Secular Sunday #78 – Plus ca Reste le Meme Chose

Welcome to this week’s mix of news, blogs, and interesting events from around the country. Your regular editor Derek is off in secular France, enjoying all the benefits of a state where a 2011 poll revealed 35% of the population have no religion. While we can’t directly tie this to the availability of excellent wine, cheese and sunlight we’re going to give it our best shot.

Frequent readers of this newsletter will know that this week is your last chance to buy tickets for next weekend’s international conference on Empowering Women Through Secularism, in the Alexander Hotel in Dublin on 29-30 June. We have a fantastic line-up of speakers discussing many important issues (see details below).
Prices are €100 for a general ticket, and €50 for a student ticket.
If you cannot afford the admission fee, and if you have a genuine interest in empowering women through secularism, we don’t want you to miss out. We now have some scholarship tickets, free of charge. If you would like to apply for one of these tickets, please email us now at

The conference will include sessions on:
  • Reproductive rights (and Irish abortion law)
  • Secular Values in Society
  • Separation of Church and State
  • Human Rights
  • Keynote speech by Taslima Nasrin
  • Politics and Campaigning
  • Dublin Declaration on Empowering Women Through Secularism
  • Review of Conference and What Next
Each session will include four short talks and a panel discussion with audience participation. Full details are available on


Every week until the Empowering Women through Secularism conference, we’ll be profiling one of the speakers. This week it’s Atheist Ireland’s own Jane Donnelly. As Education Policy Officer in a country where 90% of the schools are under the control of the Roman Catholic church she is rarely without something to do! If you are a child, have a child, know a child or anticipate interacting with Irish adults when they finish their education you should see her talk.

You can follow Jane on Twitter, add her on Facebook or read her articles written

News Digest

compiled by Barbara Monea


Taoiseach’s stance on abortion legislation praised by Connemara cleric
Pupils were given pro-life leaflets in class by teachers
President Obama criticises faith schools in Northern Ireland speech
A Pro Choice article from the Association of Catholic Priests


Lourdes evacuated as French flash floods claim first victim
Pope Wojtyla will be Saint in October
She refused cures for religious reasons, she dies for anorexia at 19
God vow dropped from Girlguiding UK promise
Margaret Doughty, British Atheist, ‘Will Be Denied US Citizenship Unless She Joins A Church’
Catholic midwives face further legal challenge to “conscience” exemption
Hindu Women in India Found Raped and Chopped Into Pieces by Muslims
Bulgarian Orthodox Church calls for cancellation of Sofia Pride 2013 parade
Islamists Press Blasphemy Cases in a New Egypt
Religious Observance in Scottish Schools


FG Will Pay Huge Price for Abortion Bill


  • Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 June, O’Callaghan Alexander Hotel, Dublin 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
  • Saturday 6 July, 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. As someone who popped by once for twenty minutes, these can be a lot of fun.
  • Sunday 7 July, 4:00 pm, Buswell’s Hotel, Molesworth St., Dublin 2 (map)
    Monthly meeting of the Humanist Association of Ireland. All are welcome.
  • Sunday 7 July, noon, Cork Humanists will host David Pollock, former President of the European Humanist Federation, as he gives a talk entitled Humanism and Human Rights.
  • Saturday, 27th of July, 18:30 – Skeptics in the Pub will be gathering in the Lord Edward for chats, pints, and the possibility of a plate of chips.


Some of you will have managed to pass the week while remaining blissfully unaware of John Waters’ latest article. Those not so fortunate may enjoy David Robert Grimes’ witty rejoinder.

Has atheism failed? Michael Nugent discusses with Rabbi Romain. I’ll allow the reader to judge who took which side.

Bock the Robber reviews Superman and its comparisons with Jesus. (Warning, spoilers.)

Dat Atheist discusses coming out as an atheist.

And, because I could hardly resist such an open opportunity to plug my own blog, here’s one from the distant past.

I leave you with news that the Aetherius Society use prayer to charge spiritual batteries employed to prevent natural disasters.

Stay skeptical!

Secular Sunday