Dec 222014
 

It’s December. Christmas decorations in stores have been up for 8 weeks already, you may be wishing you could target an EMP at speakers playing carols, and the annual charity season is in full swing. Salvation Army kettles are in the malls, and there are billboards up explaining that a goat is more than just a goat.

So, how do you decide which charities are worth giving to? Continue reading »

Dec 122014
 

Diversity (gender and racial) in speakers at atheist conferences has increased from 2003 to 2014, according to a paper written by Ian Bushfield and Chris Hassall.

Hassall, C and Bushfield, I 2014. Increasing Diversity in Emerging Non-religious Communities.Secularism and Nonreligion 3:7, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/snr.as

This is good to hear, and certainly follows my own impressions of the growth in the SEA’s membership. Back when we were getting organized in 2007 (which Ian had a large hand in) the group was overwhelmingly white males. Now, our Board of Directors is evenly split in terms of gender, and our racial diversity at events has been improving.

The SEA is working with some other Alberta groups for a conference in October 2015, keep your eyes open for details in the coming months.

 

 

Dec 082014
 

Does your school suffer from an STD (Standard Teaching of Dogma)? SEA member Kathy Dawson has put together some tips and resources for dealing with religious-based sexual education in your public school.

http://scathinglywrongrightwingnutz.blogspot.ca/2014/11/does-your-school-have-std-standard.html

If you aren’t familiar with Kathy’s current human rights complaint against the Edmonton Public School District, Paula Simons from the Edmonton Journal wrote a column about the topic in July. Edmonton’s Pregnancy Care Centre is explicitly Christ-based, and an affiliate of the Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services, whose Core Documents can be found on their website.

Oct 212014
 

Keeping you informed on what your board members are discussing and working on for you!

BUS ADS

Almost there!  We have our artwork decided on (just a few tweaks to be made – the attached version is not the final one), we require approval from Ad Standards Canada and still need to raise a few hundred dollars more to reach our goal.  We’ll be stretching out the website address to go across the bottom, and adding the call to action: ”Join Us”.   If you want to donate (even $20 here or there will help us towards our goal) you can make a donation on the merchandise/membership page here on the website, just click on the donate button.

Bus Ad idea decided

CONFERENCE!!

We’re taking a big step next year and are pleased to announce that next year the Society of Edmonton Atheists (and perhaps some other Alberta groups or Canadian sponsors) will be hosting a conference in Red Deer in October 2015!!  This is a first for us, and we are more than excited about moving forward with such a big event.   We hope to offer panel discussions and workshops, as well as having a few ”celebrity” guest speakers come in to speak to us about issues that concern us here in Alberta and worldwide.      Mark your calendars for the weekend of October 17th and 18th, 2015!

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:05 AM
Oct 152014
 

Last week the PC party announced a number of new schools would be built in the province,  schools that are long overdue.  Many school boards have been asking for new schools for years, and not very many have been opened to keep up with the increasing population in Alberta.     My own school board explained that our  public schools are running at over 90% capacity (schools don’t usually go above 80% that way it leaves room for new students who move to the area).  Finally a new school was planned to start being built next year (April 2015) but by the time it’s completed it will already be full and we’ll require another new school, in fact it’s already full now (we have several schools in our area that are overcrowded, using libraries as classrooms etc etc).   This isn’t just a problem where I live, this is all over the province.

So now, let’s look at the Morinville situation.   Just a few years ago only Catholic schooling was available to the residents in Morinville while the other areas had a Protestant option as well as Catholic.  The parents in Morinville fought for their right to a secular education without having to bus their children to St. Albert, and won.  Morinville was now included in the Sturgeon School Board, which covers numerous other communities.   A public non-faith based school system was finally introduced in 2012 (prior to an actual school there were a few modulars set up to start immediate secular education), however it only goes to grade 7.  After that the children still have to go to the Catholic system (or be bussed out of town) in order to finish their schooling to grade 12.  As you can imagine, a new public school was asked for, one that could handle the growing demand for secular education in the area.

The announcement of schools last week was welcomed, with many areas getting 2 new schools for each district.  With the exception of Morinville.  Despite an obvious need for a new non-faith based public school the town instead recieved news of one new CATHOLIC school to be built.  Catholic?  Have they even been watching what’s going on there?

The Morinville Problem

If you would like to lend your support to the campaign to bring a new secular school to Morinville and hopefully get answers as to why they were overlooked, you can sign the petition to show your support.

 Posted by at 4:01 PM
Sep 302014
 

Did you know that September 30th is International Blasphemy Day?

Don’t confuse this event as some cheap excuse to legitimize insulting those of faith. It isn’t.  This is an event that marks and highlights the importance of Freedom of Though, Speech & Expression as a Fundamental Human Right – one that cannot be taken away under the guise of Religious Freedom or privilege.

Many countries around the World (including the West) have blasphemy laws. 13 countries punish blasphemy with death, still more with lashes, jail and fines. Those found guilty (included bloggers killed this week) number in the thousands.

In honor of today we are posting a cartoon that more than a billion people can’t – and one that would carry a death sentence for many.

Luke Fevin, Director for SEA

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 Posted by at 2:07 PM
Sep 222014
 

Some of us  met Brad when he came to speak to our group earlier this year, so I thought this might be of some interest… It’s a free event tomorrow evening and looks like it could be thought provoking!

Dying With Dignity

 Posted by at 11:20 PM
Sep 212014
 

Looking forward to seeing you out this evening, we do still have a few tickets left so you can purchase them for cash at the door if you don’t have yours yet.   Event starts at 7:00pm sharp!

The event will be in the Mechanical Engineering Building, Room 2-1 (room 201)

mech Eng

Facebook ad attempt 2

 Posted by at 11:25 AM
Sep 112014
 

An article appearing in the Cold Lake Sun  this week shows the President of the Islamic Society of Cold Lake being awarded a government grant of $100,000,  reporting that this money is to assist in the building of a new mosque there.    According to the goverment page regarding these grants, there is a budget of $38 million per year that goes towards projects that enhance the community.  Any groups applying must fulfill specific criteria and there is a fund-matching policy in effect (so you must have funds of your own) before being granted money via the Community Facility Enhancement Program.

Many of the first responses to this article were questions about why the government is able to fund a religious group and if this is a violation of our Charter.  It’s worth noting that Canada does not have a clear separation of church and state, our Charter only guarantees freedom OF religion.   If you’d like a more detailed explaination, check out this article explaining the differences between the US and Canada.   Ajaz Quraishi’s group were able to meet the criteria for the CFEP as they fall under the societies act, despite also being tied to a religious group.

new mosque cold lake sun

The project has been in the works for years and first hit the news in 2010 when councillors voted to allow them to purchase some land at a 90% discount, then rescinded that offer.   Eventually the society were granted 2 acres of land at market value ($130,000)  in Cold Lake and now plan to use that space to build a community center and a mosque.

Ajaz Quraishi

I spoke to Ajaz Quraishi directly to get more details and to confirm what the monies will be used for.   He has issued a public statement on his own facebook wall explaining the report was incorrect and that the money will in fact go towards a community hall, which will be open for use (presumably rentable space) by the public.  The mosque is a separate project although it will still go on the same land.   The application for the grant took about 6 months and Ajaz is hoping to have the permits in the next few months so they can start building the community hall.   He has no timeline for the mosque as of yet as the group are still raising funds for that project.

 Posted by at 2:52 PM