Friday, 29 May 2015

Atheist Former Councilor Taking Legal Action Against Cape Breton City Council For Continued Prayer

Just last week, Pagans protested a moment of silent prayer, invocation and reflection at the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) which was meant to replace an obviously Christian spoken prayer in the wake of the Supreme Court decision April 15th to remove prayer at city council meetings in Saguenay, Quebec.

The meetings happen monthly, and the Pagans were protesting the city doing a fairly half-assed job following the spirit of the Saguenay ruling the month before.

You see, technically, there was no prayer said out loud during the April 21st meeting, but:
At the April 21 council meeting, Mayor Cecil Clarke hosted a vocal prayer outside the chamber and had the prayer printed in the agenda in defiance of a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that banned a Quebec municipality from holding prayers at council meetings.
He didn't stop there, he also inserted God Save the Queen and Oh Canada into the program -- because they mention God.
He also had the singing of O Canada and God Save The Queen added to the agenda in order to work the word God into the session.
How wonderfully inclusive!
After the April meeting, several councillors objected to the mayor’s inclusion of prayer in contravention of the ruling, saying a moment of silent reflection would be more appropriate.

However, the text of the prayer was printed in the May 19 agenda, and the third item listed on the agenda is “Moment of silent prayer, invocation and reflection.”
If you would like to get a general idea about just how the council members feel about this -- which clearly demonstrates why they'll do anything to not follow the ruling in good faith -- just watch the conversations they had (41:33) about prayer in city meetings on that day.

My favourite part:
There are scientists now who are believing that there is something outside of science besides themselves. There are scientists who believe there is something bigger than science going on and there are books written about that.
Say what?

Here's the rub. They did all this after receiving confidential legal council advising them to stick with a moment of silence and mention nothing at all about prayer, a 'moment of prayer' or whatever! They were clearly warned that there could be a lawsuit and real damages -- for taxpayers, of course.

We know this because a legal memo from their counsel was recently leaked(!) -- first to resident Madeline Yakimchuk who opposes state endorsed prayer and posted the legal memo to her Facebook.
Yakimchuk said the top court ruling was “very clear” that religion has no place in municipal meetings, and the legal advice from municipal solicitor Demetri Kachafanas, provided days before the council meeting, clearly warned council about its duty to be neutral.

“This neutrality requires that the state neither favour nor hinder any particular belief, and the same holds true for non-belief,” Kachafanas wrote. “It requires that the state abstain from taking any position and thus avoid adhering to a particular belief.

“Being neutral is not simply not favouring one religion over another, it would extend to a duty not to favour religion over non-religion and the rights of non-believers. A prayer is in and of itself a religious act.

“Simply defying the ruling and continuing the prayer may expose the municipality to a legal challenge and quite likely damages.”
Well, all of this has lead atheist and former city councilor, Garry Smith (of previously separate Glace Bay) to inform the city that he is calling in the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission to investigate prayer in city council meetings.
Any kind of prayer at a public council meeting that assumes belief in any type of god — regardless of how inclusive it is intended to be — excludes his beliefs, Smith said.

“Once you put a prayer on a piece of paper, that piece of paper becomes a religious icon,” said Smith.
Smith is okay with a moment of silence, as am I, but that's not what it says on the program.

In addition to being a former municipal councilor, Smith is also a retired RCMP and corrections officer.
“To me, it smacks of religious arrogance on behalf of the mayor. ‘This is what I believe and you’re all entitled to hear and listen to my belief,’ and I’m not. I don’t want to listen to his belief.

“I don’t want to hear it from the state, of all places. If I wanted to hear a prayer, I’d go to a church downtown, or some place where I wanted to hear a prayer. When I go to municipal meetings, or any state function, I don’t expect to hear, ‘God, forgive me for what I’m about to do,’ all that sort of stuff.”
Right now, municipalities across the country are sort of hair-splitting any way they can to avoid following the spirit of the Saguenay ruling. A common refrain is that the Supreme Court ruled narrowly on just this Quebec town -- although it was a strong unanimous decision. If this legal route is pursued all the way up to the highest court, it has the potential -- in several years -- to trigger a more general ruling against state-endorsed prayer in municipal meetings that would shut this sort of silliness down for good.

So it might be wise for the CBRM to just have their moment of silence; legally prudent.

via Veronica Abbass

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Prominent Alberta Creationist Makes Most Important Alberta Fossil Discovery In Years

Sixty million year old fish fossil found by creationist. (Photo: University of Calgary)
Alberta creationist, Edgar Nernberg operates a backhoe and he sits on the Board of Directors at the Big Valley’s Creation Science Museum which is likely the Creationist Ground Zero of all of Canada! Yes, Alberta is living up to its reputation.
The "Dinosaurs and Humans" display shows considerable evidence that not only did dinosaurs exist recently, but that humans existed with them.  This evidence is fatal to the evolutionary dogma which has dinosaurs extinct at least 60 million years before humans evolved.
Big Valley Creation Science Museum (source)
I need to go! I need to go right now!

So anyway, Edgar was busy operating his backhoe -- digging a basement, a typical thing for a fossil expert to be doing -- and runs into one of the oldest and most important fossil finds ever in Alberta!
"When the five fish fossils presented themselves to me in the excavator bucket, the first thing I said was you’re coming home with me, the second thing was I better call a paleontologist," Nernberg said in a statement.
You can read all about Nernberg's find over at the University of Calgary news site.  Darla Zelenitsky is pretty excited by the pristine condition of the fish. They also come from a period right before the asteroid impact that toasted off the dinosaurs.
“Because complete fossils are relatively rare from this time period in Alberta, any such discoveries are significant as they shed light on the nature and diversity of animals that lived not long after the extinction of the dinosaurs,” says Zelenitsky. “These fossil fish are important because they are very primitive representatives of a large group of bony fish known today.”
You won't find mention of Nernberg's wacky creationist views at this U of C website though. They think this fossil is 60 million years old. Nernberg's pretty positive they're under 6,000 years old, because: BIBLE. Dinos and humans and the fish and everything were all together -- how else would the ark thing have worked, right?

Big Valley Creation Science Museum (source)
As Nerberg puts it, them fish don't have best before dates on them, or something.
It's hard work in a world where evolution and a timeline measured in the billions of years is widely accepted -- but Nernberg says he doesn't mind, knowing his point of view is the right one.

"There's no dates stamped on these things," he says, sharing a good-humoured chuckle about a discovery that has him working alongside the ideological enemy, so to speak.
Is it a miracle or was the Devil in control of that backhoe?

Denver Archdiocese: Get Them While They're Young

There was a clear message sent to the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland with the recent referendum there on same-sex marriage: the rights and freedoms of people -- regardless of their sexualilty or gender trump the dusty outdated dogma of an increasingly more irrelevant religious institution.

I wonder how the Catholic Church took the message?
“I was deeply saddened by the result,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, said at a conference in Rome on Tuesday night. “The church must take account of this reality, but in the sense that it must strengthen its commitment to evangelisation. I think that you cannot just talk of a defeat for Christian principles, but of a defeat for humanity.”
Alright then. Not so well, I suppose. So now more evangelization will be necessary to counteract this. Perhaps at a younger age, since it seems like it's the younger generations who don't have any problems with LGBT people getting married or living their lives in peace. Better tell them how wrong that is at an early age -- before their brains are developed enough to actually think about anything you're telling them, right?

Wash them brains and make them nice and clean and shiney real early.

The Archdiocese of Denver's got something to say about this 
"In an increasingly secular world, the reality is this: The souls of our children are the battleground," he wrote. "As the shepherd of the Archdiocese of Denver, I must do everything I can to help those who form children win that battle."
When I was younger, I didn't get confirmation until I was into my early teens. I can still remember the priest talking about how I had to go to battle for the Church and then he smacked me on the cheek. It was beautiful. The idea now is to get them all confirmed before they can even think for themselves -- because teens are starting to seriously question an institution which calls their gay friends -- or them! -- sinful.
Currently, baptized Catholic children receive their first communion in the second grade, with confirmation following in their teens. The so-called "restored order" will have children receiving both confirmation and first Eucharist in third grade at the same Mass.
The reasoning behind this is to allow children to grow their faith. Isn't that what unicorns, superheros, faeries and dragons are for?
"The idea is that if we make this available earlier, it allows children the ability to grow their faith as they grow up," Elmer said.
My five year old is starting to ask some pretty heavy questions and watches Bill Nye the Science Guy daily. I suppose the Church should have gotten to him in utero.

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