Secular Sunday #186 - Schools of Thought || 19 July, 2015
Secular Sunday - Atheist Ireland's weekly newsletter
Derek WalshSchool may well be the last thing on your mind at this time of year, even if you're a schoolgoer or a parent of schoolgoers, but as one of the strongholds of religious inequality in this country, the education system is one of Atheist Ireland's major battlegrounds. Pupils and teachers who are not labelled as Catholic are systematically discriminated against, and the whole school system does all children a disservice by failing to provide a religiously neutral education. Our children deserve better.

- Derek Walsh, Editor




Bishop O'Reilly posterMore on Catholic Schools

It is the declared position of the Catholic Church that Catholic schools are primarily for evangelisation, and therefore the majority of teaching positions in Ireland are only open to people who are not only Catholic, but willing to act as missionaries for the Catholic Church. Read more
A quite shocking example of how far this extends is one school's application criteria for a special needs assistant, the primary criterion being willingness to adhere to the school's Catholic ethos.
Please help us fight this injustice by sharing the attached picture, and email us if you wish to be more actively involved.


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 26 July, 12:00 noon, Anno Santo Hotel, Threadneedle Road, Salthill (map)
Secular Sunday Brunch. A family-friendly social event. Meetup event page



22 July

Pi Approximation Day. The date can be written as 22/7 which is a reasonable approximation of the irrational number Pi (Ï€). 

This Week in History

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

20 July

One Small Step - Image by NASA
1969: Apollo 11 successfully makes the first manned landing on the Moon in the Sea of Tranquility. Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first humans to walk on the Moon almost 7 hours later.

21 July

1925: In Dayton, Tennessee, high school biology teacher John T. Scopes is found guilty of teaching evolution in class and fined $100.

25 July

1978: Louise Brown, the world's first "test tube baby" is born.


23 July

Theo van Gogh1957: Theo van Gogh (d. 2004) Dutch film director, television producer, publicist and actor, murdered following the broadcasting of his film Submission.

1969: Clark Adams (d. 2007): Prominent American freethought leader and activist. He was a member of the Alabama Freethought Association and the Atlanta Freethought Society  He served as the primary organizer of the annual celebration Lollapalooza of Freethought and was at one time president of the Humanist Association of Las Vegas and Southern Nevada.

25 July

1902: Eric Hoffer (d. 1983). American philosopher and author. He came to public attention with the 1951 publication of his first book, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements.

Rosalind Franklin.jpg1920: Rosalind Franklin (d. 1958), English biophysicist. Best known for her work on the X-ray diffraction images of DNA which led to the discovery of the DNA double helix. 


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

How Andrew Gilligan misrepresents Abdullah al Andalusi on ISIS

by Michael Nugent

Michael NugentTelegraph writer Andrew Gilligan misrepresents Abdullah al Andalusi of the Muslim Debate Initiative, by implying that Abdullah is a sympathiser for ISIS and terrorism. This claim contradicts Abdullah’s public talks and writings, as well as private conversations with me and other members of Atheist Ireland.
Andrew’s Telegraph article, titled “By day, at heart of counter-terror policing. And by night, preacher of extremism,” selectively and misleadingly quotes from an article Abdullah wrote last year titled “Has the Caliphate been re-established by ISIS?” Abdullah has since countered Andrew’s claims in a new article titled “A response to Andrew Gilligan’s disingenuous distortion of my views.”
I have publicly debated with Abdullah twice, and I have dined with him and others on three occasions, during which we had time to discuss our beliefs in a more considered way. On each of these occasions, both I and other members of Atheist Ireland were satisfied that Abdullah is a sincere person who condemns terrorism and ISIS in particular. Read more

But for the Grace of God…..

by Sabina Brennan

Sabina BrennanI read a piece in the Irish Times this morning about Grace Farrell an Irish woman in her thirties who froze to death in a doorway in New York City. In this poignant piece, aimed at understanding why, Michael Kealy takes us on a journey through Grace’s life with insights from family and friends, including Emmanuel Touhey who shared his childhood with Grace at the Daughters of Charity Children’s Home in Drogheda, Ireland.
Lest we prejudge Grace’s demise as an inevitable consequence of a life begun in a children’s home, Kealy sensitively juxtaposes Grace’s fate with the success of Emmanuel, a journalist in Washington at C-Span, the Cable-Satelite Public Affairs Network.
I hadn’t heard of Grace’s death before today. Something that surprised me since Ireland tends to report on tragedies involving Irish citizens abroad. Read more

Media Watch

News and views from Ireland and around the world



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