Secular Sunday #133 - On the Ball || 13 July, 2014
Secular Sunday - Atheist Ireland's weekly newsletter
Derek Walsh
Here we are again. For the second week in a row, this newsletter is being published earlier than usual. The cause is not so much better organisation but the hard deadline of tonight's World Cup final kick-off. So if I've left out anything important or made some egregious errors, then I apologise. All will be made right next week.

 - Derek Walsh, Editor



Atheist Ireland to brief UN Human Rights Committee

On Monday in Geneva, Switzerland, Michael Nugent and Jane Donnelly of Atheist Ireland will brief the United Nations Human Rights Committee about Ireland’s failure to keep its obligations under an important human rights treaty: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Liberties.
On Monday and Tuesday, the UN Human Rights Committee will be quizzing the Irish State delegation, led by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, about what it has done about recommendations made when Ireland was last examined in 2008. Read more
We should have a report on it next week, and Michael and Jane will be talking about the experience at this month's Atheists in the Pub (see Calendar section below)



Upcoming Events

All events are free and open to everyone unless otherwise stated. Listing is not necessarily an endorsement. Listings sorted alphabetically by county, then chronologically.


Sunday 20 July, 1:00 pm, Armagh City Hotel, Friary Road, Armagh (map)
Our first Secular Sunday Brunch north of the border. A family-friendly social event. Meetup event page


Saturday 19 July, St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2 (map)
Dublin Skeptics in the Park Book Swap. Bring along any books that you are wiling to part with, either temporarily to a fellow skeptic you trust, or to pass along and free up some space on your groaning book shelves. Facebook event page

Tuesday 22 July, 7:30 pm, The Workman's Club, Wellington Quay, Dublin 2 (map)
Atheists in the Pub. This month the speakers are Atheist Ireland's Chairperson, Michael Nugent and Human Rights Officer, Jane Donnelly, who will be reporting on their trip to Geneva to brief the UN Human Rights Committee. Facebook event page


Saturday 26 July, 1:00 pm, Lynch's Castle, Galway (map)
Atheist Ireland Information Table. For the first time Atheist Ireland will be setting up an information table in Galway. Volunteers are welcome to come along and help out, or just drop by to say hello. Facebook event page

Sunday 27 July, 12:00 noon, Oslo Bar, Upper Salthil, Galway (map)
Secular Sunday Brunch. A family-friendly social event. Facebook event page. Meetup event page


Wednesday 16 July, 8:00 pm, Absolute Hotel, Sir Harry's Mall, Limerick (map)
The Mid West Humanists will meet. (Ask at the hotel reception for a card key to get up the lift to the meeting, which is usually on the third floor.) The Mid West Humanists are now on Facebook and Twitter.



17 July

World Day for International Justice



This Week in History

Anniversaries of momentous events in atheism, science, skepticism, secularism and human rights, plundered shamelessly from Wikipedia and other sources.

14 July

1960: Jane Goodall arrives at the Gombe Stream Reserve in present-day Tanzania to begin her famous study of chimpanzees in the wild.

15 July

1838: Ralph Waldo Emerson delivers the Divinity School Address at Harvard Divinity School, discounting Biblical miracles and declaring Jesus a great man, but not God. The Protestant community reacts with outrage.



13 July

1935: Kurt Westergaard. Danish cartoonist, creator of a controversial cartoon of the Muslim prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb as a turban which was part of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy.

15 July

1928: Carl Woese (d. 2012). American microbiologist and biophysicist. He is famous for defining the Archaea (a new domain or kingdom of life), and also as the originator of the RNA world hypothesis

1943: Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Northern Irish astrophysicist. As a postgraduate student, she discovered the first radio pulsars, a discovery which earned her thesis supervisor a Nobel Prize. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society and former President of the Royal Astronomical Society and of the Institute of Physics.



Material collected from the Irish atheist blogosphere and beyond; used without permission, compensation, liability, guarantee or implied endorsement.

Refusing Custom

by Paul WS Bowler

Paul WS BowlerA baker in Northern Ireland has refused to prepare a cake for a customer. I’m already on the side of the baker. If I ran a business I would very much like to think I had a right to refuse service. If some KKK loon wanted me to bake them a cake with a Confederate flag on it, I want to be able to say fuck right off. I’d want to say fuck off too if I was asked to bake a cake for a bris. And I’d definitely baulk at having to adorn a cake with some anti-choice bullshit. 
The problem of course, with inventing a right to refuse and then giving me that right, is everyone else must get the right to exercise their prejudices too. 
In a perfectly atomised world, we would be able to do that, but in our increasingly cosmopolitan and tiny planet, we don’t get to hold on so tightly to our peculiarities. Read more

Christian bakers and marriage equality

by Peter Ferguson

Peter FergusonA Christian bakery has recently come under fire for refusing to bake a cake for an LGBT couple which featured a pro marriage equality message. Defenders of the Christian bakery are saying the couple didn’t refuse the couple for being LGBT but because the cake featured a political message which went against their conscience. They are correct to an extent. I have seen too many people say the bakery refused to serve the couple because they were LGBT, this simply isn’t true. I believe the owners of the bakery when the say they denied service because of the political message on the cake. However, I do not believe this is an adequate reason not to serve the couple and it still constitutes discrimination. Read more

Limerick — A Catholic Council for a Catholic People

by Bock the Robber

Bock the RobberRemember Kevin Sheahan, the Limerick county councillor who got himself into hot water last year with his remarks on immigrants? Kevin, in true FF style with an eye to securing the votes of the very thickest in his West Limerick constituency, came up with a headline-grabbing statement about immigrants receiving priority over Irish people in housing lists.
No foreigners need apply.
Kevin’s Ballymagash-style bluster was praised by members of the racist, white-supremacist Stormfront website, but such minor considerations never deterred backwoods councillors. He got his column-inches, he got his soundbites and that was that. Job done. Like all well-honed parochial political hacks, Kevin understands that people only remember the row, never the rational responses to the nonsense they dream up. Read more

Media Watch

News and views from Ireland and around the world



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