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Mid-West Humanists tell the Minister for Health to keep National Maternity Hospital in State ownership

Today Monday 22 05 2017 the Mid-West Humanists have emailed and also written by registered post to the Minister for Health about why the new National Maternity Hospital in Dublin should be in an organisation that the State owns and can fully control.

 

We show here the text of our email and letter.

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Mid West Humanists

An Atheist Community in Limerick, Clare, and Tipperary

 

To Simon Harris TD, Minister for Health

Contents

  1. The Mid-West Humanists (MWH) make this submission about the National Maternity Hospital
  2. Who the Mid-West Humanists are
  3. Mid-West Humanists’ reasons to meet includes the problems with state-funded hospitals not being under democratic control and thus not fair to the people
  4. To keep the new maternity hospital in State ownership is to make it possible for the people through the Oireachtas and Department of Health to fully control how the hospital will run. This will benefit all the people in the State, and will make governing the State easier both in running a hospital and during re-organisation of health services
  5. The historical ceding or divesting of hospitals and health services to religious organisations is no longer reasonable. While in the past people agreed with the religious leaders’ ideas how to run such services, a large part of the people now strongly disagree.
  6. Disquiet at past abuse of children has been a spur to people to speak to oppose giving the hospital to the Sisters of Charity, but the reason to have the State own it fully is about democratic control of health services
  7. Delay caused by seeking a plan to keep the new maternity hospital on land that the State will own may be regrettable, but people can wait a little more, and to keep the present plan will cause more trouble in the long run
  8. Conclusion
    It is the people’s health service, and it will be the best service if it is in control of State organisations

 

Dear Minister for Health Continue reading

“How did this auction of hyperbole and credulity get started?”

Not many claims made by the Irish clergy are widely or uncritically accepted. Even in Ireland. But the Saintliness of an Albanian nun named Agnes Bojaxhiu, is a proposition that’s accepted by many that are not even believers.

-Christopher Hitchens

Over the weekend I was at my aunt’s house, helping her out with some basic computer-networking stuff, when I noticed that she had a framed picture of Mother Theresa at the end of her hall.

When I saw it, Christopher Hitchens’ documentary ‘Hell’s Angel’ instantly sprang to mind, and for a fleeting instance I wanted to regurgitate the points made in this documentary, challenging the rationale behind her decision to adorn her wall with a picture of a wrinkly hag whose reputation was ill-founded.

Since the documentary was on my mind, I figured “why not share it with the good readers of the MWH blog?”. Rather than attempting to distil it down, butchering the message in the process, I’d rather point you towards the seemingly infinite fountain of contrarian enlightenment that is Christopher Hitchens, so that you may drink deep from the teet of critical-analsyis! [Okay, I’m pushing this a bit, I’ll tone it down now]

Since I’ve yet to fully-figure out WordPress’ embedding of video playlists, click here to watch all three parts, (each eight-minutes long) in a new window.

Pretty thought-provoking stuff, no? But does it matter? Is it any harm to stick up a picture of a woman who is widely revered as a selfless beacon of hope for so many suffering? Should I not promulgate propaganda designed to subvert the widely-held concept of Mother Theresa, lest I deprive a young woman of a potential role model?

This documentary was broadcast in 1994, and has evidently done nothing to her reputation among religious folk since, so I doubt dissemination amongst the doubters will do much damage.

I never did mention anything about Mother Theresa whilst politely supping tea with my aunt – judging by the way MT’s saintly visage was mostly covered by the coat-stand, I doubted she would take much interest in the conversation either way.

Lapsed Catholicism FTW.

In praise of Irish Catholicism

Apologies for the fact that this video is ancient (in Internet terms), and I’d imagine that readers interested in our cause have seen it through other, more popular blogs, but it should still serve as a springboard for some interesting discussion. If you’ve 100 seconds to spare, have a gander at this clip from “Now on PBS” in which a right wing religious nut offers her stirring rhetoric on why she will be voting for John McCain:

I’m sure I’m not overstating matters when I say that the only thing that comes close to this woman’s offensive ignorance is her aesthetic repugnancy. Now that I’ve taken a cheap shot at this myopic cretin who believes that the presidential candidate with “the most faith in the lord” is the most important issue in the election, and should be “make or break for everybody”, I feel obliged to reflect on the amount of people I’ve met in Ireland or seen on the media who espouse this nitwit’s religious fervour.

I’ve never witnessed an Irish person so willing to smugly broadcast their ignorance of political issues by blatantly deferring simple questions to a hypothesised celestial dictator. I’m pretty sure that most theistic Irish folk would take great shame in having to resort to revealing their lack of intellectual curiosity by flatly stating “The Lord will take care of us”, then bolstering their answer by admitting “that’s the way I look at things”, as if believing in something is reason enough to believe in it.

Furthermore, I’d like to think that few Irish people would have the stones to posit religious conviction as a grounds for racist discrimination. Watch as this woman chews and spits out the words “President O-bama”, when explaining that his name enough is disqualify himself from the oval office, eager to point out that she is “not the only one”, as her flawed logic shows that a consensus among people means that something is right.

Curiously, this woman finds Muslims more despicable than atheists, as the fact that (“ugh”) Obama had “a mother that was atheist (ugh)” is described as something that “really gets to me”, but his father’s Muslim background “should get to everyone” (apparently no belief is better than the ‘wrong’ belief). This wretched hag even has the audacity to dismiss Obama’s Christian beliefs as not being part of “the Christianity that’s in the bible”

It’s taking me quite some time to get to the point that makes this video at all relevant to the goals of Irish humanists, and part of that is because I feel this is but a smaller part of a larger essay that I plan on writing about how fortunate we have to have such a moderate religious climate in Ireland. As a 22 year old male, I’m aware that I’ve grown up in possibly the most privileged period in Irish history, so I’m eager to hear someone disagree with me, but it seems to me that as an officially Catholic nation, in which the Church’s influence has bled into most of our institutions, Catholicism has become mere background noise.

As the Catholic church is forced to continually capitulate more and more to the tides of progress brought about by greater dissemination of information and an improved scientific understanding of the world (the two are much of a muchness, I suppose), this institutional juggernaut is increasingly enfeebled, as we are now at a stage where the ‘lapsed Catholic’ is the norm, and Church rituals are resorted to when celebrating or grieving because that’s the way things are.

The United States separates Church from State, which is a fantastic idea in theory, but it means that rather than forcing religious dogma on its citizens along with laws and taxes, religion must be sought out in one’s leisure time.

Futhermore, in this Republic of Ireland the matter of a politician’s religious affiliation can be safely assumed to be in line with the majority of Irish citizens who have grown up uncritical of their imposed beliefs, meaning that more time is given to discourse on actual issues than it is attempting to ‘otherise’ the character of opposing political figures.

Like I’ve said before, I’ve simplified matters somewhat to give an overarching view of where I’m coming from, but I do hope to get a little more in-depth at a later date. I’d like to think that Irish atheists and Catholics alike will watch the above video and be justifiably horrified, as this person should not be treated as an example of your average religious adherent – she is a racist ignoramus who justifies it by a religion notoriously open to interpretation. She is a straw woman representing some of the worst traits that religious conviction have to offer, and not much more.

I would like to implore my humanistic brethren to consider that the dominant, most vocal forms of religion in Ireland are quite benign in comparison to what our American cousins must deal with, and we must take baby-steps to assure that in our goal to facilitate a life of Irish apostasy we don’t awake the sleeping beast and cause the enemies of reason to become more entrenched, more vocal, and thus, more influential.

Today’s Budget

As I type this the Irish Minister of Finance is delivering this years budget. FXM over at Irish Atheists asks the question why not remove the tax exempt status from the Catholic Church?

I can see no good argument for continuing to give tax breaks to any religion. The Catholic Church in particular owns large amounts of property throughout the country and doesn’t face the sort of inheritance tax that helps to keep property in circulation.

So today’s questions are  – Why am I wrong and what did you think of the budget?