Ashu Solo increases pressure on Saskatoon prayer-mayor

I’ve covered previously Ashu Solo’s complaints to the mayor of Saskatoon for one of their councillors’ prayers during a volunteer appreciation dinner, and the CCLA asking them to stop it.

It appears that several days ago, Solo contacted me to let me know that he’s built a blog post regarding the media’s coverage of this ongoing issue, and of Atchison’s and Donauer’s odious and religiously-privileged responses. (My email has been inundated lately though, so it kinda got buried, and I’m only getting around to posting this now.)

That post is here, and includes an open letter to the pair that documents where they’ve doubled down publicly.

Don Atchison, when Brent Loucks of News Talk 650 CKOM asked you on air on April 24, 2012 whether you’re going to stop having public Christian prayer recitations at municipal government events in response to my complaint, you started talking about how this city was supposedly founded on Christianity by a Christian priest named John Lake. You can hear this starting at 3 minutes 30 seconds of . How is this relevant at all, Don Atchison? […] Why would you say this, Don Atchison, unless you’re trying to imply that Saskatoon should be a Christian city today? Saskatoon is not a Christian city today. It is supposed to be and is advertised as a secular multireligious city in a secular multireligious country where all citizens are supposed to be treated equally. […] This is extremely discriminatory and bigoted. How is this not religious bigotry, Don Atchison? How are you not a religious bigot, Don Atchison, for making this statement? You should be ashamed of yourself.

Randy Donauer, when questioned by Betty Ann Adam of The StarPhoenix, you said you’re for freedom and tolerance and clearly meant that I’m not for freedom and tolerance for saying City of Saskatoon events should not have Christian prayer recitations. You can see this at This means you think that people against you trying to lead a diverse audience in a Christian prayer at a municipal government event are against freedom and tolerance. […] How is this not religious bigotry, Randy Donauer? How are you not a religious bigot, Randy Donauer, for making this statement? You should be ashamed of yourself.

What were the two of you possibly thinking to do such a discriminatory and bigoted thing as to try to lead a multireligious audience in a Christian prayer at a municipal government event? What kind of mannerless bigot would try to lead Hindus, Jews, Muslims, and atheists in a Christian prayer, Randy Donauer and Don Atchison?

The post is replete with links to how the media has covered this event, including we few blogospheroids who chimed in.

I sincerely hope Ashu Solo’s repetitive writing style is what it takes to drum these memes into the bigoted officials’ heads. Their religious privilege does nothing to recommend their town to me. Nor does effectively telling everyone who isn’t Christian that they don’t belong, by reiterating time and again that it’s fundamental that Christianity be celebrated by everyone regardless of their epistemology.

You should also check out Crommunist’s interview of Solo who points out just how much of the backlash Solo received was over his immigration status — because he’s not white, despite being a natural born citizen of Canada. In fact, people have really given Solo a lot of hell over this fight, and I figure we owe it to him to help spread the word that Atchison and Donauer didn’t back down, and in fact doubled down.

Ashu Solo increases pressure on Saskatoon prayer-mayor

24 thoughts on “Ashu Solo increases pressure on Saskatoon prayer-mayor

  1. 1

    Mr Solo lost my respect a long time ago. While I agree with what he is saying, how he is dealing with his local community is just as disrespectful as our ‘lovely’ mayor.

  2. 3

    I found out Icaarus is really a malicious individual named Dan Froese in Saskatoon Freethinkers. In his other comments, Froese indicated that he was extremely upset that Solo didn’t think Saskatoon is more bigoted than the rest of Canada and extremely upset that Solo didn’t take different issues more important to Froese to the human rights commission.

  3. 9

    Unfortunately Saskatoon is in Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan exists in a bubble of time from about 50 years ago. I grew up in small town Saskatchewan and bigotry, racism and misogyny was simply the status quo. Most of the population of Regina and Saskatoon are replants from the rural areas (Calgary as well and damn near everywhere else). So it’s going to take another few decades to catch up to the 21st century.

    I told my parents that the god of their bible was crap when I was 12 (not exact words) and it was so beyond their comprehension that their response was to tell me to spend more time with my bible. Comically enough it was because I was a voracious reader and had actually read the bible that I realized it was crap. Most Saskatchewanites will be unable to deal with the idea that the christian god is not welcome somewhere.

    Go Riders.

  4. 10

    Honestly, this post plus set of comments is just more of the infantile sniping that this issue can no longer bear.

    Jason, in post #8 you claim that slander has been posted about Mr. Solo. Unless you are offering a legal opinion, this is rhetorical inflation — an exchange of name-calling on Facebook or where ever does not constitute slander, as CFI lawyers have advised members of the local group.

    While inflating the offense to Mr. Solo (who admittedly hasn’t been treated very nicely), you go on to minimize his own behavior. If someone is called names and “not taken seriously on Facebook”, and they respond as Mr. Solo has, it is hardly any wonder that he has lost the respect of such as Icaarus. Yet your description really does not capture the tenor of Mr. Solo’s behavior even at that, nor that, frankly, he has substantially dug this pit for himself by his behavior. That’s special pleading, characterizing the same behavior differently depending on “whose side” someone is.

    Further, if you honestly thought slander a offense worthy of Mr. Solo’s reaction, perhaps you would like to take down Freethinker’s post #3, which “outs” Icaarus and labels him a “malicious individual”. Incidentally, do you know that Icaarus is in fact Dan Froese, who may not deserve these remarks?

    Is there any call to discuss this further? What possible gain can there be at this point? No one is going to successfully answer everyone there is now to disagree with, so bullshit will continue to fly back and forth.

    Why don’t we all exercise some self-restraint and collectively shut the fuck up, and let Mr. Solo get on with whatever he is going to do, provided it does not involve further posting on Facebook?

  5. 12

    Grumpy Old Atheist is Rebekah Bennetch who has been leading a smear campaign against Solo. She has been contacting CFI members and right-wing media to spread lies about him behind his back to undermine his case. Rebekah Bennetch’s family is full of priests, so she was offended by Solo calling the prayer a human rights violation.

  6. 14

    Grumpy Old Atheist/Rebekah Bennetch was crying about Solo not taking “humanist marriage” to the human rights commission instead of the prayer recitation. She can take that to the human rights commission herself. Solo said he doesn’t care about that issue.

  7. 15

    Freethinker / CFI2 / Truth Informant — I know you’re the same person. You’re coming through the same IP and are using no distinguishing details that separate you whatsoever.

    Supporting Ashu Solo by pretending to be multiple people is more than a little screwed up. I don’t like it. Stop it.

  8. 17

    Icaarus a.k.a. Dan Froese, a member of Saskatoon Freethinkers, engaged in unprovoked dirty name calling against Solo on the other blog simply because Froese didn’t like that Solo said he didn’t think Saskatoon was more bigoted than the rest of the country and because Froese didn’t like that Solo didn’t take other issues to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission instead. You can see for yourself that this provoked Froese’s attacks on Solo at How totally irrational of Dan Froese a.k.a. Icaarus. Solo and Froese obviously have totally different concerns and perceptions, so why did Froese feel the need to engage in dirty name calling against Solo when Solo has never even met him before? Is this any way to behave? Froese should stick to the issues and avoid personal attacks. Instead of engaging in dirty name calling in a public forum, Froese should have sent an email to Solo with his concerns and taken his own issues to the human rights commission. Dan Froese should learn some manners.

    Grumpy Old Atheist a.k.a. Rebekah Bennetch has engaged in a major smear campaign of spreading lies about Solo with CFI members and right-wing media because she didn’t like that he called the prayer recitation a human rights violation. Bennetch was offended by this because her dad and some relatives are priests. Is this any way to behave? Rebekah Bennetch a.k.a. Grumpy Old Atheist needs to grow up and act her age.

    How can Dan Froese a.k.a. Icaarus and Rebekah Bennetch a.k.a. Grumpy Old Atheist get along with anyone if this is the way they act? How can they hold jobs if they act so immature and childish? When will they grow up and learn some manners?

  9. 19

    Besides the personal attacks above by Dan Froese a.k.a. Icaarus and Rebekah Bennetch a.k.a. Grumpy Old Atheist, following are some of the other personal attacks on Solo. These were listed at

    Canada’s history and culture is intertwined with Christianity. Atheism is a false religion. Since we won’t take up arms against your heresy, perhaps we should let the moslems have a crack at you eh?

    Eager Beagle
    Ashu Solo is threatening? (he refers to threatening a human rights complaint)

    Well, that reveals to me that his background is from a country, where you can just pick up a stone or a stick and run around the streets with a thousand kindred spirits, burn and loot to express your displeasure at whatever.

    Mr. Solo, this primitive tactic will not work in Canada. We are a civilized, first world country (yet). Where can I make a donation to buy you a one way ticket back home?

    God bless.

    Who the hell let him into MY country? I really am sick and tired of all the complaining and complainers. Here is a thought Solo and there is no Mr. attached to that either – IF you don’t like it or cannot be TOLERANT then kindly LEAVE THIS COUNTRY – GO BACK HOME where you most probably can do what you want. We have MORE RESPECT for others and their beliefs than you seem to.

    Yet another example of immigrants trying to change our country and beliefs to suit themselves. If you don’t like the way we do things in our country, then go back to where you came from. We do not want or need you here.

    Deport him.

    If Ashu Solo or any other individual does not accept the faith which is definitively a part of Canadian Historical Culture he, and any others, are free to leave the country for one where they would be more comfortable – and they can take the ridiculous, useless, meaningless HRC’s with them! It is time for Canadians to stand up for their own culture instead of kowtowing to the whims and demands of those who emanate from other cultures and then wish to impose them upon proud Canadians!

    Of course this comment will cause the lefties to go wild. But, let’s face it, multiculturalism, as such is forced down our throats by the ignorant, is a crock of manure and needs to be replaced by a sensible vision of true multicultural rights as are being implemented now in other countries!


    Oh Dear, Ashu…just listen, or not, and be interested,or not, in other peoples foolishness if you like.. in the meantime please dont come here and stir the pot and cost us money by making frivolous complaints to whoever will listen. By the way Ii hear they are awarding costs against people like you.How would they handle this wherever you come from ? Hang, draw and quarter you for not believing…and flog you half to death first? I think so……

    Freedom Fighter, better get to Anger Management before you go completely nuts, dude!
    Now if there is no God, I suppose there would be no repercussions if that Solo guy were tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail…

    My family came to this country and worked their fingers to the bone – there were no Human Rights to whine to – they made their life on their own. These pathetic losers need to re-think their stay in Canada! Here’s an idea – if you are that shallow bud, LEAVE!

    Christian religion and its traditions are part of our Canadian culture & heritage. Get over it, new Canadian. To make this country secularist will mean turning our back on ouer heritage and where we came from. Canada has its history just like every other country. There is no obligation to conform to Solo’s culture or remove our own for his sake. Whether you are christian or not, history cannot be changed.

    this dude is a “Dumfuc” a$$hole! Enough said

    Kevin South
    I don’t know what country you came from but if you don’t like it then go back to where you came from.

    Obviously you have come from a loser Muslim country. Name me one Muslim country that has been successful? All of these people like you are coming from these loser countries because our Christian countries are successful. You try to impose your religion on us and don’t tell me you are an atheist because deep down you are not. You are just a trouble maker. Do you think that if a Christian went to your corrupt loser country that they would even be able to express anything at all? I suggest that you study the Christian bible and then maybe you will see the light

    Who the hell let him into MY country? I really am sick and tired of all the complaining and complainers. Here is a thought Solo and there is no Mr. attached to that either – IF you don’t like it or cannot be TOLERANT then kindly LEAVE THIS COUNTRY – GO BACK HOME where you most probably can do what you want. We have MORE RESPECT for others and their beliefs than you seem to.

    Eager Beagle
    Solo is another example of ‘those’ people who enter Canada, like some royalty and immediately claim everything connected to their ‘rights’.

    How much more humble my generation of immigrants were (1950-1960), who came into this country! We were thankful, humble, shy, self-conscious and eager to work; eager to become real Canadians, like those who had been born here. We did not have airs. We did not object to Canada’s Christian heritage or saying grace at mealtime.

    This new breed of immigrant is arrogant, demanding, self-centered and mouths the Charter, which he probably memorized already ‘back home’. Not a real immigrant, but some economic opportunist to enrich himself, then go back home and live like a king, while cursing bad, bad Canada.

    Mr. Solo, go up to Baffin Island and chill out. Get your bearings right. By talking like this, you are not a real Canadian, but a phony usurper, who can only think of rights. What have you given to Canada? You are a typical ‘me-me’ type of person, who only has wants, wants.

    Or here is a suggestion. Go to your religious leader and let him teach you some manners, which only a religious education can provide. Because atheists have zero finesse and are only able to display a perpetual abrasive personality. Hyper critical, arrogant mien.

    Through many years of tradition, many Canadians have been saying grace; thanking God for providing for our bodies and souls. We want to keep it this way; not your way.

    His name says it all
    he is an Ashu

    I have to finally say one thing sir – think about it! Unless you just want publicity, maybe you are in the wrong country, We don’t need this whiny crap here.

    OK Canada are we going to accept this crap? Don’t know where Soho is from but if not from here go back where he came from …..Canadian’s won’t surrender it’s heritage for fools like you!

    Not even 2nd class? OK, I’d say you are no class .
    But really a first class pin–head.

    I won’t even type what I think of him, to many offending words for the pinhead to absorb.

    I just noticed that person’s eyes – the one in this article. They are like shark’s eyes, lifeless…scary!!!!

    Sick of FF
    Great job – I would have said $&@?!$&#}%>€^£<}#|!! This
    A whole needs to get a life. Go back to wherever you came from and volunteer there – we do not need you here.
    We are sick of your krap buddy – enough already.
    Take all your lefty political friends with you?
    Sick of all iof you, including FF – should U still be awake a$$howole!

    You are a second class citizen…and you came to Canada to become first class. And clearly that's not working. So why not go back to your third class country?

    Bobby Bartram
    hey atheisti hope somebody kills your sorry ass!!t

  10. 21

    Instead of engaging in name calling, spreading lies, making racist remarks, and/or making threatening remarks as Icaarus (Dan Froese), Grumpy Old Atheist (Rebekah Bennetch), Bobby Bartram, and the other anonymous cowards above have done, I believe the civilized thing to do would be to stop personal attacks and respectfully debate the issues and politely email Solo with concerns. He can be contacted on his blog for this case at I’ve seen that he’s totally open to debating people, constructive suggestions, and constructive advice as long as there are no personal attacks against him.

  11. 22

    Whatever the hell fight you’re trying to drag onto here by unprovoked comments about third parties, Freethinker, stop it. You’re hurting Solo’s cause.

    I mean this. Stop it. You’re really not helping.

  12. 23

    *Sigh* Why do I bother?

    CFI 2, Truth Informant (now there is a misnomer) and Freethinker (hmmm… this one might be worse, but then I doubt he/she is CFI associated either):

    It is bizarre for Freethinker to comment on “the other anonymous cowards”, given that he/she seems to have three anonymous aliases (assuming Jason Thibeault has this right).

    I’m not Rebekah Bennetch — I am much more eloquent. But then why take the trouble to tell you that? Reality seems to have little influence over your opinions anyway.

    And yes, yes, yes: I know Mr. Solo has been treated poorly, as I have already mentioned.

    Now I am going to take my own advice and shut the fuck up. But feel free to take as much time as you need to realize you are wasting your own time and everyone else’s.

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