Atheist Ireland, an advocacy group for, um, atheists in Ireland is set to launch in the next few weeks under the chairmanship of Michael Nugent, a writer from Dublin.
Our mission to provide a platform for people who wish to work together to build a rational, ethical and secular society free from superstition and supernaturalism.
We have two aims. One, to promote atheism and reason over superstition and supernaturalism. And two, to promote an ethical and secular Ireland where the State does not support or fund or give special treatment to any religion.
Our priority goals include promoting our aims, initially to Irish Irish people of no religion, and campaigning for a secular Irish Constitution and a secular Irish education system.
That secular Irish Constitution bit would be nice. Here are some of the problems:
The preamble to the Irish Constitution states that all authority of both men and States comes from “the Most Holy Trinity”, and that the people of Ireland humbly acknowledge our obligations to “our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ”. Actually, all authority (in the sense of legitimate power) comes from agreed relationships between people, and not from any gods that some of those people imagine to exist.
Article 44 begins with an extraordinary claim: “The State acknowledges that the homage of public worship is due to Almighty God.” This is not a guarantee of the right of Irish citizens to worship a god, but of the right of this god to be worshipped by Irish citizens. The next line — the State “shall hold His Name in reverence, and shall respect and honour religion” — also protects the rights of this god, not the rights of Irish citizens. And the State’s respect for religion flows from the rights of this god to be revered, not from the rights of its citizens to revere it.
Articles 12, 31 and 34 prescribe religious oaths in which the President, Councillors of State and Judges must ask God to direct and sustain them. Article 4 makes blasphemy an offence. Partly because of these references in our Constitution, the courts have found that certain personal rights of Irish citizens “flow from the Christian and democratic nature of the State”.
If you’re from Ireland and interested in getting involved, or you just want more information on the group, you can find it here.