Secular Sunday #88 – Back To School

September signals the end of the summer and if you are a parent (or indeed a student) it means back to school. As well as making sure uniforms and bags are in order, it can also mean having to deal with religious indoctrination. If your child is just starting school, or is moving into a class where ‘sacramental preparation’ is going to take up a significant proportion of the year, you may be unprepared. Atheist Ireland’s website Teach, Don’t Preach has information and resources concerning Ireland’s school system. If you have any specific concerns, you can also contact our Education Officer Jane Donnelly.

– Derek Walsh, Editor


  • In their Submission to the UN Human Rights Committee on Ireland’s Fourth Periodic Report under the ICCPR –(List of Issues Stage) the Irish Human Rights Commission has raised the issue of the human rights of non-faith children in Irish schools. Read more
  • Once again last week’s scheduled episode of Vincent Browne’s show Challenging God featuring Michael Nugent was replaced with a different one. That episode is now billed to be shown tonight, Sunday 1 September at 11:00 pm on TV3. But please don’t blame us if it’s not!

Media Watch

Thanks to Barbara Monea for spotting and collecting the above news items and more which can be found at her blog, updated frequently.

If you spot anything in the media that you think may be of interest to our readers, send us an e-mail about it.


All events are free and open to everyone unless otherwise stated.

  • Saturday 7 September , 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm, GPO, O’Connell St., Dublin 1 (map)
    Brendan Maher and friends 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 8 September, 12:00 noon,  Trinity Capital Hotel, Pearse St., Dublin 2 (map)
    Second Sunday Brunch. A casual, family-friendly meet-up. Facebook event page
  • Sunday 8 September, 12:00 noon, A Casa Mia, Tobergal Lane, Sligo (map)
    As above, but for people in or around Sligo.
  • Monday 9 September, 8:30 pm, McSwiggans Bar and Restaurant, Woodquay, Galway (map)
    Galway Skeptics in the Pub #64.Facebook event page
  • Saturday 21 September, Harbour Hotel, Galway (map)
    Atheist Ireland AGM. Further details to be announced.


Probably the core belief of Christianity is the concept of forgiveness. It is the central teaching of Jesus and held aloft as the prime virtue of God himself. However nice a virtue it is in small doses, it is completely impracticable and worse still undesirable even if it was possible. Both the forgiveness Jesus told us to show to one another and the forgiveness God supposedly has for us are fundamentally flawed and rife with problems. – Robert Nielsen on The Problem with Forgiveness

To lead by the religion of the majority is to directly discriminate against the minority, which is the complete antithesis of what any democratic republic should set out to do.  If we are to live in an accepting and inclusive society then the State must remain secular in order to respect the beliefs of all its citizens and not just the majority. – Conor Moroney questions the Majority Rules principle

In describing Heaney’s place within literature, The Times obituary makes repeated reference to the poet’s Catholic identity and the religious language found in his work. – Patheos asks whether Seamus Heaney was a Catholic poet

Secular Sunday