Canadian Officials Ambivalent on Including Atheist Persecution in Foreign Policy

Mar 7, 2013

Discussion by: justinian
The Centre for Inquiry’s Think Again! TV released an investigative report that’s been posted to YouTube:

Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom: Protect Persecuted Atheists

The expo includes video remarks by Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs explicitly stating that atheists don’t require protection from persecution, that “we know freedom of religion does not mean freedom from religion” and “we talk of the right to attend places of worship, not the right to stay away from places of worship.” The jaw dropping hypocrisy of our Canadian government to respect atheists is something of which people need to be made aware. Please help us circulate this video through email, social media and word of mouth. There will be more videos in the series.

Here is the description that accompanies the video:

On Tuesday, February 19, 2013, the Canadian government officially opened the Office of Religious Freedom. 

While we support freedom of a religion as a fundamental freedom, we believe all fundamental freedoms deserve equal protection, including freedom from religion, and freedom to apostasy, to blaspheme, or to engage in speech or expression which may be critical of religious opinion. 

Think Again! TV explores some of the problems and limitations of the new initiative, examining the manner in which the Office was created to argue that the government has shown no genuine interest in protecting atheists and agnostics subject to persecution and rights violations around the world.

We document cases of individuals accused of blasphemy or atheism, punished with imprisonment or the death penalty, subject to mob violence, forced to take their own lives, and discriminated against in a wide variety of ways. 

We also describe the attempt by the Centre for Inquiry, Canada’s leading voice for atheists and agnostics, to bring these cases to the attention of the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the complete lack of interest from our elected officials. In video quotes from leading politicians, we demonstrate an inconsistency bordering on deception, which betrays an abandonment of our international obligations to support all forms of freedom of religion.

Thank you

Justin Trottier

National Communications Director, Centre for Inquiry Canada

Host, Think Again! TV

10 comments on “Canadian Officials Ambivalent on Including Atheist Persecution in Foreign Policy

  • 1
    Sjoerd Westenborg says:

    Sheer hypocrisy. Freedom from religion comes naturally with freedom of religion.

    If Jews/Hindus/Muslims/Witches’ right not be subjected to Christian rules and methods of worship is protected, why should that exact same right not be protected when it comes to atheists?

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  • 2
    Alan4discussion says:

    The increasing number of secular voters, need to identify these “faith-pandering clowns” and see that rational thinkers are elected in place of them. If pandering for the faith-head/ astrology/ homeopathy/ quackology vote is seen in candidates, this should produce an appropriate negative vote, from the increasing numbers of educated rational voters.

    It would help if those in political parties, made this clear to prospective candidates at the early stages of candidate selection, and selected their candidates accordingly.

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  • 5
    jjbircham says:

    I am ok, I am a christian on Friday, a muslim on Saturday and a Jew on Sunday. No bullshit sermons for me, you atheist losers have got some boring long weekends ahead of you, I presume an atheist is subject to the dictates of all religions.

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  • 6
    Stardroid says:

    Isn’t that expected? I really don’t know how hard people are trying through the legal systems of various countries to have rights for Atheists, but why should Atheists expect to have them? The issue is totally ideological. Of course you can say that governments have clear commitments to limiting obvious suffering and championing rights and so on – and mainly becasue the media savages them if they don’t push the right buttons – but who really believes that instead of just wanting to believe it and trying to act like they believe it?

    The reason governments don’t want to appear irreligious are the same reasons why they don’t want to support the irreligious (less votes,other kinds of personal interests), not to mention any real reason why they would want to support the irreligious in the first place (i.e. are they themselves irreligious? is it that important to them as politicians? what’s politically productive about Atheism?).

    A full blown civil rights movement is out of the question as Atheists have no political identity, they are merely individuals. Politicians can never prioritise us. Sorry.

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  • 7
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #4 by coffin.jesse:

    Atheists being indignant at not being granted religious status?

    No! They are annoyed at being discriminated against by people granting themselves or specific religions, privileges.

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  • 8
    brown dwarf says:

    Excellent video! The more people (theists and atheists) who are made aware of this the better. Any intelligent person will know this is wrong.
    Keep up the good work.

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  • 10
    SaganTheCat says:

    is this a bit like saying “we’ve stamped out racism so blacks, whites and asians can stand together to keep the arabs in their place”?

    no it’s ok i realise it’s not. that would be absurd, at least “freedom of religion” can be subverted to take the literal meaning over the intended purpose

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