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Changes the Mid West Humanists seek to the Constitution summer 2012

The meetings in June and July 2012 decided in favour of a list of changes to the Constitution of Ireland.

The Mid West Humanists seek these changes in order to make the Constitution fit with a secular state. People should have freedom to have a religion, or not have a religion. The State should not show different levels of favour to people or organisations of different religions, or different levels of favour between those with religions and those with no religion.

The State should not put any value on people having a religion. It should be indifferent to this. The State’s concern is that people should obey the law.

The list of the changes that the Mid West Humanists favour is on the Meetings Report page.

The next meeting of the Mid West Humanists is on the Next Meeting page. At the meeting on 15 August 2012, we will discuss the plan to take the list of changes to the TDs in the Mid West region of Ireland, that is, Limerick city and the counties of Limerick, Clare, and North Tipperary. We hope to make these visits in the remaining months of 2012.

Meetings summer 2012 on the Constitution

The June 2012 meeting looked at features of the Constitution of Ireland that have religious content and are incompatible with a secular state. These articles discriminate against people who have no religion.
The meeting voted that many parts of articles would be best removed.
At the next meeting on 18 July 2012, the meeting is to examine further articles.
When the list of articles that should be changed in order to make the Constitution fully secular is complete, some of the Mid West Humanists will visit the TDs in the region to put the case for these amendments to the Constitution.

An Interview with David Norris

I submitted a question about the religious oath required of the President, Norris’ answer is around the 23 min mark. I thought his answer was disappointing and revealed a lack of understanding of the viewpoint of secularists.

The Presidency of Ireland – Atheists Need Not Apply

Article 12, Paragraph 8 of the Irish Constitution states;

The President shall enter upon his office by taking and subscribing publicly, in the presence of members of both Houses of the Oireachtas, of Judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Court, and other public personages, the following declaration:

“In the presence of Almighty God I    ,do solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will maintain the Constitution of Ireland and uphold its laws, that I will fulfil my duties faithfully and conscientiously in accordance with the Constitution and the law, and that I will dedicate my abilities to the service and welfare of the people of Ireland. May God direct and sustain me.”

This clearly contradicts Article 44, Paragraph 2, Section 3 which states;

The State shall not impose any disabilities or make any discrimination on the ground of religious profession, belief or status.

It also effectively bars atheists and others who aren’t monotheists from holding the office of President.

This seems wrong to me and I’d like to suggest a way we can bring this issue to the notice of the mainstream. Any time you interact with the campaigns of the prospective candidates ask them to refuse to swear this oath if they are elected. Explain that the issue here isn’t their personal religious view but rather the wider question of whether it is correct that there is a religious qualification for the Presidency. People could also email, tweet, or write to the candidates and ask them to refuse to swear this discriminatory oath.

So far Sen. David Norris (Ind) and Mairead McGuinness MEP (FG) are the only declared candidates but there are likely to be others who’ll declare as the election gets closer.