Secular Sunday #40 – Still Talking about Blasphemy

It’s time for this week’s Secular Sunday.

In this issue:

  • News
  • Upcoming Events
  • Blogology


  • Atheist Ireland’s Annual General Meeting will take place in Dublin on the morning of Saturday, 20 October followed by a public meeting in the afternoon. The exact timetable and venue will be confirmed in the next few days. We are delighted to have Sanal Edamaruku speaking at the public event. Sanal is the president of the Indian Rationalist Association, and is currently facing blasphemy charges in India because he exposed a supposedly crying statue of Jesus as being caused by faulty plumbing. Read more
  • This Monday, 1 October, Atheist Ireland will attend the annual OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) human rights meeting in Warsaw in Poland, where we will speak against blasphemy laws, religious oaths and the need for secular education. Atheist Ireland will also host a side meeting to highlight the need to respect the human rights of atheists and nonbelievers. Read more
  • Today is International Blasphemy Day so feel free to insult the god, prophet or messiah of your choice safe in the knowledge that you are unlikely to be prosecuted under Ireland’s absurd and anachronistic blasphemy law. But spare a thought for those in other countries who face jail or execution for the crime of expressing their opinions. Some of them are listed in the previous link, and this document from Human Rights First lists dozens more.
  • Some 2,500 people marched in Dublin yesterday for the right of women to have access to safe and legal abortion in Ireland. The abortion debate encompasses a number of controversial, complex and emotive issues, and undoubtedly our readers hold a range of different opinions on all of them. It’s mentioned here because there are some relevant issues that affect us all as atheists in Ireland. One is that successive governments have refused to legislate on a human rights issue for twenty years despite rulings in Irish and European courts, and the other is that if you relied solely on the state broadcaster for news, you would have no idea that a large protest march took place in our capital city. Those are matters we need to reflect on as we fight for the repeal of blasphemy laws, removal of church influence from public schools and other such issues.

Upcoming Events

  • Sunday 7 October, 4:00 pm, Buswells Hotel, Dublin 2 (map)
    The monthly meeting of the HAI. All are welcome. Facebook event page
  • Monday 8 October, 8:30 pm, McSwiggans Bar and Restaurant, Woodquay, Galway (map)
    Galway Skeptics in the Pub. “Battleskeptics.” An evening of thinking and drinking. Facebook event page
  • Saturday 20 October, time and location to be confirmed, Dublin
    Atheist Ireland AGM and public meeting. See above.


  • So the European Union is expressing ‘profound respect’ not only for the major world religions (which, as an aside, profoundly contradict each other), but also for Scientology, Raelism, Paganism, Witchcraft, Voodoo, and the South Pacific tribe that worships Prince Philip. – Michael Nugent on an ‘absurd and dangerous’ statement endorsed by the EU.
  • So, with whom does Youth Defence choose to spend its time online? I pulled a list of all the accounts they choose to follow and ran some metrics.Geoff continues his analysis of Youth Defence’s Twitter account.
  • Of course there’s PLENTY of people I’d love to shut up – anti-vaccination people, racists, homeopaths, climate change deniers, misogynists, misandrists, creationists, tea-partiers, homophobics, bigots, faith healers, quack doctors, liberal arts majors**, and so on. But the best I can do and should do is counter their nonsense with logic and trust other people can see the difference.David Robert Grimes on online petitions and the Voltairian principle
  • Ireland is not America, where a significant minority of the population are born into a fundamentalist creationist tradition and where creationism has taken on political overtones. It’s difficult to see creationism gaining purchase any time, except amongst the tiny evangelical community.Colm of Cork Skeptics looks at creationism in Ireland

That’s all for another week. Till next time, think clearly and speak freely.

Derek Walsh
Editor, Secular Sunday
Atheist Ireland

Secular Sunday