Atheist Ireland AGM launches new campaign for a secular state
Atheist Ireland launched a new campaign for a secular state on Saturday, July 17th, at our second AGM, held in the Davenport Hotel in Dublin. The meeting also announced a major international atheist conference to be held in Dublin next year, co-hosted by Atheist Ireland and Atheist Alliance International.
The aim of the new campaign is a Secular State for a Pluralist People.
The priorities of the new campaign are:
A secular Irish Constitution based on the Ireland of today not 1937
Repeal the Irish blasphemy law that Islamic states are using at the UN
A secular education system based on international human rights law
A secular health system where religions do not decide the ethos of hospitals
Encourage nonreligious people to state their lack of religion in the census
Replace religious oaths in courts with neutral ones that do not prejudice juries
Remove religious symbols from schools, hospitals and public buildings
Stop daily prayers in the Oireachtas and remove the Angelus from RTE
The AGM also adopted a Declaration on Religion in Public Life promoting personal freedoms, secular democracy, secular education and one law for all. This is based on a declaration passed in Copenhagen at last month’s European conference of Atheist Alliance International. Next year’s conference will be held in Dublin.
The AGM voted that, as well as promoting our aims in a positive way, Atheist Ireland should also highlight incidents where we believe religions or religious representatives are behaving unethically. On complex ethical issues such as euthenasia and abortion, our position is that society should address these issues based on human rights and compassion, and applying reason to empirical evidence, and not on religious doctrines.
Speakers at the AGM included Atheist Ireland chairperson Michael Nugent, Senator Ivana Bacik who is a member of Atheist Ireland, American psychologist Dr. Darrel Ray who wrote the bestselling book The God Virus, Maureen Meleady on secular education, Paul Gill on the Blasphemy walk, and Richard Green of the UK Atheism group.
The AGM also voted to set up local Atheist Ireland groups around the country, and elected Michael Nugent as chairperson, Grania Spingies as Secretary, Ciaran Mac Aoidh as Regional Officer and Steven Duggan as Finance Officer.