Updates from August, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 12:51 on 2019-08-17 Permalink | Reply  

    A report says that predatory evangelists are going into extended health facilities and working on the sick, frail and elderly. Ironically, the report is made by a group called the AIISSQ – the Association des intervenants et intervenantes en soins spirituels du Québec – who go about offering “legitimate” spiritual aid. A section at the end of this piece describes the activities of these official workers, who are called in to soothe people in crisis. They’re paid by Quebec and are now expected to be open to all faiths rather than to be dispensing only one. But the list of activities at the very end of the piece includes the Catholic sacrament of extreme unction, and communion.

    La Presse’s item has already provoked a response from health minister Danielle McCann.

    • Ephraim 16:16 on 2019-08-17 Permalink

      And how does this really differ from the Salvation Army, who go after those who may be at the lowest point of their lives?

      But the real reason that people are sent out to try to convert people has nothing to do with actually converting people. There are so few who actually convert and even less who stay, once converted. The real reason is that it keeps those people themselves faithful and not thinking about leaving a religion that really doesn’t hold up well to scrutiny.

    • Kate 19:55 on 2019-08-17 Permalink

      I don’t know what the Salvation Army’s modus operandi is, Ephraim. But there’s a difference between operating a shelter and actively going into CHSLDs and browbeating people who are in no state to resist.

      I agree with you about it being done to give people a reason for being religious, but they shouldn’t be dragging helpless, non-consenting people into their religious activities.

    • Ephraim 20:47 on 2019-08-17 Permalink

      The Salvation Army is a protestant evangelical organization, they help people at the lowest point of their life, homeless and needing help. And rather than helping them as Christians, it aims to convert them at that time. (Also their record on LGBT is horrible….They have referred LGBT people for conversion therapy…. and calls on them to be celibate. They walked away from contracts by the city of SF because they have a clause on non-discrimination for same-sex partners. )

      To be honest, I think that all proselyting should be illegal. It’s confrontational in nature and quickly devolves into a form of harassment that basically says that your beliefs aren’t worthy of being respected because they aren’t mine.

      But the worst part is that it isn’t about actually converting people in any case. It’s really a way to keep people in the fold. Do you think that the JW really gain new membership from standing at the metro stations? Seen a long line of people at 4489 Avenue Papineau waiting to get in? The LDS people growing by new membership or simply because they have lots of children? No, they go out to knock on doors because they need them to meet the people who REFUSE to be converted.

      Heck, the LDS involuntarily convert people after their death, in the belief that it is the only way that they will get into heaven…. so no need to follow the religion now anyway… Anne Frank, the Queen Mother and even Hitler! https://www.jewishgen.org/InfoFiles/ldsagree.html

    • Chris 20:49 on 2019-08-17 Permalink

      *If* Evangelicals are right, and not accepting Jesus will result in you burning forever in eternal hell, then these peoples’ behaviour is in the best interest of those hospitalized people.

      It’s their sincere derply-held belief, so you have to respect it, right? You don’t want to get branded a Christianophobe! 😉

    • Bert 21:38 on 2019-08-17 Permalink

      Imagine if there was a law about people of authority exerting religious influence in government buildings.

    • JP 23:57 on 2019-08-17 Permalink

      I read the LaPresse article. A lot of these activities amount to abuse and something should be done to stop and prevent it from happening.

      When my mom was an inpatient at Sacre Coeur Hospital, there was an elderly volunteer who came by. She definitely seemed religious (Catholic?) and she had a very kind disposition. Due to language barriers and the fact that my mom was tired she simply told my mom she would pray for her and that was that. I think my mom really appreciated the sentiment (our religious heritage is not Christian), and the volunteer moved on. For me, this sort of scenario is generally fine.

      On another note, re Ephraim’s comment “I think that all proselyting should be illegal. It’s confrontational in nature and quickly devolves into a form of harassment that basically says that your beliefs aren’t worthy of being respected because they aren’t mine.” I very, very much agree with this, and this is how I feel when I see proselytizers.

      There is a lot of proselytizing downtown generally, which is nothing new. But, in the past couple of years or so (maybe longer?), there has been a very vocal and aggressive group at McGill College and Sainte Catherine (near Indigo). I’ve seen/heard a proselytizer spew insults about another religion at a guy passing by who maybe said something that triggered the proselytizer. In any case, I find them very aggressive. They use megaphones too. I’ve observed them enough that I’ve considered options on how to file a complaint, though I’m not sure what the legality of it all is. I guess it would be a matter of calling 311.

    • Blork 09:38 on 2019-08-18 Permalink

      @Bert: these predatory evangelicals don’t wear any visible signs of their faith that I’m aware of (and even if they wear a cross it isn’t a requirement of their faith). And as for those who do wear visible signs, I, for one, have never been even remotely proselytized by someone in a kippa, turban, or hijab. Point being, the wearing of such signs has little to do with religious proselytizing.

    • Michael Black 10:17 on 2019-08-18 Permalink

      Yes. One time I was on the train and the guy sitting next to me brought up religion, I shrugged and he stopped. But it coukd have been bad.

      But the people I’ve known most dedicated to religion, Philip Berrigan, Buddhist monks, Catholic Workers, Sisters of Mercy,, even church ministers, have never said anything about religion. I figure they try to lead by example. There are just some very specific groups who feel an obligation to talk.about their religion.


    • Chris 18:26 on 2019-08-18 Permalink

      Ephraim & JP: some religions require proselyting, so if we ban it, are we not taking away their religious freedom? Why would taking away that freedom be ok, but taking away the freedom to wear silly hats be wrong? Would you ban non-religious proselyting too? ex: loud climate change activists with megaphones on St Cat? Or would you ban it only because of its religious nature?

    • Ian 18:51 on 2019-08-18 Permalink

      I always find it interesting how little nuance we allow for people whose views oppose our own. Chris will allow for no hypocrisy or wiggle room when religion is concerned, but in the fight against cars he is as reactionary as the most orthodox faithful.

      A simpler, more secular humanist approach is that you should be allowed to do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t interfere with anyone else’s right to do the same. The devil is in the details, of course.

    • Ephraim 19:06 on 2019-08-18 Permalink

      Chris – I have a right to not be harassed as well. When does your religious right to harass me and my right to not be harassed start and end?

      A religious Jewish family is enjoying their quiet sabbath, no electricity, having a lovely festive lunch. A Mormon is going door to door ringing doorbells, disturbing their sabbath. Who’s religion has a higher value, those who have decided that they should disturb people on their sabbath because they don’t believe in the Jewish sabbath or those who are quietly enjoying family time as require by Jewish law?

      You can proselyte without having to harass people or to disturb people. Even if your religion requires it, it doesn’t require you to RING a doorbell or YELL at someone haranguing them. You can stand there with a quiet sign that says “Ask me about Dianetics.”

    • Chris 19:14 on 2019-08-18 Permalink

      Ephraim, uh, how does that square with you saying above “To be honest, I think that *all* proselyting should be illegal.”

    • Ephraim 19:56 on 2019-08-18 Permalink

      Verb versus passive… actively seeking to convert someone versus their choosing to find out more and open to the idea. Doing “Christian” work with the aim that others will see and ask, versus making someone pray for their food and a place to lay their head…. or you can’t have it. Or in the case of the Salvation Army, actually asking people to prove that they are in need by requesting them to bring a note from BS to prove their are destitute.

    • Bert 11:24 on 2019-08-19 Permalink

      @Blork – I said “exerting religious influence” . Sort of my way of saying kippahs / turbans / burkas / crucifixes don’t try to convert people. People do.

      Yet another useless law that does absolutely nothing to address the “problem”.

      Still a real shame that people are being preyed on when they are vulnerable.

    • Ian 20:41 on 2019-08-20 Permalink

      “A religious Jewish family is enjoying their quiet sabbath, no electricity, having a lovely festive lunch. A Mormon is going door to door ringing doorbells, disturbing their sabbath. Who’s religion has a higher value, those who have decided that they should disturb people on their sabbath because they don’t believe in the Jewish sabbath or those who are quietly enjoying family time as require by Jewish law?”

      Yeah on my street I get little girls knocking on my door all morning when I’m trying to sleep in to get me to be the shabbas goy for their mom who needs the stove turned on or the fridge reset to the shabbas mode so the light stays on. Your gang might not proselytize but let’s not pretend for a second that they don’t impose their worldview on others, this is but one small example. That said, I like my neighbours and am quite happy to help them out even if I live next to a very conservative synagogue and their kids aren’t even allowed to play with mine.

  • Kate 10:59 on 2019-08-17 Permalink | Reply  

    A decrepit church, facing the Met, twice burned out, and originally built in an eye-joltingly unpleasant style to begin with, is still being considered for rescue and renovation by the diocese. The Journal is pondering the fates of church buildings this weekend, although the elephant in the room – the fact that hardly anyone uses these buildings any more and certainly few people want to tithe to support them – isn’t directly addressed. A church like the massive Saint-Eusèbe in eastern Ville-Marie will never be filled with parishioners again.

    Even the $20 million promised by the CAQ to shore up the remaining church buildings is hardly going to touch the problem.

    This is what they need to do: pick out the buildings that are either of outstanding architectural value or maintain valuable sociocultural purposes separate from their original religious purpose, and let the rest – like the burned-out St-Bernardin-de-Sienne – go. Most churches are not easily renovated for other purposes, and if nobody needs them, they should go. They certainly shouldn’t be patched together on the public dime.

    • Spi 12:30 on 2019-08-17 Permalink

      If Quebec is truly a secular state then a coherent thing to do is to start taxing religious organizations and accept real-estate transfers as payment. Many churches sit on absolutely prime real-estate since they were once the center of community life.

      Oh would you look at that, the size of the lots just happens to be the perfect size for a potential school?

    • Kate 15:14 on 2019-08-17 Permalink

      Eventually even the Roman Catholic church would run out of land to barter for taxes. To repeat what I’ve said before on the blog, many church halls and basements serve useful social purposes. The church nearest me, for example, has an organization in the basement that offers services for the deaf. Another collects and sells used clothing cheaply. I know there are others that offer free or very cheap lunches and so on.

      Church halls have offered affordable space for events like Expozine and Puces Pop, which support independent writers, artists and artisans. I don’t want to see those things disappear.

      So there has to be some balance somewhere.

    • ant6n 23:47 on 2019-08-17 Permalink

      I feel like the church across where I live installed office space in the basement; and also they seem occasionally sell the big church and the small chapel for expensive private events, which I’d all not consider not actual social community functions. I’d prefer incentives for churches to be used for local community functions, maybe it would be possible to offer deductions on the real estate taxes that Spi wants to levy.

    • Kate 08:13 on 2019-08-19 Permalink

      ant6n, that’s kind of gross. I wonder how the tax people assess that kind of thing. On the one hand, the church probably does need the revenue to maintain the building – but a standard commercial lease makes the idea of a church as a nonprofit kind of a joke.

    • Michael Black 11:48 on 2019-08-19 Permalink

      I think I said it before, churches were often the first shared space in an area. So they saw secondary use for meetings and such. Then later, because they had space and resources !ike kitchens, things like Meals on Wheels wefe housed at churches, I suspect the congregations themselves wanted to do such projects.

      Even when there’s a book sale at a church they aren’t raising money to fix the roof, it”s for some project they have in mind related to church activity.

      But as congregations shrink, churches have become desperate. So churches close and the congegation combines with another church. Sometines that happens a few times. But even then there can be problems sustaining the physical church.

      So they’ve gone to renting out space, maybe at a good price, but a bit more mercenary than in the past. When the NDG Food Depot moved into Trinity Church in NDG, they were paying rent. The church needed the space rented, and even that just postponed things a but, until the church had to be sold.

      So it’s a bit jarring, but not too surprising to see a bit more “commercial” use. There’s not too big a difference between renting a church hall for a post-wedding event and something related to a business. I don’t think the churches are putting money in the bank, they need money to pay the heating bill or fix the roof.

      The big news is that the Gazette has a story today about how the Westmount Park United Church wants to set itself up as a non-profit to sustain the building. This is to keep the building for the small congregation, but also as a communuty resource. There’s long been a seniors’ activuity centre there, and the Film Society shows films, along with other activities.

      So instead of selling the church, and removing the resource, they want to keep it available. A lot if such spaces have been lost in recent years, and gone to private use.


  • Kate 10:21 on 2019-08-17 Permalink | Reply  

    The price tag for the renovation of Plaza Saint-Hubert has reached $60 million, which isn’t too surprising, considering the size of the site, the underground infrastructure being rebuilt, and the time it takes.

    • Kate 10:16 on 2019-08-17 Permalink | Reply  

      A new type of handgun is being found among our criminal classes – a thing called a Polymer80. At least this weapon isn’t being made with 3D printing, which I was half expecting to read.

      • Raymond Lutz 17:19 on 2019-08-17 Permalink

        80% lower receiver market is quite an active (and legal) one in the US. Donnu about canadian laws…

      • Faiz Imam 14:09 on 2019-08-18 Permalink

        I 3d print a lot, and I know quite a bit about the handgun thing.

        Despite the hype, its never really going to be a thing. Printing a 3d printed gun is actually quite easy, but the problem is that its just not that durable. You might get a few shots up but it’ll eventually fail. There’s just too much explosive power to contain.

        As long as actual guns are reasonably easy to procure, it doesn’t make sense to walk around with a gun that’ll jam or explode after a few shots, when (presumably) you’d most want it to work.

      • Kate 07:00 on 2019-08-20 Permalink

        Faiz Imam, is it not unthinkable that more durable materials will come along for 3D printing?

    • Kate 10:11 on 2019-08-17 Permalink | Reply  

      A call to 911 for a drug overdose revealed the presence of a drug lab in Montreal North when cops went there Friday. The victim died, but investigations continue.

      • Kate 09:55 on 2019-08-17 Permalink | Reply  

        Le Devoir has one of its excellent features this weekend on the Bauhaus legacy in Montreal including some private dwellings as well as well-known buildings like Place Ville-Marie and Westmount Square.

        • Kate 09:48 on 2019-08-17 Permalink | Reply  

          The Journal conducted a poll and found that, for the return of major league baseball to Montreal, people don’t want a roofless stadium and are in favour of a retractable roof. Oh, and – mentioned in the last paragraph – a majority don’t want public money spent on this chimera, although as I’ve said before (and will continue to point out) you simply cannot have a facility like this without public participation.

          The Journal even has a drawing of the proposed stadium.

          • Kate 09:44 on 2019-08-17 Permalink | Reply  

            As was presaged by several reports last week, the city plans to issue an auditor’s report on its state of financial health before the next election, although city hall opposition is carping that it’s not happening fast enough. Ensemble must be waiting to see it to find more things to kvetch about.

            • Kate 09:42 on 2019-08-17 Permalink | Reply  

              The Gazette looks at new things happening in our old Chinatown.

              • Kate 09:17 on 2019-08-17 Permalink | Reply  

                The Grand Parc de l’Ouest should help save several endangered species of plant, bird and reptile.

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