The Canadian Atheist

Issue 1

A Quarterly Newsletter

Winter 1994/95


For several weeks during the summer of 1994, in Kelowna, B.C., an event was held on a platform about 10 metres above the ground on top of a construction scaffold. Groups of young adults took turns on the platform 24 hours a day. Huddled over their bibles, eyes tightly closed, they mumbled prayers to an imaginary god. A large banner on the platform informed those in the heavy traffic flowing past that this was an exercise called P.U.S.H., an acronym for Pray Until Something Happens. Well, as a direct result of that silly religious display, what happened was that this newsletter was born. We admire and pay tribute to Anton Notdurft of Chemainus, BC. Anton worked alone for more than five years editing a newsletter for atheists in Canada. Having chosen a new direction for his creative energy, Anton has passed his address list to us and we are expanding it. He has promised to send articles and letters from time to time and we look forward to his contributions. We urge other readers to do the same. Please forward names and addresses of anyone you think may be interested (or outraged).

The goal of this publication is to place the concerns of the atheist c ommunity onto the public and political agenda.

We will push back the intrusion of religious nonsense into our secular society.


Reference to a god did not appear in any constitution-type document in this country until 1982. Then the phrase “Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God” was arbitrarily inserted. On June 27, 1980, the National Anthem was mysteriously transformed into a prayer with the addition of the phrase “god keep our land. . .” Article XIX of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights holds that “Everyone has a right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference. . . It is certainly interference to use the force of law to compel several million Canadian atheists to join in religious exercises or thoughts through the inclusion of the god references in documents meant for all Canadians. A letter to Justice Minister Alan Rock results in a reply that includes the following: “the Charter applies equally to everyone in Canada and does not advantage or disadvantage anyone on the basis of their religious beliefs.” Mr. Rock apparently excludes about 3 million Canadians who hold no religious beliefs, from the group “everyone”. He does not answer the question as to how atheists should respond to the singing of the National Anthem(prayer), Sit in embarrassed silence? Wait in the hall?


“. . . a U.S. study showed 97% of journalists in the mainstream media believe abortion is a good thing.”

Ron Gray, Trinity Western Bible College official at a conference urging Christians to seek media jobs to push their evangelical “values”

“You see, this is how we fight abortion and contraception in Calcutta.”

“Mother” Teresa, during a tour of an orphanage in India.

“It will never make Movie of the Week. It’s just about a stick-in-the-mud male chauvinist in a pope-mobile” CBC TV’s Rex Murphy commenting on the pope’s $9 million doorstop “Crossing the Threshold of Hope.”

‘There is no such thing as a just war -- never was, never will be.” Erwin Knoll, 1931-1994


(Note page numbers)



Readers of Revelstoke, BC’s two local papers look forward to regular letters from our contributing editor Laurence Wayman. Whenever the town’s preachers and prayers raise their irrational bible baloney, Laurie responds with a hilarious, articulate, and meticulously researched missive from the atheist bunker. He wrote the following in response to an announcement from the local ministerial society. They proposed to construct a parade float in the form of the mythological Noah’s ark and to enter it in parades in Revelstoke and Calgary:(Slightly edited for length.)

Once upon a time, God decided he’d send a flood to drown everyone on earth. . . Men, women, children, animals and all living creatures (Genesis 6:13) he singled out one 600 year old guy named Noah to be saved, in spite of Noah’s fondness for the bottle and a penchant for running around in the nude - - both unforgivable sins in the eyes of god-fearing folk (Genesis 9:20-25).... along with three sons and four women. To this paragon of moral rectitude and company, he assigned the task of building a boat from which to escape the flood.

But, this boat was to be the Mother Of All Boats since its capacity had to be large enough to hold seven pairs of all “clean beasts” and two pairs of all “unclean beasts.” Oh, yes . . . they were also assigned the task of collecting these creatures... kangaroos from what is now Australia, polar bears from the Arctic, penguins from Antarctica, mammoths, elephants, sabre toothed tigers...and herding them into the ark.

These hearty eight people said “No problem”, and built themselves a beaut! Without the help of labourers (skilled or unskilled), engineers or power tools, they produced a floating edifice that was 500 ft. long, 83 ft. wide and 50 ft. high. and tarred it with 17,731 gallons of pitch to cover approximately 6˝ acres (roof, bottom and sides) assuming a thickness of 1/100th of a foot --the manufacture, conveyancing and application of which would be mind boggling.. Then probably as an afterthought, they installed one door and a 20” window for ventilation purposes -- not a bad idea for a structure which was to house (and store feed for) hundreds of thousands of defecating animals, insects and birds, etc. (wheweeeeee!)

And so the flood came and they all happily floated around in their gigantic floating barn until the waters subsided. (I say floated around because there was apparently no means of propulsion or steering in the design... nary an oar!) The End.

Now, as a citizen of Revelstoke, such a ridiculous float representing my town and appearing anywhere outside of the city limits would be a source of great embarrassment to me and I would be most unhappy to see any of our elected officials formally participating in this sectarian project.

If church members and their friends want to use their energies building a parade float that would truly depict “a place of safety and a place where people are supported”, why not join with “Habitat for Humanity” and show a display of homes for the homeless. Then you would attract intelligent people to your project and at the same time you would be demonstrating that Revelstokians are concerned with what is relevant in today’s society.

Faith: Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.


The bible is the most genocidal book in our canon Noam Chomsky


The diabolical status given the genocidal Catholic church at the Cairo population conference is impossible to accept. The Vatican bosses accused the UN of engaging in “cultural imperialism” by suggesting that developing countries give women the option of controlling their own bodies. After 2000 years of sending out missionaries, forcing “conversions” under penalty of torture, burning “witches”, several massive Inquisitions, and insisting that the whole world worship the white-god-and-his-only-begotten-son, the murderous RC’s should be the last ones to accuse anyone else of cultural imperialism!

Reacting to this pronouncement by a conclave of Cardinals of the RC church, Sally Ethelston, of Population Action International, said, “Women should not die or suffer irreparable physical harm as a result of unsafe abortions because of a group of 114 celibate men.”



In March 1994, New York’s Cardinal O’Connor signed a deal with Pat Robertson and a bunch of other Christian wackos, agreeing to work together to “save the family”, promote sexual abstinence before marriage, return prayer to public schools, stop the promotion of homosexuality as a “valid lifestyle”, eradicate sex education in public schools, ban high school health clinics from providing reproductive information, and other righteous bullshit. A November 26/94 Christopher Hitchens article in The Vancouver Sun (originating in The Guardian of London), firmly links “mother” Teresa to a bunch of societal monsters including the Duvalier family of Haiti, the Lebanese Phalange party, US bank robber Charles Keating, big time swindler Robert Maxwell among others. The article originally appeared in the April 13, 1992 issue of The Nation in which Hitchens accurately referred to her as a “dangerous, sinister person”, “the ghoul of Calcutta” and “the hell bat.” On August 8, 1994, the pope bestowed a knighthood on ex-Nazi Kurt Waldheim. Reminds us of another pope, Pius XII who never thought to condemn the Nazi genocide. On August 21, Elizabeth Waldheim, wife of Nazi Kurt was honoured by the Vatican for setting an example for Christians throughout the world.

Paul Patterson
Executive Producer
C.B.C.  T.V. News
Box 4600 Vancouver, BC  
V6B 4A2

The keynote speaker at the annual banquet of the Christian Info News? Chief BC news reader for Canada’s public broadcasting network, Kevin Evans. In a follow-up story, the all-religion rag reports that Kevin got a standing O when he gave witness to his Christian faith. He told the congregation that, “... the purpose of all the newsroom hustle and bustle is ultimately to serve ‘Him’.” We don’t think so. Letters to CBC and the CRTC are in order. _

Alan J. Darling
Secretary General
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N2


Mass killer and eater of young folks, the late Jeffery Daumer. Hallelujah! Mass pedobutcher Clifford Olsen. Hosanna!


In Bangladesh, Taslima Nasrin, a writer who often focuses on issues connected to women’s rights, has been forced into hiding by radical Muslim fundamentalists who want to see her punished for alleged comments against Islam. The Bangladesh law she allegedly violated outlaws language “intended to outrage the religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious believers.” Ms. Nasrin purportedly violated this law when she said that “the Koran should be thoroughly revised.” Ms. Nasrin denied that she said this and clarified her views by saying that, “we have to move beyond these ancient texts if we want progress.” She has also argued for greater sexual freedom for women and for a woman’s right to have as many husbands as men are allowed wives. She faces two years in jail and has been the object of demonstrations and large scale strikes calling for her execution. Support for Ms. Nasrin has been thin. Even Bangladesh liberals waffle in their attitudes toward her. One western-educated government official reportedly said, “I don’t think for a moment that she set out to create a situation like this, but what she has said has given a handle to people who have not hesitated to use it for mischievous purposes.” New York Times, 13 July 1994, P. A3 _


Douglas Todd, religion writer at The Vancouver Sun recently did a piece on a row of assorted churches being built on a stretch of Southeast Marine Drive. One posh prayer palace, he said, was “assessed for tax purposes at $1.7 million.” What he did not say was that no taxes will be paid on the joint. It would be an enlightening exercise for atheists to determine from their local property tax office, the value of tax exempt church property in the community and the amount of taxes that should be paid by the righteous freeloaders.

There is not a church in Canada that pays taxes...not on the building itself nor on their incomes. They are exempt from advalorem taxes on their properties, from sales tax, from inheritance tax and from taxes on the money they make from stocks and bonds. (It is widely known that churches and religious institutions heavily invest their money in the stock markets.) Those innocuous little collection baskets alone pull in millions of tax-free dollars per year.

Church holdings include vast amounts of privately owned land. Because they take that untaxable land out of the land base, our taxes are higher. Each year municipal councils pass resolutions to exempt the religious institutions from paying property tax. Not a single taxpayer, theist or atheist, is consulted.

Theology is only the ignorance of science, reduced to a system


We would like to aim more of our satire at the Jews and Muslims and we will. However, we must admit that we fear the wrath of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, which specializes in defamation, and the Muslims might hunt us down and kill us. Oh well.



According to the October 22/94 New Scientist, homosexual acts are not limited to humans, despite what certain smegheads in the religio/political community insist. Two male deep sea octopuses were observed in a hot and horny exchange of bodily fluids. Marine biologist Richard Lutz of Rutgers University caught 16 minutes of pornographic material on film at a depth of 2500 metres. _


Christianity has survived over most of the other religions of antiquity because its whole history has been one of violence and bloodshed. Christianity came to the Americas by men in dresses carrying crosses followed by conquistadors who destroyed, plundered and slaughtered the great Aztec, Incan and Mayan civilizations. The Christian church systematically obliterated their history and their cultures.

The First to the Fourth Crusades went to North Africa and Asia Minor (ed: god says:”love thy neighbour, unless they’re Turks.. then slaughter the buggers!”) and carried out a genocidal bloodbath. The Age of Faith was an age of holy massacre that let loose a torrent of hate that took millions of lives in a dozen different “holy” wars. The following is just one of thousands of recorded writings. It is by the Christian chronicler Raymond of Aguifers: “...wonderful things were seen. In the temple of Solomon our horses waded in blood up to their knees, nay, up to their bridles. It was a just and marvellous judgement of god, that this place (Jerusalem) should be filled with the blood of unbelievers (Saracens)...”

Under the ancient Ionian-Epicurean philosophy, pagan Rome had a million people living with an advanced water and sewage system, superb flora and architecture. This all deteriorated later under Pope Gregory (A.D. 590-604) and what remained of that advanced society was 40,000 miserable, stinking and plague-ridden Christians.

The destruction of the great ancient Egyptian Library of Alexandria under the reign of Ptolemy with its estimated millions of books and manuscripts was a horrendous crime against all civilization. The burning and looting was organised by monk-led mobs of Christians in the year AD 389. The foremost librarian and s cientist, Hypatia was dragged out of the library, stripped and torn apart by the Christian mobs armed with jagged seashells.

Love and compassion? Not exactly.


Late nights on the Blaine, WA, Christian Radio station there is a program that assists Christians with their financial difficulties. They take economic wisdom from the bible and twist it to fit real life situations. On the night we were listening the theme was guilt, specifically guilt concerning the act of one couple who had written to ask for moral guidance.

This woman had given birth to a terminally-ill child who had spent the few months of its life in hospital, incurring enormous bills. The local religious community had banded together to raise a large sum of money.

Fearing that they would not receive financial help from MedicAid, after tithing 10% of the money to their church, the couple gave the money to a friend to hide it from the government.

When the baby died, MedicAid paid for all but $600 of the hospital expenses. The couple then used the church money to pay the $600 not covered by MedicAid, their baby’s funeral expenses, and their mortgage. “What should we do?” the letter exclaims, “we feel guilty.”

The advice? Those morally superior Christian men of economics suggested that she not worry about the MedicAid bit, but she should probably repay the church. Perhaps even take out a new mortgage on the house to do so.

So, what can we learn from this? It’s O.K. to steal from the government (the public) but don’t ever steal from the church!


Every now and then, the hatred that boils beneath the surface of all religions bubbles to the top. An item in the Oct./94 issue of New Woman Magazine, quotes Anglican “vicar”, Anthony

Kennedy. Responding to a question as to his thoughts on whether or not women should be ordained as priests, he said, “Priestesses should be burned at the stake because they are assuming powers they have no right to. In the medieval world that was called sorcery . . . it’s illegal now, but if I had my way, that is what would happen to them. I would burn the bloody bitches.”

There is not one word in the bible in praise of intelligence.


God works in mysterious ways, according to a post-election autopsy conducted by People for the American Way. 60% of the nearly 600 candidates in local, state and national races who were aligned with or supported by the religious right were elected to office.

To make it on the group’s list of Christian-backed candidates, the office seekers had to meet one of three criteria. They had to be a member, a leader or have publicly supported a Christian right organization. They had to have received campaign funding from the Christian right. Or, they must have publicly endorsed Christian right issues, including prayer in public schools, opposition to abortion, the teaching of creationism, anti-gay legislation, etc.

In gubernatorial races, the Christian right contested 14 governorships, and captured 9, for a 64% success rate. In the Senate, Christian right candidates ran for 22 seats and won 16, for a 73% success rate. In the House, Christian right candidates ran in 244 congressional races and won in 190, or 78%. To put it another way, candidates aligned with the Christian right now occupy 44% of all House seats.

Joel Bleifuss, In These Times, 11/28/94


The horrific religious/cultural practice of female genital mutilation which is carried out on young girls in Africa and the Middle East received a good amount of attention at the World Population Conference in Cairo in September of 1994.

Female genital mutilation is not exactly coffee-klatch chit-chat yet, but when it comes more to the forefront in discussion, we will be hearing the argument put forth loud and clear: Sure, if you want to look at it out of context, it is torture and butchery. But since it’s part of a religious ritual, it must be okay . . . right?

If such an atrocity were merely a piece of the history of the Dark Ages, we would probably find the advancement of this religious-relativist defense understandable considering the times. Well, it is going on now and there is no place for relativism here. The barbaric practice of female genital mutilation is indefensible!


Unlike sexual orientation, atheism is a chosen path. We choose logic over dogma. We choose action by deliberation, not movement by rote. We choose not to be bound by any set of moral rules other than those of our own making. This is heavy stuff and a big responsibility. Fortunately, we are living in a country where we have the freedom to embrace this lifestyle or any other world-view of our choosing. At the moment.

We are living in dangerous times. South of our border we can hear the rumblings of the political religious right amassing their troops. They are a voracious lot whose food of preference seems to be human rights. They promise great rewards of eternal paradise and all they ask in return is slobbering mindlessness and total obedience. Apparently, by the growth of their following, this is not too much to ask.

Our battle fronts are many. No one freedom exists on its own. It is merely a thread in our social fabric and we all know what can happen to a fabric beginning with a single broken thread.

If there was ever a time for vigilance and jealous guardianship of our individual and collective rights and freedoms, it is now.

The world will not be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.

The Canadian Atheist 
Published by
The Canadian Atheist Society
Editor: Ray Blessin
Contributing Editors:
Fern Wayman
Richard Nistuk
Laurence Wayman
London Place P.O.
P.O. Box 41613
923 12th Street
New Westminster, BC
Canada  V3M 6L1 
Email : Ray Blessin

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More can be found on the Humanist Association of Ottawa's home page.