Secular Sunday #65 – Chock Full of Godless Goodness

This week we have our usual news roundup, the best of Irish atheist blogs, and of course a list of upcoming events including a TV show tonight and this week’s return of Dublin Atheists in the Pub. We also have a profile of Kate Smurthwaite who’ll be speaking at our conference in June.

– Derek Walsh, Editor

Atheist Ireland News

  • The remainder of Michael Nugent’s recent debate with John Waters is now online. Watch Michael’s and John’s closing speeches. All the videos of the debate (and many more) are available on our YouTube channel.
  • Peter Ferguson has set up a Google group for atheists in Galway to interact and get to know each other better. Peter regularly organises events for NUI Galway’s Atheist and Humanist group, and his blog is frequently featured in Secular Sunday (including this week). Email Peter if you want to be added to the group.

Profile: Kate Smurthwaite

Every week until the Empowering Women through Secularism conference, we’ll be profiling one of the speakers.

Kate Smurthwaite (photo from Smurthwaite is a British comedian, writer and political activist. She is the vice-chair and media spokesperson for Abortion Rights UK, and a member ofLondon Feminist Network and the National Secular Society. She regularly appears on British television and radio discussing politics, religion and feminism, has toured internationally and written for a number of newspapers and magazines.
Many atheists will likely recognise Kate from a clip of the BBC’s Big Questions that was shared on YouTube and viewed over two million times. (Below or here)

News Digest

compiled by Barbara Monea






  • Abie Philbin Bowman as the second incarnation of JesusTonight, Sunday 24 March, 10:30 pm, RTE 1
    Atheist comedian Abie Philbin Bowman (pictured) will be featured on RTE’s Would You Believe?
  • Thursday 28 March, 7:30 pm, Trinity Capital Hotel, Pearse St., Dublin 2 (map)
    Dublin Atheists in the Pub. “Atheism and Abortion”. A frank and friendly discussion about a difficult topic, without the usual distraction of religious arguments. Facebook event page
  • Monday 25 March, McSwiggans Bar and Restaurant, Woodquay, Galway (map)
    Galway Skeptics in the Pub.Facebook event page
  • Sunday 31 March, 12:00 noon, Galway Lawn Tennis Club, Galway (map)
    Humanists West, Galway are having their monthly meeting.Facebook event page
  • Saturday 6 April, 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm
    Brendan Maher will be outside the GPO promoting atheism, secularism and humanism. Email Brendan if you want to help.
  • Sunday 7 April, 4:00 pm, Buswell’s Hotel, Molesworth St., Dublin 2 (map)
    Monthly meeting of the Humanist Association of Ireland. All are welcome.
  • Sunday 14 April, 12:00 noon, multiple locations
    The third Second Sunday brunch thing. If there’s one in your area, go to it. If there isn’t, arrange one and let us know.
  • Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 June, O’Callaghan Alexander Hotel, Dubln 2 (map)
    “Empowering Women Through Secularism” An international two-day conference featuring some of the biggest names in atheism, skepticism, secularism and feminism. Buy tickets now


We had, and I believe we still have, the potential to combine the best contributions of many good people on all perceived ‘sides’ of the rifts, who are currently unable or unwilling to work together, because they have been unfairly misrepresented and hurt by people who in turn have been unfairly misrepresented and hurt  by others. – Michael Nugent proposes an agenda for structured dialogue among atheists and skeptics

I, and many other same-sex marriage advocates, are certainly not fond of the Iona Institute but to label them a hate group is a stretch too far. It would disingenuous and hyperbolic to apply this label as they do not practice open hostility or violence towards homosexuals. However, what about bigoted? – Peter Ferguson asks some questions about the Iona Institute

On Tuesday 12th March a proposed amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill, described as ‘entirely inappropriate’, ‘tacked on’ and ‘ill-thought out’, fell when it failed to gain cross-party support. This amendment was pushed by the unlikely partnership of the DUP and SDLP, and while I wouldn’t usually go out of my way to attack such surprising unity, in this case I and many others felt we had to. This amendment aimed to further curtail the rights of women in Northern Ireland by making abortion illegal outside of NHS premises. – DavidC of Belfast Skeptics calls for atheist activism in Northern Ireland for women’s rights.

It is generally considered a truism these days to state that from the foundation of the Republic, the Catholic Church has had a large part to play in the running of the country. Legislation was passed or defeated on the whims of Catholic interests, social norms and conventions were passed down from the pulpit to the worshippers in the pews, and most shamefully, thousands of women and children were forced into what was essentially slave labour in the country’s Industrial Schools and Magdalene Laundries. – Bryan Wall discusses the decline of the Catholic Church in Ireland
Secular Sunday