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Our 256,000 (and counting) atheists, agnostics, humanists and non-religious

category national | rights and freedoms | other press author Saturday June 04, 2011 21:23author by Hypatia Report this post to the editors

Roisin Ingle writes on the growing number atheists, agnostics, humanists in Ireland and their struggle for recognition.

A FEW WEEKS ago Brian Whiteside of the Humanist Association of Ireland addressed a gathering that included Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter as well as various religious leaders. He used the opportunity to raise the issue of our religious presidential oath, which he says is just one example of State discrimination against the growing godless community. The oath, the wording of which is enshrined in the Constitution, is taken in “the presence of Almighty God” and is a non-negotiable promise that must be given by whoever is elected president. It concludes, “May God direct and sustain me.”

Godbusters!
Godbusters!

“I talked about how embarrassing it would be for this country if a successful candidate decided that in all conscience they couldn’t give that oath because they didn’t believe in God,” says Whiteside. He was gratified to observe Kenny requesting that Shatter make a note of this potentially awkward eventuality.

This weekend in Dublin about 350 atheists have gathered for the first World Atheist Convention to be held in this country. Speakers include the prolific British professor Richard Dawkins and the chairman of Atheist Ireland, Michael Nugent. “Twenty years ago the atheist campaign would have been around trying to change public opinion, and now it is much more about getting politicians and institutions of the State to recognise that public opinion has changed,” says Nugent.

While some people who wear their atheism on their sleeves still risk clashing with more religious family members or friends, declining to have your children baptised or choosing a civil ceremony instead of a church marriage is a less controversial choice than ever before.

Related Link: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/weekend/2011/0604/1....html
author by Geneuspublication date Mon Jul 04, 2011 17:43Report this post to the editors

its 1/16th of the entire population and that's probably a conservative figure.
I think thats pretty significant. Don't you?

Dawkins is just one single atheist. He's entitled to any personal political alignment he wishes. Its not really very relevant to this discussion.

Quite aside from the fact that he seems far more amenable to (and capable of) honest polite reasoned discourse than most political or religious types I've come across.

 
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