Secular Sunday #225 Send In The Clowns || 17 April, 2016
Secular Sunday - Atheist Ireland's weekly newsletter
Andrew Devine-Rattigan
In this week's issue we are highlighting how Atheist Ireland complies with the laws regarding fundraising for political campaigning whilst other groups including the Catholic church seem not to be adhering to the legislation.  

If Christopher Hitchens was still alive he would have been sixty seven this week. He was truly one of the greatest orators in the struggle against religious fundamentalism. There was a unique clarity, directness and abrasiveness in his writings and speeches that is sorely missed in the continuing global conflict between secularism and the forces of theocracy. Hitchens didn't pay lip service to the glib assertion that everyone's beliefs should be respected. In fact, he went out of his way to disrespect and ridicule beliefs because he understood the difference between respecting people's right to believe whatever they want and the rights of others to critique and hold in contempt views that they see as inimical to the progress of humanity. He understood that only those who are unaware of the values they hold dear can assert that they respect every belief in a world of competing ideologies that jostle for supremacy. Anyone who cherishes liberal values like free speech, gender equality and equal rights for gay people can't be consistent when they say they respect the beliefs of Muslims and Christians.

I've particularly missed Christopher Hitchens over the past few weeks. We've had Mark Zuckerberg declare that we can fight Islamic extremism with love. I don't know about the rest of you, but I think I'll pass on the hug a jihadi initiative as I have an aversion to hugging people that wear explosive undergarments. We've also had Bono declare that the best way to fight ISIS would be with comedy. Luckily, Bono wasn't leading the fight against Nazi Germany because if he had been instead of armed soldiers storming the beaches in Normandy in 1944 we would have had tens of thousands of clowns in clumsy shoes armed with squirty flowers throwing custard pies at heavily armed fascists.  I'd love to have heard Hitch's response to Bono and Zuckerberg's asinine suggestions. Sadly, we can't, but we can reflect on what he did have to say about Islamic extremism and what we should do about it and so this week's opinion piece is an essay he wrote in 2007 . Hitch is no longer with us but his writings remain as pertinent as ever.

Andrew Devine-Rattigan
Acting Editor


The Tangled Web of Financial Rules for Political Campaign Groups

Atheist Ireland complies with the various pieces of legislation that regulate the funding and payment for political campaigning in Ireland. Unlike some other groups with secular or religious political aims, we are all volunteers, but we have managed to ensure that our funding and donations are accountable.

HEA Confirms Large Public Endowments to Catholic Church

At the request of the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), the Higher Education Authority (HEA) has arranged a presentation from Atheist Ireland in relation to the probity of contracts awarded to the Roman Catholic Church by third level colleges. New information has been provided to the HEA by Atheist Ireland during this presentation. The HEA has also confirmed that their own investigation validated the accuracy of the very large sums of money involved, which were previously quoted by Atheist Ireland. 
Read More.....

Remember Tick 'No Religion' in the Census

Read More....



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.
Major international events in 2016 can be found at the World Secular Calendar.



Saturday, 30th April, 12.00 noon - 14.00, Shop Street, Galway, (map)
Atheist  Ireland Information Table. Feel free to drop by if you have any questions about atheism or on the work Atheist Ireland do. Anyone who is interested in volunteering at the table is also more than welcome.

Saturday, 30th April, 14.30 - 16.30, Studio, Eglinton Street, Galway, (map)
Atheist Ireland Lunch. Meet like minded Atheists for a friendly and relaxed lunch.


Wednesday 20th April, 20.00, Absolute Hotel, Sir Harry's Mall, Limerick (map)
Mid West Humanists Meeting




22nd April

Earth Day

24th April

World  Day for Laboratory Animals 

This Week in History

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


21st April

1992: The first discoveries of extrasolar planets are announced by astronomers Alexander Wolszczan and Dale Frail. They discovered two planets orbiting the pulsar PSR 1257+12.



20th April

1963: Aubrey de Grey, English gerontologist and author

23rd April

1858: Max Planck (d. 1947). German physicist, Nobel Prize laureate 

1901: E. B. Ford (d. 1988). English geneticist 


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

God Fearing People

by Christopher Hitchens

During the greater part of last week, Slate's sister site On Faith (it is jointly produced by Newsweek and, both owned by the Washington Post Co., which also owns Slate) gave itself over to a discussion about the religion of Islam. As usual in such cases, the search for "moderate" versions of this faith was under way before the true argument had even begun. If I were a Muslim myself, I think that this search would be the most "offensive" part of the business. Why must I prove that my deepest belief is compatible with moderation? Read more...

Media Watch

News and views from Ireland and around the world



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