AFT Bulletin, 2022-01-03

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Secularism: Is It Just a Stage?

On-line discussion, 2022-01-08 [in French]

Is secularism an end in itself, or just a first stage in the fight against religious obscurantism?

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Blog 133: Is Quebec Bill 21 Discriminatory?

David Rand

Thus, even though Bill 21 treats all religions and all persons equally, accommodationists hate it for that very reason, because it does not discriminate where, in their opinion, it should. That is what they mean when they accuse Bil1 21 of being discriminatory: the law fails to grant privileges where they think it should in order to accommodate religious practices.

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Blog 132: Conversation with a Believer

Pierre Marchand

You pray, and if events turn out as you asked for, you say your prayer has been answered. If matters turn out otherwise, you say god has other plans for you or punishes you for some sin. Don’t you think that with such a reasoning you’re right no matter what happens? It seems to me that with such a reasoning, praying to a telephone pole would lead you to the same conclusion: the telephone pole has answered my prayers.

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Blog 131: The Differences Between Atheism and Religion

Pierre Marchand

Atheists attack religion only in terms of ideas. They do not denigrate believers. They do not plant bombs in religions’ places of worship. They do not take up weapons to massacre journalists, party-goers or the believers of other religions. They do not stone or flog, torture or burn at the stake those who do not think like them. They do not throw homosexuals to their death from the tops of high buildings.

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In the News:

Medical Journal Censors Criticism of Veil

The editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) has behaved with abject cowardice by retracting a letter from a Montreal pediatrician criticizing Islamic veils. Why the retraction? Because the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) accused the pediatrician’s letter of so-called “Islamophobia.” This reveals what we have known for years: that this accusatory term serves only as a way to muzzle legitimate criticism of Islam and Islamism. It amounts to an accusation of blasphemy against Islam.

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RPL: Open Letter to the CMAJ

Concerning the Hijab Worn by Young Girls

“The practice of veiling young girls, and the ensuing discrimination, segregation and negative effects on the self-image of the girls who are subjected to it, is harmful and unacceptable. It is perfectly legitimate to question this practice. It should be noted immediately that we are not talking here about adult women who choose to wear the hijab, but about children on whom it is imposed. When CMAJ’s interim editor-in-chief, Ms. Kirsten Patrick, apologizes for posting Dr Emil’s letter and says “CMAJ will always respect and support the right of women to choose to dress as they wish,” she chooses to deflect the debate and demonstrates intellectual dishonesty. The issue here is not the free choice of women, but the imposition of the veil on girls.”

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Blog 130: Republican Secularism versus Secularism

Pierre Marchand

In 2019, Quebec adopted Bill 21 on State secularism which reinforced secularism by establishing it on four principles: separation between State and religions, religious neutrality of the State, equality of all citizens and freedom of conscience and religion. Bill 21 extended the ban on the wearing of religious symbols to all civil servants in positions of coercive authority, to schoolteachers and school principals. The law did not stipulate that the crucifix be removed from the Blue Room of the National Assembly, but the government withdrew it nevertheless, as a gesture of good faith. More indignation from the rest of Canada! Indeed, the ROC has difficulty admitting that a model of living together different from theirs—the Quebec model, similar to republican secularism—can coexist with theirs. Indignation also, from the two co-presidents of the Bouchard-Taylor Commission who claim that the law will accentuate the divisions between the majority and minorities and that it targets Muslim teachers.

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Release, Rassemblement pour la laïcité (Alliance for Secularism), 2021-12-12

Veiled Teacher at Western Québec School Board, RPL Denounces Political & Media Exploitation

“It is distressing that some politicians and columnists continue to confuse people by describing the hijab as a mere ‘headscarf’ or even a symbol of freedom. They ignore the fact that wearing the hijab is a religious practice associated with a religious movement that fiercely opposes any form of freedom for women, as we see in countries that practice totalitarian Islam, such as Iran or Afghanistan for example. They also ignore the fact that many citizens from Muslim countries ask only to integrate into our society and send their children to schools free from religious influence. Such Muslims, who have often left their countries in order to flee religious indoctrination, are held hostage by a minority in the host country which opposes the values of secularism and equality,” declared Nadia El-Mabrouk, board member of the RPL.

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Introduction to Atheism


“To assign moral authority to a fictional deity alienates us from our own humanity, compromises our freedom, and renders us irresponsible. We know that any religious authority which has the pretention to speak for an illusory god exploits the credulity of its followers.”

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In the News:

Quebec Creates a Directorate of State Secularism

This is good news as it indicates the government’s intention to support Bill 21. However, the annual budget of only $100,000 is rather modest for such an important issue.

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