Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Baptisms In Pointe-Claire Public Pool

Pointe-Claire Aquatic Centre, Pointe-Claire, Quebec. (source)
Are you tired of all those people crowding you at your local public pool? Are you nervous taking a shower when you've inevitably forgotten your flip-flops? Is the chlorine or salt water too aggressive? Do you resent having to wear those tight head condoms? Are you suspicious of strangely coloured underwater clouds lingering around young children?

Well, things were even more distressing this past weekend over at the Pointe-Claire Aquatic Centre. It seems like churches are bringing their members to the pool and baptizing them!
Pointe-Claire resident Ninon Choquette said she was at the Pointe-Claire Aquatic Centre on Saturday afternoon at about 2:30 p.m. for “open-swim” when a group of bathers, including several dressed entirely in white, entered the pool area.
Well, at least they were fully clothed.
“The pool is in no way a place of worship,” said Choquette. “We go there to relax, to play with our children and to get in shape, not to undergo religious exercises.
Apparently, this is a pretty common thing.
Bill Gate is the manager of the Pointe-Claire Aquatic Centre.

Over the years, Gate said, he has seen baptisms take place in the pool, “one or two people … it’s over in 30 seconds.”
Choquette also asks the question of what's the limit, here. Indeed, what's next, funerals? In response, she made the very reasonable suggestion that religious groups rent the pool outside of regular swim hours for their religious ceremonies.

Meanwhile, the complaint has made it all the way up to the mayor of the city who responded by stating that religious events in city facilities are forbidden without prior city council approval.

This is apparently what happens when churches do not have the resources to baptise within their own premises and the Canadian winter is setting in -- and they're not into BieberBaptisms.

One commenter to the article could see no reason why anyone should have any problem with churches performing religious rituals at the public pool:
Why has this offended anyone? It is a public place. How you enter the water or why should be of no concern to anyone else. No one is hurt by someone choosing baptism and if it makes someone uncomfortable, don't watch. Why should it not be allowed? How about a mother breast feeding her child in the pool area? That makes some people uncomfortable, should that not be allowed? What happened to living in a place of freedom? What is it about God that offends some people so greatly that they would take precious time out of their day to complain? There are so many more productive things to fill your time with.
I wonder if there are any Satanist groups nearby who would be interested in doing some of their rituals there? If Christians get to have their ritual there then everyone from the Satanists to the Pastafarians should jump right on in.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Malaysian Atheists Using Christian Holiday of Halloween to Make Muslims Godless?

Much like the situation here in Canada, it seems like Malaysians are understandably confused about what Halloween is all about.

The article starts out reporting that the Malaysian National Fatwa Council, which has been busy lately reminding people not to touch dogs,  just put out a fatwa prohibiting people from celebrating Halloween. They concluded this was a Christian celebration of the dead which was against Islamic teachings.

I found this curious. Perhaps they read that recent propaganda piece about Kirk Cameron and got confused? Well, the article got a bit more precise  when the Council conceded that people didn't seem to actually celebrate the holiday in even a teensy weensy bit Christian way.
Despite declaring Halloween to be a Christian festival, the council noted that it is now celebrated through costume parties, trick-or-treating, lighting bonfires, visiting haunted locations, pranks, and horror story-telling.

“Halloween is celebrated using a humorous theme mixed with horror to entertain and resist the spirit of death that influence humans,” it said.
Right. Interesting take on this.

Well, I think the Duggar family would agree with the Council and have Halloween banned in America because it's un-Christian, go figure.

It's towards the end where things take a curious turn.
Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) has also waded into the issue, urging the state authorities, including the Negeri Sembilan Islamic Religious Council (Mains), to monitor the event.

Isma president Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman also claimed on Saturday Halloween celebrations are organised by non-Muslims worldwide to shake the faith of Muslims and turn them godless.

Abdullah said it was likely that atheists were behind the events, claiming further that Halloween celebrations were also intended to spread atheism.
Hold on --- is this a Christian celebration or an atheist one? Are atheists using a Christian holiday to foist their lack of belief onto people using funny costumes, candy and jack-o-lanterns? How does the Rocky Horror Picture Show factor into this, anyway?

I had no idea us atheists were so damned organized. Think of all we could achieve to better the treatment of atheists in Western countries if we'd only stop wasting energy trying to convert all the Malay Muslims to atheism! People! Come on!

Feel free to read up more about the presidents interesting conspiracy ideas about existential threats to the Malay Muslim community from liberalism, pluralism, the New World Order, the Jews, Christians and Chinese.

Of course, he's absolutely correct about an all-pervasive atheist agenda to use Halloween to render the world godless. Sure... absolutely...

Somerville: Physician Assisted Dying Ruins Our Sense Of "Secular Sacred"

So you may have seen posters like these circulating around the Internet arguing, from a Catholic point of view, why physician-assisted dying (with dignity!) -- otherwise known as having mercy on someone and letting them end their own intolerable suffering -- is downright selfish!

Apparently this came from the American Life League who are a band of conservative superheros hell bent on keeping you alive regardless of how grotesque and horrible that life may be, because: SUFFERING = JESUS and NOT SUFFERING = SELFISH! Sit back and ignore grandad's pleading to end his suffering, ignore his written wishes as well. He's being a selfish bastard.

Strangely enough, this approach didn't seem to work very well outside of uber-Catholic-type circles. I'm sure some must think it has to do with all that Jesus, God and Catholic business. Everyone is always picking on the Catholics. 

Cue the intro music for Montreal secular anti-euthanasia apologist Margaret Somerville! She claims to have some persuasive secular arguments for prolonging people's unbearable end of life pain and suffering.
If we are to maintain, and pass on to future generations, societies in which reasonable people would want to live, we must foster a sense of the “secular sacred” that everyone can accept whether or not they are religious and, if religious, no matter which tradition they follow. Euthanasia destroys any sense of there being a mystery at the heart of life and, therefore, that life is “secular sacred.” Mystery must be distinguished from myth, in the sense of a fairy tale, an illusion, or an untrue story. Experiencing mystery involves sensing there’s an immense unknown that we can intuit, to some extent, but not fully understand, and we must respect its integrity. Euthanasia — intentionally killing another person — unavoidably breaches the required respect. It treats us as expired products to be checked out of the supermarket of life, preferably, as one Australian politician put it, “as quickly, cheaply and efficiently as possible.”
Where can I even begin with this?

Okay, since when has the way you died defined whether or not people have a sense of the sacred? 

This leads me to the question: What sort of sense of secular sacred does Somerville actually have if she's claiming that people must suffer horribly in their final days or else it will be dashed? Is she a sort of suffering fetischist like Mother Teresa or the folks at the American Life League appear to be? The two messages do seem to resemble each other, don't they? What, precisely, is it that prolonged suffering contributes to a life well lived?

I'm sure she doesn't mean this, but it does rather sound like these darkest, most humiliating, most gruesome, fearful and painful days of one's life are to be wondered at as being some sort of mystery at the heart of life -- right up there with how the universe began and the vastness and sublime beauty of the cosmos.

I've seen a man dying and there is very little mystery involved there.

Meanwhile, there is much awe and inspiration and even feeling of secular sacred within the atheist and Humanist community! Actually, only the saddest of people would not have multitudes of things within this world which bring such feelings and death probably ranks fairly low on the list.

Something is cheap if it lacks quality and the only one who can assess whether or not a life is sufficiently good to be lived is the one who must walk that path -- not Somerville in her office or the Pope in Rome.
We must also respect the “human spirit,” which probably has a genetic base, because we all share it whether or not we’re religious. As I’ve written previously, it is “the intangible, immeasurable, ineffable reality all of us need to have access to find meaning in life and to make life worth living — a deeply intuitive sense of relatedness or connectedness to all life, especially other people, to the world, the universe and the cosmos in which we live; the metaphysical — but not necessarily supernatural — reality which we need to experience to live fully human lives.” Kay is right in perceiving he must reject a concept of the human spirit to validate the ethical acceptability of euthanasia.
Is this the best they can do? Those who would stand on guard to keep the suffering awake to feel the pain have intangibles and immeasuables and ineffables to suppress the will and right to self-autonomy of other human beings?

Perhaps their god will turn up wherever they happen to actually find something tangible, measurable, and effible with which to argue against the will of the weakest, most vulnerable of society.

When they come up with something substantial, they can offer it up and we can reconsider. For now, let's allow people to end their own suffering.