Alberta political roundup

Trinity Christian, the private school that was caught cooking its books by the NDP, have had an administrator appointed to manage their finances while the RCMP conducts its investigation concerning allegations of fraud.

Professional douchebag Fred Henry, a Bishop in Calgary infamous for typical Roman Catholic Church douchebaggery, has resigned from his post. He accused the NDP of breathing “pure secularism” …and meant it as a bad thing.

Progressive Conservative supporters continue to cite the NDP’s progressive income taxation and vice taxation as primary reasons to oppose the NDP. Except both policies were also on the PC agenda. Oops.

The Progressive Conservatives have announced no findings of wrongdoing within their own party following the allegations of harassment by former moderate leadership candidate Sandra Jansen. Never mind that they investigated themselves. Move along folks, nothing to see here.

Brian Jean still has no idea how he’s going to “Unite the Right,” but it’ll be good, he pinky-swears.

-Shiv

Catholic “charity” attaches strings to its transgender outreach

If you ever wonder why I am incensed at the entrenched Catholic government services in Alberta, here’s a wonderful demonstration of why. A Catholic charity has opened up in India purporting to offer “outreach” to the trans community, but there are some very, very hard to miss strings attached to this outreach: (emphasis mine)

Caritas India, a branch of Catholic social welfare organization Caritas Internationalis, announced the launch of a program earlier this month designed to fight discriminatory attitudes toward transgender people.

“Caritas is open to work with transgender people. I am even open to recruiting them,” Rev. Frederick D’Souza, executive director of Caritas India, said in a statement reported by Vatican Radio.

The group’s initiative aims to combat bias by conducting outreach to transgender communities as part of its development programs, but it reveals the church’s own internal bias in the process.

D’Souza said he hoped the initiative would mark the “beginning of a new school of thought,” in which Catholic leaders offer greater “attention and support” to those dealing with “sexual confusion in their body.”

In the same breath, D’Souza clarified that the outreach would only go so far. By “transgender,” he said, he was referring to a group he classified as “biological transgenders,” which to him denoted those who identify with a different sex but have not undergone surgery.

“We don’t want to confuse the two,” D’Souza said. “We have an opinion on those who undergo sex change, we are not in favor of that. We believe that the natural gender one is born with is what he/she is supposed to cherish and contribute to creation.”

Par for the course for the abusive Catholic institution, this charity claims to offer help to trans folk (in south Asia, sometimes called hijra) but exploits the opportunity to push psychiatric abuse on those who need its help.

In other words, they have no intentions of helping trans folk at all, since the condition on which the help is offered is that we must be willing to submit to something that the American Psychiatric Association–along with basically every credible mental health professional accreditation body in North America and Europe–recognizes as damaging.

Yet the Catholics proceed apace, ever increasing the amount of reality they’re willing to deny in the name of their holy fucking book.

-Shiv


 

A few days after this post was put on the schedule, another Catholic “charity” hit the news for turfing an employee over her belief that we shouldn’t be dicks to gay people. I guess Christmas is only for straights! (And my straight coworkers legitimately ask why I need to host/attend separate Queer Thanksgivings and Christmases and Easters.)

French Roman Catholics still beating a dead horse

We know that thanks to terrorist efforts, nationalist and fascist groups across the West are gaining momentum. We also know from history that nationalists have a tendency to draw arbitrary lines about what makes one a “true” countryman, and that the QUILTBAG community is always outside those lines. In fact the effect is so predictable that I debated investing stock in the baseball bat business, because we all know nationalists just love to beat dead horses.

So it can’t be a coincidence that French Roman Catholics are sensing a resurgency in homo-antagonism and so organized an anti gay-marriage rally despite the fact that the law passed three years ago.

Thousands of opponents of gay marriage took to the streets of Paris on Sunday to defend their vision of family values, hoping to revive the issue in political debates ahead of next year’s presidential election.

About 24,000 people took part in the demonstration, police said, far fewer than the several hundreds of thousands the group “Demo for All” mobilized in 2012 and 2013 in an unexpectedly strong show of opposition from conservatives, especially Roman Catholics.

The Socialist government legalized same-sex marriage, which it called “Marriage for All”, in 2013.

Police said 13 people were arrested after a scuffle at the protest, including six topless women from the activist group Femen. Some of them had words “Hate is not a family value” scrawled on their chests.

Organizers of Sunday’s protest aim to pressure politicians on the right, who face a presidential primary next month, to agree to repeal the law if they are elected president.

The protesters marched through prosperous western sections of Paris, waving French flags and the “Demo for All” movement’s blue and pink colors. Some held signs declaring “All together for the family” and “In 2017, I’ll vote for the family.”

Again, they seldom bother to explain how not shitting on Queer people somehow constitutes an assault on the family. Meanwhile QUILTBAG people wanting to, you know, start a family, still can’t thanks to the abusive Catholic lobby.

Let’s say I really like turkey sandwiches, so I go to a sub store to get a turkey sandwich. What the anti-gay lobbyists are doing is essentially shouting from the spot behind me in line that I shouldn’t be allowed to have a turkey sandwich because they prefer ham sandwiches. That the ham is still there for them to purchase seems to escape them.

I will never understand the rationale for this so-called “family values” rhetoric because they obviously are operating from a very twisted idea of what family is.

Needless to say, fuck off Christofascists. Those of us privy to history know better than to view you as anything but a menace.

-Shiv

Polish Catholics aren’t done assaulting women’s rights

Apparently not satisfied with its standings in the “Top 5 Worst European Countries to be a Woman in,” Polish Catholic lobbyists have pushed for yet another abortion restriction following the coattails of the nationwide protest on their previous proposal: Criminalizing abortions performed on fetuses with fatal or severe abnormalities.

Polish protesters have launched fresh demonstrations against efforts to further tighten abortion laws.

Women’s rights activists held a rally outside the parliament building in Warsaw, with more action expected on Monday.

Poland’s MPs rejected a near-total ban on abortions on 6 October after mass protests against the move.

But there are new proposals to outlaw abortions in cases where foetuses are unviable or badly damaged.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the governing Law and Justice Party (PiS), has said his socially conservative party is working on a new restrictive bill.

In an interview on 12 October (in Polish), he said: “We will strive to ensure that even in pregnancies which are very difficult, when a child is sure to die, strongly deformed, women end up giving birth so that the child can be baptised, buried, and have a name.”

Un-fucking-believable. Leave it to Catholic men to tell women they have to give birth to something that is dead all cloaked under the guise of a fucking fairy tale. This thinly-veiled attempt to punish women for existing outside the patriarchal confines of the Catholic church must fail.

Fuck Kaczynski. Again this fucker fails to even let women enter the frame when he thinks about this issue.

Gettin real angry at conservative men in politics these days.

-Shiv

#BlackMonday in Poland partially successful

This Monday was #BlackMonday in Poland, a massive call for women & allies to go on strike to protest a proposed total ban on abortion:

The proposed law would further tighten Poland’s abortion laws, already among the strictest in Europe, by eliminating access to the procedure for rape survivors or in the case of fatal fetal abnormalities. The law would also prohibit medical personnel from performing abortions unless a woman was in “imminent” danger of dying and could effectively criminalize miscarriage.

The proposed bill survived its first parliamentary vote last week and was referred to a parliamentary committee for further input.

“Going to [the proposed] total ban would be something really odious, and something that would make life of women there extremely dangerous,” Irene Donadio, public affairs manager for the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s European Network, told BuzzFeed News by telephone.

Proving as ever that “life” has nothing to do with their policies, forced birther advocates don’t seem to be particularly concerned about the consequences of these draconian bans. (emphasis mine)

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In which the Pope makes Siobhan’s irony meter explode

Favourite irony meter-breaker Pope Francis opened his mouth again, and this time I think I fainted.

Then in the plane ride back to Rome, the pope told reporters that he had intended only to be critical of teaching children in school about what it means to be transgender. He reportedly used the word “transgender,” and he compared it to being gay. The church acknowledges people are gay but claims it’s a sin to act on same-sex attraction.

“It is one thing for a person to have this tendency, this option and even to have a sex change, but it is another thing to teach this in schools in order to change mentalities,” said the pope on the plane, according to Catholic News. “This I call ideological colonization.”

Catholics. Lecturing on colonization. I just

Wat.

-Shiv, Annihilator of Man, Fashionable Communist, who can’t even right now

“No way under heaven,” says Baptist school after being told to respect Queer youth

Two Baptist schools which are financed by public money have decided they are not going to draft a Queer-inclusive policy for their students, despite it being required by Bill 7, Bill 10, and the Education Minister: (emphasis mine)

A Spruce Grove pastor who oversees two Christian private schools has accused Alberta’s education minister of wielding “dictatorial power” on the issue of LGBTQ rights, and says his board has no intention of complying with the government’s new policy.

I have a duty as a pastor to protect the flock of God,” said pastor Brian Coldwell, chair of the Independent Baptist Christian Education Society, which runs two schools in rural Parkland County with a total of 200 students. “And there is no way under heaven I’m going to allow gay activists to come in here and basically undermine our ministries and our religious freedoms or confuse and corrupt our children.”

Okay, so, essentially he’s complaining because the government, which pays his salary, is saying he has to treat Queer students with respect, as mandated by law, because his “flock” needs to be “protected” from “gay activists” who “confuse and corrupt” children. That’s a funny story coming from the same institution that routinely protects pedophiles and brainwashes them into thinking Queer people are broken, perverted, or otherwise dangerous.

Here’s an unsettling revelation: The St. Albert Catholic School Board has in writing that its “guiding policy” for Queer youth is to preach “chastity.”

(6) Imposes no special requirements/additional constraints  Calls students with same-sex attractions to a life of prayer, self-control, and chastity.  Procedure explicitly requires a staff advisor of any student group to impose the “Church’s definition of chastity as a basis for advising students within their work” (Procedure 4.6 & 4.7).  Requires any student group (such as a GSA or QSA) the additional burden to follow the “CCSSA Life Framework” (See Procedure 3 and Appendix 1).

These abusive mother fuckers are receiving my tax money to install god damn fucking conversion therapy-lite in god damn fucking public school. This religious indoctrination is precisely why the suicide rate is so high for Queer youth. And this shit is being taught in publicly funded schools!

David Swann, the leader of the Alberta Liberal Party (yes, they still exist) has also called on David Eggen to not only dismantle antagonistic school boards, but to ban conversion therapy.

“The legislation, supported by every provincial party, and the policies set forth by the government, were created to provide kids with the right to be who they are,” said Swann. “No organization, especially a school, should have the ability to take those rights away.”

“This is precisely the situation where LGBTQ protections are most needed,” Swann said in a statement. “There is an antagonistic school board and a strong bias against the LGBTQ community.”

Swann also called on Eggen to ban the practice of conversion therapy throughout the education system, after Coldwell said Christian counseling would be used to help LGBTQ students.

“This type of ‘therapy’ is widely opposed by experts in psychology, psychiatry and social work,” said Swann. “There is no place for it in Alberta’s schools.”

A petition has been started to lobby for the pulling of these school’s public funding. Please sign it here.

If schools that receive Albertan education funding dollars do not want to follow the law – they should not continue to be funded by the taxpayer, obviously. Tax money is not meant to subsidize spaces that make LGBTQ2+ students unsafe. Every student has a right to attend school in a safespace, Brian Coldwell has repeatedly demonstrated in public he is incapable of providing that – including during a bizarre interview on Ryan Jespersen’s radio show a few weeks ago where he discussed ex-gay “Pray the Gay away” conversion techniques which can cause irreversible psychological damage and amounts to child abuse.

Your signature and signal boosting are hugely appreciated. Call on the NDP to take action instead of grandstanding. I am sick to my stomach just thinking about “Christian counselling” and “chastity” advice.

-Shiv


 

August 30: Earlier version of this article said the two schools were Catholic. I’ll own up to it–I just assume every time religious dickheads do dickhead things in Alberta, it’s the god damn Catholics. In fairness, St. Albert’s Queer policy is still rancid.

That’s an odd way of using the word “choice”

I’ve long lamented the role of Catholic institutions in my government. Initially a persecuted minority, Catholic institutions that were established prior to Canadian confederation had their role cemented by law as part of the agreement to confederate. It was an agreement to legitimize what was, at the time, an organized–if widely discriminated against–minority. The problem, of course, is that these days education tends to be a matter of the theoretically secular government that runs the province… except that these Catholic institutions are happily trodding on secular law by shoehorning “conscience exemptions” into every damn bill that crosses the Legislature’s table. In other words, Catholic institutions don’t have to follow the law.

We’re long past the openly violent conflict between Protestants and Catholics, yet Catholics still enjoy their role in government. Or, I would say that, if not for my favourite advocacy group ever, Parents for Choice in Education. Apparently not satisfied with indoctrinating their children in both faith-based school and church (and in homeless shelters and hospitals–their reach is far), PCE, despite being called a “choice” organization, seems chiefly interested in making everyone else follow their choices.

I’ve written about PCE before. They were the ones who said the new Albertan government would “foist comprehensive sex education on schools next,” and meant it as a bad thing.

Just let that sink in for a moment. Comprehensive sex ed. The thing that reduces teen pregnancy. The thing that reduces the rate of abortion. The thing that reduces the rate of STI transmission. The thing that allows women to participate in the economy, drives up the GDP, drives down the cost of healthcare, stabilizes population growth, mitigates numerous health problems, reduces the rate of domestic and relationship violence, and perhaps most noticeably puts a dent in the poverty cycle.

Class mobility. Cheaper healthcare. Lower crime rate. Bad. 

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Thanks Pope Francis

Guys, the Pope has helped me come to an important conclusion.

See now, the problem with the trans rights movement is that we just don’t have snappy enough phrases. We’re trying to bring academic terms into common parlance, and that’s a tough battle when the general public views pesky things like evidence with suspicion. The Pope has it all figured out though. Gender transition is such a boring clinical term. Why not use something more memorable, more colourful? Something that speaks to the masses? Something with that certain je nais se quoi that captures the imagination of the ignorant, inspires the illiterate, and emboldens the craven?

Why not, “the annihilation of man“?

“We are living a moment of annihilation of man as image of God.”

Thanks Pope. That is much catchier than “gender transition.”

-Shiv, Annihilator of Man, Fashionable Communist