The Secular Statement that Atheist Ireland is asking election candidates to endorse

Atheist Ireland’s policy on secularism is reflected in the Dublin Declaration on Secularism and the Place of Religion in Public Life. This was adopted by delegates at the World Atheist Convention in Dublin in 2011. We actively promote its principles as the basis for an ethical and secular State in Ireland.

For the 2014 local and European elections, Atheist Ireland has Regional Committees who were free to decide on adaptations to the Dublin Declaration on Secularism, to suit the particular conditions on the ground in their regions at this time.

This process has resulted in the following adapted Secular Statement which we are asking candidates to endorse in these elections. While it is based on the Dublin Declaration, it includes some clauses that are different to the Dublin Declaration.

You can read here for an ongoing update on the current responses from candidates.

Atheist Ireland Secular Statement for Local and European Election candidates 2014

1. Personal Freedoms

  • Freedom of conscience, religion and belief are private and unlimited. Freedom to practise religion should be limited only by the need to respect the rights and the freedoms of others.
  • All people should be free to participate equally in the democratic process.
  • Freedom of expression should be limited only by the need to respect the rights and freedoms of others. There should be no right in law “to not be offended”. The Constitution of Ireland should be changed to remove the crime of blasphemy.
  • The Constitution of Ireland should also be changed to remove the requirement for office holders, such as the President and judges to take religious oaths.

2. Secular Democracy

  • The sovereignty of the Irish State is derived from the people and not from any god or gods. The Constitution of Ireland should be changed to remove all obligations to specific deities.
  • The creation of laws by the Irish State should be based on democracy and human rights. Public policy should be driven by an application of logic and reason to evidence and not by any particular religious faith.
  • Government should be secular. The Irish State should be strictly neutral in matters of religion or its absence, favouring none and discriminating against none.
  • Membership or otherwise of any particular religion, should not be a basis for appointing a person to any position within the Irish State.
  • The law should neither grant nor refuse any right, privilege, power or immunity, on the basis of faith or religion or the absence of either.

3. Secular Education

  • Citizens in Ireland should have the option of a secular education for their children. While all children may be taught about the diversity of religious and non-religious beliefs in an objective manner, no faith formation with respect to any particular religion should be imposed.
  • Children in Ireland should be educated in ethical, reasoned and critical thinking, with science education being free from religious interference.
  • Children in Ireland whose parents desire a secular education for them (either due to an absence of religious faith or due to a wish for faith formation to take place outside of school hours) should not be ostracised or disadvantaged.

4. One Law for All

  • Any private conduct, which respects the rights and freedoms of others, should not be criminalized on the grounds that any particular religious doctrine regards such conduct to be immoral.
  • Employers in Ireland should not be allowed to discriminate based on religious beliefs, which are not essential to the job in question.
Michael Nugent