Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Michael Shoesmith: Should atheists be asked to leave Canada?

A follower of my blog has suggested that The Sarnia Observer has an internal bet going on about how long it will take for me to respond to some of the rubbish they publish.  Sadly, if they're entertaining themselves, it comes at the expense of perpetuating the ignorance that is rooted in religion. 

Michael Shoesmith had written a letter to the editor with the title of my blog as the headline - asking if atheists should be asked to leave Canada.  Before you read the letter to the editor, let us answer the question based on how religion has asked in the past - No, True Christians(tm) wouldn't ask, they'd murder them(us).

I don't have much time to completely respond to his letter but I have highlighted a few of his words/phrases with links.  The truth isn't what Michael wishes it were, you'll quickly see.

Here is the letter to the editor (yes, it really was published - see it here):
Sir: The United Nations has released their best and worst list of places to live. Norway has made the number one spot this time and Zimbabwe has hit rock bottom.
Here's the reality. According to the CIA World Fact Book, Norway is 90% Christian while Zimbabwe is 75% Syncretic. While you're all dusting off your dictionaries consider this question: Should atheists be asked to leave Canada? Well, according to our national anthem, the answer is yes. Since part of the anthem is an actual prayer to the transcendental creator of the universe, atheists aren't even a factor in our most important representative symbol.
In case you're wondering which God the anthem is referring to, keep in mind that the french version makes direct mention of the "cross."
It should come as no surprise then that countries which promote atheistic tenets have the highest rates of suicide (China, et al). Therefore, the less atheism that exists in a culture, the happier the people will be.
Perhaps the non-atheist country of Zimbabwe could learn something from Quebec which has included the cross in its symbolic expression of the national anthem. Because blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.
Mike Shoesmith Sarnia
To sum it up - Norway is among the most secular nations in the world.  China is hardly non-religious (it's one of the most religious) and Quebec is possibly the most secular province in Canada.  I agree, maybe we could learn something from them.

If Norway is among the most secular nations in the world and it is the best place to live, then the premise of Michael's letter is completely backwards.  Norway IS among the most secular nations in the world (Society Without God) and it IS the best place in the world to live (as Michael has stated) so asking atheists to leave would make Canada a worse place to live (following Michael's logic).

It turns out, too, that "our" national anthem was based on a version from 1908 by Robert Stanley Weir:
O Canada! Our home and native land.

True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
And stand on guard, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, glorious and free,
We stand on guard, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!
The link (according to our national anthem) above states "The official English version now in use incorporates changes recommended in 1968 by a joint committee of MPs and senators that added the lines "from far and wide" and "God keep our land glorious and free!"" That's hardly in agreement with the idea that Mike is trying to put forward - the "god" part was added 60 years after the original was written and 101 years after we were (Canada was) given autonomy.

Arguing that mention of the "cross" in the French version implies that it is the Christian god makes little sense, too, when you consider that the cross symbol, itself, is of pagan origin.  Come on Michael, is this the best you can do?


NathanColquhoun said...

I take no responsibility for the lunatics who call themselves Christians. Shoesmith being one of them. I am just as much entertained by these posts as you are.

Sherwoodskeptic said...

Shoesmith has shown himself to be very loose with facts. He's learned how to ignore, twist and distort them until they become half truths and outright lies. An excellent example of "lieing for Jesus".

Anonymous said...

Loose with facts????

He has to be just making the shit up

That stuff might work for Christians or sheep who take the whole load of BS without checking facts. Priests and pastors lie to their flock all the time. Mike has learned it well.

Anonymous said...

Should we expect to see a letter to the editor from you distancing "true christians" from people like him?

Anonymous said...

You should probably stop acknowledging him on this blog.
You are just encouraging him.
It is clear that he is a couple brain cells short of a pair.
I find most of his stuff stupid and I am a christian.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

That is good news that someone responded and it was printed.
Cheers! It is the season of reason!

Anonymous said...

Another one got published in the observer


Sir: I am writing in response to a letter to the editor by a "Mike Shoesmith" -"Should atheists be asked to leave Canada?"

For a "religious" person, the letter writer preaches a lot of intolerance and ignorance. Hopefully your readership is intelligent enough to realize that what this writer has to say is, often, completely inaccurate.

Mike starts his letter by claiming that the UN says the "best place to live" is Norway and then follows it with a statement that Norway is 90 per cent Christian. The rest of his letter builds on the idea that Christianity leads to happiness but his foundation is hardly valid.

Norway -all of Scandinavia, in fact -is among the most non-religious areas in the world. (Society Without God, Phil Zuckerman)

The argument might be better framed around intolerance and social inequity -the areas with the least amount of tolerance and equal human rights are the worst places to live. If anyone should be leaving Canada, it's those preaching intolerance and fighting to restrict equal rights. Happy travels Mike.

Anonymous said...

Another one


Sir: Re: Letter to the editor from Mike Shoesmith ( "Should atheists be asked to leave Canada?" (The Observer, Nov. 24, 2010)

According to Mr. Shoesmith's interpretation of our national anthem, atheists should be asked to leave Canada.

Perhaps Mr. Shoesmith should familiarize himself with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. You know, that pesky piece of legislation that gives all Canadians the right of "freedom of conscience and religion" (s. 2a) and "freedom of thought, belief....." (s. 2b), which includes the right not to believe in Mr. Shoesmith's "transcendental creator of the universe."

Fundamentalist religious zealots are far more of a threat to the rights of Canadians than any atheist.

Maybe Mr. Shoesmith should be the one thinking of leaving Canada since obviously he has no respect for our country's Constitution.

NathanColquhoun said...

Anonymous, I won't be writing, there are just some people that don't deserve a response. I've written my fair share of letters in response to crazy Christians, but really, it's tough to keep up

Ryan Hulshof said...

I love how some people just make up their own world instead of living in the real one. Make up your own reasons things are the way they are, like christianity? Well just think christianity is the reason good countries are good.

It seems such a hollow existence, to base one's life on any fantasy they enjoy. At some point, reality is going to come crashing in.

These people do not know the world they are missing, real facts, real information, not having to backpeddle to " well it is what i believe." in every matter of importance. The waters are nice, and i would invite any of them to come test them out.