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Mid-West Humanists ask Minister for Education not to entrench religious control of National Schools

A delegation from the Mid-West Humanists met Jan O’Sullivan T.D. Minister for Education and Skills on 24 April 2015, about the Leases of National Schools.

Our National Schools – origins and rules

Now most people believe that our National Schools are tied to principles of various religions (mostly the Roman Catholic religion).

Well, the popular awareness of the origin of National Schools is correct, that the United Kingdom government set them up from 1830 onwards. The government wanted Trustees for each school to include people of a mixture of religions. No such mixed Trustees volunteered, and only sets of clergy of a single religion became Trustees. From the religion of the Trustees, National Schools got called Roman Catholic schools, Church of Ireland schools, etc.

Historians have described the one-religion nature of every set of Trustees as the churches subverting the UK government’s plan. However the plan was subverted only in that the Trustees do not include a mixture of religions.

The Lease of each school vested the running of the school in Trustees, who thereby promised to run the school by the Lease and by the rules from the Minister for Education. From the beginning to the end, the Leases did not mention a religion.

The Leases write “…the object of the system of National Education is to afford Combined literary and moral, and Separate Religious Instruction to children of all persuasions, as far as possible in the same school, upon the fundamental principle that no attempt shall be made to interfere with the peculiar religious tenets of any pupil.”

This may be a surprise to readers, as our National Schools are indeed controlled by clergy of religions – and to most people this includes the idea that those clergy as Trustees run the schools in the style of that particular religion, and that they are entitled to run them in a religious manner. This is actually contrary to the statement in the Lease that we just mentioned. Continue reading


Mid-West Humanists’ letter to Minister for Education and Skills on National School Leases and the model Deed of Variation

The Mid-West Humanists met Jan O’Sullivan T.D. Minister for Education and Skills on 24 April 2015.

We asked the Minister not to change the Leases of National Schools via a 1997 model Deed of Variation.

In another post we explain about National School leases.

We show here the letter which we gave to the Minister, in which we explained our concerns.



24 April 2015

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

Deeds of Variation should not be applied to National School Leases

Dear Minister O’Sullivan



  1. We seek information on whether (and if so, when) the Department of Education and Skills plans to apply the Deeds of Variation to the leases of schools, Deeds that were first drafted about 1997.
  2. We ask that the Leases of Primary (National) Schools not be altered as in the model Deeds of Variation of 1997 or as in any similar model. The schools are now managed by persons or groups of persons who belong to particular religions, and, contrary to popular belief, their leases (which are their agreements with the Department) do not restrict the operation of the schools to fit with those religions, and are quite neutral about religion. (The Education Act 1998 requires a school to have a characteristic spirit, but this is not solely about religion, and the schools’ leases of which we know do not determine any aspect of the characteristic spirit.)

We seek that the leases not be changed according to the model Deed of Variation of 1997 or similar model, because the present leases would allow a school to be secular in many aspects, and the varied leases would make each school tied to the particular religion. Between 1997 and 2015 society in Ireland has become more secular; it has not become more religious. 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.

Desperate Measures…

…is all I can call it. Aside from intellectually rage-inducing and just plain annoying.

By which I am referring to the following piece of “snail spam”, i.e. unwanted post in the letterbox generally sent en-masse in a carpet-bombing-like affair:

The Useless Virgin

This thing is a rather laughable attempt to try and convince the reader that the Virgin Mary made specific promises to the entire planet, and not only will she keep those promises, but she is honorable enough to demand strict obedience and daily prayer of the rosary before she will “solve the problems of the world, and our own problems too.” – Actual quote!

Actually, I’ll just give you the entire text of this piece of nonsense, and I shall highlight the outrageously silly/redundant pieces. (To be honest, it would be easier to highlight the pieces that are NOT outrageously silly, but anyway…)

Like most people nowadays you may have problems…

Are you worried and uncertain at times? Do you wonder what the future holds for you and your family? Do you feel threatened by so many dangers and problems that surround you? (so Mary only helps the severely depressed or disadvantaged…?)

Worry and anguish are written on countless faces. People are no longer able to hide their troubles. Even when someone is smiling, it is often to try to forget the things that make him weep inside. (hmm…they make the entire world out to be emotionally stunted and unable to adequately deal with their emotions…ah, appealing to their target audience…now I understand…)

Isn’t it true that people are giving in more and more to anguish, worry and affliction? Do you know why this is happening? It is because the world has forgotten God! (……AHAHAHA!!! No, nothing of the kind, my dear friend. It seems you have begun with the assumption of God, followed it with a shot of bald-faced assertions about the “horrors afflicting our world” and then you downed a pint of widespread Godless-ness and now you are understandably drunk from your severe lack of logical thinking.)

It was for these troubled souls – for you (yes, you!) that the Virgin Mary appeared in Fatima, bringing the real solution from Heaven! (okay, so first you expect us to believe COMPLETELY unverified claims of the Fatima farce, then you expect us to believe that these apparitions were an attempt from someone up above to bring us a solution to problems that only exist in your head?!?)

Here is the great solution you need…

In 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared at Fatima, Portugal, to three children on six occasions. After showing the children a frightening vision of Hell, She warned of terrible chastisements that would fall on the world if we did not amend our lives. (No, she didn’t. If there was even a remote possibility of this having happened, okay, fine, but there isn’t. Epic fail, my friend...hey, wait a second…I’m sorry, WHAT? She showed CHILDREN a frightening vision of HELL??!? …..WHY??!?! And WE are the ones to receive chastisement?! I think in any fair situation the “Blessed” Virgin Mary would be chastised in the form of legal proceedings for REPEATEDLY exposing children to horrific imagery in an attempt to scare the love of Jesus into them, or have I simply been perverted by the “Godless” legal system of most nearly ALL the 1st world countries…?) During each of the apparitions, Our Lady insisted that we should recite the Rosary every day. She promised that, if we heeded her requests, the problems of the world would be solved, and our own problems too. (Ah yes, now I understand. The reason double-blind, triple-checked, peer-reviewed extensive experiments with the “power” of prayer showed absolutely NO evidence in favour of positive effects resulting from prayer, was because they were praying the WRONG prayers for the WRONG reasons to the WRONG arbitrarily appointed Blessed Problem-Solver…it’s all become so clear to me now)

The benefits of praying the Rosary

Why not heed her request? You will see: praying the Rosary to Our Lady only brings advantages. (in the form of heightened expectations and a propensity to mental delusion, sure) And not to pray it is to neglect a great remedy for our own problems and those of the world. You can be sure that the Rosary is something which will profoundly change your life and the lives of your loved ones.

This is because the Rosary greatly favours union within the family, especially these days in immoral education, laws and fashions, threaten to break this union. (….it seems my “Godless” law system is to blame again. Would you like to provide some evidence of this immoral education and law you speak of?) The Rosary, recited in the family, constitutes a specific antidote to these evils. Hence the well known motto: “The family that prays together, stay together.” (…I give up…)

The Church teaches that the Rosary purifies our souls, enriches us with graces and with virtue, gives us an ardent love for Jesus Christ (clearly EVER-SO important) and is a treasure that enables us to pay our debts to God and to our fellow man. (I’m sorry but how do I owe a god who does not exist, and who I do not believe in, A SINGLE THING?)

To sum up, you will obtain all this if, out of your 24 hour day, you will take a mere 15 minutes to pray the Rosary. Why not to decide to begin right now? (probably because prayer is SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN to be simply a way to do absolutely nothing, and still think you’re making a difference i.e. it’s bloody useless! And besides, a vindictive b***h like the “Blessed” Virgin Mary who only has the grace to save the world, which is apparently within her power somehow, once she has received enough prostrations and fawning adulation does not DESERVE 15 MILLISECONDS out of my day let alone 15 minutes!)

Start today…

Even if you haven’t prayed for years, don’t worry. Now is a good time to start. And if you want something to help you to pray and meditate on the Rosary, then order your Rosary book today, and put it to use as soon as it arrives.

We will enclose a free rosary with every book ordered. Just fill out the coupon opposite, detach it and put it in the nearest post box. You don’t even need a postage stamp.

It goes on to describe how you will receive a free wooden rosary and the wonderful book containing the “15 promises” the Blessed Virgin Mary was SO kind to bestow upon us.

And as if they hadn’t had enough of the bald-faced assertions, on the reverse of one of the folded sections they have the following to present as “evidence” for the power of the Rosary….yeah, right…

Eloquent Testimonies:

Do you know that the(sic) praying the Rosary is a most efficacious means to obtain from the Blessed Virgin Mary the solution of all sorts of problems? Look at some examples:

  • Family breaking up restored to harmony (NOTHING to do with prayer.)
  • Woman in despair avoids suicide (NOTHING to do with prayer, and the suicidal tendencies probably had root in feelings FOSTERED by prayer and religion.)
  • A young alcoholic recovers from his condition (NOTHING to do with prayer except for a placebo/crutch effect, but there MUCH are better methods than prayer for assisting in difficult situations like that.)
  • The father of a family succeeds in avoiding default of mortgage (Yeah, because the Virgin Larry appeared to the bank manager, showed him a frightening vision of Hell and warned of severe chastisements if he didn’t lay off the poor pious father of five…give me a break!)

These are only a few examples among so many that could be cited. (hahaha….oh really? And how many of them exactly constitute ACTUAL evidence for the efficacy of praying the Rosary?? Sorry, what was that?)

I welcome your comments on both this piece of trash, and my evaluation of it and it’s message. Oh, and if you want a good laugh, or to induce a fit of intellectual rage upon yourself, check out the website of the people responsible for this charming little flyer, the “Irish Society for a Christian Civilisation”, http://www.isfcc.org/

Now I’m off to annoy those silly Catholics with some awkward questions and some demands looking for evidence for their ridiculous claims!

p.s. excuse the odd colour changes in the quote boxes, I had a tousle with the text editor, and no matter how I smacked it with that hammer it didn’t quite come out right. I think it will remain obvious which pieces of text are in fact my pithy derision of the Catholic faith…