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Secular Sunday #265 - New schools plans will intensify human rights breaches || 22 January, 2017
Secular Sunday - Atheist Ireland's weekly newsletter

Editorial

New schools plans will intensify human rights breaches


The Minister for Education Richard Bruton has outlined four options in relation to an Admissions School Policy. None of the Options that he outlined comply with Ireland’s Human Rights obligations, and Option 4 would undermine those rights further.

Atheist Ireland, along with our colleagues in Evangelical Alliance Ireland and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Ireland, will engage with the Minister’s consultation process to voice our opposition.

Children have a human right to access to their local school without religious discrimination, and to access a neutral studying environment without religious influence. None of the four options outlined will give parents and their children these basic human rights.

One of the General Principles of the European Court in the relation to the rights of parents in the education system is that the ‘right to respect’ for parents convictions is an absolute right, and not to be balanced against the rights of others or one that can be gradually achieved. The purpose of publicly funded National Schools with a Catholic ethos is to evangelise. That is their mission.

Read more here
http://www.teachdontpreach.ie/2017/01/minister-bruton-new-proposals/
 

Atheist Ireland News

 


How Minister Bruton’s new proposals would intensify breaches of absolute human rights

 

by Teach Dont Preach



The Minister for Education Richard Bruton has outlined four options in relation to an Admissions School Policy. None of the Options that he outlined comply with Ireland’s Human Rights obligations, and Option 4 would undermine those rights further.
Children have a human right to access to their local school without religious discrimination, and to access a neutral studying environment without religious influence. None of the four options outlined will give parents and their children these basic human rights.

One of the General Principles of the European Court in the relation to the rights of parents in the education system is that the ‘right to respect’ for parents convictions is an absolute right, and not to be balanced against the rights of others or one that can be gradually achieved. The purpose of publicly funded National Schools with a Catholic ethos is to evangelise. That is their mission.

Evangelising children from minorities while they are accessing education does not constitute respect for their parents’ convictions. The Minister is balancing the desire of some parents to a religious education against the rights of minorities, and claiming that he is aiming for the greatest good for the greatest number. What is happening is that he is aiming to fulfil the desire of the greatest number of parents at the cost of the rights of minorities. Read more...
 


Equate gives TV3 ultimatum to remove Jane Donnelly of Atheist Ireland from interview

 

by Teach Dont Preach

TV3’s Ireland AM has invited and then removed Jane Donnelly, Human Rights Officer of Atheist Ireland, from an interview this Tuesday morning about the Baptism rule in Irish schools. TV3 told Atheist Ireland that Michael Barron of Equate had issued TV3 with an ultimatum that Equate would not appear on the show if Atheist Ireland was also represented.
Equate had said the Minister’s announcement represented a great day, while Atheist Ireland had said it would strengthen religious discrimination. TV3 said that Equate did not want their position to be contradicted on air by Atheist Ireland. On that basis, TV3 removed Jane Donnelly from the show, and replaced her with Seamus Mulconry, the General Secretary of the Catholic Primary Schools Managers Association.

Jane Donnelly would have been representing the views of the unique secular schools alliance of Atheist Ireland, Evangelical Alliance Ireland, and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Ireland, as she did last month when she addressed the Joint Oireachtas Education Committee on this issue.
Atheist Ireland has been working on the ground for years to advance secular education, in Ireland and at the United Nations, Council of Europe, OSCE and elsewhere, studying and actively challenging the nuances of the religious discrimination in Irish schools. Jane Donnelly runs Teach Don’t Preach, Ireland’s most comprehensive secular education resource.

Now Equate has succeeded in having a voice uniquely capable of representing Irish atheists, Evangelicals and Ahmadi Muslims, who are direct victims of the religious discrimination in Irish schools, replaced on air with a voice representing the Catholic Primary School Managers Association, who oversee the religious discrimination against us. Read more...

 

Atheist Ireland tells UN that Catholic Church controls Sexuality Education in schools


by Teach Dont Preach


The Minister for Education has today announced deeply flawed proposals to amend the Baptism rule for access to State-funded schools, but without changing the law on school ethos. What seems to be the best of the four options in the plan, removing the baptism rule completely, is actually the worst, as the Minister says that “Under this last option religious schools could require parents or students to indicate support for the school’s religious ethos.”

So removing the Baptism rule completely would mean that minority belief parents must support the evangelising of their children into the Catholic faith. It would merely give children of minority belief families equal access to being compulsorily discriminated against within the schools, which is where the real problem is, and would give the Catholic Church access to more minority belief children to evangelise into Catholicism.

The other three of the Minister’s discussion options (catchment area, nearest school and quotas) would merely fine-tune the religious discrimination in access, and would still result in children being refused access to their local school because of the religious or nonreligious beliefs of their parents.

Read more...


Atheist Ireland Youtube Channel


School Baptism Rule Part 1 - Education Minister Richard Bruton

 

School Baptism Rule Part 2 - Michael Nugent


Tell us what you think.

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Be Good without Gods

 
Atheist Ireland 'Good Without Gods' Kiva team members have made loans of  $17,925  to 625 entrepreneurs in the developing world. You can join the team here. Before you chose a loan, make sure you do not support religious groups. You can check the loan partner's social and secular rating here

 

Notme.ie


Atheist Ireland's 'notme.ie' is a place where people can publically renouce the religion of their childhood. Currently there are 587 symbolic defections. Many share their reasons for making a public symbolic defection which you can read here
 

Petitions on Blasphemy and Schools Equality PACT 


Atheist Ireland continues to run two petitions; one for a referendum to remove blasphemy from the Irish Constitution and the other, the Schools Equality PACT seeks to reform religious discrimination in state-funded schools. Please sign and share if you haven't already done so. Thank you.



Please consider joining or re-joining Atheist Ireland. 


Atheist Ireland is an entirely volunteer run organisation. We receive no grants or government funding to continue our campaign work. We rely entirely on membership fess and donations.

Annual membership is nominal; €25 waged and €10 unwaged/student. Please consider becoming a member. Membership means:
  • You can help to build an ethical and secular Ireland.
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  • You can attend members meetings and our AGM.
  • You will have access to our members only Facebook group
  • Your membership fee will go towards supporting our many campaigns.

 You can join Atheist Ireland here.
 

Thank you for your continued support.

Atheist Ireland Committee

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Places and Faces

Photos from Atheist Ireland events around the country.





Atheists in the Pub Cork January 2017
 

Atheist Ireland Events

All events are free and open to everyone to attend unless otherwise stated.


All Atheist Ireland events are listed below as well as on our website


Cork

Saturday 4th February St Patrick's St
Information Table

Saturday 4th February Kudos Bar
Lunch

 

Dublin

Saturday 4th February, GPO, O'Connell Street
Information Table

Sunday 12th February, IFI, Temple Bar
Brunch
 

Galway

Saturday 28th January AIB, Shop St, Galway
Information Table

Saturday 28th January Cafe Temple, Galway
Brunch


Kerry

Watch this space, more events coming soon
 

Kilkenny

Watch this space, more events coming soon.


Limerick

Watch this space, more events coming soon.


Sligo

Watch this space, more events coming soon.


Wexford

Saturday 28 January Outside Bullring Market Wexford.
Information table



Other Events of Interest


Saturday 22nd July - Sunday 23rd July 2017, Venue TBC, London
International Conference on Freedom of Conscience and Expression in the 21st Century

 

Opinion and Media

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

If you are a blogger or vlogger writing or talking about atheism, secularism, ethics, skepticism, human rights etc. and would like us to include your work here please email the link to secularsunday@atheist.ie


Blogs


Ireland

 

Brendan Smyth's sex crimes 'ignored to protect good name of Church'


by Clerical Whispers

The crimes of predatory priest Brendan Smyth were ignored to protect the good name of the Catholic church, a public inquiry found.

Smyth attacked children "far and wide" at residential homes in Northern Ireland from the 1940s and was convicted of more than 100 offences, the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry found.

He was allowed a car to roam the country even after he was eventually charged by police in 1991, and over many years his Norbertine religious order and others within the church failed to take determined and vigorous steps to ensure he did not harm more youngsters, the panel found.  
Read more...

 

Northern Ireland child abuse inquiry singles out police and church


by Clerical Whispers


Police were guilty of a “catalogue of failures” over the abuse of boys at a Belfast care home run by a paedophile ring, a comprehensive report into child mistreatment across Northern Ireland has found.

The historical institutional abuse inquiry, established in 2014, found that a Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) investigation into sexual abuse at the Kincora care home in east Belfast was “inept, inadequate and far from thorough”. 

The report, released on Friday, also accused the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland of ignoring repeated warnings about a serial paedophile, Fr Brendan Smyth, who sexually assaulted and raped dozens of young victims. Read more...
 

International

The Christian Spectrum of U.S. Presidents

 

by Hemant Mehta

 
Who said the U.S. presidents aren’t religiously diverse? The Pew Research Center shows us that they run the gamut from Christian to other-kinds-of-Christian.

You can see the full image here.
All of them publicly believed in God — though Abraham Lincoln‘s faith has long been debated and Thomas Jefferson didn’t necessarily believe in the Jesus stuff.
The percentage of non-religious Americans has been on the rise for a long time, but our representation on Capitol Hill and in the White House is non-existent. Women have made tremendous strides in Congress and Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, yet atheists are still political poison.
What’s scary under the Donald Trump administration is that he appears to have no desire to represent people who aren’t conservative Christians. If Vladimir Putin ever lets go of the puppet strings, it’ll just be handed off to the Religious Right. Scary times.

 


The Words We Didn’t Hear in Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address

 

By Hemat Mehta


Donald Trump‘s inauguration speech is in the history books, and it was jarring for how dark it seemed. Forget the inspiration, lofty rhetoric, references to our shared history, or a broad vision of our future that we heard from his predecessors. Trump promoted isolation and selfishness.
There was plenty of religion, too.

That’s not unusual. Even President Obama mentioned “God” a number of times in 2009 and 2013. But he did more than that. Read more...
 

Atheists Sue West Virginia School District Over 75-Year-Old Bible Indoctrination Classes

 

by Hemant Mehta


It’s entirely legal for public schools to offer a “Bible as Literature” elective in which students who choose to take the class study the Bible as an influence on society and as a classical book, full of broad themes and important stories (which are often alluded to in other works).
What’s not legal is for those schools to preach the Bible. At no point can a teacher claim the Bible stories are “true” or an accurate reflection of our history. It’d be wrong, to say the least, and it’d be an unconstitutional promotion of religion. Read more...
 

Texas Bill Aims To Take Away Voting Rights From Women Who Have Abortions


by Hemant Mehta


Women’s reproductive health will be under constant attack under a Trump presidency and a majority Republican House and Senate. Another example of this was recently seen in the Texas Bill 948, which would make abortion a felony, and consequently take away women’s right to vote.  The bill was introduced by Republican representative Tony Tinderholt.
The bill argues that a fetus is a “living human child” and that having an abortion would be considered homicide. As the Texas Observer reports, this bill removes the state’s exception for abortion for homicide. There are no exceptions for rape or fetal abnormalities. So basically, if a woman tries to have an abortion, she will be considered a felon and lose her right to vote.
Thankfully, this bill seems pretty unlikely to become a law as it goes against Roe vs Wade. However, Trump’s promise to appoint anti-abortion Supreme Court judges will make bills like these much scarier. Read more...

 


Podcasts, Videos and Interviews


Ireland

Do you host an Irish-based podcast on atheism, secularism, science, skepticism, human rights etc.? Let us know and we will link to it here.

International

Free Thought Prophet: Atheist Abductions In Pakistan

Free Thought Prophet: Atheist Gospel Breakdown Episode #11 “The Gadarene Swine

The Friendly Atheist: Rebecca Hensler, Founder of Grief Beyond Belief

The Atheist Voice: We’re Not Atheists Just Because Some of You Are Bad Christians

The Oasis Network Podcast: Dr Darrrel Ray "What I Learned In A Lifetime Of Activisim



Media Watch

News and views from Ireland and around the world. Sharing is not an endorsement. 

 

Ireland

International

Observances

Observances

 

27 January


 

 

This Week in History


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

24 January

 
1986 - The Voyager 2 space probe flew past Uranus.


25 January


1919: The League of Nations is founded.


27 January


1977 - The Vatican reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church's ban on female priests.


28 January


1521 - The Diet of Worms began, at which Protestant reformer Luther was declared an outlaw by the Roman Catholic church.

1935 - Iceland became the first country to introduce legalized abortion.

1986 - The U.S. space shuttle Challenger exploded just after takeoff. All seven of its crewmembers were killed.
 

Birthdays

 

24 January


1928: Desmond Morris. English zoologist and ethologist, famous for describing human behaviour from a zoological perspective in his books The Naked Ape and The Human Zoo.
"We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species." - The Naked Ape, Ch. 5
 


25 January


1627: Robert Boyle (d. 1691). Irish scientist, one of the founders of modern chemistry. Best known for his law describing the relationship between the pressure and volume of a gas.

1928: Sherwin Wine (d. 2007) American rabbi and philosopher, founder of the non-theistic Society for Humanistic Judaism. He coined the term "ignosticism", which is the view that any religious term or theological concept presented must be accompanied by a coherent definition, and that without such a definition they cannot be meaningfully discussed.

 

29 January

1737: Thomas Paine (d. 1809). English-American writer, activist, and theorist. Author of The Age of Reason and The Rights of Man.
"The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion."
1935: Victor J. Stenger (d. 2014).  American physicist, professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Hawaii and adjunct professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado. Author of God: The Failed Hypothesis.

1939: Germaine Greer, Australian journalist and academic. Author of The Female Eunuch

 
 
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