My last article wherein I put forward some thoughts on my atheism shouldn’t suggest that I feel solidarity with atheists everywhere. Like anybody, atheists are not immune from stupidity and boorish behaviour.
Today’s National Post reports the story of Ashu Solo, a member of Saskatoon’s cultural diversity and race relations committee. Solo was at a dinner appreciating volunteers like himself when a city councillor made him feel “like a second class citizen,” and “excluded.” The councillor’s offence? Saying a prayer which included “jesus” and the word “amen.” Solo says municipal officers should not use their offices to “perform religious bigotry” or to “impose their beliefs on others.”
Solo is a fortunate moron. Fortunate because, in another era, Spanish inquisitors made atheists actually feel like second-class citizens. The torture Solo suffered, hearing gracious appreciation before a meal he was to eat for free, was infinitely milder than crucifixion. He is a moron for believing multiculturalism to be simply everyone behaving like him. When someone’s religious freedom is infringed (and they’re not seeking the religious freedom to kill infidels), it’s no longer a multicultural world. Multiculturalism is a careful balancing of diverse beliefs, not a wholesale expunging of them. Does this really need to be said?
I don’t pray because I am an atheist, but praying is not illegal; we are guaranteed freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Solo is the one in breach here, and he owes an apology. I couldn’t care less that he’s an atheist and so am I: for a member of a city’s cultural diversity and race relations committee to be in such an ugly breach of a basic human right is inexcusable. When idiots undertake noble endeavours, and human rights and cultural diversity people are frequently noble idiots, the results are ugly. The term “religious bigotry” loses all meaning when it’s associated with such irreproachable behaviour.
Solo is awaiting an apology from the Mayor and a promise there won’t be any more prayers at city events, or else he will go to the Human Rights Commission. Used this way, as it normally is, the HRC is just a tool for self-righteous fascists to impose their narrow mind on others. Freedom of religion is rightly one of the cornerstones of Western law. Solo has no case.
Randy Donauer, the alleged religious bigot, says he was surprised when Solo felt excluded, and never meant him any harm. His surprise is understandable. After all, Donauer never imposed his religion on Solo, he just imposed a prayer on some food. It’s a shame that the blameless Donauer will have his reputation besmirched. Being accused of a human rights transgression, even if wholly innocent, never does any good.
I hope his career as a councillor isn’t adversely affected by Solo in any way. Even though it would be understandable, I hope Donauer doesn’t bend before the HRC and issue an apology. He has nothing to apologize for. For being offended without cause, for airing his baseless grievances and threats so publicly, and for putting what seems like a good man through unnecessary hoops, I hope Solo comes out of this looking like the boor he is.
I hope we Canadians arrive at a collective understanding of multiculturalism more sophisticated than this. Imbeciles should think twice, or at least once, before issuing threats and serious accusations, and it’s a shame there’s a climate that so freely encourages overly sensitive people to vent before the country whenever their feelings are hurt, however ridiculous their feelings are. To be sure, this is a better problem than having actual human rights abuses, obviously, and recourse for an actual abuse is a wonderful thing. But absurd spectacles like this deserve scorn and condemnation nonetheless.
There are tickets issued for pulling fire alarms without cause. In Solo’s case, an apology and an admission that he is a stupid boor would suffice.
The issue is greater than this. Many Saskatchewan people are being outrightly and dangerously aggressive to anyone coming from outside the province or from a religious backgorund not Christian. I can’t even go buy fishhooks in this city and a fishing license, without the clerk (someone who probably owned the store) beign aggressive and thowing the license at me, rather than handing it to me and then bascially refusing to talk to me when he found out that I was from Alberta. This has happened almost everytime I step out the door here. Saskatchewn i extremely insular. I am not sure it was always this way, but Saskatoon in particular does not want outsiders here unless they are extremely low-level workers who can work in the mines and sawing lumber etc. They receive Federal funding but act as though they own the country and can make up their own laws. The Prime Minister of Canada needs to take a look at what’s happening in this province and put a stop to it. I don’t think even Harper would endorse the aggressiveness and nastiness that a lot of us new to Saskatchewan end up taking from clerks in stores and a lot of the general public. I was raised 30 miles from the Saskatchewan boarder and if they are aggressive and threatening to me, then think what they are doing to people from other countries. It needs to stop it really does. I would not blame the Federal Gov if they cut off funds to this province. I have lived in three different provinces in Canada and travelled extensively throughout Canada for many years, and I have never seen and heard the outright harrassment and ostracism that i have in Saskatoon. It needs to stop, now!
Will Jamieson said:
Yeah, Im sure Saskatchewan residents treat you like garbage because your from Alberta. Give your fricken head a shake. Whats with all you ” poor me” people, take a spoon of concrete and man the frick up. You have absolutely NO idea what its like to live in a world where you really are discriminated against, and need to fight for your rights daily. Im sure if you raise enough stink, the clerk at the fishing store will gladly issue you an apology, and actually walk your fishing hooks to your car for you.
Thanks for your lengthy response YMTrainer. While I sympathize, I’m not sure how a human rights complaint is going to change the mind state of people. I don’t think insularity can be removed by decree. Some people are just nasty, and it takes a while, perhaps generations, of living beside more and more kinds of people before openness becomes the norm.
I’m dubious of laws out to change people’s moral outlooks into what’s fashionable today, even if I agree with the outlook itself. People must arrive at tolerance on their own. They won’t become pleasant to outsiders because the law tells them to.
As more and more people travel and connect with people around the world this issue will probably become more and more prominent, and the way it gets handled will be interesting to see.
Can anybody mandate manners or a philosophical/moral outlook? No, but patience is hard!
Again, thanks for commenting.
Conceived in Liberty said:
Hey retard, it took laws, not changes in opinions, to end slavery and segregation. It was the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that ended segregation. It was the Emancipation Proclamation that ended slavery. It will be Solo that ends Christian prayer at government events in Saskatchewan.
Are you seriously comparing slavery to uttering Christian prayer?? Slavery was unambiguously vile. It was slavery! You can’t put praying over food in the same category.
For people who don’t live in Saskatchewan, perhaps you’ll understand that praying before dinner is a perfect example of religious expression whose protection is one of the cornerstones of Western law. It ought to be protected.
Now if ALL government events overtly requires prayer that may be different, but I’m not sure why Solo chose a reasonable moment like this to pick his fight. This here is not an egregious example, and Solo should not feel like a second-class citizen because a guy blessed the chicken.
Thanks for your charming response. You sound like a thoughtful human being.
Conceived in Liberty said:
Halperin, you retard, the councillor doesn’t have the right to shove his cult down other people’s throats using a government office.
Conceived in Liberty said:
Halperin, you sound like the biggest retard ever.
Conceived in Liberty said:
Halperin, if you want to fight, let me know, girlyman.
I’d agree with you that a line was crossed, say, if the government watched idly while a pogrom took place, but they’re blessing chicken. Get over it.
Fight? You might not be a smart child, but you’ve got passion.
Conceived in Liberty said:
You got the brains of a monkey. You really do. You write like you’re in elementary school. You’re a worthless loser and a waste of skin. You would be doing the world a favor if you committed suicide today.
I have too much respect for my small, but noble, group of commentators and readers to continue this futile, ugly dialogue any further, sir.
Gilles L'Heureux said:
Great piece JD. I am a Christian and support your world view on this. No one was trying to prosthletize …
My “conceived in Liberty”, you are so full of anger. Remember that it was CHRISTIANS who worked towards and successfully eliminated slavery…..
Sorry but I object to this. There were Christians on both sides, and to assume responsibility to ending slavery you’d have to accept responsibility for creating it too. Surely there were Christian slave owners.
Anyway, I object to a more basic notion, as individuals are Christian, it’s not like Christianity is an independent entity acting one way or another.
Jason Friesen said:
If you don’t like the moral laws of this country and morals in general than I’m sure you would be glad to see Christianity fade away from Canada. Unfortunately for you the foundation of this wonderful country of Canada is that of Christianity. I can even give you the Bible verse in which Canada was based on (Psalm 72:8). Now if you don’t mind get your heads out of the standard school text book and do some real historical research where you can find the real facts that are left out of your basic text book studies. All I have to say is that thank God that our country is founded from Christians. The next challenge is to rid this country of Darwinism (the foundation for a communist civilization). You should do your research on that too while you’re at it.
I love morals, sometimes I even behave with them. I have many books at my home that weren’t issued from school, though many books I read in school weren’t basic. Nobody is suggesting that our morals come from Darwin, it’s that Darwin stated better than anybody where we came from. I’ve read the Bible, have you read Darwin?
I send this reply with all respect. Please go to youtube and type in “Last Ounce of Courage” Full movie. The movie is a great example as to what is going on in Canada as well as the States. I’ll warn yeah now that the end is a real tear jerker. I also have my own 1/2 hour video doc. which I made after enough research. I put it on youtube and it’s called “The Darwin Deception… from enemy to friend”. You might be blown away by it, or you might not be. You won’t know till you watch it of course. The beginning is a little dry with common facts, but it gets intense as the video goes on. All I can say is that Hitler grew up in a Christian home and was a Christian until he read Darwins book, which motivated him to do what he did. After reading Darwins book he thought that the Jewish and Christian faiths were holding back the world from the next step in Evolution. He wanted a Pagan society once again as he said in his own words. I don’t want to give too much info away, the video explains it well with great detail.
Conceived in Liberty said:
Everyone should read what Ian “Crommunist” Cromwell has to say about this matter:
Everyone should read Ian “Crommunist” Cromwell’s full interview with Ashu Solo:
Dear Deceived in Liberty,
The above link directs me to a thoughtful fellow who still has it wrong. The main point is still whether section 27 was violated by the government, the whole thing hinges on whether a government worker uttering the utterly profane “jesus” and “amen” while blessing a chicken constitutes a violation of Solo’s atheism. He thinks it does, that it makes him feel “second-class,” that he feels “excluded.” It shouldn’t. Drawing the line between religious accommodation in a secular society is, I think, the foremost problem we have, and it’s necessary to make a hard line in the sand, but Solo’s demarcation is more territorial than he lets on. I don’t think he’s a disinterested arbiter just out to objectively abide the law.
If Solo had his way, this guy would be deprived of his religious freedom to say a pre-meal prayer.
I happen to fully agree with Nabokov, who puts it in the way only he can: “who cares about all those stale myths, what does it matter–Jove or Jehovah, spire of cupola, mosques in Moscow, or bronzes and bonzes, and clerics and relics, and deserts with bleached camel ribs? They are merely the dust and mirages of the communal mind.”
Unfortunately, people still do care about the stale myths, the dust and mirages, and so long as what gives these people meaning in their lives doesn’t violate the law (which, I’m sorry, but it doesn’t here) or infringe on anyone else practising, we have to respect it.
If Solo can really convince anyone that he had cause to feel excluded or actually made to feel like a second-class citizen, or a law was breached, I’m all ears, but this case is hollow. He should get over it.
It’s always dubious to claim to be speaking on atheism’s behalf.
Nobody can term my views better than me. I am obstinately solo, not Solo: please refrain from claiming to speak for me forever, everybody.
Kevin Carter said:
That is a very excellent point “we are guaranteed freedom of religion, not freedom from religion”; well thought out and stated.
So if every government occasion has to be secular than do people of faith have to feel like second class citizens? In Solos case that he is presenting he has to realize that he himself is making himself the fist class citizen and the people of faith the second class citizen if he gets his way. The secular world is in fact a world of faith. Secular people have faith that their is no God, which in fact is a religion in itself. I have spoken to Satanists before, and that is a religion, and I found that Satanists believe that they are their own god hence there is no god in the eyes of a Satanist. So believing there is no God can in fact be called a religion in its own. I feel that Ashu Solo is in fact pushing his own atheistic beliefs/religion on to city council and attempting to create an atheistic society by simply pushing his beliefs on to all of us.