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Secular Sunday #172 - Easy Peasy || 12 April, 2015
Secular Sunday - Atheist Ireland's weekly newsletter
Derek WalshThere is a lot about the activity of Atheist Ireland that makes me proud to be a member. One particular moment that sticks with me is Michael Nugent's speech at the OSCE meeting in Warsaw in 2012 (video) and his use of the phrase: "You have rights, your beliefs do not". A corollary of this idea is that we can and should be critical of beliefs with which we disagree while treating the people who hold them with respect. We in the Atheist Ireland committee have felt the need to distance ourselves from behaviour that runs counter to those ideals, in particular that of prominent atheist blogger PZ Myers. More detail is given in the News section below.

- Derek Walsh, Editor

 

News

 

School Admissions Bill

The proposed new Education (Admissions) to Schools Bill will not remove religious discrimination from our education system and protect human rights. Despite the requirement that the Admissions policies of schools will be obliged to include a statement that they shall not discriminate on religion, publicly funded National schools can still discriminate in access on the ground of religion and there will be no practical application given to the right to opt out of religion. This new Schools Admissions Bill will achieve one thing, it will institutionalise religious discrimination, not remove it. Read more
 

Repeal the 8th

Atheist Ireland has joined the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment, to enable the Irish Government to legislate for abortion consistently with the human rights of pregnant women. Read more


NCCA

Atheist Ireland recently met with the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and presented them with a Document named: Respecting the philosophical convictions of atheist/secular families in the education system.

The NCCA are developing a course on Education about Religions and Beliefs and Ethics (ERB). Given the legal framework in Ireland, and the fact that we have direct experience of a Religious Education course at second level, we requested that our right to exempt our children from this course is recognised and guaranteed. Read more

PZ Myers

Atheist Ireland is publicly dissociating itself from the hurtful and dehumanising, hateful and violent, unjust and defamatory rhetoric of the atheist blogger PZ Myers. We are also asking all ethical organisations and individuals to consider how you can help to reverse his harmful impact on both individuals and the atheist movement generally. Read more
We have received support in this decision from our colleagues in Atheist Northern Ireland, "Friendly Atheist" blogger Hemant Mehta, and former Atheist Ireland committee member Peter Ferguson among others.
 

Blasphemy Petition

Atheist Ireland has presented Taoiseach Enda Kenny with an open letter asking him to hold a referendum to remove the offence of blasphemy from the Irish Constitution. We have put the letter on change.org in the form of a petition that you can sign. Over 2,000 people have already signed.

Calendar


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.


Clare


Sunday 26 April, 12:00 noon, Rowan Tree Cafe Bar, Harmony Row, Ennis (map)
Mid West Humanists Sunday Brunch. The Mid West Humanists are now on Facebook and Twitter.
 

Dublin


Tuesday 21 April, 7:30 pm, Davenport Hotel, Lower Merrion St, Dublin 2 (map)
Aron Ra will be speaking to Atheist Ireland on "How Religion Harms Education". Aron Ra makes videos promoting science education in an area where creationism is often promoted even in public schools. As Texas State Director of American Atheists, he is an activist for secular politics in a heavily religious environment. Meetup event page. Facebook event page

 

Limerick


Wednesday 15 April, 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.)


 

Observances


12 April


Yuri's Night, an international celebration held every year to commemorate space exploration milestones and to promote space exploration. Named after Yuri Gagarin who became the first human in space on 12 April, 1961.
 


This Week in History


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


12 April


1955: The polio vaccine, developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, is declared safe and effective.


18 April


1946: The International Court of Justice holds its inaugural meeting in The Hague, Netherlands.
 

 

Birthdays


13 April


1817: George Holyoake. (d. 1906): The last person in England to be imprisoned (in 1842) for being an atheist. He coined the term "secularism" in 1846.

1919: Madalyn Murray O'Hair (d. 1995). Founder of American Atheists, campaigner for the separation of church and state; filed the lawsuit that led the US Supreme Court to ban teacher-led prayer and Bible reading in public schools. Murdered September 1995.

1949: Christopher Hitchens (d. 2011): Journalist, essayist, orator, and author of God Is Not Great.
 

Opinion


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


Seeking Any Reasons to Limit Marriage

by Geoff Lillis


Geoff Shorts  What new can I say about the Irish group Family and Life? Their past projects have included campaigning against the HSE's desire to provide vaccines for children. Their Facebook page seems unnervingly popular in Spanish speaking countries famed for producing fake Facebook accounts.
When not fighting against children's rights to receive the MMR vaccine they find time to fight against some children's rights to have married parents. I speak, of course, of the upcoming marriage referendum. The only unifying motivation that could explain such desire to fight medical and societal progress is lust to see Ireland returned to the 1950's.
But I digress.
They have printed a leaflet for every household in Ireland and from it I learn their endeavour was not accomplished without assistance. They partner with Mothers and Fathers Matter, a company that celebrates its fourth month in existence today, and Marriage Diversity, a group which I am told have yet to launch. Read more

 

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