Please vote for secular candidates in the General Election

Atheist Ireland is asking people to vote for General Election candidates of all parties and none whose policies are closest to our secular agenda. As we approach the election, we will be publicly informing people about which candidates best fit this description based on their responses to questions we have asked them. In doing so we are not endorsing the policies of any candidate or party on any issue other than secularism.

As we stated in our first post on this issue, we realise that most people will vote based on economic policies or party allegiance. In such cases we are asking people that, if several candidates share your views on these wider issues, to please choose the candidate that most supports a rational, ethical, secular Ireland.

Why are we taking this political initiative? Atheist Ireland has a constitution that outlines two broad aims: to promote atheism and reason over superstition and supernaturalism; and to promote an ethical and secular Ireland where the state does not support or fund or give special treatment to any religion.

The second of these aims involves an unambiguously political project. We are involved in political advocacy to change laws to make the State more secular. This is more likely to happen when we elect candidates who are committed to secular values, regardless of what party they happen to be affiliated to.

There are two ways that we can judge which candidates are most likely to advance a secular agenda if they are elected. The first way is to examine their actual record in the outgoing Oireachtas, and the second way is to examine their proposals and manifestos for the incoming Oireachtas.

With regard to the actual record of outgoing Oireachtas members, since Atheist Ireland was formed, we have had constructive discussions with elected politicians of all parties and none. The two politicians who have been most responsive to our agenda are Ivana Bacik and Ruairi Quinn. They have publicly supported our policy proposals and have incorporated them into legislative amendments.

With regard to the proposals of candidates for the incoming election, we have written to all of them, asking them six questions about secular issues. By early next week we will have analysed the responses of all candidates and parties, and we will be asking people to vote for the candidates in their constituency whose responses are closest to our policies on these issues.

Between now and then, we will continue to publish all responses as they come in. Please inform yourself about the secular policies of the candidates in your constituency, and please vote for candidates who support a secular Ireland.

Michael Nugent

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