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Mid West Humanists tell Minister for Education that schools should be secular and in State ownership

A delegation from the Mid West Humanists met Ms Jan O’Sullivan T.D., Minister for Education and Skills at her office in Limerick on 28  November 2014.

We asked the Minister that Ireland’s education system change from the present system to a State system of entirely secular schools.

 

Here is the full text of the letter we gave to the Minister at the visit.

 

To Jan O’Sullivan TD, Minister for Education and Skills

A Secular and Child- centred Education system for Ireland

 

Dear Minister O’Sullivan

 

We are people with no religion, and there are between 10% and 15% of the population of Ireland who have no religion, perhaps more – the proportion is certainly growing.

While we note that the education system is biased towards religion (and towards some few religions even more strongly),
the changes that we seek to Ireland’s education system, in addition to removing this bias, will make it easier for government to deal with the increasing variety of religions to which people in Ireland belong – including making it easier to provide education.

The Mid West Humanists ask that the system of schools in Ireland, primary and second-level, become a system of entirely secular schools that the state operates itself. Several other changes in relevant law and in the curriculum would follow from this plan
We propose this change with rational arguments, and we aim to show that this would be the best for society in Ireland, with reasons that do not depend on the particular needs or requests of people with no religion, nor on the particular number or proportion of the population who hold any particular religious or non-religious view.

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April 2014, Secular Sunday Brunch in Ennis

What: A Secular Sunday Brunch meetup for Humanists, Atheists & Freethinkers

When: Sunday, April 6, 12 noon
Where: Rowan Tree Hostel, Ennis
Who:  Adults and children welcome
Check out our events page on Facebook
for more information and if you’d like to share a car to the event.  Hope to see you there!

Announcing our First Secular Sunday Brunch!

What: A Secular Sunday Brunch meetup for Humanists, Atheists & Freethinkers

When: Sunday, January 26th, 12 noon
Where: U.L. Sports Arena Restaurant
Who:  Bring the kids too!
Check out the event on Facebook
for more information and if you’d like to share a car to the event.  Hope to see you there!

UCD L+H Society have invited Mid West Humanist representative to speak on “This House would believe in a God”

On 06 August 2013 Valerie Tierney who is Debates Convenor for the Literary and Historical Society (L+H) of University College Dublin (UCD) invited the Mid West Humanists to send a representative to their debate on Wednesday 23 October 2013 on the motion –

“This House would believe in a God”.

I replied that we would send a representative to speak, against the motion.

The debate is sure to be in UCD, but we await instructions on the exact place, and on the time. The time is likely to be in the early evening. When we know we will post the time and place here.

Student debating societies are usually open to the public as well. So any Mid West Humanists can attend.

Mid West Humanists send submission to the Constitutional Convention on a Secular Constitution

At meetings in March, April, and May 2013 we have discussed a submission to go to the Constitutional Convention, on removing the parts of the Constitution that are biased  against people of no religion; and thereby making the Constitution secular.

The Constitutional Convention is due to discuss other aspects of the Constitution, which the Government did not put on its agenda, at its meeting on Saturday 30 November and Sunday 01 December 2013.

We are hoping that a Secular Constitution will be discussed then.

The Mid West Humanists have sent a submission, as detailed further below.

The more people who ask the Convention to discuss an issue, the more likely it will be that the Convention will deal with it.

So we suggest that every person who thinks the Constitution should  be secular should send their own personal submission to the Convention. You do not need to make a case with detailed arguments.

Go to the Constitutional Convention website, which has a button marked “Make a Submission” which will lead you to the submission page.

You can write “Secular Constitution” as the title of your submission. The site has a “Comment” box, in which you can write your views, up to 1000 characters (this 1000 includes the spaces between words). You can attach a file but you do not have to do so.

You will have to give your name, address, email, and phone number: but only your name and your County will be shown on the Convention’s website. Several submitters with titles that are clearly not real names have managed to get submissions in.

The Constitutional Convention website will lead you to the Mid West Humanists’  submission.

The page for an individual submission shows comment of not more than 9 lines, and a link to download the submission’s larger file. Our submission is in a Word file.

When you press that link the download box may say that the file is “AttachmentDownload.ashx” (rather than the name of our submission).
You can download the file – with the Save option (do not choose to open it immediately). When you see your own computer’s dialog box about where to save the file, you can rename this file. If your computer is not set up to open this dialog box, find where the saved file is and rename it.
Put any name you choose, but make its extension (suffix) .doc – “MidWestHumanistsSecular.doc”.
Microsoft Word will open the file – it remained a Word file but the Convention’s website renames it.

How the Mid West Humanists would like the various Articles of the Constitution to be after the changes is in a Meeting Report.

Here is what we sent to the Convention: –

from Mid West Humanists 22 May 2013

The Mid West Humanists are people with no religion (people meeting monthly since 2008), in Limerick, Clare, and Tipperary.

To the Constitutional Convention

Making the Constitution of Ireland secular

Reason to make this Submission to the Convention

The Convention has already considered issues outside the list that the Government set. Accordingly the Mid West Humanists propose changes to make the Constitution secular, in addition to their proposal to delete the criminalisation of blasphemy.

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Update on getting the press to contact us

As planned at the meeting on 19 December 2012, I sent the general information document for the press on 08 January 2013, to local newspapers and to local radio stations. It describes the group and its aims, and provide a contact number and email for any paper or station who want a secular, humanist, or atheist view on any news items in the Mid West region.

Late on 08 01 2013 the Clare Champion telephoned and asked for some humanists in Clare that they could telephone. I got agreement from 2 of our members and gave their phone numbers to the Champion early on 09 01 2013.

Late on 08 01 2013 the Tipperary Mid West Community radio station phoned me, and I spoke on their Morning Call program with Joe Pryce on the morning of 09 01 2013. Early on 09 01 2013 Tipp FM radio phoned me and I spoke on their Tipp Today program with Seamus Martin the same morning.

The Limerick Post emailed me on 09 01 2013 and I am to speak to them on 10 01 2013 for a story about people moving away from Christianity.

This is all good news and good results from the press information pack. I hope that at times stories arise in the news here, we the local group will put input into local radio or newspapers.

Decemeber 2012 meeting: plans to encourage the press to contact us

Although the Mid West Humanists have met every month since 2008, at times stories arise in the news here, and we the local group have not put input into local radio or newspapers.

From the meeting in September 2012 the members have wanted to encourage the local press and radio to take input from us on  stories affecting humanist, atheist, and secular people, including cases of discrimination against them.

At the meeting on 19 December 2012 those present edited an information document for the press, and a press release which is due to be sent when the Constitutional Convention starts to look at the Blasphemy provision.
We plan to send the general information document to local newspapers and to local radio stations in the second week of January 2013. It will describe the group and its aims, and provide a contact number and email for any paper or station who want a secular, humanist, or atheist view on any news items in the Mid West region.

We hope this will mean that the local media will give our point of view some airing. We hope this will contribute to changes in society, towards a secular society.

Hiatus

This blog has taken something of an extended break over the last few months. We’re hoping that’ll change and that we’ll have new posts soon.

In the meantime you can find details of our meetings here and contact us here.

You can also visit some like minded sites –

Atheist Ireland

Irish Skeptics Society

Humanist Association of Ireland

Cork Skeptics

Hopefully those groups will provide something for everyone.

“What Should Replace Religion?” – Daniel Dennett

I’m very late adding this but the UCC Atheists are hosting a free lecture by Daniel Dennett on Friday 28th of January at 18.00 in Boole 4 on the UCC Campus.

Professor Daniel C. Dennett is arguably one of the greatest philosophers alive today, and one of the most prominent voices in the debate on scientific explanations of human consciousness and free will. He is co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies in Tufts University, as well as a noted atheist and advocate of Darwinian evolution. He has written such widely popular books as ‘Consciousness Explained’, ‘Freedom Evolves’, ‘Darwin’s Dangerous Idea’, and ‘Breaking the Spell’.

On Friday the 28th of January he will be speaking in UCC on the decline of religion in Western society in recent years, and what future, if any, we see for it.

This event is open to all and FREE. (His talk at Seminars in Dublin the night before costs €40 per ticket!)

Please come along and invite any friends you think might be interested! Arrive early to avoid disappointment!

You can get more details and indicate you’re going on Facebook here, or just turn up on the night.

The Atheist Experience – “Superiority of Secular Morality”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

A lecture by Matt Dillahunty of the Atheist Commumity of Austin