It’s naturopathy awareness week, and we wanted to make sure everyone is aware that there is no such thing as alternative medicine. Rather, it’s alternative TO medicine. In this, the 164th installment, we look at the tragedy that unfolded in northern Alberta while I was away; legislation covering physician assisted dying was introduced by the federal government and we go over the major points; a verdict was handed down, rather quickly too, in the trial of the parents of Ezekiel Stephan, who died from a wholly treatable illness in Lethbridge; CFI Canada presented a petition to Premier Brad Wall to end prayer in the Saskatchewan legislature; the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is trying to improve its image in Canada by promoting the less evil side of Saudi culture without all the burkas and severed heads; more voices of dissent in Bangladesh have been violently silenced; and finally, more from the Regressive Left Files. At the University of Massachusetts, regressives attempted to disrupt a talk they didn’t like, and at Oxford, law professors rudely find out what regressive left means.
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Join us as Da Prez Kris, Feisty Twyla, Nate Phelps (who doesn’t yet have a moniker) and yours truly, the Supreme Irreverend Doctor Randy Tyson as we delve into a subject which surprises many to learn is unfortunately much too common in Alberta and Saskatchewan: prayer in public schools.
We have two guests with us for this episode. Dusti Hennenfent was born and raised in Moose Jaw and left home to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Saskatchewan. Following the successful completion of her degree she traveled, teaching English in South Korea, and probably the locals in Houston TX and in Washington state. She moved back to the Moose Jaw region and is married with two children of grade school age. This is her first foray into secular activism.
Also with us this evening is Luke Fevin. Luke is a social rights activist, specializing in secularism and education. He’s a regular contributor to television, radio and web media, and at conferences, which is how I met Luke. Luke is primarily concerned over the Separate Catholic school system, prayer in schools and public environments and the impact of religious privilege on LGBTQ community. In his spare time, Luke sits on the board of The Society of Edmonton Atheists, and is co-founder of the secular groups APUPIL (https://www NULL.facebook NULL.com/groups/APUPIL/) and The Society of Albertans United for Separation of State and Church.
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Tonight, Da Prez Kris, The Ever-Feisty Twyla and yours truly, the Supreme Irreverend Doctor Randy Tyson talk about a Calgary preacher trying to cash in on the recent success of the Toronto Blue Jays by comparing life to baseball in his sermons; parents in Busby Alberta vote overwhelmingly to keep saying the Lord’s Prayer in their PUBLIC elementary school; October 19 is national Kick Harper’s Ass day and we answer a listener’s question to boot! But first, this past Saturday was our counter protest to what was originally a show of support for homophobic ex-Calgary bus driver Jesse Rau.
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Da Prez Kris, Feisty Twyla the incomparable Nate and yours truly, the Supreme Irreverend Doctor Randy Tyson discuss a myriad of issues. Later in the podcast, Ireland votes to enshrine same-sex marriage (http://www NULL.irishtimes NULL.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/vatican-calls-irish-referendum-a-defeat-for-humanity-1 NULL.2226957) in its constitution; in Ontario, a team of Muslim school boys threatens to pick up their ball and go home (http://www NULL.citynews NULL.ca/2015/05/28/exclusive-muslim-boys-high-school-soccer-team-refuses-to-play-against-team-with-2-girls/) rather than play against a team with two girls; a Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan United Church minister writes a letter of apology (http://www NULL.buzzfeed NULL.com/laurenstrapagiel/a-saskatchewan-minister-wrote-a-heartwarming-letter-to-the-l# NULL.bnODB65wX) to the LGBT community and asks for forgiveness; a public elementary school Taber, Alberta – yes, the same Taber which has outlawed crude language – promises to violate the Charter by having school-led prayer every morning (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/calgary/saying-lord-s-prayer-at-school-to-continue-for-now-in-s-e-alberta-1 NULL.2441998); a creationist unearths 60 MYA fish (http://www NULL.edmontonsun NULL.com/2015/05/27/alberta-creationist-edgar-nernberg-digs-up-what-scientists-are-calling-the-most-important-fossil-finds-in-decades?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=recommend-button&utm_campaign=Alberta+creationist+Edgar+Nernberg+digs+up+what+scientists+are+calling+the+most+important+fossil+finds+in+decades) fossils and claims we have the same evidence, just different interpretations. But first, we talk about Josh Duggar and his molestation problems. Boo hoo, Josh.
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Welcome to episode 93 of the Legion of Reason, podcasting a critical eye on a sometimes less-than-critical world. Later in this instalment Kris, Twylla, Haysn and yours truly Randy discuss the premiere of an infomercial- I mean, documentary, of local street minister Artur Pawlowski that three of your co-hosts were involved in to supply an opposing viewpoint, Calgary city councillor Sean Chu’s climate change denial tweets (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/calgary/calgary-councillor-stands-by-global-warming-alarmist-tweet-1 NULL.2484828), a modern ghost story in Gary (http://ux NULL.indystar NULL.com/story/news/2014/01/25/the-disposession-of-latoya-ammons/4892553/), Indiana, exorcism using 21st century technology (http://www NULL.vocativ NULL.com/01-2014/skype-exorcisms-worthless-say-full-time-exorcists/), and our favorite kicking bag Bishop Fred Henry and the manifestation of his twisted sense of morality in the destruction of a historical landmark in Calgary (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/news/calgary/City+urged+heritage+home+save+from+wrecking+ball/9437116/story NULL.html). But first, I attended the media ‘scrum’ at the unveiling of the latest Centre for Inquiry’s billboard promoting atheism (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/calgary/atheist-billboard-ad-hopes-to-get-calgarians-thinking-1 NULL.2519561) in a positive light and challenging widely-held beliefs about the efficacy of prayer.
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In response to the as yet unresolved human rights commission case brought by Ashu Solo last year, Saskatoon City Council has in its infinite wisdom decided on all-inclusive prayer (http://http://www NULL.thestarphoenix NULL.com/news/Saskatoon+city+council+favours+inclusive+prayer/8979595/story NULL.html) as the answer. Too bad for Mayor Atchison there is no such thing, unless, of course, atheists don’t count as citizens. Way to represent, Atchison! Kris, Haysn and I move on from there to CBC media personality Michael Enright’s essay (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/thesundayedition/essays/2013/09/29/atheists-stop-whining/) on why he would like us atheists to shut up. Note to Enright: get bent. But first, the president of American Atheists (http://atheists NULL.org/) David Silverman (who’s latest book I, Atheist (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.ca/Atheist-Americas-Loudest-Heathen-Fires/dp/1939578051/ref=lh_ni_t?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A3DWYIK6Y9EEQB) comes out next March) joins us to talk a bit about firebrand atheism.
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The more observant of you will note that we skipped a few episode numbers. That was a test. Yeah. That’s it, a test. Actually I didn’t want to release episode 38, at least not without some serious editing. The number 39 I seem to have forgotten about entirely. Chalk it up to absent mindedness.
Anyway, Kris, Twylla, Haysn and I discuss a couple of topics this go round. Later, we discuss comments made by Winnipeg’s new chief of police, Devon Clunis. Apparently, Clunis’ policy for reducing crime is an act of applied prayer (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/manitoba/story/2012/10/22/mb-winnipeg-police-chief-prayer-clunis NULL.html). Yeesh. And Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott has nominated two anti-choice who have criminally harassed women seeking legal abortion services to receive the Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee medals (http://www NULL.leaderpost NULL.com/news/Tory+awards+Jubilee+medal+incarcerated+anti+abortion+activist/7429422/story NULL.html). In a bizarre comparison, Vellacott compared these two women seeking to restrict women’s rights to Martin Luther King Jr.! Our first segment, however, requires a bit of introduction. Recently, a CBC radio program called Ideas had a series entitled “The Myth of the Secular” (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/ideas/episodes/2012/10/22/the-myth-of-the-secular-part-1/). Honestly, I couldn’t get past the first one of the six part series, and didn’t even finish that. Nor were the comments on the show’s webiste kind, either. As staunch secularists, we recognize that religion in the public sphere has had its day. Been there, done that, no way. It’s just more of that “sophisticated theology”(TM) we keep hearing about.
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This episode has a decidedly atheist theme. When Ashu Solo attended a dinner intended to show appreciation for City of Saskatoon volunteers he did not expect prayer from a public official to be on the menu. We spoke to Ashu about the incident and his complaint to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. I have an editorial at the end of the episode on why – contrary to the opinions of some – this is an important case.
Also, a number of us attended the Imagine No Religion 2 this past May long weekend and a great time was had by all. Among the speakers was The Thinking Atheist, Seth Andrews, who was gracious enough to lend us some of his time and thoughts on atheism.
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