good.

Memo to Post: those who do not believe in God are excluded by this language, it has nothing to do with what they think. Let me put it this way. Suppose instead of God we identified ourselves by sexual orientation and the Constitution said something about the “supremacy of heterosexuals”, which, after all, is also historically defendable. Would homosexuals feel excluded by such language?

Something, after all, has to be supreme.” Assuming this is self-evident (which I am not conceding), we have the supremacy of Parliament, checked mainly by something called “The Supreme Court of Canada”. I think there is more than enough supremacy to go around in this country without loading up God’s shoulders with the burden.

Then comes this clunker:

Another point should be added. The God of which the Charter speaks remains undescribed — it could be the philosopher’s first cause or the Holy Trinity, or something else altogether. In practice, most Canadians would assume that this is the God of Jews and Christians. The Charter does not say that, but we ought to be grateful that it intuitively points in that direction. The Judeo-Christian tradition is not the only foundation for tolerance between different peoples, or for harmony in a pluralistic society, but surveying the global scene today it is the most secure foundation currently on offer. Certainly the experience of officially atheistic regimes is not encouraging.

The fact that most people would assume that it is the God of Jews and Christians is the whole point why God should not be mentioned in the Charter. Is that what judges will also assume if there is a religious contest with other religions that come before the courts where this language will be referenced? Courts should not be put in the position of picking one religion over another.

And what is an “officially atheistic regime”? This needs some clarification. After all, the new Prime Minister of Australia has declared herself to be an atheist – does that mean Australia qualifies as having an “officially atheistic regime.”

I think if one looks to countries that are “officially religious”, like Iran and Saudi Arabia, as examples, one could make the very same statement. This is why secularism is an important principle that should be upheld and defended.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Turkey's foreign policy

The latest go around between Turkey and Israel has Turkey calling for an apology from Israel for the May 31 raid on the Turkish-flagged vessel, pay compensation, agree to a U.N. inquiry into the incident and lift the blockade of 1.6 million Palestinians living in Gaza Strip. In return for all of this Turkey offers not to “cut ties”.

The amount of compensation is unclear, the make-up of a U.N. inquiry is unclear, the nature of the ties to be cut is unclear and the wholesale lifting of the blockade will ensure an “armed to the teeth” Gazan militia.

In an earlier time, Turkey’s actions in all of this would likely constitute an act of war.

Fortunately, Turkey is dealing with a nuclear-armed state that shows remarkable constraint in the face of provocations. The U.S. asked Israel to stay out of the Gulf War and despite the rocket bombardment of Israel by Saddam Hussein, it complied with the request. One wonders if the charlatan in the White House who appears determined to set Israel adrift to appease the Muslim world would have the same success with Israel in a similar circumstance.

Anyway, it ought to be Turkey apologizing to Israel and having to explain why it permitted a ship load of Islamic radicals, bent on martyrdom to leave port for the sole purpose of provoking a military response from Israel. The only conclusion one can come to is that Turkey has long planned its break from Israel and the flotilla raid is the fig leaf it needed for legitimacy.

Turkey’s foreign policy should not be surprising to any student of the history of that country. It is best summarized by this: “Who is winning, go with them.”

At the outbreak of the First World War, Turkey wanted to sit on the sidelines in glorious neutrality until it figured out who was going to win and then it would join that side in the hope of sharing in the spoils. However, German diplomacy, in the face of British perfidy, indifference and arrogance caused the Turks to join the German and Austro-Hungarian Axis.

Had Turkey stayed out of the conflict there never would have been a disastrous Gallipoli campaign, Churchill would not have had to resign as First Lord of the Admiralty, Lawrence of Arabia would have been an obscure Arabist, Saudi Arabia would never have been born, and Britain and France may never have ended up with the League of Nations mandate over Syria, Iraq and Palestine.

What a difference all of that might have made for the Near and Middle East.

Turkey learned from its experience and managed to stay out of the Second World War, despite pressure from Germany, until the closing months when it joined the Allied side.

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey embarked on a modernization program, reforming its governmental institutions and its cultural norms to make it more “Europeanized”. It saw modern, industrial Europe and the United States as the models of the winning side and it endeavoured to be one with them.

Now Turkey has slid away from that Western embrace and is courting the Islamic world it once dominated. Having taken the measure of the results of the 40 years of Arab-Euro dialogue on the fate of Europe and Israel, having seen the United States squander its political and economic capital on mostly fruitless wars in Islamic countries, having taken the measure of Muslim-leaning Barack Hussein Obama, Turkey has decided that the winning side is an Islamic world and it wants to join it, for the spoils.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Bat Ye'or and the Arab-Euro Axis

It may seem strange, given some of the posts I have published, that I am only now getting around to reading Bat Ye'or's seminal work, Eurabia,the Euro-Arab Axis. It comes about because I had an occasion recently in Toronto to hear her speak, along with Sam Solomon (a former Muslim)about the issue of Israel. This was within a week of the incident of the Israeli military forces confronting Islamists on the Gaza flotilla.

She shocked me at this event by declaring that this was the first time she was ever invited to speak at a synagogue.

I am not a Jew, but I say shame on you Jews.

If you are to be protected by anyone and preserved as a people it is because of warriors like Bat Ye'or.

Anyway, I have not yet been able to work my way through her book, which details the pact made between the Arab states and their Muslim sympathizers to write the foreign policy of Western Europe regarding Israel through the threat to oil imports.

Speaking as a Canadian, in full light of the nonsense propagated by Barack Hussein Obama, I would put an end to NAFTA and keep our tar sands oil strictly for ourselves, and tell the Muslim world and the Americans to go to hell.

Despite the fact I am not yet finished the book, I found these paragraphs quite telling. They appear on page 87 of the paperback edition. To this point she has shown the close Arab/European dialogue, promoted mainly be France, under De Gaulle, to counter American influence. By 1980 she asserts:

Srong ties were forged between the OIC, the Arab and European states, as well as between various factions of the Left, the Vatican and the World Council of Churches. They led, under Arab threats, to Israel's demonization at all levels of European society as well as in international bodies. In fact, this Euro-Arab collusion appears mainly in Arab texts; in European sources, it is carefully disguised as a humanitarian concern for "the suffering of Palestinians abandoned by the world." Anglican Canon Kenneth Craig described this identification with the Palestinians as "to be on behalf of the people in voicing despair, so that evil is not silenced,dismissed disregarded - which is the way of untruth - but held, pilloried, taken for the evil it is." Israel's metaphysical identification with evil had to be constantly exposed by shedding light on the sufferings of those who worked for its destruction (emphasis mine).

The creation and dissemination of the image of the victimized and abandoned Palestinian was therefore of pivotal importance. The coalition of churches, mosques, of European and Islamic states, was cemented in a joint attack against four million Jews living on less than half of their historical land -- survivors of the tyranny of both (emphasis mine).

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Birthday Canada

There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who know Canada and those who do not. Those who don't think only of ice and snow and igloos. Those who do see Canada the way I do -- as in this picture above.

May it always look this way.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Atheists are people too

The religious apologists in Canada are still beavering away, honing their sophistry to a fine art.

The issue this time concerns a decision by the Quebec Superior Court in favour of Loyola, an old Catholic school in Quebec that did not want to teach the ethics and religious curriculum handed down from the Quebec government’s Education Department, unless the school could put a Catholic spin on it, declaring that the government was acting in a “totalitarian” manner by insisting the school teach the program exactly as set down in the curriculum.

The background to this is that the province of Quebec has pioneered a program to teach children at an early age – it starts in kindergarten and goes mostly to the end of high school – about ethical considerations and the approaches to those matters taken by various religions. In short, it amounts to a comparative religion course.

The course covers the full spectrum of world religions and belief systems, with an emphasis on Christianity, Judaism and aboriginal spirituality. Critics have said it promotes a moral relativism, in which all belief systems are of equal value. In its pleadings before the court, Loyola argued that this relativism trivializes the religious experience promoted in all facets of the school’s teachings.
See here for full news story.

Several parents and religious groups in Quebec are up in arms over it because they do not want their children to be exposed to the “truths” of other religious viewpoints, since, as they would see it, other religious viewpoints have no truth to them.

In a secular society you have two choices in a public school system with respect to the equal treatment of religions; either you simply do not have anything in your curriculum about religion, leaving it entirely in the hands of the parents to expose their children to the subject, or you introduce religion in a non-judgmental way, which requires you to bring many religious outlooks to the table for discussion.

What you cannot do, and maintain secularity, is favour only one religion to the exclusion of the others.

In the year 1901 the Canadian census disclosed that 99% per cent of the population identified itself as religious and 98% of those claimed to be Christian. This is not the Canada of 2010; Christianity is declining and Islam is the fastest growing religion. Furthermore, nearly 23% of the population is non-religious and, in the younger demographic (18 – 34), it is about 35%.

Three columnists in the National Post have tackled this news story, all crowing about the rightness of the court’s decision. I will get to them, but it is interesting to consider the words of the judge.

“The obligation imposed on Loyola to teach the ethics and religious culture course in a lay fashion assumes a totalitarian character essentially equivalent to Galileo’s being ordered by the Inquisition to deny the Copernican universe.”

He also said:

“Canadian democratic society is based on principles recognizing the supremacy of God and the primacy of the law – both of which benefit from constitutional protection.”

One might wonder why somebody with God's supreme powers would require constitutional protection, but that is a quibble about an oxymoron. It is worth reflecting, however, that God never seemed to need that protection until 1982 when he was introduced for the first time into Canada’s constitution.

The judge’s reference to the Catholic persecution of Galileo is telling. In that instance, the church was trying to shut down a competing worldview. Here it is Loyola trying to minimize alternative worldviews. Yet it is the government he accuses of being totalitarian! Go figure.

Columnist Barbara Kay tells us that, “The case was initiated by Loyola, a private, Anglo, Catholic high school located in Montreal.”

What she doesn’t tell you is that the school receives money from the government – it is not a “private” school in the strict sense of that term.

Kay continues:

Religiously committed parents and institutions such as Loyola High School, founded in 1848, believe “divergence and dissonance” and le questionnement — that is to say, creating doubt about one’s own religious and cultural identity — is the last thing a very young child needs to experience, since such a pedagogical strategy obviously undermines the serene internalization of the particular religious identity he is receiving at home.

Absorption of a particular identity does not preclude learning about other religions and cultures, and students at religious institutions such as Loyola do that already. But ERC goes further, obliging religious institutions to treat many ethical approaches as morally equivalent. Loyola High School would be refused the right to teach that, say, deferred sexual gratification and fidelity to one’s mate is a preferable ethical choice to hedonism and early sexual gratification.

Ah, disturbing the “serene internalization of the particular religious identity he is receiving at home.” What an elegant way of saying the child is being propagandized in the home by totalitarian parents. That is exactly why schools should be teaching courses in comparative religions. After all, it is supposed to be an “education” system.

And while it is true that the absorption of a particular identity does not preclude learning about other religions, I cannot see how it would preclude Loyola, which, after all, bills itself as a “Catholic” school, from also having extra-curricular programs in the Catholic faith. That is done by Catholic high schools in Ontario which are required to take students of all faiths or no faiths in return for public money.

Here is what Loyola’s lawyer said:

“Faith is omnipresent in this institution,” Loyola’s lawyer, Jacques Darche, said following a news conference at the school yesterday. “Before football games, they pray. Before a press conference, they pray. It’s quite bizarre that in the one course that you would expect to be a part of a Catholic Jesuit school, the religion program, you’re not allowed to talk about God, you’re not allowed to pray.”

So the issue is that when they discuss world religions in the classroom they can’t pray?

Give me a break.

What really seems to bug Kay is that the curriculum gives equal attention to animism and Wicca, not to mention feminism, which has the audacity to claim 27 pages in workbook compared to the 12 allotted for Catholicism.

Shucks. That sounds like a problem. Not.

Here is what I think is the real problem for these religious apologists. It is the attempt by the Quebec government to alert students to the idea that you can be a moral and ethical person without espousing any religious belief.

In short, atheists are people too.

I liked the irony in Kay’s concluding paragraph, but I am disappointed at the gobbledy-gook from such a normally good writer.

This is an excellent decision and sends a clear, strong message that secular institutions should stay out of the business of instructing children in how to think about religion. That’s not to say schools shouldn’t teach the objective evolution of various religions or religious wars and so forth in their history courses. But scientifically acquired knowledge is one thing, the inculcation of belief another. In a secular state’s education system, evidence-based facts are welcome; in-your-faith brainwashing isn’t.

The program does not involve “how to think about religion”; it is aimed at thinking about religion(s). And how can you learn about religious wars unless you understand the differences in creeds that led to such bloodshed? How does eliciting other viewpoints from other belief systems become “brainwashing”? Brainwashing is presenting only one perspective. This is absolutely Orwellian language and Kay should be ashamed of herself for resorting to it.

Next we move on to Father Raymond de Sousa who writes

What happens to the credibility of teachers when they are forced to teach their students that their Catholic faith — presumably why they choose in teach in a Catholic school in the first place — is no more valid a path to salvation than witchcraft or atheism?

This is gross distortion of what is being asked of teachers, who were consulted before the program was formalized. What has salvation, a purely Christian conceit, got to do with witchcraft and atheism? And really, isn’t the issue that is bothering the good Father the matter of the credibility of the Catholic faith, not the teachers?

Pure rubbish, Raymond.

He quotes approvingly of this by Pope John Paul II:

“Those who are convinced that they know the truth and firmly adhere to it are considered unreliable from a democratic point of view, since they do not accept that truth is determined by the majority, or that it is subject to variation according to different political trends. It must be observed in this regard that if there is no ultimate truth to guide and direct political activity, then ideas and convictions can easily be manipulated for reasons of power. As history demonstrates, a democracy without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised totalitarianism.”

Leaving aside the conclusion that calls for an example; i.e. “as history demonstrates, etc.”, I can think of few institutions that more exemplify the truth of the statement that, “ideas and convictions can easily be manipulated for reasons of power” than the history of the Catholic Church, starting with the Popes who preached the Crusades, through Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition, and the Thirty Years War that devastated Germany in the 17th century. It was not for nothing that the Catholic Church was hammered by the Reformation and the French Revolution.

Finally we come to columnist Charles Lewis, who says:

It is the word “public” that is the trip wire. There is an assumption that “public” and “religious” are two separate things.

But public money does not mean secular money.

The origin of the money that ends up in the coffers of the government comes from all sorts of people, including religious people. That is because; as if this needs to be pointed out, that religious people pay taxes like everyone else. So when was it decided that those taxpayers are beholden to a superior group of non-religious taxpayers?

I might ask, when was it decided that the tax dollars of the non-religious could be spent proselytizing a particular faith? As a non-religious person, I have no objection to religious people maintaining religious schools on their own dime, but I do object to mine being used. I don’t mind my money being used for a curriculum of comparative religion, especially one that includes the idea of no religion.

He continues:

There will be an almost knee jerk assumption that the values transmitted by the state are always superior to those taught by those who hold religious values. But this is not an argument but rather a heavy-handed tenet of the state religion called secularism.

There is an assumption in society that only religious people can be intolerant and the state is always neutral. But that is beyond naïve. Secularism has become as much a theology as religious teaching. And in a fair society, there should be room for both, not just one.

Once again, Orwellian language.

Secularism is the antithesis of religion. It is the principle by which the instruments and institutions of the state perform their public duties without discrimination in favour of or against any particular religion. Parents and religious institutions are free in our society to impart religious values and teachings to their young people. Nobody is taking that away from them.

But the state has an obligation to provide an education suitable for the 21st century and I would say that the Quebec government has taken a commendable attempt at reforming the system to better reflect the demographic realities in that province and in the country.

The Quebec government has announced its intention to appeal the decision of the court.

Monday, June 21, 2010

It is just a blatant attempt to sap world anger

Boy, they don't even bother trying to hide it.

In response to Israel's announcement that it is easing the blockade of goods moving into Gaza and making the list of banned goods public, Hamas had this to say:

"Hamas rejects this decision. This is an attempt to sap international anger over the blockade on the Gaza Strip,” Hamas official Ismail Radwan told Reuters by phone from Gaza.

The important delegitimizing of Israel will be derailed if Hamas cannot continue to stir the global hatred pot against the little Jewish state, and, of course, that is the most important thing of all.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fallout from Aqsa Parvez

There have been a couple of columns in the National Post in the last few days that I feel need some rebuttal.

The first was by a member of Canada’s Parliament, Mr. Ujjal Dosanth. His piece lamented the atmosphere of political correctness that seems to prevent Canadians from speaking out about the horror of honour killings. Nowhere, however, does he seem to be aware of the horror of Human Rights tribunals in Canada that are prepared to prosecute anyone who speaks unkindly of other people’s customs.

Furthermore, he states, most curiously, that no religion “condones” honour killing. Au contraire, Mr. Dosanth. An act can be condoned by actual approval or it can be condoned by lack of objection.

In a column in Front Page Magazine, Islamic expert, Robert Spencer, has this to say about Islamic views of honour killings:

… but the problem with honor killing is sanctioned by Islamic law and custom, thus making it very difficult to stamp out in Islamic communities. Hindu dowry-killing is not sanctioned by Hindu teaching. It is against the law in India. In Islam, however, the situation is quite different: Syria recently scrapped a law limiting the length of sentences for honor killings, but “the new law says a man can still benefit from extenuating circumstances in crimes of passion or honour ‘provided he serves a prison term of no less than two years in the case of killing.’”

That’s right: two years for murder.

And in 2003 the Jordanian Parliament voted down on Islamic grounds a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings. Al-Jazeera reported that “Islamists and conservatives said the laws violated religious traditions and would destroy families and values.”

What’s more, a manual of Islamic law certified as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy by Al-Azhar University, the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, says that “retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right.” However, “not subject to retaliation” is “a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring’s offspring.” (‘Umdat al-Salik o1.1-2).

In other words, someone who kills his child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law.

No penalty – that is condonation no matter how you slice it. This is why you never hear Muslim spokespeople do anything but re-direct attention to cultural or ethnic practices whenever anyone raises the issue of honour killings and Islam.

The second column that caught my attention was one by Chris Selley, rattling on about how honour killing is such small potatoes in the great pantheon of murders in Canada (he cites statistics) and we should all just take a pill and settle down and stop calling for an overhaul of our immigration laws to stamp out this non-plague.

This is what I would call a shadow boxing column.

Who is calling for an overhaul of the immigration system to stamp out honour killings: somebody in the mainstream media, any members of Parliament, or any political party that could form the government in Canada? I know of no such movement, so Selley is simply punching aimlessly at the air.

What is missing from his statistical-analytical assessment is the horror that attaches to a crime in which parents kill their children.

Thousands of parents in this country put up with teenage children who shoot themselves up with drugs, break into homes, are involved in acts of violence, driving while drunk, and all sorts of other anti-social behaviour, while they bad-mouth their parents in the process. Such behaviour prematurely puts grey hair on the heads of the parents, but they love their offspring and stick with them until they get through these trying years and mature into productive adults.

The idea that parents would kill a teenage girl just because she wanted to wear jeans and tee-shirts and hang around with her friends at the mall is too terrible to contemplate.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Now we know why Swiss cheese is full of holes

Whatever happened to Switzerland?

In a craven exhibition of kowtowing, it has secured the release of an innocent Swiss engineer, Max Goeldi, who has been held hostage by Moammar Gadhafi for two years in return for “normalization” of its relations with Libya.

Switzerland has been the subject of Gadhafi's call to jihad that started with the Swiss arrest of Gadhafi’s son and daughter-in-law on assault charges in 2008, and escalated when the Swiss people voted to ban the building of further minarets earlier this year.

The Gadhafis bought off the maid who made the assault complaint and charges were dropped. But, apparently, the police mug shot of his son got circulated on the Internet. So, in addition to getting the release of the hostage the Swiss government is also paying about $1.5 million in compensation to Gadhafi’s son.

It is hard to believe that 70 years ago this was the same country that Hitler was afraid to invade. He was prepared to invade Great Britain and he had no problem invading Russia and the rest of Western Europe and North Africa. He declared war on the United States. But Switzerland gave him pause.

Switzerland is an economically successful state with a mixed economy and few natural resources bolstering its high GDP.

Libya is a two bit little country with nothing but oil propping it up, but the triumph of Islam marches on, as another successful holy war is brought to a satisfactory conclusion with the Swiss paying the jizya and being permitted to continue their dhimmitude.

It also appears that Switzerland had help from the other weak-kneed European states in bowing before the barbarous Berber of the Barbary Coast, as this news story indicates.

It is Libya that launched the United States' navy to combat Muslim sea-going commerce raiders who were capturing American seaman and enslaving them. When the Muslim potentate of the day refused to be bought off, Congress approved a naval bill and the U.S. marines were sent to Tripoli (they still sing about it).

Unfortunately, the Obama administration has forgotten the words of the Marine Corps' anthem (actually, I think he calls it the Marine Corpse in what is perhaps a freudian slip). An American diplomat who mildly commented that declaring holy war on Switzerland might not be the best option was made to apolgize for this insult to Gaddafi.

And, as events have shown, what did he know anyway?


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Picture This

I have seen quite a few funny pictures of American protestors holding up signs with misspelled words over the years. Most of these were pictures taken at conservative rallies and circulated by liberals whose under-text was that conservatives are not very educated.

I have also see a lot of commentary on how the far left (the really educated) and the Islamists make common cause.

Well, if that is the case, I hope some of those liberal fellow-travellers will give the chap in the picture above a spelling lesson. He is Carlos Almonte, the religious zealot from New Jersey who was recently arrested trying to go to Somalia to fight in the jihad. The picture was taken in New York City at some Islamist street protest in 2008.

Thanks to:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I may one day have to lick the back of this man's head -- shudder

When his mother dies, I am going to become the most radical advocate for republicanism in Canada. He is an imbecile. I refuse to look at his mug on my money and my stamps.

In the same speech at Oxford intending to make soothing noises to Islam -- we should follow the path of Islam in our relationship with the environment -- he paid attention to the problem of an unsustainable environment because of overpopulation. Does he not realize that Islam leads the world in birth rates, that the Muslim birthrate in the U.K. is 10 times that of British people who resemble Prince Charles?

His audience were, as might be expected, mesmerized by his speech, as these two photos demonstrate.

Thanks to:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sign of the times

Saturday afternoon, Françoise Tenenbaum, Socialist adjunct delegate for Solidarity and Health to the mayor of Dijon, bestowed medals honoring the French family. The Medal of the French Family, created in 1920 by decree, modified on October 28, 1982, is an honorary distinction to worthy persons who are raising or who have raised many children, in order to pay homage to their merits and to show the gratitude of the Nation.

It is therefore a way to reward these meritorious mothers who, through their devotion and their self-sacrifice, took on the responsibilities of their role, even if these mothers themselves do not see in it any merit. (...)

Thus, 21 mothers, in the presence of their families received their medal. Eight silver medals (six or seven children): Fatiha Benhalima, Fouzia Amezane, Fatima Boularess, Aïcha Hadj-Abderrahmane, Mama Lefdou, Fatima Loubbi, Rosaria Rutigliano, Aïcha Tasry.

Thirteen bronze medals (four or five children): Saadia Ayar née Ayar, Saadia Ayar née Jabir, Medhia Bargaoui, Fatima Batta, Diane Brenot, Saâdia Brouzi, Fatima Et-Tellah, Nacéra Farsi, Fatima Haddache, Nathalie Lerbet, Zineb Oussghir, Stella-Cora Robert, Latifa Sabik.

Thanks to

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Forgotten Rachels

Israeli commandos fought it out with Islamists on board a vessel called the Rachel Corrie a week ago. It is named after an American pro-Palestinian activist who died while trying to stop an Israeli bulldozer from demolishing a structure believed to have been hiding a smuggling tunnel in Gaza.

A Spectator journalist, Tom Gross penned a piece called The Forgotten Rachels about all the women named Rachel who have been murdered by Palestinians and whose names are not celebrated on the stage in London, or painted on the sides of ships.

is a link to the article.

Thanks to Mark Steyn for bringing it to my attention.

Correction:The Rachel Corrie was not the vessel involved in the shootout, it was one of the vessels in the flotilla that docked at the Israeli port. The battle occurred on the Mavi Marmara.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Senator Eaton speaks truth to idiots

“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to address the state of freedom of speech in Canada.

Like other Senators who have spoken before me on this matter, I am alarmed by the erosion of this most essential right; alarmed because freedom of speech is an inextricable part of our Canadian identity. If we lose that freedom, we lose a part of our Canadian-ness.

Freedom of expression in all of its many forms – including freedom of speech, the press, the arts, and religious and cultural expression – has always been one of Canada’s most important national qualities.

It is a golden thread, woven through our great historic moments and all of our great public controversies, and it has guided us to peaceful resolutions of our disagreements and helped us reach our highest aspirations.

And, in our increasingly multicultural, pluralistic society, it ensures that everyone in Canada can find their voice, and have their say.

Freedom of speech is the great equalizer for Canadians who seek to address their claims by appealing to our national conscience.

In Canada, one doesn’t need to have power or money to make a case – merely a passion to express an idea.

This is one of the most attractive qualities we offer to new immigrants, many of whom come from countries where political or even religious dissent is a crime.

But free speech isn’t just part of our Canada today. It is also a great Canadian tradition.

In his opening remarks on this subject, Senator Finley mentioned in passing the case of Joseph Howe. I’d like to expand on that, because it set such an important precedent for the freedoms we enjoy to this day.

In 1835 – nearly 200 years ago, and a generation before Canada was born as our own country – Joseph Howe was put on trial for seditious libel, because the newspaper he published had embarrassed local Halifax politicians by exposing their corruption.

Howe knew that his own freedom was at stake – if he lost, he could have been imprisoned.

But he also knew that much more was on trial that day: the right of citizens to scrutinize and criticize their government was in question.

Some would call that the right to offend!

Here’s what he said to the jury about what would happen politically if he were convicted:

“Were you to condemn me, these [politicians] would say there is no truth in those charges, there is nothing wrong, and matters would continue in the old beaten track. If you acquit me, as I trust you will, they must form themselves into a court of inquiry for self-reformation ; they must drive out from among them those men who bring disgrace on their ranks, and mischief on the community in which they reside…”

At the time, Halifax had fewer than 15,000 citizens. It was still a very new place, and its political and legal culture were still being formed.

Howe’s case would set a precedent for Nova Scotia, and the rest of Canada, for centuries to come.

Had the jury chosen to side with the Halifax elites – the politicians and other polite company who had been offended and embarrassed by him – corruption would have flourished, and democratic criticism would have withered.

Howe’s passionate defence of freedom worked. The jury defied the judge’s instructions and acquitted Howe. And that great triumph set him on course to one day become Nova Scotia’s premier.

But let me quote one more passage from Howe’s speech.

Remember, his trial was not long after the American Revolution, and the War of 1812. Canadians and Americans had taken two separate paths, and were still wary of each other.

Howe clearly rejected the American way. He regarded their revolution as an act of rebellion and disloyalty. He was a fiercely proud Nova Scotian. But here’s what he said:

“Let not the sons of the Rebels look across the border to the sons of the Loyalists, and reproach them that their press is not free.”

Howe wasn’t trying to impress the Americans. And he certainly didn’t believe that freedom of speech was only for Americans.

In fact, the opposite: in his defence, he constantly referred to the Canadian and British traditions of liberty.

To Howe, all modern free peoples enjoyed freedom of speech. Far from being merely an American concept, Howe regarded it as quintessentially Canadian.

Joseph Howe set a great precedent. But the nature of freedom of speech is that it constantly must be supported, for there are would-be censors in every generation.

In 1935, exactly a century after Howe’s acquittal, across the country in Alberta, William Aberhart became premier, and like the political elites of Howe’s Halifax, he found Alberta’s newspapers to be troublesome and offensive.

Aberhart’s election came in the face of nearly universal opposition by the newspapers of the day.

By 1937, he was so frustrated that he introduced the Accurate News and Information Act, that required every newspaper in the province to run a rebuttal or a “correction or amplification” when ordered to do so by the government.

Alberta’s Lieutenant Governor refused to proclaim the law until the Supreme Court could assess its constitutionality; he was punished by being stripped of his official residence, car and staff.

Even without that law, Aberhart prosecuted his war against the press. The Alberta Legislature ordered that a reporter for the Edmonton Journal, Don Brown, be jailed for misquoting a government back-bencher.

Luckily, national ridicule caused the government to back down before they could arrest him.

In the spring of 1938, the Supreme Court ruled that Alberta’s Press Act was illegal, and that it violated Canada’s unwritten bill of rights – the same code of freedom that had protected Joseph Howe.

And for its efforts in fighting against Aberhart’s censorship, the Edmonton Journal was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize, the first time the citation was awarded outside of the United States.

It was a great Canadian moment.

There are many of these moments in our history – some much more recently.

It wasn’t until 1955 that the University of Toronto shut down its “Art Room”, where, until then, students had to prove they were free of “mental problems” before reading controversial books like Ulysses. The books were later moved to open shelves.

In the 1980s, in the case of Vancouver’s Little Sisters book store, Canada Customs followed Memorandum D911, which arbitrarily declared any description of gay sexuality to be obscene – a vague rule that was eventually thrown out by the Supreme Court.

Little Sisters continued its fight against Customs and Canada Post well into the 1990s.

And until Prime Minister Brian Mulroney overturned the order 48 hours later, customs police briefly made Canada the only Western democracy to seize copies of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, after Iran’s fatwa.

We’re in the 21st century now, and one would think that censorship would be obsolete, universally considered a relic of less enlightened times.

But nowadays it’s not prudish customs agents or thin-skinned politicians who are the main threat.

It’s Canada’s “human rights commissions”, which would have struck George Orwell as being perfectly named.

These commissions were started with the best of intentions – to help the poor and the weak from being bullied out of a job or an apartment.

But they have become censors, policing not death threats or incitement to violence, or any other real crime, but rather the fake crime of hurt feelings. They have become what author Kathy Shaidle calls a “Tyranny of Nice”.

Section 13 of our own Canadian Human Rights Act makes it against the law to evoke feelings of “hatred or contempt”. But hate is a normal human feeling. What’s not normal is to make those feelings against the law.

Of course we don’t want people to turn their hard feelings into crimes –that’s why we have the Criminal Code. But to have a government agency monitoring the Internet, searching for certain political views to prosecute is anathema to a liberal democracy.

In 2008, Maclean’s magazine was put on trial for a week for publishing excerpts from Mark Steyn’s best-selling book on Islam.

And the Western Standard’s publisher, Ezra Levant, was prosecuted for 900 days for publishing pictures of the controversial Danish cartoons of Mohammed.

Those are two famous cases. But there are plenty more people who have been investigated by the government merely for having a certain point of view.

Like pastor Stephen Boissoin (buzz-ON), who was given a lifetime speech ban by the Alberta human rights commission.

And Father Alphonse de Valk of Toronto’s Catholic Insight magazine, and the Christian Heritage Party and Bill Whatcott of Saskatchewan

Each of these men were prosecuted for expressing their religious belief. Not for doing anything harmful; just for saying something that someone else found offensive.

This shows a systemic bias in our human rights commissions – and that’s exactly the problem with vague, political censorship. It’s not about the law anymore. It’s about political favourites.

But that’s just not how we settle our disagreements in Canada. We don’t have the state intervene in political or religious disagreements. We let people decide for themselves.

There is a common thread to each of these free speech battles.

In each case, the targets of censorship were declared “offensive” or “troublesome”. But in each case, the success of those troublesome critics helped make Canada more inclusive and more democratic.

Canada is the most peaceful and tolerant country in the world, precisely because we allow people to disagree with each other passionately – and even offensively.

That clash of ideas is often noisy and occasionally upsetting.

But through those vigorous discussions, we have been able to navigate our way through hundreds of years of challenges – and our national purpose has never been stronger.

Mr. Speaker, freedom of speech is not just an abstract Canadian ideal.

It is an active, living part of being Canadian. It is an integral part of the Canadian identity. Our citizens use it every day, more often than any other freedom.

To study our history is to see each generation of Canadians stand up for that freedom when it is challenged like it has been several times recently with the Steyn, Levant and Coulter episodes.

And to learn from our history is to know that we must protect that great inheritance today and whenever in the future it may be challenged again.

Thank you.”

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I will be out of the country for a month and will resume blogging in May.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Oh, Ann. Say it ain't so.

Word is circulating that American conservative political commentator, Ann Coulter, is considering making a complaint to the Canada Human Rights Commission because she was “threatened” by a letter from the Provost of the University of Ottawa.

Coulter is on a three-University speaking tour. She spoke at the University of Western Ontario without a lot of fuss and she was supposed to speak at Ottawa yesterday, but her appearance was cancelled because about 2,000 protestors showed up to try to prevent her from speaking. They succeeded.

The Provost sent her a letter prior to her travels to Canada lecturing her on responsible speech and advising her to bone-up on Canadian free speech limitations and libel law before she opens her mouth. Some people think the disclosure of this letter in the media and blogosphere probably encouraged the protestors to go out and close her down.

Coulter is now claiming she is a victim of discrimination and abuse because of this letter.

My advice to Coulter is to nix the complaint.

I didn’t read the letter as threatening in any way. It was stupid, no doubt about that. And maybe the real complaint should be why the taxpayers are expected to fund Ontario universities when they employ people of the limited intellectual caliber of this Provost. But, that is not Ann’s issue.

The reason I would advise against proceeding in this manner is that she will just act to legitimize the HRCs. Mssrs. Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn have spent a lot of time “de-normalizing” (Levant’s conceit) these PC monsters and by submitting to their jurisdiction, Coulter gives them license to once more try to stifle free speech.

I think the Provost was perfectly entitled to express his opinions, just as Coulter was. She should not be an agent acting to prevent his right to free speech by resorting to the government to enshrine her “victimhood”.

The larger issue, which we need to consider, is how we prevent mobs from shutting down free speech on our campuses. Clearly, it is a problem the universities are unable to solve. We have to solve it for them. No longer should we view them as these private enclaves of entitlement governed solely by their own rules.

ADDENDUM: When I wrote the foregoing, I was unaware that Allan Rock was the President of the University of Ottawa. Now the scales have fallen from my eyes and I understand why this whole event got completely out of hand.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I guess we will just have to wait for the 22nd century for the rubes to catch up

In the 21st century it is amazing how the world of magic still pervades the most scientifically and technologically advanced societies.

When I first saw the documentary Jesus Camp, I scoffed at the fundamentalist Protestant Reverend Rebecca Fletcher, putting defensive spells (blessings) on her laptop computer and the building’s electrical panel so that the Devil wouldn’t screw with her PowerPoint presentation. Later she is seen admonishing her young charges to avoid Harry Potter, a young man in fiction known to put defensive spells around his friends to ward off evil.

Yet here we are again, with a recent interview with the Vatican’s chief exorcist, telling us of all the demons he has cast out from people they possessed. He claims to know of 70,000 cases where demons possessed humans.

Such people are only a brain cell or two away from considering the burning of witches to be a heritage ceremony to be lamented for its decline.

I have just finished reading Richard Dawkins’ excellent new book, The Greatest Show on Earth, which is a tour de force in setting out the scientific evidence for evolution, 200 years after the birth of its discoverer, Charles Darwin.

In an appendix, Dawkins reports a number of polls that have been conducted in the United States, the United Kingdom and worldwide asking people, in different ways whether they think evolution is true. Depressingly, scientifically and technologically advanced nations such as the U.S. and the U.K. score poorly, with more people doubting evolution as described by Darwin’s natural selection than other explanations. He shows Turkey as being very low on the evolution acceptance scale with only 27% accepting evolution and 51% rejecting it.

U.S. and U.K figures are not much better, but Dawkins suspects that the Turkish numbers would be typical for Islamic countries. He cites the case of an organization in Britain called the Al-Nasr Trust which has produced leaflets that are distributed by Muslim medical students claiming Darwin’s theory is false. He point out that the ANT is a registered charity, so it is a tax-subsidized entity arguing against solid science within scientific education facilities. There isn't anything useful in science produced from Islamic societies in the last 1,000 years, but there they are mocking the discovery of one of the most important scientists of all time, and being fiancially rewarded by the government of the U.K. for their efforts.

Dawkins says it is very easy for a religious organization to obtain charitable status under Britain’s laws (which were copied nearly verbatim in Canada), whereas a bona vide charity (one that actually does real charitable work, such as advancing education) must jump through a number of hoops in order to obtain the same status.

He writes:

I recently established a charitable foundation dedicated to promoting “Reason and Science”. During the protracted, extremely expensive, and ultimately successful negotiation to obtain charitable status, I received a letter from the British Charity Commission…which contained the following: “It is not clear how the advancement of science tends towards the mental and moral improvement of the public. Please provide us with evidence of this or explain how it is linked to the advancement of humanism and rationalism.” Religious organizations, by contrast, are assumed to benefit humanity without any obligation to demonstrate it and even, apparently, if they are actively engaged in promoting scientific falsehood.

In light of the magic spell casting, still conducted by elements of the Christian faith one could add to that, “even if they are actively involved in spreading about the most archaic and nonsensical ideas.”

Friday, March 12, 2010

My kind of guy -- off with the mask and down with the gauntlet

International wars sometimes start in strange ways.

World War I started with the murder of a member of the Austrian nobility by a Serbian nationalist, which was followed by a declaration of war amongst the major European powers of the day. Nobody really saw that one coming.

Franklin Roosevelt tried to interfere with Japan’s takeover of Manchuria and pretty much guaranteed that Japan would eventually attack the United States, end its neutrality and ensure its entry into World War II. It is arguable that most Americans didn’t really see that one coming either.

Nineteen Muslim airline hijackers sent the American military into Afghanistan and Iraq. Saddam Hussein was as surprised as anybody when the U.S. tanks and aircraft rolled into his country.

There is a new conflict brewing and it receives almost no attention in North America. It also started with an innocuous beginning.

In 2008, Hannibal Gaddafi, the son of Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, was arrested in Geneva, Switzerland for allegedly assaulting two of his servants. The old man erupted, arresting two Swiss businessmen in Libya for violating “residency” rules.

According to the February 26, 2010 edition of the Wall Street Journal:

Then, last November, Swiss voters approved a referendum to ban the construction of minarets on mosques. Some analysts in Switzerland said they believed the strong vote in favor of the ban—58% of voters supported the referendum—stemmed in part from resentment in Switzerland over the issue of the businessmen in Libya. Soon after the election, Libya's government-controlled news agency Jana branded the vote "racist."

But while the vote raised the ire of political and religious leaders in the Muslim world, it hasn't generated violence or a backlash against Swiss interests abroad, as the Swiss government had originally feared.

After the vote, Swiss efforts to convince Tripoli to release the men failed, and political observers said Libya's continued refusal to release them was in reaction to the minaret vote. Earlier this week, Libya freed one of the men after a court overturned his conviction on appeal, and he has returned to Switzerland. The other man, Max Göldi, the country head in Libya for Swiss engineering group ABB Ltd., has begun a four-month prison sentence in Libya.

Bern has restricted the granting of Swiss visas to Libyan citizens. That, in turn, has prompted Tripoli to block the entry of some European citizens into Libya. Tripoli has stopped issuing visas to citizens of the Schengen passport-free zone, which includes most of the European Union as well as Switzerland.
On Thursday, Italy said Libya may renege on a deal to help control the flow of undocumented immigrants into the EU because of the visa spat with Switzerland. Libya is often used as a departure point by such immigrants for southern Europe, particularly Italy.

Italy, which has close business links with Libya, has accused Switzerland of misusing the Schengen agreement and taking its members "hostage" by instituting the ban, which had forced other Schengen nations to bar travel by Libyans as well.
Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said the quarrel put the Schengen zone at risk and could further strain relations with Libya. Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf met with EU ministers on Thursday to discuss possible solutions to the travel situation.

But the issue has escalated beyond mere visa and passport fiddling.

In February, 2010 Gaddafi called for “jihad” (holy war) against Switzerland:

We will not give up Jihad, because it is a religious duty. Jihad constitutes a religious duty and self-defense. It is the defense of the religion, fighting for the sake of Allah, defense of the Prophet Muhammad, of the Koran, of the mosques. … Whoever destroys the mosques of Allah before the eyes of the Muslims is worthy of having Jihad launched against him. If Switzerland were situated on our border, we would fight it, for destroying the mosques of Allah. Jihad against those who destroy the mosques of Allah and their minarets is [true] Jihad, and not terrorism. … Switzerland is an infidel and sinful country which destroys mosques. Jihad, with all possible means, should be declared against it.

Any Muslim who buys Swiss products is an infidel. Let Muslims all over the world know this. There are people here from all over the Islamic world. Any Muslim anywhere in the world who deals with Switzerland is an infidel against Islam, Muhammad, Allah, and the Koran. If you continue to have dealings with Switzerland, and the people who portrayed the Prophet Muhammad in the most abominable way in their newspapers. … If you continue to have dealings with them, to buy their products, to support them, to accept their tourists, to accept their planes, to accept their ships, and to host their embassies — you are not Muslims. Any Muslim must boycott them.

Boycott Switzerland, its products, its planes, its ships, and its embassies. Boycott this sinful infidel community, which attacks the mosques of Allah. The Muslim masses must head towards all the airports in the Islamic world, and prevent any Swiss plane from landing. They should head to the ports, and prevent any Swiss ship from coming in. They should comb the shops and markets and remove the Swiss products. Allah said: “Let them find harshness in you.”

This might pass for the normal, fatuous, ravings of a megalomaniac dictator except:

Qaddafi’s government has cut its oil supplies to Switzerland, withdrawn Libyan capital from Swiss banks, and moved to close all Swiss companies active in Libya — Swiss Air having already been shut down. And within a week, by Thursday, March 4, Qaddafi’s call for jihad against Switzerland — manifested as economic jihad, for now — was endorsed by Arab League ministers meeting in Cairo. Ministers from Somalia, Sudan, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria, Djibouti, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE , Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Tunisia each signed a document in support of Libya’s actions, which also denounced Switzerland as “racist.”

Qaddafi’s jihad-sanctioning diatribe and its endorsement by the Arab League ignore the Swiss electorate’s legitimate concerns expressed through their political leadership, notably the Swiss People’s Party (SVP). These actions towards the Swiss and Western Europe in general by Qaddafi, his Arab League supporters, and other Muslim political and religious leaders illustrate simultaneous denial and imperialistic threat — archetypal Islamic behaviors toward infidel civilizations.

The Swiss plebiscite did not disenfranchise any Muslims from worshipping or building centers of worship, it was only aimed at the architectural adornment of a minaret, and did not deal with those that have already been built.

It is possible that Gaddafi’s call to jihad may do more to unite Europe against the world of Islam than a 100 Geert Wilders ever could.

If your knowledge of Gaddafi is somewhat scant, go to this website for a more intimate look.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Gilders -- worth repeating

"Freedom must prevail, and freedom will prevail"

Geert Wilders
Speech House of Lords, London
Friday the 5th of March 2010

Thank you. It is great to be back in London. And it is great that this time, I got to see more of this wonderful city than just the detention centre at Heathrow Airport.

Today I stand before you, in this extraordinary place. Indeed, this is a sacred place. This is, as Malcolm always says, the mother of all Parliaments, I am deeply humbled to have the opportunity to speak before you.

Thank you Lord Pearson and Lady Cox for your invitation and showing my film 'Fitna'. Thank you my friends for inviting me.

I first have great news. Last Wednesday city council elections were held in the Netherlands. And for the first time my party, the Freedom Party, took part in these local elections. We participated in two cities. In Almere, one of the largest Dutch cities. And in The Hague, the third largest city; home of the government, the parliament and the queen. And, we did great! In one fell swoop my party became the largest party in Almere and the second largest party in The Hague. Great news for the Freedom Party and even better news for the people of these two beautiful cities.

And I have more good news. Two weeks ago the Dutch government collapsed. In June we will have parliamentary elections. And the future for the Freedom Party looks great. According to some polls we will become the largest party in the Netherlands. I want to be modest, but who knows, I might even be Prime Minister in a few months time!

Ladies and gentlemen, not far from here stands a statue of the greatest Prime Minister your country ever had. And I would like to quote him here today: "Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. No stronger retrograde force exists in the World. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step (...) the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome." These words are from none other than Winston Churchill wrote this in his book 'The River War' from 1899.

Churchill was right.

Ladies and gentlemen, I don't have a problem and my party does not have a problem with Muslims as such. There are many moderate Muslims. The majority of Muslims are law-abiding citizens and want to live a peaceful life as you and I do. I know that. That is why I always make a clear distinction between the people, the Muslims, and the ideology, between Islam and Muslims. There are many moderate Muslims, but there is no such thing as a moderate Islam.

Islam strives for world domination. The Quran commands Muslims to exercise jihad. The Quran commands Muslims to establish shariah law. The Quran commands Muslims to impose Islam on the entire world.

As former Turkish Prime Minister Erbakan said: "The whole of Europe will become Islamic. We will conquer Rome". End of quote.

Libyan dictator Gaddafi said: "There are tens of millions of Muslims in the European continent today and their number is on the increase. This is the clear indication that the European continent will be converted into Islam. Europe will one day soon be a Muslim continent". End of quote. Indeed, for once in his life, Gaddafi was telling the truth. Because, remember: mass immigration and demographics is destiny!

Islam is merely not a religion, it is mainly a totalitarian ideology. Islam wants to dominate all aspects of life, from the cradle to the grave. Shariah law is a law that controls every detail of life in a Islamic society. From civic- and family law to criminal law. It determines how one should eat, dress and even use the toilet. Oppression of women is good, drinking alcohol is bad.

I believe that Islam is not compatible with our Western way of life. Islam is a threat to Western values. The equality of men and women, the equality of homosexuals and heterosexuals, the separation of church and state, freedom of speech, they are all under pressure because of islamization. Ladies and gentlemen: Islam and freedom, Islam and democracy are not compatible. It are opposite values.

No wonder that Winston Churchill called Adolf Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' "the new Quran of faith and war, turgid, verbose, shapeless, bur pregnant with its message". As you know, Churchill made this comparison, between the Koran and Mein Kampf, in his book 'The Second World War', a master piece, for which, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. Churchill's comparison of the Quran and 'Mein Kampf' is absolutely spot on. The core of the Quran is the call to jihad. Jihad means a lot of things and is Arabic for battle. Kampf is German for battle. Jihad and kampf mean exactly the same.

Islam means submission, there cannot be any mistake about its goal. That's a given. The question is whether we in Europe and you in Britain, with your glorious past, will submit or stand firm for your heritage.

We see Islam taking off in the West at an incredible pace. Europe is Islamizing rapidly. A lot of European cities have enormous Islamic concentrations. Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and Berlin are just a few examples. In some parts of these cities, Islamic regulations are already being enforced. Women's rights are being destroyed. Burqa's, headscarves, polygamy, female genital mutilation, honour-killings. Women have to go to separate swimming-classes, don't get a handshake. In many European cities there is already apartheid. Jews, in an increasing number, are leaving Europe.

As you undoubtedly all know, better then I do, also in your country the mass immigration and islamization has rapidly increased. This has put an enormous pressure on your British society. Look what is happening in for example Birmingham, Leeds, Bradford and here in London. British politicians who have forgotten about Winston Churchill have now taken the path of least resistance. They have given up. They have given in.

Last year, my party has requested the Dutch government to make a cost-benefit analysis of the mass immigration. But the government refused to give us an answer. Why? Because it is afraid of the truth. The signs are not good. A Dutch weekly magazine - Elsevier - calculated costs to exceed 200 billion Euros. Last year alone, they came with an amount of 13 billion Euros. More calculations have been made in Europe: According to the Danish national bank, every Danish immigrant from an Islamic country is costing the Danish state more than 300 thousand Euros. You see the same in Norway and France. The conclusion that can be drawn from this: Europe is getting more impoverished by the day. More impoverished thanks to mass immigration. More impoverished thanks to demographics. And the leftists are thrilled.

I don't know whether it is true, but in several British newspapers I read that Labour opened the door to mass immigration in a deliberate policy to change the social structures of the UK. Andrew Neather, a former government advisor and speech writer for Tony Blair and Jack Straw, said the aim of Labour's immigration strategy was, and I quote, to "rub the Right's nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date". If this is true, this is symptomatic of the Left.

Ladies and gentlemen, make no mistake: The left is facilitating islamization. Leftists, liberals, are cheering for every new shariah bank being created, for every new shariah mortgage, for every new islamic school, for every new shariah court. Leftists consider Islam as being equal to our own culture. Shariah law or democracy? Islam or freedom? It doesn't really matter to them. But it does matter to us. The entire leftist elite is guilty of practising cultural relativism. Universities, churches, trade unions, the media, politicians. They are all betraying our hard-won liberties.

Why I ask myself, why have the Leftists and liberals stopped to fight for them? Once the Leftists stood on the barricades for women's rights. But where are they today? Where are they in 2010? They are looking the other way. Because they are addicted to cultural relativism and dependent on the Muslim vote. They are dependent on mass-immigration.

Thank heavens Jacqui Smith isn't in office anymore. It was a victory for free speech that a UK judge brushed aside her decision to refuse me entry to your country last year. I hope that the judges in my home country are at least as wise and will acquit me of all charges, later this year in the Netherlands.

Unfortunately, so far they have not done so well. For they do not want to hear the truth about Islam, nor are they interested to hear the opinion of top class legal experts in the field of freedom of expression. Last month in a preliminary session the Court refused fifteen of the eighteen expert-witnesses I had requested to be summoned.

Only three expert witnesses are allowed to be heard. Fortunately, my dear friend and heroic American psychiatrist dr. Wafa Sultan is one of them. But their testimony will be heard behind closed doors. Apparently the truth about Islam must not be told in public, the truth about Islam must remain secret.

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm being prosecuted for my political beliefs. We know political prosecution to exist in countries in the Middle East, like Iran and Saudi-Arabia, but never in Europe, never in the Netherlands.

I'm being prosecuted for comparing the Quran to 'Mein Kampf'. Ridiculous. I wonder if Britain will ever put the beliefs of Winston Churchill on trial... Ladies and gentlemen, the political trial that is held against me has to stop.

But it is not all about me, not about Geert Wilders. Free speech is under attack. Let me give you a few other examples. As you perhaps know, one of my heroes, the Italian author Oriana Fallaci had to live in fear of extradition to Switzerland because of her anti-Islam book 'The Rage and the Pride'. The Dutch cartoonist Nekschot was arrested in his home in Amsterdam by 10 police men because of his anti-Islam drawings. Here in Britain, the American author Rachel Ehrenfeld was sued by a Saudi businessman for defamation. In the Netherlands Ayaan Hirsi Ali and in Australia two Christian pastors were sued. I could go on and on. Ladies and gentlemen, all throughout the West freedom loving people are facing this ongoing 'legal jihad'. This is Islamic 'lawfare'. And, ladies and gentlemen, not long ago the Danish cartoonist Westergaard was almost assassinated for his cartoons.

Ladies and gentlemen, we should defend the right to freedom of speech. With all our strength. With all our might. Free speech is the most important of our many liberties. Free speech is the cornerstone of our modern societies. Freedom of speech is the breath of our democracy, without freedom of speech our way of life our freedom will be gone.

I believe it is our obligation to preserve the inheritance of the brave young soldiers that stormed the beaches of Normandy. That liberated Europe from tyranny. These heroes cannot have died for nothing. It is our obligation to defend freedom of speech. As George Orwell said: "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear".

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe in another policy, it is time for change. We must make haste. We can't wait any longer. Time is running out. If I may quote one of my favourite American presidents: Ronald Reagan once said: "We need to act today, to preserve tomorrow". That is why I propose the following measures, I only mention a few, in order to preserve our freedom:

First, we will have to defend freedom of speech. It is the most important of our liberties. In Europe and certainly in the Netherlands, we need something like the American First Amendment.

Second, we will have to end and get rid of cultural relativism. To the cultural relativists, the shariah socialists, I proudly say: Our Western culture is far superior to the Islamic culture. Don't be affraid to say it. You are not a racist when you say that our own culture is better.

Third, we will have to stop mass immigration from Islamic countries. Because more Islam means less freedom.

Fourth, we will have to expel criminal immigrants and, following denaturalisation, we will have to expel criminals with a dual nationality. And there are many of them in my country.

Fifth, we will have to forbid the construction of new mosques. There is enough Islam in Europe. Especially since Christians in Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Indonesia are mistreated, there should be a mosque building-stop in the West.

And last but not least, we will have to get rid of all those so-called leaders. I said it before: Fewer Chamberlains, more Churchills. Let's elect real leaders.

Ladies and gentlemen. To the previous generation, that of my parents, the word 'London' is synonymous with hope and freedom. When my country was occupied by the national-socialists the BBC offered a daily glimpse of hope in my country, in the darkness of Nazi tyranny. Millions of my fellow country men listened to it, underground. The words 'This is London' were a symbol for a better world coming soon.

What will be broadcasted forty years from now? Will it still be "This is London"? Or will it be "This is Londonistan"? Will it bring us hope? Or will it signal the values of Mecca and Medina? Will Britain offer submission or perseverance? Freedom or slavery? The choice is yours. And in the Netherlands the choice is ours.

Ladies and gentlemen, we will never apologize for being free. We will and should never give in. And, indeed, as one of your former leaders said: We will never surrender.

Freedom must prevail, and freedom will prevail.

Thank you very much.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Those annoying Christians

So, how does your organization feel about the representation of Canada shown in the opening ceremonies of the Olympics? Inuit art was strongly featured and is totally blended with their religious culture. It was used to represent our northern culture but doesn't represent the majority of Canadians either...yet we show it off to the world as if it is somehow intrinsic to our Canadian existance. Why should their religious beliefs be shown to the world when you would like to quash any mention of our larger and still majority Christian beliefs? I'm sick of the minority telling the majority we have to be tolerant of their beliefs when they are openly hostile to those of the majority. Suck it up...our anthem is beautiful and "God keep our Land" reflects the beliefs of a majority of Canadians in "a" God. I question your statistics. Whether or not Canadians believe in the Christian God, most believe in some kind of higher power or "god" and thus the term God is not offensive to them. Even the Muslims believe in a God named Allah. True Atheists are a very small minority.

The foregoing was a comment -- reproduced exactly as received -- that came to me from a Christian regarding an old posting on this blog about the initiative of the Canadian Secular Alliance to get God written out of the National Anthem of Canada.

I am going to assume the writer to be male for the sake of clarity in what I say next.

I think he displays a level of bigotry towards those of different beliefs or non-belief that ought to be worrying when he couples it with a reference to majority rule.

This is a liberal democracy and one of its hallmarks is that society tries to balance different rights and expectations amongst the citizenry. Clearly, we don’t all share the same beliefs and some of us, like the writer above, disdain those that don’t conform to his own beliefs. He may be “sick” of this balancing act, but I would pass back to him the same advice he gave me; namely, suck it up, because you live in the best country in the world where people of all nations, creeds, cultures and ethnic origins freely go about their lives, cherishing the values, institutions and benefits of our liberal democracy.

Those of us who do not believe in a supreme being don’t wish to “quash any mention” of Christian beliefs. The writer is free to go to any street corner in any town and city in this country, or stand outside any liquor store, and sing Onward Christian Soldiers at the top of his lungs. I can always walk away from him if the lyrics offend me. He can go to his house of worship and do the same thing. I don’t have to enter it and listen. He can pray in his own home, office, car, boat, RV, tent, or what have you.

This is a free country and, even though I don’t believe in flapping angels, talking snakes and all the other colourful stuff handed down to us from the ancient sandal-wearing, Bronze Age, desert-dwellers, I support your freedom to believe any old wives’ tales, myths, legends or other magical kingdom nonsense as you wish.

I don’t have any issue with you freely practicing your religion anywhere with the exception that it should not intrude on public institutions or into public places and in public practices that ought to remain secular and free from religious dogma and to which I may wish to resort or enjoy without first having to pay deference to your deity.

The National Anthem belongs to all Canadians, not just Christian Canadians, or any other deists. So why, if I wish to express my patriotism by singing it in public, am I required to pay homage to God? The words were first penned in 1908 and it wasn’t until the 1980s that the Christians in Parliament decided to inflict their religious beliefs on the rest of us by inserting God into the song.

It is particularly galling to me since I used to sing it joyously at school when it was just a rousing anthem to the country and had not been converted into a song of prayer to the Christian God. Now, I don’t sing it because I find myself stumbling over the God line.

Christians ought to become more familiar with their own religious textbook, the Bible, if they intend spout off on this subject. Matthew 6:6 advises that prayer is supposed to be a private matter, not a public demonstration. You can’t get more public in prayer than invoking God to keep your country strong and free in its national anthem.

The writer displays that all-too-common Christian victim mentality; it is Christians who are being denied their rightful place in the firmament. Get over yourselves. The Roman Empire disappeared nearly two millennia ago. You have come a long way from days of being thrown to the lions, brothers and sisters.

It is pretty funny, not to mention highly annoying, when you consider that Christians are forever banging on your door wanting to push their literature at you. They accost you on street corners, or set up kiosks and booths at public events. They put up billboards declaiming all sorts of radical testimony about the Devil and Darwin. They have their own radio shows and television networks, and on Sunday mornings you really have to channel surf to get away from them.

When was the last time your peace and tranquility was interrupted by a pair of atheist strangers at your front door wanting to engage you in discussion about your beliefs and shoving their secular pamphlets into your hands?

When I drive out in the country I am treated to giant signs urging me to “Repent and accept Christ”. Barns are painted with “Christ is the Answer” slogans. I stop behind cars and read “Jesus is my co-pilot” bumper stickers. Just above that is the little fish symbol. When I spend the weekend at my in-laws in a little town of 500 population, my Sunday morning rest is shattered by loud church bells ringing from a half a dozen nearby Christian churches.

Everywhere I go my senses of sight and sound are assaulted by the Christian God, intruding on my enjoyment of the public space, and offending my sense of reason and my beliefs.

Yet, a year or so ago, when a group of freethinkers decided to have a little fun and launched a short bus ad campaign suggesting the non-existence of God, you would have thought they were advocating the destruction of western civilization. The evangelical leader, Charles McVety, thundered against them as “attack ads”, the Catholic Bishop of Calgary exclaimed how offensive he found these ads. Nearly half the municipalities declined to approve the application for the ads even though some of them had previously approved religious advertising on transit vehicles.

It is odd that these ads can be considered an attack on Christianity, but all of those public promotions of God and Jesus, so beloved of Christians, that I have mentioned, are never seen by them as an attack on atheists. They are.

If it were limited simply to that level of hypocrisy, it might be endurable. But that is not enough for them. Christians get themselves elected or appointed to various boards and commissions and immediately start trying to censor books from public libraries or school libraries that my taxes have paid for. They even go to the extent of trying to ban a writer’s work, not because he wrote anything particularly derogatory about a religion, but because he publicly declared himself to be an atheist.

When did you ever hear of an activist atheist on such a body trying to restrict the circulation of the Bible or other religiously-themed works, or trying to ban works that were not religious, but were written by authors who are Christians? In the United States the activism of Christians has effectively shut down the teaching of the science of evolution in public and high school science classes in many states.

One Christian denomination in Ontario has its own entire school system funded at public expense, even putting the nation in violation of an international treaty to which it is a signatory. Religion is protected as a public charity under the taxing statutes so that its income is sheltered from normal taxation. Its vast property holdings are free from municipal taxation. Religion, and particularly the majority Christian faith, live large and fat off the taxpayers of this country. And we, the non-religious, are expected to have to make up some of the shortfall in tax revenue as a result of these shelters for God with not only no thanks from Christians, but with a sneer.

Who is the real victim in all of this?

It is high time we put an end to the public subsidization of religion. Atheists and the other non-religious folks don’t give a rat’s rectum about your beliefs and your belief institutions, or your entitlement to them, but they should not have to pay for them. You can pay your own way. After all, as you say, you are the great majority, so it shouldn’t be that difficult for you to pony up enough to keep your crosses flying and your fish swimming without picking my pocket while you are scorning me in the process.

Atheists are in indeed a small minority, but including them amongst the category of people who declare no religious affiliation leads to a much larger number. The official statistics can be found in the 2001 Canadian census. Here is an extract from the government of Canada website encapsulating those census results:

In 2001, 7 out of every 10 people still identified themselves as either Roman Catholic or Protestant.

Census data showed a continuation of a long-term downward trend in the population who report Protestant denominations. The number of Roman Catholics increased slightly during the 1990s, but their share of the total population fell marginally.
At the same time, the number of Canadians who reported religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism has increased substantially.

Much of the shift in the nation's religious makeup during the past several decades is the result of the changing sources of immigrants, which has created a more diverse religious profile. As well, many major Protestant denominations that were dominant in the country 70 years ago, such as Anglican and United Church, are declining in numbers, in part because their members are aging and fewer young people are identifying with these denominations.

In addition, far more Canadians reported that they had no religion. This group accounted for 16% of the population in 2001, compared with 12% a decade earlier.
In 2001, Roman Catholics were still the largest religious group, drawing the faith of just under 12.8 million people, or 43% of the population, down from 45% in 1991. The proportion of Protestants, the second largest group, declined from 35% of the population to 29%, or about 8.7 million people.

Combined, the two groups represented 72% of the total population in 2001, compared with 80% a decade earlier.
The population of Canada in 2001 was 30 million, which means that 4,800,000 people ticked the “no religion” box on the form. This is the largest demographic grouping after Christians and is a far larger body of people than all the other religions combined. It is also the fastest growing demographic, as this 2008 Harris-Decima poll indicates.

The next religious census will occur in 2011 and I would fully expect to see much larger numbers of non-believers and a continued erosion of Christian dominance.

Addendum (March 8)

In response to a comment below by Bruce challenging my assertion that there are many states in the U.S. that do not teach evoloution, I reproduce this map that was first published in 2002 in the Scientific American. I do acknowledge, however, that I may be displaying a bias when I attribute the non-teaching to Christian influence on education.