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 http://www.ckom.com/sites/default/files/Mayor_Atchison_Apr24.mp3 . 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 http://www.thestarphoenix.com/life/Christian+prayer+sparks+complaint/6496119/story.html. 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.