Letter to the Editor

Saskatoon’s most sensitive man lectures us on freedom of expression (published Dec. 28, 2013):

In response to my civil rights case about Saskatoon Transit putting Christmas messages on buses, local churches have purchased Christmas advertisements to be placed on transit vehicles.

I support them being able to do that. I think this is a good alternative to the city promoting Christmas and Christianity on its own. Now that churches are buying their own ads to promote their religion, they shouldn’t care if Saskatoon Transit Services doesn’t promote Christmas on programmable bus signs.

There are more than 10,000 religions, 150 of which have one million or more followers not including branches of each religion. The city can’t promote all religions or promote all religions equally, so it should promote none. Also, people’s taxes should not go toward promoting a religion they don’t believe in.

Like churches, if other religious groups or individuals want to buy ads that promote their religion, they should be free to do that. Likewise, the Centre for Inquiry Canada should be free to buy ads that promote atheism. That’s what freedom of expression is all about.

Ashu Solo

Mr. Solo’s support for freedom of expression would have more credibility if he wasn’t also threatening to use the power of the state to silence the voices of duly elected officials such as Randy Donauer.

Also misguided is Mr. Solo’s view on the so-called “separation of church and state”. He seems to believe that this principle ought to ensure the state has nothing to say or do with religion whatsoever.

This is completely wrong. What this principle suggests is that the state should not coerce citizens to practice a particular form of religious belief. If a government wishes to endorse a certain religion over another, it may do so as long as it does not hinder a citizen’s right worship as he or she chooses. If citizens feel the government should not observe religious practices, the remedy can be found in the ballot box.

It is this distinction which Mr. Solo fails to appreciate in his campaign to wipe out any form of religion in public life.

Be that as it may, the city of Saskatoon is hardly “promoting” Christianity with its bus banners as much as it is commemorating a beloved cultural institution which transcends Christianity and is celebrated throughout the community by Christians and non-Christians alike. (Note that this would be different if the banners read “Have a Merry Christmas … or else!”)

If Mr. Solo truly believed in his cause, he would focus his intolerance on actual state-coerced religious observances, such as the mandatory Christmas Day holiday. Good luck to him on that one.

UPDATE: The letter was published on January 3.

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  1. #1 by Nigel Batherhone on December 31, 2013 - 11:57 am

    You’re clearly extremely ignorant about the law and principles of freedom. Freedom of expression doesn’t give an agent of the state the right to abuse his government office to push his cult. Solo has said he is taking on the Christmas Day holiday in the future.

  2. #2 by Nigel Batherhone on December 31, 2013 - 12:18 pm

    The same argument about christmas being secular can be made about all cult holidays, you retard.

  3. #3 by Rob Huck on December 31, 2013 - 1:28 pm

    Actually, freedom of expression protects anyone’s speech, including those of elected officials. Show me where it’s written otherwise.

    It even protects someone cowering behind a pseudonym making ignorant, derogatory remarks.

    Merry Christmas, “Nigel”.

  4. #4 by Nigel Batherhone on December 31, 2013 - 4:44 pm

    Freedom of expression doesn’t give an agent of the state the right to abuse his government office to push his cult. Your ignorant blog post shows how pathetic Canada’s educational system is. Grab a brain.

  5. #5 by Rob Huck on December 31, 2013 - 7:35 pm

    Clearly, the educational system must be lacking. I suspect I missed the class where we learned that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is negated once one is elected to city council.

    And I now wish I had taken that rhetoric course which explained how ad hominen attacks, calling people “retards”, etc. automatically won arguments.

    Thanks for the lesson, Ashu. God bless!

  6. #6 by Nigel Batherhone on December 31, 2013 - 8:26 pm

    If you read the Charter, you’d also see freedom of religion in there. Looks like the human rights commission is agreeing with Solo, not you. I’m not Solo.

  7. #7 by Rob Huck on December 31, 2013 - 8:48 pm

    It’s freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion, Solo.

    It must bother a vain, testy soul such as yours that you have to troll others under a fake name because no one else will defend you, eh Ashu?

  8. #8 by Nigel Batherhone on December 31, 2013 - 9:13 pm

    You’re an idiot if you think he has no supporters. Freedom of religion includes freedom from religion the courts have found.

  9. #9 by Rob Huck on December 31, 2013 - 10:44 pm

    Only an idiot would believe that “Nigel Batherhone” is not Ashu Solo. A Google search shows that there are only four generally known links to the phrase “Nigel Batherhone” — ever — and two of them are spirited defences of Ashu Solo, including bizarrely specific references to Solo’s beliefs which have not to my knowledge been reported in the media..

    Here’s “Nigel” getting all worked up on John Gormley’s page: https://www.facebook.com/JohnGormleyLive/posts/188827737912059

    And here’s “Nigel” taking criticisms of Ashu Solo’s rant against the U of S Drama department very personally (and using another pseudonym “Engineer” to agree with him, no less):
    http://saskatoontheatreblog.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/should-the-u-of-s-drama-department-be-cut/

    (The third link is “Nigel” agreeing with Joni Mitchell that everyone in Saskatoon are a bunch of racists:

    And the fourth, as you know, is a weird link to the Facebook page you recently created so that you could argue against your detractors anonymously.)

    Otherwise, “Nigel Batherhone” doesn’t exist.

    You are absolutely pathetic, Ashu. You are a pathetic coward who is using taxpayers’ money and the state bureaucracy to silence those who offend you.

  10. #10 by James Warren on December 31, 2013 - 11:18 pm

    I’m honored you think that.

  11. #11 by Nigel Batherhone on December 31, 2013 - 11:20 pm

    So am I.

  12. #12 by Nigel Batherhone on December 31, 2013 - 11:26 pm

    Me too.

  13. #13 by Rob Hucksucks on December 31, 2013 - 11:26 pm

    Me three.

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