The April Meeting was held yesterday at the Carlton Castletroy Park Hotel. The theme of the meeting was Humanism in the news and it turns out that there is a lot of humanism related stories. We only looked at the Irish Times and only for the last 6 weeks or so and generated some lively discussion on the stories reviewed. These were :
1. It seems as if religion is the last taboo by BREDA O’BRIEN
Religious practice has many positive effects, and we should try and harness those benefits. Are people returning to the “comfort blanket” of religion in a time of recession?
Its a sad reflection on religion if it is reduced to the fear engendered by the recession to increase its numbers. Full Article
2. Is religion good for you? By SHANE HEGARTY
A response to the Iona Institute document saying that religious practice makes you happier, healthier, and less likely to stray as a teenager or as a spouse. This is a great piece of criticism and the best quote in it is “(The report is also quite amusing in how it talks in its main text about Richard Dawkins and The God Delusion without mentioning either by name. Say it: Dawkins, Dawkins, Dawkins. He won’t materialise in a puff of sulphur.)” Full Article
3. Humanists launch campaign against judicial religious oaths by PATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs Correspondent A report on the The Humanist Association of Ireland poster campaign on Dart trains in the capital against the practice of judges and presidents of Ireland being obliged to take an oath. FullArticle
4. A row that goes all the way back to creation By FIONOLA MEREDITH As the Ulster Museum in Belfast prepares for its grand reopening after a major makeover, curators didn’t plan on a blazing row over plans to host a Darwin exhibition in its new science galleries. Full Article.
5. New school model still tramples on rights of the non-religious by DICK SPICER, chairman of the Humanist Association of Ireland. OUR STATE is unique among developed democracies in compelling children to attend school and then not providing them with a religiously neutral educational choice and schools, although they are funded by the taxpayers, are not “national” in the sense of accommodating all our children equally. Full Article
6. Hospice group asked to back doctor-assisted suicide By PATSY McGARRY
THE IRISH Hospice Foundation has been asked to support “legal doctor-assisted suicide” where requested by terminally ill patients. Its support has also been sought for the creation of an “advance healthcare directive” whereby a person may stipulate in advance the circumstances where he or she would refuse treatment. The requests have been made by the Humanist Association of Ireland (HAI) in a submission to the Irish Hospice Foundation. Full Article
7. Saying goodbye your own way by ARMINTA WALLACE
With society becoming increasingly secular, civil funerals can provide a more personal ritual for those who are uncomfortable with the pomp and dogma of church services. Full Article
8. How Darwin helped shape Irish writing by FINTAN O’TOOLE
The way in which Irish writers responded to Darwin’s beliefs forged a whole new cultural space here. Full Article
9. Moral equivalence is of little use to those dying without dignity by LEN DOYAL
An opinion piece putting forward his arguments for the legalisation of euthanasia following his prevention from speaking at Cork University Hospital. Full Article
We discussed the meeting schedule and decided to make the May meeting and evening one. It will take place on the 19th May at 20:00, with the venue to be decided. Hopefully this will be more conveinent for more members as the Sunday morning seems to be too early for some.