Prayer and Hospital

The Irish Government has made the astonishing decision to build a new €300 million National Maternity Hospital, and give ownership of it to a religious order of the Catholic Church. The Vatican recently renewed its Charter for Healthcare Workers, which states that:

“Healthcare workers should be given a solid ethico-religious formation, which promotes in them an appreciation of human and Christian values and refines their moral conscience. There is need to develop in them an authentic faith and a true sense of morality, in a sincere search for a religious relationship with God, in whom all ideals of goodness and truth are based.”

Atheist Ireland reports on this development here.

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This is my debate on RTE this morning with David Quinn of the Iona Institute, about religion in Ireland today. It covers the census results, the prayer at the start of the Dail day, the Angelus on RTE and the education system.

As always, people on all sides will listen to such debates through the filters of their own beliefs, and in particular will be more receptive to hearing ideas that they agree with than to ideas that they disagree with.

I’ve summarised below the factual assertions that we both made during the debate. While there are of course grey areas, I’ve tried here to leave out our opinions about what should be done based on our assertions.

You can hear our opinions about these assertions by listening to the video.

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The Religious Test to be Ceann Comhairle

by Michael Nugent on April 13, 2017

Ceann ComhairleThe Ceann Comhairle of the Dail, Sean O Fearghail TD, has replied to Atheist Ireland’s letter about the Dail prayer. He has confirmed that the proposal that was scheduled for Tuesday will now instead be put to the house on its return after the Easter recess.

He has said that he will refer our correspondence to the Dail Committee on Procedure, and that he takes all views expressed with such considered detail very seriously.

Atheist Ireland has responded with the following letter, which we have copied to the members of the Dail Committee on Procedure. You can find their names here. Please contact them this week about this matter.

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Should our Parliament start with a Prayer? I debated this with Michael Healy Rae TD with host Matt Cooper on Today FM.

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TDs to be asked to vote on new Dail prayer rules without any debate

April 11, 2017

Update: following lobbying from Atheist Ireland and opposition from secular TDs, the Dail business committee decided today to postpone this vote until 2nd May, in order to allow time for debate. Please continue to contact your TDs about this between now and then. The UK and Ireland are the only European parliaments that start their […]

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Ask your TDs today to stop forcing parliamentarians to pray to ‘Christ Our Lord’

April 10, 2017

Update: following lobbying from Atheist Ireland and opposition from secular TDs, the Dail business committee decided today to postpone this vote until 2nd May, in order to allow time for debate. Please continue to contact your TDs about this between now and then. At 2.30 pm this Tuesday, 11 April, the Dail will vote to […]

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Remembering my wife Anne Holliday on the anniversary of her death

April 9, 2017

My wife Anne Holliday died of cancer six years ago today. Here’s the tribute that I wrote to her at the time.

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Irish Census 2016 – More Rastas than Pastas, More Jedis than Jews or Jains

April 6, 2017

For the first time, the Irish Census results include all religious minorities with thirty or more respondents. There are nearly sixty listed. Here are some of the more interesting facts: More Lapsed Catholics (8,094) than Lapsed Church of Ireland (74) More Jedi Knights (2,050) than Jews (1,929) or Jains (134) More Rastafarians (114) than Pastafarians […]

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One in ten Irish now have no religion – more than all minority religions combined

April 6, 2017

Atheist Ireland held a successful campaign encouraging people with no religion to say so in the census. We welcome the following preliminary results from the census: One in ten Irish people (468,400) have no religion. That’s a 73% rise from 2011, which is the highest rise of any category. More people have no religion (468,400) […]

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Promoting the Right to Die – my talk at Warsaw Days of Atheism

April 3, 2017

In this talk I remember my late wife Anne Holliday, the Right to Die court case by the late Marie Fleming, the work of Tom Curran with Exit International, and the campaign in Ireland to support lawful assisted dying.

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