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Saudi women will gain right to vote… sort of… later…

But, of course, they’ll have to be driven to the polling stations.

Saudi King Abdullah announced on the weekend that Saudi women will be allowed to take part – vote and run for office – in the 2015 local elections.

Of course, they are still not allowed to drive. That would be way too much to expect, wouldn’t it?

Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, follows deeply conservative social traditions and adheres closely to a strict version of Islam. Despite Abdullah’s attempts to push through some social reforms, women still cannot drive and the sexes are segregated in public.

Saudi Arabia held its first-ever municipal elections in 2005.

The kingdom will hold its next municipal elections on Thursday, but women will not be able to vote or run in those contests.

So they’ll be able to vote, just not right away.

Sure, it is a tentative step into the 20th century (we’ll leave the 21st till another time, k?), but a step is a step, right?

I guess that the Saudis, like the rest of the Arab world, have been a wee bit offput buy all of the democracy stuff that has been breaking out in that part of the planet  lately and they figure that they had been at least have the appearance of addressing some of the popular concerns. This step is being taken out of fear of uprisings, certainly not due to some democratic awakening by the Saudi royal family, clerics and government.

But it’s a step, right? Progress?

Sure, but unfortunately, the men in Saudi Arabia won’t care too much for this “progressive” move and they, not the law, will determine whether or not their spouses, daughters, grand-daughters and nieces exercise their right to the franchise.

And does anyone really think that these men will allow this to happen? Some might, but most will not. No way.

But maybe, just maybe, twenty years from now will see an enlightenment among the estrogen-challenged citizens of Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the region and women will legally, freely and without fear exercise their democratic rights.

And maybe even be allowed to drive themselves to the polling stations.


Know that…

I had fully intended on writing something about the whole MERGER-MANIA that is currently sweeping the #cdnpoli Twitter stream. Much wringing of hands! Woot!

You betcha!

Didja realise that merger and murder are separated by but one letter?

Think about it…

“Redrum. Redrem.” “Redrum. Redrem.”

OK. Two letters.


But! That will have to wait… cuz, and I’m sorry if I got some hopes all drive high-like… I have found something much more entertaining than the organizational thrashings of those of us to the left of Vic “hang ’em high” Toews.

Namely, the proposal that atheists be registered with the State of Florida. Yup, the The Christian National Registry of Atheists.” is his goal.

Brothers and Sisters , I have been seriously considering forming a ( Christian ) grassroots type of organization to be named “The Christian National Registry of Atheists” or something similar . I mean , think about it . There are already National Registrys (sic) for convicted sex offenders , ex-convicts , terrorist cells , hate groups like the KKK , skinheads , radical Islamists , etc..

This type of “National Registry” would merely be for information purposes . To inform the public of KNOWN ( i.e., self-admitted) atheists . For example , let’s say you live in Colorado Springs , Colorado , you could simply scroll down ( from the I-Net site /Blog ) I would have , to the State of Colorado , and then when you see “Colorado Springs” , you will see the names of all the self-admitted atheist(s) who live there ( e.g., if an atheist’s name happened to be “Phil Small” ) . The individual’s physical address , and other known personal information would NOT be disclosed ( though , perhaps a photo could be ).

Crazy. Oh Yes.

Scary? Even more so.

I’m traveling to D.C. next month. I have already had some trepidation about this given my posts ranting against the public funding of religious education, war, conquest by imaginary characters, etc. And this makes me even more nervous.

Border dude: “Excuse me, Mr. Marshall? Do you believe in God? Do you have faith that your soul will be saved by Jesus?

Me: “Um. Seriously, sir? Don’t you want to look in my carry-on for the BC bud I’m trying to sneak across the border?”

Border dude: “No sir. Need to confirm your spiritual mindset.”

I’m screwed.


He forgot the dinosaurs!!!!

Trudeau KILLS me sometimes!

Descriptions of creationism can make creationism seem sooooo silly when penned by a talented writer…


A Rapture would have been just dandy for some…

Non Sequitur rox.

And I have to wonder if there weren’t more than a few soft-minded folks out there who were hoping that the dire prediction would be borne true for precisely reasons such as this! There are lots of people going through some hard times in the U S of A right now and desperation breeds soft-mindedness.


Somewherrrrre, over the

This is getting insane!

The Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board has effectively banned the use of rainbows at school functions because, get this, of the association of rainbows with gays!

I read this for a while thinking it was satire! Why would or could something this silly happen in the 21st century!

I am not making this up!

Leanne Iskander, 16, tells Xtra that the Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board prevented her group from displaying any rainbows at their information booth during an anti-homophobia event last week.

Iskander is the founder of the unofficial gay-straight alliance at St. Joseph Catholic School in Mississauga.

“We brought signs and posters with rainbows, and we were told we can’t put them up,” says Iskander to Xtra. “They said rainbows are associated with Pride. There’s so many other things that a rainbow could be. It’s ridiculous.”

But this did not stop the group from showing a rainbow. They baked cupcakes with different colour icing and displayed them on the table so it resembled a rainbow. Better yet, when people bit into the cupcake, there was a rainbow of colours inside.

By selling the cupcakes at 50 cents each, the group raised $200 for charity. However the school would not allow the group to donate the money to the charity of their choice, which was the LGBT Youth Line.

Seriously? C’mon.

So, given the limited knowledge of Christianity that this sinnin’ ol’ atheist has, lemme get this straight (hee- get it?). Noah. The flood dude. Saw a rainbow in the sky at the end of that whole Mother of all storms thing. This was interpreted as a covenant from God that the big all-mighty wouldn’t pull that shit again. The rainbow – big Christian symbol.

But. Because gay folks use it as a symbol as well, dogma trumps common sense – and their own tradition – and pictures of rainbows – or cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles – are from now on taboo.

Remind me again: why am I as a taxpayer in this fair province forced to support this asinine crap. Why is this “school” system publicly funded? if Catholics want to support this kind of nonsense – go for it – but not on my dime!!!!




I’m a bit politicked out…

and thanks to the Squid-dude, I had a good laugh that I want to share.

Check out his post.

These freaky über-Christians say that the “rapture” is coming soon! And the end of the world this Fall!


I’m glad I locked in my mortgage! No telling what will happen to interest rates once the whole rapture thingy goes down!

And yeah, speaking of raptures, Deborah Harry was smokin’!


Separation of church and state- are we not still secular in Canada?

I don’t think I have been more angry with this government than I am right now with the announcement that the Harperites, if re-elected, would establish an “Office of Religious Freedom”.

Now please, don’t launch barbs accusing me of being intolerant – because I am not. I am, however, a humanist and do not believe in the existence of any supreme deity. The whole notion is and always has been ludicrous to me. BUT, I have no problem with those who do believe in “something” – as long as it does not interfere with me. Whatever gets you through the night, and all that.

YET, as an atheist I am sickened by the notion that my government and my tax dollars would go toward the protection of something I find ridiculous, obscene, oppressive and damaging.

Government does NOT have ANY legitimate role in the religious affairs of any individual. Anytime. Anywhere! Let alone the funneling of public dollars to a non-secular goal.

This alone is almost enough to make me abandon my non-partisanship and go down to David McGuinty’s office and sign up to do some door to door work!

Friends. Imagine what this government will do if given a majority! I would not discount the following. Seriously.

It is the thin edge of the wedge.

This is weird. And this is to where the NeoCons want to lead us.

State Constitution, Article 19 Section 1:

No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any court.

Declaration of Rights:
Article 36
“That as it is the duty of every man to worship God in such manner as he thinks most acceptable to Him, all persons are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty; wherefore, no person ought by any law to be molested in his person or estate, on account of his religious persuasion, or profession, or for his religious practice, unless, under the color of religion, he shall disturb the good order, peace or safety of the State, or shall infringe the laws of morality, or injure others in their natural, civil or religious rights; nor ought any person to be compelled to frequent, or maintain, or contribute, unless on contract, to maintain, any place of worship, or any ministry; nor shall any person, otherwise competent, be deemed incompetent as a witness, or juror, on account of his religious belief; provided, he believes in the existence of God, and that under His dispensation such person will be held morally accountable for his acts, and be rewarded or punished therefore either in this world or in the world to come.”

Article 37
“That no religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God;”

State Constitution, Article 3
“Any every denomination of Christians, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good subjects of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law: and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law.”
Comment: Apparently non-Christians are not “equally under the protection of the law”.

Note: this part of the Massachusetts’ State Constitution was amended. Here is Article XI of the Articles of Amendment:
“Article XI. Instead of the third article of the bill of rights, the following modification and amendment thereof is substituted.
As the public worship of God and instructions in piety, religion and morality, promote the happiness and prosperity of a people and the security of a republican government; — therefore, the several religious societies of this commonwealth, whether corporate or unincorporate, at any meeting legally warned and holden for that purpose, shall ever have the right to elect their pastors or religious teachers, to contract with them for their support, to raise money for erecting and repairing houses for public worship, for the maintenance of religious instruction, and for the payment of necessary expenses: and all persons belonging to any religious society shall be taken and held to be members, until they shall file with the clerk of such society, a written notice, declaring the dissolution of their membership, and thenceforth shall not be liable for any grant or contract which may be thereafter made, or entered into by such society: — and all religious sects and denominations, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good citizens of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law; and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law.” [See Amendments, Arts. XLVI and XLVIII, The Initiative, section 2, and The Referendum, section 2].”

State Constitution. Article 14 (“General Provisions”), Section 265
“No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.”

North Carolina
State Constitution, Article 6 Section 8
“Disqualifications of office. The following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.”

South Carolina
State Constitution, Article VI
Section 2:
“No person who denies the existence of the Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution.”
Section 5: The oath of office ends in,
“So help me God.”

State Constitution, Article 9 Section 2
“No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.”

State Constitution, Article 1 Section 4
“No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.”


Why I’m happy to be a Canadian, Part II

When I’m bored, I wander around some of the American news outlet sites for my amusement. And I always find at least one item that makes me gag on my elitist latte. Tonight, reliable ol’ Fox News offers up this gem:

Nearly 4 in 10 Americans Say Natural Disasters Sign from God


That’s one damned vengeful omnipotent being they have down there! Wow! What could our American cousins have done to incur such WRATH??

Eric Metaxas, author of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God, said that “according to the Bible, the world is NOT the way God wants it to be.”

Metaxas said he believes God created “a perfect world that somehow — in the Garden of Eden — became broken. … The rest of the Bible is the story of God trying to restore what was broken.”

Whoa! OK, who screwed around with God’s plan? Who is responsible for these earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis and all that stuff? Well, let’s let an expert explain that to us:

I couldn’t find comparable numbers for we Canucks… but my hunch says that they would be even lower than the 14% of us who believe that humans played tennis with Dino the Dinosaur.


Another reason why I am happy to be a Canadian…

According to Gallup, 40% of Americans believe that humans were created by a “god” in the past 10,000 years while this number is only 14% north of the border.

I love Americans. I truly do. They are an amazing people. But I just don’t understand them sometimes. They voted in Dubya twice. Indebted themselves into oblivion. And 4 out of ten of them, like our own Stockwell Day, think that humans played with dinosaurs.

A cousin of mine who is an ex-pat Québécois living in Tennessee, once remarked to me on Facebook that in the States, unlike Canada, religion and faith is everywhere. You can’t get away from it. With data like these, I think I understand what he said a bit better.

But still – wow. What a difference.

And I bet that if you removed the Alberta respondents, the 14% would drop into the single digits.

But if we’re so smart, why:

  • Do we keep voting in the ReformCons?
  • Have Ontario voters not pushed governments to abolish the separate schools system?
  • Do we have voting rates in the 50’s?
  • Does our weather suck so much?

OK – the last point is just me whining.


A follow up to my post on the school kids in Morinville, Alberta

A while back, I wrote this piece about non-Catholic kids in this small Alberta community being forced to attend a Catholic school.

The Alberta Education Minister, Dave Hancock, seems to agree that a way must be found to provide a secular education to families on the area.

They have a legitimate beef, says Hancock. “I think that they’re entitled to a public education that doesn’t include religion,” he said in an interview.

The columnist goes even further and notes:

Frankly, I think the denominational school system should be relegated to the dustbin of history. Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario are the only provinces that still maintain publicly funded separate schools. Quebec got rid of the denominational system years ago with very little fuss.

Newfoundland replaced its church-run schools with a public system about a decade ago after a referendum. The world didn’t fall apart there, either.

Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and any other religious group has the right to educate their children in a faith-based system if they choose – but it should not be on the public’s dime.

In the meantime, it is encouraging that the Alberta government is on its way to correcting this injustice.