Secular Sunday #74 – Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo

Here it is: the usual weekly mix of news, blogs and event listings with some good news for any secular feminist Cinderellas afraid of missing out on the Empowering Women through Secularism conference. We may have found your fairy godmother (so to speak).

– Derek Walsh, Editor

Atheist Ireland News

Geoff Lillis, known to many as Geoff’s Shorts, has purchased a student ticket forEmpowering Women through Secularism and generously intends to give it away to a worthy recipient.
So if you or someone you know wants to go but can’t afford to, let Geoff know here.  It’s such a good idea that we’re going to give Geoff an extra ticket to give away as he sees fit.
Standard tickets are €100, student tickets are €50 and available here. If you’re in a position to help someone else make it to the conference, let us or Geoff know.

Profile: Nina Sankari

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

Nina SankariNina Sankari is a Polish atheist and feminist activist. She is President of European Feminist Initiative Poland and has served as spokesperson for the Polish Rationalist Association, the K. Lyszczynski Association of Free Thinkers, and the Polish Association of Atheists.



  • Thursday 30 May, 7: 30 pm, Trinity Capital Hotel, Pearse St., Dublin 2 (map)
    Dublin Atheists in the Pub. Informal social event with friendly argumentative atheists. All are welcome. Facebook event page
  • Saturday 1 June, 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm, GPO, O’Connell St., Dublin 1 (map)
    Brendan Maher and co. will be outside the GPO with a stall promoting atheism, secularism and humanism. Email Brendan if you want to help or for further information.
  • Sunday 2 June, 12:00 noon, Quay Co-op, Cork (map)
    “Confessions of an ex-Scientologist.” The Cork Humanists’ monthly meeting with guest speaker John Duignan. Facebook event page
  • Sunday 2 June, 4:00 pm, Buswell’s Hotel, Molesworth St., Dublin 2 (map)
    Monthly meeting of the Humanist Association of Ireland. All are welcome. Facebook event page
  • Monday 3 June, 8:30 pm, McSwiggans Bar and Restaurant, Woodquay, Galway (map)
    Galway Skeptics in the Pub #58 – “How To Get To Skeptical Street”.Facebook event page
  • Wednesday 19 June, 8:00 pm, Absolute Hotel, Sir Harry’s Mall, Limerick (map)
    The Mid West Humanists are meeting. All are welcome.
  • 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

News Digest

compiled by Barbara Monea






It is said that when Ireland received its independence from Britain in 1921 it handed it over to the Catholic Church. For the next seven decades the Church dominated Irish life and shaped it to suit its teachings. While Ireland never became a theocracy, it came pretty close. Irish politicians of all parties declared their loyalty to the Church and gave the hierarchy unquestioned influence over policy. – Robert Nielsen on the legacy of the Catholic Church in Ireland

Like any country with a reputation for extremism, its history will always be judged on the actions of extremists. The usual saying that history is judged by the victors does not yet apply to Northern Ireland, as the state of conflict has never really ended in the minds of much of its population. Many use religion as a twisted analogy for political preference, and this is instilled from childhood by a school system that is still separated by religion above all else. – Jason Murdock of Atheism:Northern Ireland on the changing religious landscape of the region.

It has been reported that rate of measles infections has risen dramatically in countries like the UK and France (Roxby, 2011), and in 2011, the World Health Organisation pushed back its target date for eradication of measles to 2015. The controversy surrounding the MMR vaccine has endured in spite of attempts to refute the bad science which plagues its supporters, and the effects of this are now being felt. Despite the fact that the Wakefield’s original paper (Wakefield et al, 1998) has been widely discredited, and even retracted by the Lancet (the original journal of publication), there is still mistrust among parts of the population in Europe, and further afield, and still people who firmly believe that there is a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. –Jennifer Keane analyses the MMR controversy.

Thankfully I started to come out of my shell a bit and often decided to debate with my religion teacher on her ways of teaching (through a Catholics eyes) and one day, shortly after she had found out I was an Atheist, she placed a bible in front of me in class and said “Here, read this.” I smiled, pushed the book slowly back in her direction and said “I already have. Twice. It’s the main reason I am an Atheist.” DatAtheist on religion in Irish classrooms

Secular Sunday