Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Calgary (Catholic) Public Schools Sent Scary Anti-HPV-Vaccine Letter To Parents

Gardasil anti-HPV vaccine (aka. sexytime inducer) (source).
So, for five years, the publicly funded Calgary Catholic School Board refused to let their girls get vaccinated against HPV. Then, back in November 2012 they finally caved and allowed it. Now they want to extend it to boys as well. Well, the Catholic bishops are just not happy, not one bit.

Debate over HPV vaccine flares up in Alberta after Catholic leaders warn shots encourage pre-marital sex

Alberta is now  going to begin vaccinating boys as well as girls -- because boys can get cancer from HPV too and they can be carriers that infect girls. You think this would be a good thing. Oh no, think again.
The emotional battle over HPV vaccination in Alberta has flared up again, after Calgary’s Catholic school board directed parents to a letter from Church leaders that warns the shots could encourage pre-marital sex.
A little background. If there's one thing Catholic bishops are absolutely obsessed with, it's sexytime. In an article from October, 2013 -- nearly a year on after the board reversed its stand on the vaccine after much resistance -- Bishop Fred Henry  had this gem:
Bishop Fred Henry said society should try to curb sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like the cancer-causing human papillomavirus by encouraging abstinence and monogamy, not by using medicine to “palliate our vices.”
This stance seems so utterly revolting to me that I must take a step back and do a little analysis. Basically, I read it a little like this.

The good bishop is getting no sexytime at all -- at least as far as I know. So, he's not directly affected by any of this and I have no clue how anyone could consider him an authority either. I could only postulate he could be a little frustrated, but that's none of my business.

Anyway, some people could be getting sexytime. It's a shame many are underage, but this is a completely different problem -- the sexytime is happening in reality.

Now, they might be tempted to use condoms. Condoms are, of course, a Catholic no-no. They get in the way of the proper Godly punishment outcome of sexytime which is getting knocked up. God thwarting is bad! However, if the teens should not use condoms then there is the additional circumvention of God's proper punishment outcome of getting infected with HPV and eventually God-sanctioned cancer. Now how were the kids supposed to properly learn their lesson if they don't get cancer? I mean, is anyone thinking about God here? Hello!

How are these children supposed to properly suffer and atone for their transgressions against the Almighty?

Maybe I'm wrong, but this is the sort of message I read from the good bishops. This is a real disease and people are really getting sick from it. Why wouldn't the nice bishops want the children to get a medicine so they wouldn't get sick?

Okay, I'm getting ahead of myself. The bishops are saying they're just concerned that these kids could be having immoral out-of-wedlock sex. They believe that giving the children vaccine will make them even more horny and reckless than they already are. No, really! They actually believe this.

Here's a copy of the letter that was sent out this month.
The decision to permit your daughter or son to receive this inoculation rests solely with you as parents/ guardians. AHS provides you with medical information about the Gardasil HPV vaccine so informed decisions can be made from a health perspective. Some very important moral and spiritual considerations have been articulated about how this fits within our Catholic faith. On our website you will find a letter from the Catholic Bishops of Alberta at Alberta_Bishops_letter.pdf which can also help guide you in your decision-making process. 
The above-referred-to Bishops letter is from 2008 and essentially says that if your kid gets this vaccination they'll think it's all fine and dandy to go out and sex it up big time.
Secondly, although school-based immunization delivery systems generally result in high
numbers of students completing immunization, a school-based approach to vaccination sends a message that early sexual intercourse is allowed, as long as one uses "protection." 

This societal message also implies that young people are not capable of making
decisions for themselves or they are too young to make good decisions. We think more
highly of our youth and would prefer to equip them for proper decision-making.
Have these bishops ever been Catholic teens? Only if you can first get over the guilt instilled into you over years of indoctrination, you might find yourself in a situation where sexual intercourse is a possibility.

Have these bishops ever been teens? When you're fooling around stuff can happen. You know, when stuff is already underway it can sometimes be rather difficult to think with your "in-skull brain" about whether or not you've got a condom (not allowed) or have been properly vaccinated (not allowed) before the stuff continues and "in-pants brain" is leading the show. Protection failing or not being properly used or not used at all is how girls end up pregnant and at the abortion clinic! People make mistakes! Not just people, kid-people! That's what this whole goddamn 'sin' thing is all about, isn't it? Why is this so hard to understand? Or is this all about letting God mete out punishment unimpeded? Moar Catholic babeeze? It really makes me wonder.

As if getting an injection will determine whether or not a couple of teens hook up. Will this curb their hormonal urges? Please! Need common sense!

Well, here's what some (obviously materialist godless non-Catholic) scientists have to say:
However, a U.S. study that reviewed medical records of nearly 1,400 girls showed HPV shots does not increase sexual activity, said Juliet Guichon, spokeswoman and founder with HPV Canada, a group of doctors, health scientists and concerned citizens.
Furthermore, the very same Juliet Guichon, who's friend died of cervical cancer, had this other sensible thing to say.
The Calgary board should disseminate only science-based health information and is misleading parents by pointing them to the Church critique, complained Juliet Guichon, a University of Calgary bioethicist who has long advocated for the vaccine.

“This letter encourages fear, and undermines a public-health program that’s designed to help children avoid cancer,” she charged.
She also said this very true thing:
“What’s sad is that educated people don’t distinguish double-blind, randomized clinical trials and gossip. There’s a huge difference,” said Guichon, whose friend died of cervical cancer, leaving behind two young children. “If they want good information they can look at Health Canada, the Canadian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecology, the Canadian Cancer Society, or if they want to go abroad they can look at the CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention), in the UK, there’s the National Health Service. There’s many, many good sites for information.”
Feeling better? Here's what an actual scientist had to say.
As well as raising the promiscuity issue, the letter suggests the public-health community is divided on the vaccine’s benefits, a statement one leading scientist said on Friday was “hogwash.”

“We’re going to have to go back to square one and start the fight all over again,” said Eduardo Franco, a McGill University cancer epidemiologist and one of the world’s top experts on links between the human papillomavirus and cancer. “Too bad.”
Ahhh, yes that's better, thank you.

And then...
A spokeswoman for the board, however, said the district only wanted to expose parents to different viewpoints.

“We’re trying to balance the spiritual perspective and the health perspective and the parents’ perspective,” said Tania Younker, the district’s director of communications. “The bishop does guide us in our spiritual decision making. So we are respectful of the opinion he has. And we’re also very respectful of the health information.”

Since 2012, the number uptakes of the vaccine has gone from 24.5% to 61% with girls (I've seen as high as 75% elsewhere). Apparently, cancer rates related to HPV are still on the rise and vaccination is the best way to fight it. So I say, okay, bishops, you guys keep saying this and we'll let parents keep ignoring you to be pro-life of their children. We'll see who ends up on the right side of history.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Update From Kasese Humanist Primary School

Kasese Humanist Primary School student, Christine (source).
Wow, it's been awhile since my last update about the Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda. I went ahead and emailed School Director Bwambale Robert to get the latest news. Here's the response I got.
Am okay and all is moving on fine. Atheist Alliance International sent in funds amounting to 2.7 K and much of it were mega donations of 2K from Australia. I also received funds from private donors who wish to remain anonymous who gave me funds to finish up the chicken coop at the school site, this time the coop is more spacious and permanent.

Like I told you some months back, upon completion of this new coop, all the chickens we have in the other wooden coop will be transferred in this new one and the timbers from the old coop will be taken to the vocational workshop at the school to make school furniture for the classrooms, there will be nothing lost in this.

Construction kicks in early next week as funds for all these activities are already on our side. As usual I will keep all of you posted on what is going on. Many thanks for your efforts Sean plus of-course all well wishers, supporters and partners.
This is great news. Nice to see the old coop, which this blog helped construct, being put to good use! As you can see, Atheist Alliance International is a huge help to this school. Since the beginning, they have helped collect and send funds and the school has prospered over the past few years -- sending money to Uganda can be quite a struggle, believe me, so this is a huge service they are doing!

You may be wondering who the beautiful smiling child is at the top of this post. That's student Christine and she was one of the students who received a letter from their pen pals in the USA. The letter writing program is being made possible by KidsHeartKids.

Here's Bwambale's update over at the school Facebook page.
It was an exciting moment today 10th September at the school as children participating in the Letter Exchange Program received their return letters from their friends in the USA courtesy of KidsHeartKids Charity. In the package received were also a Soccer cleat and some pairs of socks.

Delivering the package, the School Director Bwambale Robert thanked all participants in this program to keep the friendship strong and encouraged children to always stay in touch with their counterparts as it will help them so much in learning from each other, know what is happening in other countries plus the students improving their skills in letter writing which is a way of communication that brings people together. He told them that we now live in a small world where now the world is a global village.
Go check out the post to see more pictures of happy kids.

Children show some of the gifts they received inside their pen pal letters from the USA. This service is brought to you by KidsHeartKids (source).

Sunday Assembly Comes to Ottawa

Sunday Assembly Ottawa organizer Shonagh McCrindle and co-organizer Peter McLean
Good news! Sunday Assembly is coming to Canada -- well, Ottawa and Toronto, but it's a start! I read all about this over at Hemant Mehta's blog but that was a broad post where these two new Canadian assemblies were merely mentioned within a list of 33 new groups across the globe.

So I reached out to both SA Ottawa and SA Toronto, a very short impromptu set of questions. I just got word back from Ottawa organizer, Shonagh McCrindle!

Who are you?  When did you decide to open a Sunday Assembly in your area? What is your religious background in a few words?
I am Shonagh McCrindle. I have no religious background to say. I am un-baptised from a Catholic-Protestant lineage. I went to Catholic private girls school in Hull.

I decided to get people fired up about Sunday Assembly because community engagement is at the core of my very being. I think people are best when they are helping or spending time with others. I wanted to share my passion for life without subscribing to a God that I cannot believe in. I also love the community that church brings together and I find those without a church community are missing out on so many opportunities to interact and meet new like-minded people. 
Are there any things the Sunday Assembly will do to make it more "Canadian"? Services? Language? Etc.?
I plan on MCing the first SA in both French and English, à la canadienne. I also think, whoever is speaking will obviously make it more Canadian, depending on where they are from (Canada being so multicultural I hope to draw on that diversity to make each session more interesting). Each person's story is unique and I hope to eventually capture these stories in the form of monthly Sunday Assemblies. 
Are there any plans to involve in the community? Like charity or volunteering?
Community is my middle name. I will be heading a civic engagement subcommittee. I hope to draw more people into the community through volunteerism or via occasional days of service.
Like poutine? Favourite author and why?
I love poutine! (vice I know... je suis, enfin, quand même un québécoise). My favourite author, might be Alexandra Fuller. She is raw and revealing of faults all while being hilarious and touching. Beautiful writer. Don't let's go to the dogs tonight is an excellent read!
Shonagh was nice enough to invite me down for the launch but unfortunately, I already have commitments that weekend. I'll be sure to drop down soon to cover a Sunday Assembly service though! I've been promised photos of the event, which I'll probably pass on in a future post.

Remember, this Sunday Assembly is launching in Ottawa on the 28th of September, 11am. You must reserve your spot over at Eventbrite -- how else will they know how much tea and cakes will be required?

Also, check out the event's Facebook page and the Assembly's page as well!