Last week the Supreme Court of Canada came down with a seminal decision on the separation of church and state in this country. While these two magisteria are not explicitly kept apart, the SCC ruled that there is a modern expectation that religion has no place in politics. In this episode we explore the history of the case before the court, the decision made and reaction across Canada.
Later in this installment, there’s more fallout from the signing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by Indiana’s governor Mike Pence. Memories Pizza, the business so proud of its bigotry closes (http://www NULL.ifyouonlynews NULL.com/lgbtq/memories-indianas-now-infamous-anti-gay-pizza-place-forced-to-close-in-under-one-day/) soon after because of threats made to the establishment. But, don’t worry! A Go Fund Me fundraiser has a reward for Memories Pizza’s courageous stand to the tune of about $850,000 (http://www NULL.newnownext NULL.com/sorry-cancer-patients-and-boston-marathon-victims-indianas-memories-pizza-raised-more-than-you-on-gofundme/04/2015/). Remember, it’s not discrimination. It’s religious freedom! The Great State of Georgia may be next in line to enact a bill similar to Indiana’s and you don’t have to go very far to find those already salivating at the prospect of their exercising of “religious freedom” becoming legalized as one CNN reporter finds out (http://wjcl NULL.com/2015/04/02/why-one-georgia-florist-wont-serve-gay-couples/). How far can this ‘religious freedom’ thing go? Well, a lesbian couple finds out after a pediatrician refuses to treat their infant child over religious objections (http://www NULL.msn NULL.com/en-us/news/us/pediatrician-refuses-to-treat-gay-couples-newborn-child/vi-AAar0Qm). And lest you think that this can only happen in the United States, a group of Christian physicians (http://www NULL.thestar NULL.com/life/health_wellness/2015/03/24/christian-doctors-group-says-new-college-policy-infringes-on-freedom-of-conscience NULL.html) has taken the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario to court to protect their religious privilege of moralizing to their patients, thereby placing their own interests above those of their patients. On April 1, of all days, the College of Homeopathic Medicine came into existence in Ontario (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/radio/the180/new-taxes-special-laws-for-cyclists-and-should-homeopathy-be-regulated-1 NULL.3017050/will-a-college-of-homeopaths-make-homeopathy-more-credible-1 NULL.3017844). No, that is sadly not an April Fool’s joke. But not everyone who knows homeopathy is bunk agrees that this is necessarily a bad idea. An Ottawa mother of seven has ‘defected’ from the anti-vaccine movement (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/ottawa/tara-hills-ottawa-mom-changes-anti-vaccination-stand-but-7-kids-still-get-sick-1 NULL.3025592) after her youngest of 10 months contracts whooping cough, and California considers Senate Bill 277 (http://www NULL.nbcsandiego NULL.com/news/local/Local-Anti-Vaccine-Protesters-Rally-Against-Bill-299147881 NULL.html), which would require all children attending a public school to be vaccinated unless there is an underlying medical condition precluding immunization. And finally, Cardinal Raymond Burke (http://www NULL.huffingtonpost NULL.com/2015/03/27/cardinal-raymond-burke-gay-remarried-murderers_n_6957456 NULL.html), the same cardinal that intimated that the priestly pedophilia scandal was caused by homosexuality, says that gays and remarried Catholics are just sinful as murderers in a piece I like to call “Stupid things Catholic priests say”. But first, Saudi Arabia expresses its dismay (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/montreal/saudi-arabia-to-quebec-stay-out-of-raif-badawi-case-1 NULL.3017014) at Quebec’s denouncement of its torture of Raif Badawi for exercising his human right to free speech.
In this episode: CNN airs a documentary about us atheists (http://edition NULL.cnn NULL.com/videos/tv/2015/03/17/exp-cnn-creative-marketing-atheists-inside-the-world-of-non-believers NULL.cnn), and for once we aren’t represented as the evil monsters we really are; convicted fraudster and professional narcissist Conrad Black (http://news NULL.nationalpost NULL.com/full-comment/conrad-black-the-shabby-shallow-world-of-the-militant-atheist) and Phil Robertson (http://www NULL.huffingtonpost NULL.ca/2015/03/24/phil-robertson-duck-dynasty-hate-speech_n_6934164 NULL.html) think so! Angus Reid (http://angusreid NULL.org/faith-in-canada/) has released the results of an interesting poll looking at the demographics of belief in Canada; Indiana Governor Mike Pence signs a law (http://www NULL.cnn NULL.com/2015/03/25/politics/mike-pence-religious-freedom-bill-gay-rights/index NULL.html?ts_pid=2) which with its broad wording could lead to discrimination in that state. Did I say could? George Takei and others say “would”; and finally, an unnamed priest says a woman raped and murdered would still be alive (http://www NULL.msn NULL.com/en-ca/news/other/priest-in-australia-says-murdered-woman-would-still-be-alive-if-she-had-been-more-faith-filled/ar-AAaaJpA) if she had stayed at home and been more “faith filled”.
Later on in this installment, Christine, Twyla and yours truly, the Very Irreverend Dr Randy Tyson give kudos to CBC Marketplace (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/marketplace/episodes/2014-2015/drugstore-remedies-licence-to-deceive) demonstrates how ridiculously easy it is to obtain a license from Health Canada to sell a natural remedy; yet another Conservative MP comes out of the creationist closet (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/player/News/TV+Shows/ID/2656936485/?page=3) and we get to listen to former leader of the Canadian Reform Alliance Party (which, by the way, in Freudian manner spells out ‘CRAP’) confuses the right to hold a belief with demanding respect for beliefs; Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the House of Commons calls the niqab “anti-women” (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/politics/harper-says-overwhelming-majority-agrees-with-tories-on-niqabs-1 NULL.2990439); and finally while Islam needs its Voltaire, the town of Taber, Alberta needs its Kevin Bacon (http://www NULL.taber NULL.ca/DocumentCenter/View/1006, http://www NULL.calgarysun NULL.com/2015/03/10/town-of-taber-alberta-moves-to-ban-swearing) to Footloose away the anti-swearing and anti-assembly provision of its “Community Standards” bylaw. But first, our very own Christine Shellska read a statement to the Commission for Social Development (https://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=Eok1jRSsBtc&feature=youtu NULL.be) promoting secular values (as well as some unfinished business involving a bottle of Johnny Walker).
Later in the podcast we discuss the violent death of Bangladeshi atheist blogger Avijit Roy (http://www NULL.theguardian NULL.com/world/2015/feb/27/american-atheist-blogger-hacked-to-death-in-bangladesh?CMP=share_btn_fb), five dangerous enemies of Christian faith (http://www NULL.charismanews NULL.com/opinion/48419-5-dangerous-enemies-against-your-christian-faith) (wait… only Christian?), a Conservative MP in Britain claims astrology could help take pressure off national health system’s physicians (http://www NULL.theguardian NULL.com/politics/2015/feb/25/astrology-help-nhs-claim-conservative-mp-david-tredinnick), and, just so our friends across The Pond don’t feel put off, an Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP publicly expresses his disbelief in evolution ( http://www NULL.theglobeandmail NULL.com/news/politics/ontario-pcs-distance-themselves-from-mpp-who-denies-evolution/article23202872/?service=mobile). But first, the so-called Islamic jihadi group al-Shabaab names West Edmonton Mall as a target (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/world/west-edmonton-mall-named-in-al-shabaab-video-as-possible-target-1 NULL.2966514?cmp=fbtl) and no one seems to care!
(Christine’s speech to the UN can be seen here (https://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=En3t_XcL72U).)
Later on in this installment we discuss the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision striking down the ban on doctor-assisted suicide and you can bet our favorite kicking horse Bishop Fred Henry (http://www NULL.calgarydiocese NULL.ca/news-a-events/54-health-care-apostolate/1254-bishop-henry-on-the-supreme-court-decision-regarding-assisted-suicide NULL.html) and other alarmists (http://www NULL.thespec NULL.com/news-story/5327821-supreme-court-strikes-down-assisted-suicide-ban/) crank up the hyperbole in their collective belief that Soylent Green was a documentary; Henry makes a second appearance in this episode to tell us why he is NOT Charlie Hebdo (http://www NULL.calgarydiocese NULL.ca/messages-from-the-bishop/1252-we-are-not-all-charlie NULL.html); and a new poll on Albertans’ views on vaccines (http://calgary NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/poll-shows-surprising-views-on-vaccinations-in-alberta-1 NULL.2223504) has been released. But first, while our very own Christine is in New York addressing the United Nations, the ever-feisty Twyla and yours truly, the Very Irreverend Doctor Randy Tyson, look at a new international initiative to eradicate the world of blasphemy laws (http://end-blasphemy-laws NULL.org/).
Late last year Golden Carter wrote a guest blog post on the Minnesota Farm Living website called A Mom’s Journey From “Food Babe” To Overcoming Her “Food Fears” (http://www NULL.mnfarmliving NULL.com/2014/12/moms-journey-food-babe-overcoming-food-fears NULL.html). In it, she described her well-intentioned journey into the world of food and pseudoscience represented in the most exquisite ignorance and stupidity by the likes of Vani Hari, the so-called “Food Babe”. Golden managed to claw her way back to reason to share her story, and it was shared all over the internet. In retrospect, this shouldn’t be surprising. There are many websites dedicated to debunking the claims of anti-GMO nuts and organic food snobs, but what is missing is the human side. Why do people go this direction in the first place? For those who have accomplished the task of getting out, what was the motivation? How do we get people to realize that they’re listening to the wrong people?
Last week saw a great tragedy in Paris with the brutal attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo that resulted in the deaths of 12 people. In this episode we look at the response to this barbarism around the world, from the continued assertions of denialists that religion has nothing to do with such violent acts to strong support for freedom of speech.
Anyone wanting to access old podcast episodes via this webpage will be out of luck. I had some issues with my web host provider. They found some malware in my WordPress installation and shut it down without so much as a “how do you do”. I deleted the affected files, but you can see that pretty much all the old episodes are gone. You can still access them via podcatchers like iTunes and Stitcher, but to rebuild 126 episode entries is just too much.
Join “Da Prez” Kris and me, the Very Irreverend Dr. Randy Tyson, in welcoming Professor Arthur Schafer (http://umanitoba NULL.ca/faculties/arts/departments/philosophy/ethics/Schafer NULL.html), who is the director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba, my alma mater. He is also a full professor in the Department of Philosophy and an ethics consultant for the Department of Paedatrics and Child Health at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg. He has also penned numerous articles for The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, The Winnipeg Free Press, The Medical Post, and The Sunday Times (London). In addition, he frequently appears on CBC, CTV and The Discovery Channel to discuss matters ethical in science, technology and medicine. I finally made good on my threat to invite Professor Schafer on the podcast to give us his perspective on recent developments in medical ethics in Canada and the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on medical practice.