Sep 092014
 

Caring for Alberta's Highways: Society of Edmonton Atheists

A few years ago, the SEA adopted a section of the QE II highway; we make sure it gets cleaned, and the province puts our name on a sign. The second weekend we’re cleaning this year is this Saturday and Sunday, from 9-11:30am.

If you can offer a carpool, or need a carpool, please contact us, or if you’re on the Facebook group, post a notice on the events.

Meeting Location, 9am:
South end of the Sparrow Drive Service Road in Nisku, at the cul-de-sac just south of the Blackjacks Roadhouse.

SEA will supply: Continue reading »

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
Sep 062014
 

Carrier Poster

Click here for TICKETS VIA EVENTBRITE

 

**Please note, there is limited seating, so this event may sell out prior to the night. **

Tickets will also be available in person at book club on September 7th.

 

 

sense and goodness book draw

All current members (who have purchased a membership in 2014 or are lifetime members) of the Society attending this event will also be entered into a draw for a signed copy of Dr. Carrier’s book ”Sense and Goodness without God”.  You can purchase a membership via our membership tab on the website, at any event from a board member or if you have tickets for this event, at the door upon entry.

 

 

*pictures may be taken at this event that will be published on our facebook page or website

** end time of event is subject to change.

 Posted by at 10:42 AM
Aug 152014
 

Keeping you up to date with our board meeting discussions!

2014 SEA BOD banner

Bus Ads:
We are getting ever closer to our bus ad goal, with designs falling into place and funding going well.  We’re still about $1000 short, so every small amount will bring us closer now.   You can donate on our merchandise/membership tab.   We’ve also given ourselves a deadline of August 31st for our design, so we will be submitting and looking for approval from Ad Standards Canada on that date.

This is one example of a design we’re playing around with, this was done quickly with free clip art images, so could be refined by taking more time to look for images.  Have a design for us?

Fairy tales

 

 

Merchandise Sale!

We’re selling Grey T-shirts at 50% off.  Grab a bargain for $10 (while they last) and be a walking advertisment for atheism.  If you are interested in purchasing one (we have medium and large sizes available) they will be available at upcoming book club and roundtable events, or you can let us know via email or on the facebook group page.

Grey shirt back

 
Outreach Ideas

We’ve been approached by someone from Alpha Canada, and were wondering if anyone would like to take this course?  It’s free, we would meet every week for a 2-3 hour presentation and it lasts for 8 weeks.  If you are interested please let one of the board know so we can decide if we want to go ahead.

Other than that, we’ve been talking about more outreach events, like Ask An Atheist day at churches or even holding our own Atheism 101 class that would be open to the public and answer general questions about what being an atheist is.   Do you have an idea of where we can do outreach?

ask an atheist
Special Guests

Save the Date!  Dr. Richard Carrier is coming to town!

Richard Carrier, Ph.D., is a philosopher and historian, specializing in contemporary philosophy of naturalism and Greco-Roman philosophy, science, and religion, including the origins of Christianity. He blogs regularly and lectures for community groups worldwide. He is the author of Sense and Goodness without GodOn the Historicity of JesusProving HistoryWhy I Am Not a ChristianNot the Impossible Faith, and Hitler Homer Bible Christ, as well as chapters in several other books and articles in academic journals, and his namesake blog. For more about Dr. Carrier and his work see www.richardcarrier.info.

He’ll be coming on Sunday September 21st to speak about  ”The Arguments For and Against the Resurrection Of Jesus”.   We do intend on opening this event up to local church groups if they are interested.   Keep up to date on this event by visiting our website regularly for specific details or you can request to be added to our email list by contacting us.

Carrier take one

 Posted by at 4:42 PM
Aug 112014
 

If you are thinking about attending the University of Alberta in the fall here is a course you might be interested in.   The classes run Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10am – 10:50am and are taught by PhD Candidate History and Classics,  Lara Apps.    This is a for-credit course and can also be taken through open studies.

The course description is as follows:
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Is atheism a modern phenomenon? Is modernity quintessentially atheist?  Did atheism help create the modern world? We will engage critically with these recent claims through an exploration of the development of
atheism in Europe from the fifteenth century to the late nineteenth century. We will also consider the relationship between atheism and critiques of the social, political, and moral order. A general  knowledge of European history is recommended, and students should be prepared to participate in class discussions. The course readings will  include several primary sources in English translation.
Atheism course UofA

 More information on how to register for classes at the University can be found on their website.

 Posted by at 10:17 AM
Aug 082014
 

An Anti-gay group managed to hide their true intentions at the Vancouver Pride Parade this past weekend by passing themselves off as an atheist group from Calgary.

Bill Whatcott belongs to a Evangelical Christian activist group who managed to garner a spot in the parade on August 3rd by registering as the Calgary Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster.  Bill , who has ties to Edmonton having attended Grant MacEwan University, wore a t-shirt that said ”The Flying Spaghetti Monster is Gay”.   To not raise suspicions, the group went as far as creating a fake website complete with a fake contact phone number to ensure they would be approved a spot in the parade.   During the parade, the group handed out ”condoms”…which actually contained gospel verses condeming homosexuality, along with stories of how Jesus has set homosexuals free,  along with instructions on how to contact the Vancouver Pride committee to tell them about how harmful the homosexual lifestyle is.

To hide their true agenda, if someone was close to blowing their cover by opening the fake condom, they quickly exchanged it for a Trojan condom.

Bill fake group

According to a report by the National Post in February of this year, Bill has already had previous court dates regarding this exact type of behaviour.   The Supreme Court of Canada upheld a hate speech charge against him which included a penalty of $17, 500 and a warning that if he kept spreading hate messages it could lead to contempt of court and jail.    In April of this year he was arrested again on a count of mischief for protesting outside of the University of Regina with signs that read ”Sodomy is a sin” and pro-life messages.     Bill justifies his actions on his website by quoting scripture and relaying stories from the bible where deception was approved of by God when doing God’s work.

The SEA want to make it abundantly clear that we are not affiliated with this group and do not in any way condone or support the message that Bill Whatcott and his members conveyed at the Pride Parade in Vancouver.    In fact NO atheist /secular groups in Alberta are affiliated with this group, despite their fake group name being somewhat similar.   Some (but not limited to) of the legitimate atheist and secular organisations in Alberta are:  CFI Calgary, The Calgary Secular Church,  University of Calgary Freethinkers, University of Alberta Atheists and Agnostics, Grant MacEwan Heathens and Friends,  and the Secular Humanists of Alberta.

It is a concern that the Calgary Pride Parade is in a few weeks time, we do hope that either he is arrested again by that stage, doesn’t have plans to show up or hasn’t managed to secure a spot **.   The Center For Inquiry does have a spot in the parade and they should be recognizable by their banner, which was published this week.

(**edit to add:  it has been brought to my attention that it was unkind and somewhat ridiculous to wish he be arrested , and I just wanted to say that yes,  I threw that comment out there without much thought.  As he is already going against what court orders have been given to him, I assumed the next course of action would now be another arrest (as stated in the National Post report) so was following that thought process through.  My intent  with that statement was my hope he will be unable to find his way into the Calgary Pride Parade)

CFI-Pride-1

In the meanwhile, let’s take this opportunity to spread a message of acceptance instead of hatred and donate to either the Pride Centre of Edmonton or the Calgary Pride groups.  We all thoroughly enjoy walking and showing our support in the Pride Parades annually, and we sincerely hope this will not hinder our future participation.

 Posted by at 8:51 AM
Aug 072014
 

Hopefully many of you were aware of the kickstarter fundraiser to help fund a documentary on Nathan Phelps and his story about growing up inside the Westboro Baptist Church, his father, and how he left the church.   The way kickstarter fundraising works is that you have to reach your goal amount to recieve any of the donations, and sadly, they fell short.   The project team: Brad Johnson, Jason Badgett, Terrie Johnson, and Sam Billen,  are now looking for funding directly by donation to Nate’s website.

NotMyFathersSon_ProfilePic

Picture and quote from Nate’s website used with permission

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“Not My Father’s Son” will chronicle Nate’s story from the years of physical, emotional and mental abuse he suffered at the hands of his father from a young age through his journey toward healing to his subsequent and current fight for justice and equality for all people.

Nate’s father Fred was the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, prior to his death in 2014. The church is known worldwide for its stance against homosexuality, and is defined by its trademark slogan, “God Hates Fags.” Nate’s escape from the abusive and hateful environment in which he was raised coupled with his quest to break the cycle of abuse and hate for future generations create a poignant and powerful theme for the film.

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Nathan now lives in Calgary, Alberta and SEA were fortunate to have him come up and march with us in the Pride Parade this past summer.  Let’s help out and see this documentary completed by visiting his website to find out more information, and to donate!

 Posted by at 10:07 AM