The child’s well-being has to be balanced against rights to traditional medicine

Remember? The ruling by Justice Gethin Edward of the Ontario Court of Justice that it was ok for parents to take their child off chemotherapy for leukemia because they’re First Nations people  and

Maybe First Nations culture doesn’t require every child to be treated with chemotherapy and to survive for that culture to have value.

Well now he’s “clarified” that ruling.

The clarification of a controversial court ruling that allowed the mother of an 11-year-old First Nations girl to pull her out of chemotherapy says the best interests of the child are “paramount,” but traditional medicine must be respected. [Read more…]

Guest post: David Cameron’s Handshake with African Homophobic and Witch hunting Pastor

Guest post by Leo Igwe.

The photos of UK Prime Minister David Cameron shaking hands with the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Rev Enoch Adeboye at the Festival of Life program holding in London must disgust anyone who knows about the teachings and positions of Adeboye and his church, particularly on issues of homosexuality and witchcraft. Rev Adeboye was one of the pastors who openly canvassed support for the anti gay marriage bill stating that homosexuality would wipe out humanity.

He said:

Same-sex marriage is an anathema to the will of God for human beings to be fruitful, replenish and multiply on earth. Anything contrary to that is evil. [Read more…]

All around Pakistan, there are brave women like Mahmud

Elisabeth Braw wrote an admiring article about Sabeen Mahmud in 2013. It’s heartbreaking to read now.

When you enter Sabeen Mahmud’s airy The Second Floor café, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’re in San Francisco. The walls feature works by young local artists; the menu offers panini and café lattes, and announcements invite you to author readings and discussion evenings. Indeed, with her short, stylish hairdo and edgy glasses, Mahmud herself looks very Californian.

But this is Karachi, a city that most of the outside world associates with extremism and sectarian violence. In fact, Mahmud’s café is a risky endeavor. Intelligence officers frequently show up, especially at Indian events. “But fear is a line in your head”, she reflects. “I want to do what I want to do. Of course I want more security, but I’m not going to worry that I’ll be raped or shot. Fear is the new normal in Karachi.”

[Read more…]

Then there remain the many social issues

An interesting comment at PZ’s by Keith Monaghan.

Irish Atheist here. I used to be a supporter and paying member of Atheist Ireland until all this went down and Nugent went off the rails. He has poisoned the entire organisation with his willingness to defend abusers and provide a forum to known harassers. Not to mention his embarrassing brown nosing of our great “thought leaders” Dawkins, et al. It’s a real shame because many in Atheist Ireland have been doing great work regarding raising awareness about our ridiculous blasphemy law and the overwhelming control of our schools by the Catholic Church among a great many other abuses committed in the name of religion.

But just as the charitable acts of the Catholic Church do not outweigh the many abuses it allowed and in many ways fostered under its watch, AI does not get off the hook either. With the organisation choosing to side with Nugent in all this I had to question their commitment towards fighting against sexism and abuse within our community and for the well-being of atheists in general. [Read more…]

The mirror image is just as foul

Nick Cohen looks at the way Lutfur Rahman exploited leftwing ideas to protect his own personal power.

[H]e rigged the vote by using “undue spiritual influence”, an accusation unheard of in a British court since the 19th century. Rahman persuaded clerics to go far beyond saying they thought he was the best candidate. Islam is under threat, they said in so many words. It was the duty of all Muslims to vote for Rahman. If Bangladeshi voters did not, they would be siding with their Islamophobic enemies, perhaps even defying god’s will.

We are used to thinking of racism as Nigel Farage or the Tory tabloids egging on their readers to see the Aids-afflicted foreigner as the enemy. Indeed, it often appears that this is the only way we can think about it. The mirror image is just as foul and its foulness reached a nadir in London. The worst of Rahman’s corruption was not the purloined money, but the way he corrupted leftwing values.

Anyone who criticised the mayor was a racist. When councillors said the mayor must answer questions, his supporters accused them of “racism”. When an opponent appeared at a meeting in a black cardigan – the poor woman was in mourning for her dead husband, incidentally – Rahman’s fixer roared that where once the East End had been terrorised by Blackshirts, it was now terrorised by Blackcardigans.

Nick won a big award last weekend. He’ll never let us forget it, either. It was the European Press Prize, Commentator division. Chiz chiz Nick.

Guest post: The suicide pilot

Guest post by Simon Trepel, MD. He has more essays at Simon’s Creative Behavioural Therapy.

Truthfully, I probably would not have cared so much, about the shitty thing that Lubitz did, but I was literally stranded on a desert island, thousands of miles across the ocean from home, when he crashed the plane. Now, stranded is a relative term, the island was Hawaii, and I could only be less stranded while being on a desert island, if I was in Australia. But that is where I received the parcel of hate that he chose to deliver to my meme mailbox, that elephant part of your brain that never forgets, yet we call it the hippocampus. That would be a crowded university.And knowing that I needed to fly home, with my 2 daughters, ages 3 and 5, in less than a week, meant I was going to binge watch the entire miniseries, ping ponging between a fox, an spf, and a cnn.

And while it was a mystery on TV, for me, I knew early, why he splattered a plane, and 150 living, breathing, loving people, into a Jackson Pollock original, against the wall, of a new gallery of death. He loved to fly, and he hated to be sad. And, he loved what he loved, in his mind, more than you love what you love. He made the calculation that, since he could not complete his bucket list, neither could 150 people that contributed to his sadness in no way. So he exchanged a b for an f, and practiced relaxation exercises, so no one would think he was scared, for about 8 minutes.

There is no such thing as clinical depression. There is the depression your doctor diagnoses you with, and then there are the diagnoses we give ourselves. And it is different from sadness. Depression sucks, its worst feature is not the rewallpapering of your mind into a room you never want to be in, yet you are afraid to leave, because it’s even worse out there. The worst feature is, after a while, you want to die, but your body still thinks it’s its actual age. So then, you get suicidal. And here is where your personality finally gets a say. How do you want to kill yourself? [Read more…]

The inclusivity of the Students’ Union had to be “maintained”

Another “uh oh no you can’t make jokes about erm you know that one guy” episode, this time at the University of Bath.

[“]According to CWIPS” was the title of the performance that had the cramped, upstairs-corner of the Bath Brew House roaring with laughter. The show combined pop culture, Richard Dawkins, and the bestseller of all time – the Bible – to construct an amusingly witty performance. However, prior to the opening night, the society was met with some rather strong requests to edit the show.

[D]uring the opening week one of the SU officials quietly attended one of the rehearsals. Just four hours prior to opening night the committee of CWIPS was told that a sketch involving the depiction of the Prophet Mohammed titled ‘Cooking with Christ’ should be cut. “The SU couldn’t give more of an explanation,” recalls one of the members of the committee regarding the lack of justification given for the changes being made the show, especially on such short notice. [Read more…]

Un-silencing Balochistan

The Guardian explains why Sabeen Mahmud was murdered – it was because Baloch separatism is a touchy issue in Pakistan (and it’s become fashionable there to murder people who mention touchy issues).

A leading member of Pakistan’s small band of liberal social activists has been gunned down outside the pioneering Karachi arts venue she founded, in an apparent bid to silence discussion about the country’s brutal efforts to smother separatism in the restive province of Balochistan.

The murder of Sabeen Mahmud on Friday sent shockwaves through Pakistan’s embattled intelligentsia both because she was much loved but also because the killing happened immediately after an event she organised with Mama Abdul Qadeer, an elderly Baloch activist campaigning on behalf of so-called “missing people” abducted by the state security apparatus. [Read more…]