The Mid West Humanists have sent one submission to the Constitutional Convention that the Blasphemy offence should be deleted;
another submission that several items in the Constitution should be changed to make the constitution secular; both on 24 May 2013;
and on 19 September 2013 a third submission that repeats the part of the second one that deals with a President, a judge, and a member of the Council of State being obliged to declare on starting the post that they so declare “in the presence of Almighty God“. We sent this because the Tánaiste making that declaration at the Council of State in July 2013 illustrated the bad effects of the mention of a god.
We have aimed since the Convention was announced in 2011 to seek to have it consider a plan to make the Constitution secular.
I write now because it is not in any way guaranteed that the secular questions (other than blasphemy) will be discussed.
You can make it more likely that the main secular questions will be discussed, by sending in your individual submission, which need not be long or complicated. See further down for some ideas.
Blasphemy will definitely be considered – at the Convention’s meeting on Saturday 02 and Sunday 03 November 2013. The Dail and Senate in July 2012 listed blasphemy as one of the topics that the Convention is to consider. The Convention’s website now states that on 02 and 03 November there will also begin consideration of Other Amendments. Other Amendments will get more discussion at the Convention’s last listed meeting on Saturday 30 November and Sunday 01 December.
As I write the Convention’s website says it has 301 submissions in its “Submissions – Other” list. The three largest groups of submissions are on these subjects:-
Right to a home;
Environment to be protected in the constitution;
Economic, Social, and Cultural rights (ESC).
I have not counted these submissions, but these 3 groups have at least 50 submissions each. On the website you cannot filter those or any other groups in order to count them, nor can you separate the Secular submissions from the “Other” set.
As I write there are 27 submissions asking for a Secular Constitution. Some of these are about all the parts that need to be changed, and some are on single subjects, such as the Preamble, or the Declarations for President, Council of State, and Judges.
In order for the changes to make a Secular Constitution get discussed at the Convention, this subject must receive more submissions.
The Mid West Humanists recommend any person who thinks the Constitution should be secular to make her or his own submission. Here are what the Convention’s website will ask of you:
Name (will be shown on their website)
(some submitters have entered other than their true name, but their submissions are on the website)
County (will be shown on their website)
Title of your submission (will be shown on their website)
Address; email address – WILL NOT BE ON WEBSITE;
Telephone number (optional) WILL NOT BE ON WEBSITE;
Submission version 1 in a text box – maximum 1000 characters including spaces. (will be shown on their website)
Submission version 2, being a doc or pdf file that you create (optional). (will be shown on their website)
You can make quick reference to the main Articles of the Constitution that have too much religious content in the text box with 1000 characters. It is sufficient to count as a submission that you give a title that clearly shows the issue you intend. You will have shown enough substance in your submission if you put a few sentences about the issue in the text box.
For a submission in favour of a secular constitution we think it will be enough if you name some of these Articles and that you want them removed or made secular. There are already some submissions with arguments for these changes: not every submission needs to detail the arguments.